My new backpack is a Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30, little brother to the famous Aeronaut 45. It’s available only at the Tom Bihn website or their Seattle retail store, and at US $285, it’s not exactly cheap.
I’ve had my Aeronaut 30 only since June, and I’ve taken it on a four-week road trip all over the southwestern US. As US road trips start with a long-distance flight for us, I also had the chance to test its carry-on abilities, which are pretty amazing.
The Aeronaut basically brings together the easy layout of a duffle bag – big main compartment for clothes and big stuff like my laptop, smaller side pockets for toiletries, electronics and general knick-knack – and the comfort of nicely padded backpack straps.
Another nice feature is the back pocket where you can zip away the backpack straps so they are out of the way and don’t get tangled when you store the bag in the overhead compartment or stuff it under the seat in a plane.
Even though the Aeronaut 30 doesn’t have a frame like a hiking backpack would, I think it’s very comfortable to carry. It comes with a sternum strap and you can buy an additional waist strap.
I wouldn’t want to go on a multi-hour hike with the Aeronaut 30, but it was comfortable enough to carry for an hour or so when we first had to hurry halfway through Frankfurt airport only to have to wait in line for a small eternity when boarding was stopped due to a medical emergency in the jetway.