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Friday
Nov302007

MEI Executive Overnighter - Reader Review

(Thanks to OBOW reader Paul for this review of a bag we haven’t yet seen: the MEI Executive Overnighter - photos below) 

MEI Executive Overnighter - First impressions

Summary:

Well-designed 3- zip carry-on, similar to the Tough Traveller Tri Zip. Comfortable, well thought out shoulder straps. Hold-downs in main compartment. Outside snug straps to lessen bulge. High quality materials, handmade in the USA. Excellent packability.

Suggested improvements (note: I can personally live without these, but the Red Oxx Air Boss has addressed these items correctly and they would really work wonderfully with this product):

- make the front ‘outer’ pocket fully unzip (similar to the rear )

- The photos on the MEI website show the side handle(s) as two webbing loops, sewn down the side of the bag, meeting and joined by a leather ‘snap’ wrap (a la the Air Boss). However, the version as supplied shows a arrangement identical to the Voyageur, a molded plastic and web handle that is (heavily) sewed to the side of the bag (on top of one end of the outer snug straps). I don’t believe this is a bad design - I’m not seen any complaints in my research - but the other design would seem to bear the packed load better. I would perhaps suggest returning to that design. Time will tell if this is an issue or not.

- Add a discreet handle on either (or both) end(s) of the bag, to facilitate extracting from an overhead storage bin.

Like many readers of OBOW, I am a frequent carry-on business traveler in search of a well-made bag that will carry all of my business kit. My requirements were narrowed down to a carry-on sized, 3 compartment bag, that not only can be carried by a handle or shoulder strap, but has backpack straps, which I use frequently and is a prime requirement of mine, both for business and leisure travel. For biz travel, my Victorinox 2-zip carry on worked adequately, except that I could not include my laptop inside the bag - so I carried a separate laptop bag, which is what I wanted to eliminate.

In short, I researched and reviewed the alternatives as much as I could, and dropped them one by one. The current king, the Red Oxx Air Boss, would have been perfect, save that it did not have the backpack straps (I also eliminated the new Sky Train, both because it’s a 2 compartment zip - like the Victorinox - and I was not pleased with the non-ergo backpack strap design). I next considered the Tough Traveller Tri Zip, but after the excellent review on OBOW, reading Maharashii’s forum on his carry on search, and reviewing the basic backpack strap design, I eliminated it. I also eliminated the Easy Going Carryon, due to lack of backpack straps.

What I settled on is the MEI Executive Overnighter. This seemed to fit my requirements, (although the MEI website is somewhat limited on details, and shows only 2 photos) so based on reviews of the MEI Voyageur I decided to purchase.

Dimensions (approximate per my measurements):

Length 19.5 “

Width 11”

Height 14”

Rear Compartment 6”

Mid Compartment 3.25”

Front Compartment 1.75”

First impressions are very favorable. The bag is very nicely constructed, in 1000 D Cordura with a lighter internal material in black. (A note here about MEI customer service: Ahmed, the owner was excellent, calling me on a number of occasions to keep me abreast of the status, and on one occasion to tell me that the fabric in the khaki color I ordered was actually delivered to him in ‘taupe’ - a sort of medium brown / bronze - and he offered me the choice of this or another color. I elected to go with the taupe, and am very pleased with the appearance. It’s distinctive enough to be very recognizable at a glance but still understated, the way I prefer. I can say that I am very pleased with their service.)

The rear compartment is 6” deep and is the primary place where clothes go. In a ‘test pack’ I conducted, based on my usual 10-14 day complement of ‘business casual’ attire, it swallowed everything with room to spare. Also, there are 2 compression straps that snug everything tight against the inner wall (which is reinforced with a layer of foam). I use both packing cubes and Eagle Creek folding squares, which I definitely recommend.

The mid compartment is 3.25” wide and is perfect for carrying my Dell laptop, in it’s Tom Bihn Brain Cube (another excellent product….) with plenty of room for PC accessories packed in a Eagle Creek ‘half cube’, along with my gym shoes in a shoe bag. (A hint for TSA inspections: I was ‘inspected’ twice on previous trips until I figured out that the blocky Dell power supply was the object of the TSA search. Now, I not only put the laptop in the inspection bin but also the half cube with the power supply. Bingo, no more rifling through my bag.)

