Aeronaut Travel Bag by Tom Bihn

The Aeronaut is my choice for carry-on travel bag and may be bought at

Officially named on September 1st, 2005, but being thought as early as 2003, the Aeronaut is Tom Bihn´s answer to the demand for a Maximum size Convertible Carry-on traveler´s bag that could navigate through not just airports, train stations, and bus depots, but through airplanestrains, and buses.


Aeronaut sketch by Dan Bransfield

The requests from 2005 Tom Bihn´s Forums Posts:

  • Conforms to actual carry-on standard size
  • Convertible between backpack straps and a shoulder strap
  • Has a waist strap for stability/to prevent back strain
  • No Wheels
  • Splash-proof zippers
  • Made of ballistic nylon to eliminate the need for a frame
  • Have at least two compartments (to separate clean from dirty among other reasons)
  • DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating
  • See the comments on the OneBag web site

Main points from on Choosing A Bag :

To maximize carrying capacity, look for a rectilinear design.


Adding external pouches increases a bag’s dimensions without adding appropriate corresponding storage volume.

Although these two bags have identical external dimensions (as measured by the airlines), the rectilinear bag offers an astonishing 29% more storage space! Not a negligible consideration.


This view also exposes three additional problems of non-rectilinearity. Extending a bag at its front moves its centre of gravity further from one’s body than it need be, making it less comfortable to carry. It also renders the bag more awkward to manoeuvre in crowded situations. Finally, those curved sides make it more difficult to pack effectively!

Source :


On Tom Bihn´s Design:

Tom Bihn´s Materials:

Form Factor:

“My Carry-on features a large rather squarish main compartment with two large end pockets, each big enough to carry two pairs of shoes or one pair of boots”, that is the oldest description I found for Tom Bihn´s Convertible Carry-on from a  2003 forum post.

The early attempts (prior to 2003) to find a specific “relatively easy-to-get-at place near the outside of the bag” for a laptop were dismissed and the Aeronaut was launched with the basically the same form factor it has up to this date.

Designed to qualify as a maximum-size airline carry-on bag, the Aeronaut can be carried as a backpack (with its zip-away backpack straps), or with its padded handle can be carried on-edge as one would a traditional suitcase, or over the shoulder using the Absolute Shoulder Strap.

The Absolute Shoulder Strap combines a nonslip, ergonomically curved pad — made of soft, durable neoprene — with comfortable stretch backing with internal control-stretch system to make bags feel 50% lighter and 100% more comfortable. a lifesaver when carrying a hefty load or simply want the most comfortable strap available.

The downside to most duffel bags is their lack of compartmentalization. But not the Aeronaut. The main body of the bag is divided into three significant compartments: a large center compartment is flanked on both ends by substantial end pockets. These end pockets can easily accommodate size 12 running shoes. The end pockets also are great for segregating the clean from the unclean, or perhaps socks and underwear, from everything else.

The main compartment is accessed through a curved zipper opening and swallows a substantial stack of folded shirts/blouses/trousers/dresses; as you pack the Aeronaut, the end pockets act like bookends, keeping everything in the center compartment relatively flat and folded. The inside of the opening “hatch” features a convenient zippered mesh pocket for small items.

The studs inside the main compartment may be popped to expand it into the end pocket space.


The inside organization may be done using any combination of Travel Sacks, Packing Cubes and Pouches, kind like a tetris game !

Travel Sacks serve a variety of purposes: to stow and compress items like down/polyfill jackets and vests; to separate dirty clothes from clean clothes; to pack clothing that doesn’t need to be folded; and to store any assortment of small items (like cables or extra batteries). Available in a variety of colors to allow you to organize/pack by color (“I keep socks in the Wasabi Travel Stuff Sack and underwear in the Steel Travel Stuff Sack”).


Tom Bihn´s travel sacks are made of 200 denier Dyneema®/Nylon Ripstop in 4 sizes:

  • Size 1: 130 x 100 x  70 mm, weight: 25 grams, volume: 0.7 liters
  • Size 2: 160 x 130 x  90 mm, weight: 30 grams, volume: 1.6 liters
  • Size 3: 200 x 170 x 110 mm, weight: 40 grams, volume: 3.0 liters
  • Size 4: 230 x 200 x 130 mm, weight: 50 grams, volume: 5.0 liters

Tom Bihn´s Packing Cubes are available in either Fabric/Mesh or All Fabric. The All Fabric version is intended for storing shoes, dirty clothes, or other items you may want to keep separate from the other stuff inside your bag. The Fabric/Mesh version allows you to more easily see what’s inside your Packing Cube. At the top, the Packing Cubes features a webbing loop for hanging them on a hook or doorknob.

Large Packing Cube: Use two (stacked one on top of the other), or one plus two Small Packing Cubes.

Small Packing Cube: Use four (stacked one on top of the other, or interlocking like bricks), or two plus one Large Packing Cube.

