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Something new in the air: Sky Train from Red Oxx

skytrainweb.jpgThe Red Oxx Air Boss has a new “second cousin” with backpack straps:

“Designed for the leisure traveler going to Europe or beyond. The ability to transition from plane to train keeps you moving on and not waiting for lost luggage.

Red Oxx teamed up again with web author and travel expert Doug Dyment of OneBag.com fame to develop this new carry on bag. Utilizing 2 main compartments, the Sky Train Carry On features 1 outside zippered pocket. The main compartment has tie downs that cinch down to the closed cell foam securing your clothing. These tie-downs work to keep your slacks and dress shirts wrinkle-free until you can hang them up in the hotel. Easily holds three pairs of slacks and three blouses with room for a light jacket as well.” — this information from the Red Oxx website. 

We heard about this new bag months ago and look forward to having a look at one. I’m told there will be more photos up on the Red Oxx site within the next week.

Reader Comments (20)

Hmmmm...same capacity as the Air Boss, although the dimensions are slightly different (same general shape, though). I would certainly enjoy seeing an in-depth comparison of the Sky Train with Tom Bihn's Aeronaut, as they seem to be squarely targeting precisely the same traveler. Any plans to do this?

October 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

I hope to get a review sample so I can do the very thing you ask about!

October 15, 2007 | Registered CommenterFrank@OBOW

One thing that would be good to check are the actual dimensions of the packed bags (not grossly overpacked). Some "carry-on" luggage turns out not to comply with regulations (especially with some Euro carriers, who are sticklers about such things) when measured, even though the printed specs are within limits (I've seen variances of 2-3 inches from spec). Thanks!

October 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

The backpacking straps look like an afterthought. They look as cheesy as the backpack straps on the Tough Traveler Tri Zip. I'll pass.

October 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterGaryS

GaryS: From sight, I'm pretty skeptical about those backpack straps on the Aeronaut, as well, especially compared with those on my MEI Voyageur, which are extremely well-designed and comfortable, but not quite at the level of the best true backpacks. Still, the Voyageur has some shortcomings (on the packing end) which might make the Bihn or Oxx a more functional compromise. Looking forward to the reviews!

October 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

So, this is the new Red Oxx. I have to say, I'm a bit disappointed, although a earlier comment from Brad indicated that it would likely not be a 'Air Boss with backpack straps' so I was prepared.

I'm certain that it is built to Red Oxx's usual quality, but I was really hoping for at least 3 zip compartments. And those backpack straps are exactly why I've dismissed the TriZip. The straps on my 'poor mans Tumi' (AKA Victorinox 2 zip Overnighter) are certainly not at the level of the Voyageur, but are better ergonomically than these. And at the price I paid from Ebags (NOT $199.99, and it's currently on sale at Ebags for $179.99, and I paid less than that), this bag does nothing better, other than perhaps look a bit spiffier.

(I do realize, however, that this product is not aimed at the business traveler.)

Perhaps the most unfortunate of all, is the indicated price - $255. Thats just not competitive. Quality is definitely worth a premium, but $30 more than the already dear Air Boss .... ? I feel this should be less given that this is aimed at the leisure travel market. I won't even go into the Sky Train vs. the Aeronaut, whose backpack straps are designed better than this and whose layout is at least as novel for leisure traveling, quality is at least as good and is cheaper.

All in all, the Air Boss is a home run, even without the BP straps. This is a double, at best.

After seeing this, I am likely to buy the MEI Executive Overniter. This seems to be the only bag that looks to fit my needs. I'll write a post when I receive it.

October 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

John: The Aeronaunt straps are shaped and have a sternum strap. They are not just a length of foam wrapped in fabric and stitched down the middle to give it structure which is how the Sky Train straps appear to be made. The Aeronaut (I own one) is comfortable to carry as a backpack as long as the weight remains below 20-25 lbs. Anything higher and I think I would want a padded waist belt but then the padded waist belt takes up too much room when tucked away, making the bag bigger than legal carry-on or intruding into the interior space limiting packing room.

There is a reason people rave about their Aeronauts.:-)

October 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterGaryS

I just use two shoulder straps and every bag becomes a backpack.

October 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAndyW

Tried that, but sorry, for me that didn't work. I'll take a nicely designed pair of backback straps.

October 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

I have to say that the straps don't look that great to me either. I used to travel with a very old backpack that was never comfortable. I bought a very cheap simple backpack to replace it and found it immensely more comfortable. The big difference? The straps were slightly curved and there was a chest strap. That's it. My new bag was $20 and I think my old one was a $50 Eastpack from many years ago.