The front compartment is 1.75” in width, and I put one of my 2 folding squares there (with room left over for thin/small odds and ends) which adds a bit of protection for my laptop (as if it needs more than the Brain Cell). However, I could easily place this in the back and save this room for my book, magazine / newspaper, etc. that I generally carry for amusement. In addition, there are some smaller zip-pockets inside this compartment that can hold some smaller odds and ends.

On that score, there also is a fill length zip lengthwise across the front, that creates another space perfect for the aforementioned magazines, airline tickets etc. This pocket sits to the outside when the bag is carried via the shoulder strap.

As to the backpack straps, they are a duplicate of those on the Voyageur, with a nice sternum strap. The only difference is the waistband is a pair of webbing straps, with a large plastic clip to connect them together, different from the Voyageur design of 2 padded ‘wings’ either side of the waist. Not as comfortable, but saves a lot of space that I personally like. The straps are easily the most comfortable of the designs I have experience with, although slightly thicker than most.

The bag came with a nicely designed shoulder strap, with a thick pad and length adjustment from both ends of the strap. I currently have a strap with a gel-based pad that I prefer, but the included one is better than most I’ve seen provided as standard.

The bag comes standard with a MEI-made suiter accessory, but Ahmed indicated that he currently did not have any of them in stock and will send this accessory to me as soon as they become available, so I cannot currently comment on that function. However, the bad requires no modifications to use it and no extra charge.

All in all, I feel that this bag is a high quality, practical alternative in this market, given the limited amount of available products in the 3-zip category. For me, this bag is better overall than the Tri Zip, although the Air Boss has some features (not to mention it’s truly bulletproof construction, which really seems to be in a class above) that would adapt to this bag beautifully.

 meiexec.jpg

Reader Comments (223)

Can you give me an idea of what your packing list is for a typical 10-14 day business trip?

Thanks

December 3, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

Jeff ~ Will do, unfortunately my home PC croaked yesterday so I am having it debugged (I'm sending this from work). Soon as I can (assuming my hard drive isn't totally dead ...) I'll do a summary of the list I developed for myself.

December 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

What this world needs is an in-depth comparative review of the Sky Train, Aeronaut, Voyageur, and Executive Overniter that covers design, construction, versatility, true capacity, true dimensions, true weight, adjustability, comfort, and other important aspects of a hybrid bag. I realize some issues are viewed very subjectively (one compartment vs. three, etc.), but a Consumer Reports-style level of detail across the major contenders would be very helpful.

December 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

That bag looks really impressive. I kind of wish I had held off and evaluated that one.

I returned the Tri-Zip and bought an Aeronaut, which I really like, but I wish it didn't have two side pouches. It would be much better if there were one large compartment for clothes, laptop, etc, and one side pouch for shoes.

A three compartment format with good shoulder straps and space for shoes/laptop is exactly what I was looking for.

December 4, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermaharashii

It's an interesting bag. Too bad MEI isn't better with the product photos. The only one who does a decent job is Tom Bihn (imo). The picture showing the laptop gave me a start. It's hard to tell because it's black but the laptop appears huge compared to the rest of the bag. It looks like the bag would be very heavy and bulging all over the place with that laptop in there. Maybe it's just the picture.

December 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

The reason I ordered and decided to keep the TB Aeronaut (and ordered another for my wife) is because of the design which eliminates a lot of the "bulge" that occurs when the bag is stuffed to the limit. This "bulge" (a term I use to describe the tendency of a loaded bag to assume a rounded profile) would make the bag too large for most carry-on dimensions. The unique design of the Aeronaut minimizes this tendency.