End Pocket Packing Cube: One fills each end pocket, or four can fill the main compartment, like books on a shelf. The End Pocket Packing Cube is available in either Fabric/Fabric or Fabric/Mesh. The All Fabric version is intended for shoes or other items you may want to keep separate from the rest of your stuff. In the Fabric/Mesh version of the Aeronaut End Packing Cube, the larger sides are fabric, rather than then mesh; in other words, the edges are mesh. This is specifically because the mesh does not slide as nicely as the Dyneema®/nylon fabric, and it’s necessary for the Fabric/Mesh Packing Cube (especially when full) to be able to gracefully slide into the end pockets.

Clear Quarter Packing Cube: It was designed by Tom Bihn to fill up one-half of the end compartment of the Aeronaut travel bag, but its handy size is useful for many other applications as well.

The Clear Quarter Packing Cube has two clear equal-size compartments: it’s a great way to organize toiletries, power supplies and cables, and other small items. It opens and closes with #5 YKK coil zippers with plastic sliders, which means the Cube has no metal parts to rust or scratch electronics. The loop is very helpful when you’re attempting to yank it out of an overstuffed bag or using it as a toiletries kit.

Packing Cube Backpack: This is a dual-purpose packing cube: use it to organize and pack your clothing — just like you’d use the Large Aeronaut Packing Cube. 

When you reach your destination, you can remove the contents of the Aeronaut Packing Cube Backpack and right-side it out, expanding and transforming it into a 16 liters backpack with two compartments, an O-ring, and webbing backpack straps that are surprisingly comfortable for lighter loads. It will save you space by not having to bring a separate backpack for day use. As a backpack it is 445 x 345 x 105 mm,

Packing Cube Shoulder Bag: This is a dual-purpose packing cube: use it to organize and pack your clothing — just like you’d use the End Pocket Packing Cube.

When you reach your destination, repack the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag with a light jacket, wallet, lunch or small water bottle, map, and add a shoulder strap: you’re ready to go out and explore, and you’ve saved space by not having to bring a separate bag for day use.

3D Organizer Cube: This is a one-compartment organizer cube. It’s available in three different options: clear front and back panels. mesh front and back panels and all fabric.

The 3D Clear Organizer Cube was designed specifically to meet the TSA 3-1-1 liquids-program requirements. It works great for that purpose and, unlike a ziplock bag, is reusable and guaranteed to last through years of use as a toiletries kit when you’re traveling and as an everyday organizer bag when you’re not.

The 3D Fabric Organizer Cube is available in two different fabrics: ultralight 200 denier Dyneema®/nylon ripstop or 420d HT nylon Classic Parapack.

The 3D Mesh Organizer Cube is a one-compartment organizer cube with heavy-duty nylonmesh front and back panels that offer breathability and a moderate level of visibility of the contents of the Cube. A band of either 1000 denier Cordura® nylon, 200 Dyneema®/nylon, or 420d HT nylon Classic Parapack wraps around the top, sides, and bottom.

A #5 YKK® coil zipper with two plastic sliders zips the 3D Organizer Cube. Two O-rings, on the left and right exterior sides of the Cube, allow you to clip a Key Strap to the Cube and attach it to the O-rings inside the Aeronaut.


Dimensions, weights and volumes of Aeronaut Packing Cubes:

  • Backpack: 345 x 345 x 105 mm, weight: 255 grams, volume:  12.5 liters
  • Large      : 340 x 340 x 110 mm, weight:  110 grams, volume:  12.0 liters
  • Small      : 340 x 170 x 110 mm,  weight:    75 grams, volume:    6.0 liters
  • End         : 340 x 200 x  80 mm,  weight:   90 grams, volume:    5,0 liters
  • Shoulder: 300 x 200 x 80 mm,   weight:   95 grams, volume:     4.5 liters
  • Quarter : 200 x 170 x 80 mm,    weight:  115 grams, volume:     2.7 liters
  • 3D C C : 180 x 110 x 50 mm, weight: 75 grams, volume: 1 liter
  • 3D C D:  180 x 110 x 50 mm, weight: 65 grams, volume: 1 liter
  • 3D F D:  180 x 110 x 50 mm, weight: 50 grams, volume: 1 liter
  • 3D F P:  180 x 110 x 50 mm, weight: 65 grams, volume: 1 liter
  • 3D M C: 180 x 110 x 50 mm, weight: 70 grams, volume: 1 liter
  • 3D M D: 180 x 110 x 50 mm, weight: 60 grams, volume: 1 liter
  • 3D M P: 180 x 110 x 50 mm, weight: 65 grams, volume: 1 liter





About nomadewalker

Inquisitive Mind, Compulsive Reader, Obsessive Marsupial Traveler, Breakfast Lover, Quotidian Observer!
This entry was posted in Accessories, Bags, Carry-On, Maximum Carry-on, Packing, Packing Organizers, Remarks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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