I'm no expert but I think the first step for straps is they must have that curve. Second they must have the chest strap. Third they need the waist strap. If you ever go to a camping store and notice the features from simple to serious backpacks you see these features being added. So, it would appear the new Sky Train would really fall flat when compared to the Aeronaut which has at least the curved straps and the chest strap.

October 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Unfortunately, Red Oxx has used the same backpack straps as on the C-Ruck. They are overbuilt and not comfortable.

My Patagonia MLC has thin, flat but adequately wide straps that are incredibly comfortable and weight nothing. These are not curved and their is no chest strap. But I've carried over 30 pounds with ease the MLC.

Does anyone share my view of the Patagonia MLC? I think it's a quality product.

To be fair, I have not worn the Sky Train. But I own the C-Ruck and the Air Boss, so I know their Stuff.

I am sure the quality is there, no question. Just not a great design on the straps

October 21, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDS


Why do you think the Patagonia MLC straps are so comfortable? From what you describe it sounds as if they lack the key features for comfort. Along those lines, why do you think the C-Ruck design fails for you? It looks like a bad design to me because it lacks the curve and chest straps but since you like the MLC my guess is that it's not a requirement for you.

October 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

When we start talking about strap comfort we're into the mysteries and vagaries of biomechanics and the widely varying ways that individuals and their unique body types perceive and experience pain/comfort. I'm not sure you can visually analyze a strap system - but you may be right on the money. I may have a Sky Train in for evaluation within a month. I'll be able to make a direct comparison with the eBags Weekender Convertible, Tom Bihn Aeronaut, and the MEI Voyageur - all of which I have or have tested recently.

October 22, 2007 | Registered CommenterFrank@OBOW

This sure is an interesting bag but as others here have commented, the shoulder straps do look very flimsy indeed. Much like tacked on as an afterthought and by far not as rugged as the rest of the bags.

Currently I am using a Bach Travelstar, with which I am quite satisfied, although it is a tad too large with its ~45L.

October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterHelge

Brad - Good point on how there is no universal rule for comfort to cover everyone. Still, when you can get padded,vented, curved straps with both a simple chest and waist strap for a $25 bag like the LL Bean Stowaway, you know it can't be a cost issue. I guess I'm brainwashed by the mass marketing. Since most bags at least have curved straps, I assume they're better for most people.

Very interested to hear what you find out.

October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatt


I know the MLC straps look rather minimalist, but this works for me. I own the Red Oxx C-ruck, and the straps are the same as on the Sky Train. Yes--you are right they are not curved and this certainly doesn't help. But then again the MLC aren't and they are incredibly comfortable. The Sky Train straps fail for me because they are too thick (uneeded heavy velour) and the metal clips at the inferior part of the strap is overkill. They just don't "lay" well--the velour catches on shirts. For a shoulder strap on a pack to be comfortable, there needs to be a bit of "slide" ability--the strap needs to self adjust and slide over your anterior shoulder as you walk. The Red Oxx straps dont slide.

For what they are, however, they are incredibly well built. So I will say this--for those who don't share my strap pickiness, the Red Oxx straps (on the C Ruck and the Sky Train) are bombproof.

October 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDS

Red Oxx sent me the Air Boss and Sky Train to check out side by side. Both are great bags but I decided to go for the sky train. I like the larger main compartment as it suits the way I bundle pack my clothes (one big bundle). I've only used it a couple of times but I've found the addition of backpack straps has already eased two journeys through Heathrow and a connection in Chicago, compared to when I only used the "claw" sholder strap. The claw left a bit of a bruise on my sholder. I do pack the bag quite heavy as both times I had 6 days worth of clothes and a laptop, although I was pleased that there was still extra room for some duty free gifts on the way home.
I've used the bag for business rather than leisure (which I understand is the target market for the bag) but it's work well for my needs. The bag seems strong and well made and so far I've been very happy with it - I guess only time will tell....

November 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

Craig ~

If/when you can could you perhaps post a more detailed review of the Sky Train, perhaps with a few photos .. ? Although I'm a bit dubious about the design of the backpack straps, overall I'm sure the quality is right up there with all of Red Oxx's other products, and it certainly looks the business. With luck, next week I will receive my new bag from MEI, the Executive Overniter, which I believe will be a nice overlooked alternative to the Air Boss and Tri Zip for biz use. I'll post something with Brads' assistance to OBOW as soon as I can.

November 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Travel Gear Review has just posted a review of the Sky Train:


November 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

I'm interested in hearing from owners of MEI bags and/or
Red Oxx Sky Train with their reviews and impressions of the quality of their bags, and the customer service of the company that they went with. I'm primarily doing adventure type travel in SE Asia for an extended period.

Dave in Hong Kong

November 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Bradford

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