December 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterGaryS

Matt ~

That is the Brain Cell recommended by the Bihn website for my Dell, although it is a little wider than it needs to be. You are correct, it does add some thickness. It fits well in the bag but a thinner less protected neoprene type sleeve would likely have benefits for the overall bag size. However, I use the brain cell as my 'briefcase' when I'm on site (after I arrive) and it does that well, so it's worth a bit of extra bulk for the protection it provides (away from the MEI travel bag). It's a trade off - but to me, it's better than carrying 2 separate bags.

BTW, When I packed it, it seemed to meet accepted carry on dimentions. It doesn't "bulge all over the place". Pack ANY bag enough - and it will bulge, no matter how well constructed.

As I said, I feel it's a great alternative in the 3-zip carry on segment. I'm sure it's not for everyone but definitely works for me. If Bihn had a 3-zip offering, or the Air Boss had backpack straps, I may have considered them first, based on my familiarity with their products.

I also agree with all the good comments posted on the Aeronaut - it's a wonderful bag, that I really would like to get for a 'casual travel' bag. Unfortunately, I can't justify buying one at this time, but perhaps one day .....

December 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Thanks for the review Brad, but the bag in your pictures seems to differ from the one shown on the MEI website. Specifically, the MEI bag lacks the two external compression straps, which I consider particularly important, and instead has two wide horizontal straps attached. Perhaps this could be clarified.

December 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRay

Ray ~

Let me clarify for you. Brad actually did not do the review - I did (although Brad was more than kind enough to let me send it to him for posting to his site - THANKS Brad).

Also, I do not understand your reference to the compression straps. You are right in that the bag differs somewhat from the pics on the MEI website, but I addressed this difference in the italics portion of my review ('The photos on the MEI website show...')

The top pic clearly shows two external compression straps. The straps are sewn only at the 'bottom' of the strap (the bottom of the picture, at the 'back' edge of the bag), slip through 2 loops (that are just below the top edge of the bag in the pic) and have plastic clips which fasten to corresponding clips (shown laying on the carpet at the top edge of the bag)

The 'long' part of the straps (laying on the bag) are not sewed onto the front of the bag but 'float', so that they can be tightened. You can sort of see what I am getting at with the bottom of the right strap (bottom of the picture). It is laying somewhat away from the bag itself.

I admit its different from most compression strap arrangements that I've seen - which generally involve 4 separate 'small' clip/straps, one at each corner of the bag - but I can also say it snugged up the bag nicely when loaded.

If I am addressing the wrong issue for you - please clarify.

One more thing ~ When he called me to let me know that the bag had shipped, Ahmed mentioned to me that I am the first customer who has purchased this model of his bag, so other then the prototype that he shows in the website pics this is the first one. So, I guess I am something of a field tester for the bag...

December 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Thanks Paul, your review and descriptions were clear enough. and your addendum only makes it more so. My question concerns only the discrepancy between your review and pictures and the pictures on the MEI website. If I were to order the bag, which one would I get? Perhaps the easy answer is "talk to Ahmed". Thanks again for your help.

December 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRay

Ray ~

Glad to be of help. I suspect you would likely to receive a similar bag to what I have - but, I'd wager if you spoke with him, he may very well be able to do one similar to the prototype. In fact I do like the handle strap arrangement shown on the MEI site and it's what I assumed I would get, but, the new arrangement seems to work fine. If you have any other questions do let me know.

December 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Can someone review ebags weekender converter? I want to know this bag durability. The cheap price is tempting.

January 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHas

Ray & Paul

We really appreciate your comments and review. The picture of Executive Overniter at our MEI website is of the original prototype Pack. We added the outside compression straps on the first actual production run. Dave has the first Ex. Overniter Pack that we made.

We opted for Rubber Luggage handle ( as shown above) instead of the original one with Two strands of webbing fastened with a leather handle with snaps ( as shown on our website). It is a little easier and convenient to reach all the compartments with the Rubber Handle, without unsnaping the handle and then accessing the various compartments.

If you have any questions, please contact me.
Ahmed Hassan
MEI

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAhmed

I’ve been looking (for too long) to get a travel pack for business and other trips. After seeing onbag, travelgearreview and OBOW, I seem have narrowed it down to the Skytrain, MEI executive overnighter and the Patagonia MLC. Just when I was getting close, they updated the MLC so I now have 4 choices.

