Packing the Aeronaut

As promised, here are some shots of how I packed my Tom Bihn Aeronaut for my one-month trip to Europe (1 night in Paris, about 25 days in Barcelona, 3 nights in Segovia, 1 night in Madrid). Before you all commend me for doing what seems impossible, let me just say that I’m not following the rules for traveling light as closely as I probably should. Most packing lists for clothes list about 4 bottoms and about 5-8 tops. I have way more, here’s a list of the clothes I’m bringing:Aeronaut

  • 2 skirts (I intend to buy another one there)
  • 1 dress
  • 2 pairs cropped pants
  • 1 pair casual pants
  • cropped yoga pants
  • about 14 tops (!) which includes 2 long-sleeves t-shirts, 2 short-sleeves shirts, 2 polo shirts, 3 t-shirts, 4 sleeveless tops, 1 sweater.
  • 1 bikini
  • assorted underwear and socks
  • 4 pairs of shoes (that breaks all the rules of traveling light) – 1 pair of Teva sandals, 1 pair of sporty Keen hiking sandals, 1 pair flip flops, 1 pair converse shoes

All of that fit very loosely in my Aeronaut. I used two large packing cubes and put all the tops in one and all the bottoms (except bulkier pants) plus underwear in the other. This is how I packed:

Folded pants

Packing Cubes

Cubes in



shoes 2


You might wonder where cameras, laptop, toiletries and other gizmos have gone. Since I am flying only on Air Canada, I’ve decided to bring a second smaller bag. It’s a Kipling briefcase, which will be very nice to have when I’m at the conference in Segovia. In it I’ll put my little 12″ Powerbook (the bag has a special computer sleeve), my Canon Powershot A650 with assorted cables and battery charger, small toiletry bag, and a couple of folders with papers I need for the conference. My travel hair dryer will go in Alan’s bag. I’ll take a picture of his system tomorrow. So, in short, I’m bringing way too many clothes and shoes while still keeping within the carry-on limits. There will be plenty of room in Alan’s suitcase for us to bring a few gifts to friends as well as for whatever we wish to bring back. But since we don’t have much money at the moment, not having room to bring stuff back is actually a good thing…


We are now in Barcelona after our one day and one night in Paris. I have to say I am very happy with my new Aeronaut. Although it looks slightly bigger than our usual carry-on suitcase with wheels, we weighed both bags at the airport (Alan still used our old system for this trip) and my Aeronaut was exactly 10 kg (22 lb) – I told you I’m bringing too many clothes! – while Alan’s was more like 12-13kg. I know his bag doesn’t technically pass the weight limit for carry-on bags, but never, in all our years traveling on Air Canada, we have seen them weigh carry-on bags. Since we check-in at the electronic kiosks, we only see the agents at the gate. But it can definitely happen on internal European flights, so be prepared for that. We have opted for the trains for our trips within Europe, so not much worry there.

I found the Aeronaut, even at 10 kg, very easy to carry on my back and it made navigating the ups and downs of the Parisian subway system a breeze. Alan grumbled every time he had to stop and pick up his suitcase to carry it up and down. He said he’ll be switching too after this trip.

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32 Responses to Packing the Aeronaut

  1. jeanne says:

    Hummmmm…não tem lugar para as compras que vc vai fazer lá, ou tem?

  2. guerson says:

    tem algum espaço sim pois estamos levando umas lembrancinhas para os amigos. mas eu não sou muito de fazer compras quando viajo… Eu gasto mais dinheiro em alimentação mesmo e muito pouco em compras. Os únicos souvenirs que compro para amigos são cartões postais.

    tem só duas coisas que eu estou sim planejando comprar: um novo par de sapatos Camper e uma saia. Eu estou guardando espaço pra ambas as coisaas. Mas eu não me preocupo muito com isso não… o que não couber na mala, vai pelo correio… 😉

  3. chickenstar says:

    this is a great apparel i love it! i used to travel a lot. and the main thing you should do before leaving is packing things, this must be done right in order for you to have good outing. packing things is tiresome and it must not be heavy. so the only thing to is to have a good bag to pack your things.

  4. unnikuttan says:

    It is great that you have packed your bags in such an efficient way. Good work. Yesterday I packed my bag and it was so difficult to get everything inside. That is a real art. I can learn lot from you.

  5. Raquel says:


    da próxima vez que eu for viajar você faz a minha mala? 😉

    Bjsw bjs

  6. Rogelio says:

    Thanks for sharing. Question for you: Did you use packing cubes or the bundling method for your clothes? It looks like the cubes were used but wanted to make sure it wasn’t something that came with the aeronaut. Which kind if it was cubes?

