Experiment failed. Well, that’s not strictly true – according to the scientific method, the experiment succeeded in disproving my hypothesis.


Hypothesis: one- bag method is more pleasant way to travel in all or almost all cases.

Test subject: ten day business trip to Japan. No customer meetings but 15” laptop and reasonably professional attire required.

Test Equipment: Aeronaut from Tom Bihn; assorted packing cubes, organizer pouches, etc.

Test methodology: Pack Aeronaut with reasonable (neither overly skimpy nor overly excessive) clothing as well as required electronics, entertainment items, comfort items for flight (earplugs, eyeshade, inflatable pillow, pashmina). Walk around including up stair with packed bag. Envision procedure in customs, security, and trains.

Results: pack weighed 30 lbs / 14 kg. items needed during travel needed to be packed on top of each other

Conclusion: Single bag provides less comfort and convenience for planned travel than separate carry-on and laptop bag. What would have helped would be more organization built in to bag – the TriStar’s organization would be perfect, though I’d have needed more volume than it has. Things I could have left behind, if I were inclined to pack ultralight include one dress (knit jersey, doesn’t wrinkle and packs small) my iPad (the Kindle is non-negotiable! And so is the knitting) and about half my underwear (I only took 2 bras, and women’s underpantsack so small that it’s never made sense to me to economize there). In other word, not enough to really make a difference in the capacity and theyre all things that will contribute to my comfort, convenience, and level of content on e trip. I’ll still use the Aeronaut, but only for shorter or non-business or conversely for really long ones or ones where my checked bags are restricted so that I want a maximal carry-on.

Follow-up: I replaced into my usual bags: a small Samsonite rolling carry-on and my laptop backpack. One factor in this is that the laptop is tricked out with a bunch of bells and whistles that really do add functionality; it’s got a separate section for the computer(easier to pull it out in security); an organizer section with pockets for phones, pens and such; a handy recessed pull up pocket on elastic for passport and boarding pass (I’ve never seen this feature on any other pack, but it’s genius) and a pass-though to let it ride on a wheeled bag when I don’t want to carry it on my shoulders. The only things that could improve it are better looks (preferably not all black and fabrics that don’t show wear so much) and a waist strap to distribute the weight better. Unfortunately, since the laptop bag has to hold Emmy computer, iPAd and Kindle it’s actually heavier than the suitcase, but it’s still under 9 kg as vs the original 14 of the Aeronaut. My total luggage weight is now higher, due to the wheels and structure of the suitcase, but it’s not all hanging from me and all the stuff I need during travel is easier to access.