I’ve seem complaints about the skytrain pack-straps, and both the MLC and Skytrain are two compartment bags (vs 3 on the MEI). MEI is lacking a handle on the short side (to pull it from the "top" and doesn’t have the track record of the other two. I could go on with tradeoffs hence my indecision.

My question is…how important is 3 compartments versus 2?
I usually use a pack-it folder for clothes and some cubes for socks/underwear, cables and stuff. I always take a 2nd pair of shoes, which fit just-so in between the handle channels of my roll-aboard. I know I’d probably be happy with any of these packs, but where do you put your shoes and does that 3rd compartment really matter?

I should mention that I’m not convinced that I’ll fit my computer (in a Patagonia half-mass case) inside this carry-on. I don’t go to Europe often so don’t need one bag only (for now).

Also…redoxx seems to have the best shoulder strap, but MEI or Patagonia has better pack straps (and would accept a claw strap for the additional cost.) How often do you use the back-pack straps on bags like this.
All feedback is greatly appreciated. I’m ready to leave the wheels behind.

February 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBob

Hello everyone - just a follow up on my MEI case (BTW, if anyone is wondering - my 1st name is David and my middle is Paul - professionally I use David but informally I go by Paul, so I answer to either LOL).

I can say after using it a couple of times, that Ahmed has got a great bag here. I've been able to put all my kit in plus my laptop and truly go 'one bag'. A note on that laptop - I decided to purchase a thinner, neoprene style from REI to place it in instead of the Tom Bihn brain cell in my pics, and it's worked out great to keep the overall package thinner. I'm not sure I want to drop my laptop in it - but, I'll take the chance. It still works with the TB product, it's just a bit thicker.

Also, I was a but concerned about the rubber handle vs the straps as Ahmed mentioned, but thats turned out to be a non issue for me. The rubber handle works just great, and is holding up beautifully.

Also, Ahmed is working on the suiter bag for me, so, I'll post on that when I can.

Bob -
Not sure if I can offer a good answer on your 2 vs. 3 compartment question. I think it's down to a personal preference - for me, I had to carry 2 bags vs 1 and 1 works better. For personal travel I like 1 large compartment, so the MEI Voyageur may be just the ticket.

One more thing - I've received 2 queries and complements on it from strangers in the airport(s) . Ahmed - definitely update your website - people are curious!

Paul (aka Dave, or David (if you are my mother)

February 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Dear Bob:

The MEI Executive Overnighter shown at our website, does not has the 'Grab Handles' on the sides. That was the Prototype. The Bags being shipped have the Grab Handles. We will replace the website picture with a current/actual one soon.

Ahmed,
MEI

February 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAhmed Hassan

Hi, can someone comment on the Rick Steves Convertable Carryon bag for business travel? Does a "one compartment" bag work? How does it's quality compare to that of MEI, or the Air Boss?

March 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Paul,

Can you comment on the ability of (or your opinion of) the Overniter being used for a leisure trip to Europe for 2 weeks? I'm going in the fall, and I'd like to have a bag that can handle 2 weeks of walking around, but still be a good-to-great business bag the majority of the time. How much room do the backpack straps take up when stowed? This is important to me because I expect to rarely use the straps except in Europe, but I like having the option.

Thanks.

March 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

Jeff and Roy ~

I think I’m in a decent position to offer a opinion for both of you – since my leisure bag is a ‘generation II’ Rick Steves convertible carry-on and my biz bag is the above MEI Exec Overnighter , so I’ll give it a whirl (especially since the queries are sort of a inverse of each other)

For me, I like the ‘one compartment’ aspect when I’m on vacation; it works really well for fitting in the odd souvenir here and there (especially since I use packing cubes and folders). I like being able to keep shifting stuff around to fit in that odd knick-knack that I pick up in my travels, no matter how much I keep trying not to buy souvenirs. One big compartment really helps make that easier.