  7. guerson says:


    I used a combination of the two. As you can see in the pictures, I did use packing cubes – two large cubes designed specifically for the aeronaut. I put all the bottoms (pants, shorts, skirts) in one and all the tops (shirts, t-shirts, tops) in the other. I used the rolling method to pack the tops into the cube.

    I hope this answers your question…

  8. Karl Jones says:

    Always enjoy seeing how it’s done… well done!

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  10. Chris says:

    Thanks Very much. I am considering the Aeronaut or the Red Oxx Air Boss, with the deciding factor being IF the Aeronaut is too big for Air Canada and Westjet as the primary Carry On. The Aeronaut measures 22″ and bot AC and WJ have their Carry On restrictions set at 21.5″ I didn’t know how the Aeronaut would fare under real world Canadian airline conditions and if that mere half inch would be a problem. Helped me decide.

  11. Leslie says:

    Thanks so much for posting your experience with this bag. No offense to the guys out there who have reviewed this bag on other sites, but I was hoping to see what a fellow woman thought of this bag, and more particularly, assess opinions based on packing a similar amount of clothes / shoes as I would do. I hadn’t seen much detail until now about how many of a certain type of item one could fit in this bag.

    Anyway, I’m planning to go on a 10-day trip to Europe in November (half in Barcelona, half in Prague) and was wanting to take the opportunity to optimize my luggage situation. My current setup is a high quality carry-on by Atlantic. I am generally happy with it. The problem is that it doesn’t always pass the size limit for carry-ons, and is a LOT heavier than the Aeronaut. I would like to avoid paying surcharges for checked luggage, and overweight bags. I have a history of overpacking…I also am concerned about maneuverability on trains, buses, etc. I’m very excited about the potential for this Aeronaut bag and like that it’s U.S. made. Thanks again for sharing your experience in such a detailed, helpful manner.

  12. guerson says:

    Hi Leslie,

    The aeronaut was great. That trip was for actually a one-month trip and we took many trains while we were there; it was a great boon to be able to go through turnstiles easily. Your challenge in November will be the weather; warmer clothes will take more room. But it can definitely be done. Don’t overpack – leave some room for some shopping. Barcelona has amazing shopping 😉

    I’m glad the review was useful…


  13. Matthew Piazza says:

    Hi Alex-

    This was an awesome review of the Aeronaut. I loved your packing methods, too. I’m definitely going to buy one for myself now.

    One question — from the pictures I can’t quite tell the color of your Aeronaut. Is it grey or black?

    Thanks again!


  14. fromwithin says:

    Great article. I just bought an Aeronaut based heavily on your review. It came today and I leave day in a couple of days.

  15. guerson says:

    wow, I feel responsible now 😉 I hope you like your aeronaut as much as I love mine. Be sure to stop by and let us know how your liked it after your trip!

  16. the one guy says:

    I appreciate the snow!!! Merry Christmas to you!! well for another ten minutes. only 364 days or so left till it starts again.

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  18. Bill says:

    So where did you pack all your personal stuff (toiletries, etc.)?

  19. Alexandra says:

    Hi Bill,

    As I said above, I brought a second smaller bag, in which I put all my personal stuff, including my laptop. Since I was traveling exclusively on Air Canada to Europe and then using trains within Europe and AC allows for TWO carry-on bags, I allowed myself a briefcase-like bag.


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  21. Joe says:

    Thanks for the great review and the pictures. I’ve always traveled under the one carryon rule, but have spent the past few months looking for a replacement. The months of research certainly helped, but your experience convinced me that Aeronaut is the way to go!

  22. Kelly says:

    Did you feel the packing cubes were necessary? I was not sure if it was worth the extra cost and weight. Although, they must be pretty lightweigt b/c of the mesh. Lastly how has the fabric held up?

    • Alexandra says:

      Hi Kelly,

      Sorry that I missed your comment till now.

      The weight of the packing cubes is pretty minimal. They are extremely light. For a soft bag, I did think they were necessary and found them extremely useful in my trips. They make it VERY easy to go through the bag in security, for example, since you can quickly pull out the cubes without having to completely repack the bag. they also compress the clothes to some extend, making it fit better inside. I would recommend having at least one large cube; I use two.

      As for the fabric – do you mean the fabric for the aeronaut itself or the packing cubes? Both are still in pristine condition.

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  28. Taylor says:

    Hello, do you own the aeronaut 30 or 45? I will be spending two months in Europe next summer (luckily, small clothes months) and need a size estimate of the bags… I want to bring less clothes than you, but will want room for souvenirs, a journal, a towel, etc.


    • Alexandra says:

      Hi Taylor,

      The bag is the Aeronaut 45 – you can really fit a lot in them! I think I overdid it when I packed for this particular trip – I’ve started packing half as much in subsequent trips, leaving more room for souvenirs and such.

      I want to get the aeronaut 30 for shorter trips (weekends, conferences).

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