On the other hand my biz travel is pretty defined gear-wise, and includes a laptop. That’s where that center compartment on the 3 zip bags can come in handy, it gives protection at the same time it gives easy access for the security checks, without having to disturb (too much) any clothes, etc that are nice and secure in the outer compartments. Helps greatly to keep the fumbling down at the security lines too. I’ve really noticed a difference at the security checks that are at the departure gate (lots of overseas airports). Folks are in a hurry to get on board – including me – and if you have to stop and fumble there, the momentum of the line is disrupted. I can generally whip out the laptop, put it and the bag through the x-ray, and get it all back together pretty quickly afterwards.

There are other smaller handy reasons than these. So much for my philosophy …

Will the Exec Overnighter work for leisure? Will the RS Carry-on work for biz? Sure. In a nutshell, both bags will work interchangeably for either leisure or biz. After all, the volume and the basic layout of both is similar. It’s more a matter of optimization than anything. For me one works better for leisure, one for business and since I do a fair bit of both, I didn’t mind buying both. On a limited budget, or if you do more of one kind of travel than the other, I think one of either bag of choice would work brilliantly.

On one final note, one aspect I would be remiss in not mentioning is that MEI definitely have done backpack straps right, regardless of the bag model. They are comfortable, and really do not take up much space (at least on the Exec O’niter). The Voyageur, MEI’s answer to the RS bag, do have a slightly bulkier arrangement (see Brad’s review) but they work so well that many owners do not seem to mind. The straps on the RS bag are fine for short hauls, but really do not approach the MEI design. They definitely ARE slimmer though, when zipped away.

Hope this helps ~

P.

March 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Paul,

Much appreciated and thanks for the ridiculously quick reply. I think I'm convinced to get the Overniter as I'll be mainly using it as a business bag in the States but don't really need a second bag for the occasional leisure traveling.

Besides, I think I'm getting my wife the RS carry-on so we'll have both bags available for our first trip to Europe this fall. Unless you know of a better travel pack for shorter women (my wife is 5'3").

As a side question, does the "Old" style RS for sale on his website handle as well? It doesn't have the waist strap or D-rings, but the design is little more minimal. Does the waist strap on your RS make much of a difference? It looks a little thin...

March 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

Paul,

One more question: does the Overniter have room to hold a pair of shoes in the middle/laptop compartment?

March 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

Paul,

One more question: does the Overniter have room to hold a pair of shoes in the middle/laptop compartment?

March 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

Jeff ~

Glad to be of help. I really think it'll work well, and Ahmed at MEI is good at working with you on various aspects, but it can take some time to get it. Do bear with him, it's worth it.

On your question on the new 'classic' RS bag (his nomenclature...) I haven't travelled with one, but I have been able to inspect it (I live about 4 miles from the Rick Steves travel center in Edmonds, WA) and it seems very similar to what I have, sans the waist belt. For short term use, I often forgo using the lap belt on mine, so I think it may be a relatively minor thing to be without one, and the other straps do seem very similar to my version (and, indeed, the more expensive model) as does the general construction (I am very pleased with the durability of mine and the new ones look no less durable). The price is right too...

For your wife, I can say based on personal inspection and lots of reading that the Aeronaut by Tom Bihn (made in Seattle, about 20 miles south of me) may just be the ticket. They offer a 'breve' model that is designed for smaller framed folks (I believe it's just a backpack strap change, the bag is identical). It's a bit costly, but I've been to Bihn's showroom and inspected it and they are built WELL. If I did not already have the RS bag, I would have jumped on this one, it's really nice. Check out their website.

P

March 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Jeff ~ It sorta depends on the laptop, but my Dell is no weight wizard (it's a company issue so I can't complain too much) and I had room either side for a pair of Ecco loafers that I sometimes carry (although I often carry just one pair of 'comfy' all around work shoes and perhaps a pair of flip flops that squeeze in just about anywhere). A big pair of hikers ... ? likely not, but then again I wear size 8.5 so perhaps I'm biased ...

P

March 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Maybe it's just me, but for some reason I can't see the newer comments on this page. I can only see the first 20 comments.

March 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

Thanks Paul. I was finally able to see your replies. I've read about the Bihn Aeronaut, and while I'm interested, I think we'll stick with the RS for now.

Thanks again for answering my questions. I put in an order for a steel grey Overniter this evening.

March 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

Paul,

Wow, thanks for taking time to answer our questions! Can you comment on the quality of the two bags? Is one of higher quality then the other? Construction, materials, workmanship, zippers, etc?

To be honest I really like the MEI bag, or bags (I like their Voyeager too). I hear INCREDIBLE things about them, but have a concern. I have written to them 4 times, and called and left 3 voice messages over the past 3 weeks..and they won't respond! I'm sure they're busy, but despite having my phone number and e-address, I haven't heard from them. Not only is that a problem with buying one, I must confess it makes me nervous as far as ever needing additional information or any sort of repair or warranty work! It is a real shame, because the MEI gear draws RAVE reviews.

March 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Does anyone know what the lead time is to get an Executive Overnighter from MEI??

March 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Does anyone have any idea of the lead time on the Executive Overnighter from MEI?

March 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Jeff ~

Not sure what happened to my first reply to your last question, it seems to have not posted, but lets see if I can rehash it.

On the question of a bag for your wife, I can point you in the direction of the Tom Bihn Aeronaut. This is also a local Seattle company and I've been fortunate to be able to visit his showroom/factory and sen first hand his stuff. In a nutshell, it's spendy - but very well designed/made, all locally. They offer a 'Breve' version of the 'naut, especially for shorter folks (I believe it's a backpack strap change - the bag itself is the same). Check out their web site. If I had seen this bag before I purchased my RS bag... oh well.

About the 'old' (RS calls it the 'classic'...) version of the RS bag, I've never actually used it but have inspected it up close (I live 4 miles away from his travel center in Edmonds WA). It seems to have the same backpack straps as my RS bag, just without the waist strap. It is nicely made - like all the RS stuff. It's also a good value - even against it's costlier brother. Other than the waist strap, the pricier version offers little more that I can see. Sometimes, the minimalist approach is often the best ...

As an aside (on your reference to the wife), my GF is firmly into traveling light, but refused to give up her wheels. She just cannot carry a backpack convertible carry-on, so the next best thing is a carry-on with wheels. The best I found was (again), the RS 21-inch roll-aboard. It weighs about 6 lbs (5.8 lbs according to my home scale) so when packed and has to be carried (generally by me) if's as light as it can get. Something to consider ...?

March 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

NOW all the comments show up! LOL

P

March 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

You're right, Ahmed is a nice guy.

March 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJ

It's a little weird that the comments don't show up unless a person posts a new comment. However, if Roy sees this, I'm not sure why its taking so long for MEI to get back to you. They called me back the evening I had left the message. Are you going to meipacks.com?

March 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

Roy ~ Keep trying. I understand that MEI is a small concern, so I'm not sure that there really is a defined 'lead time'. He will respond, I'm sure. And, he does good work - not too much that will go wrong with one of his bags. They are good. I'm more worried with how to get warranty work on my RS bag ....and I've never needed that either LOL.

P.

March 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

I'm actually just writing this one to see the most recent comments.

March 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

All - I've opened a support ticket with Squarespace over the coments problem.

Brad

March 23, 2008 | Registered CommenterFrank@OBOW

Hmmm ... latest comments are not showing again.

P.

March 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Testing

March 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSquarespace

Thanks for all the information and thoughts! May I ask, because you have both the RS and the MEI, can you compare the quality? The material, the zippers, etc? Is either a "better deal" for their respective prices?

As far as MEI, I've written to the e-mail address and left v/m's on their phonenumber, both from their meipacks.com website. Still haven't heard back.. ;(

March 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Hi, I have a question about the Executive Overnighter. I just finished reading the review on this site of the Tri-Zip, and one of the biggest issues seemed to be with the location of the D-rings for the shoulder strap. Being biased toward one side made the bag hang awkwardly against the user. Can you please tell us/me where the D-rings are on the Executive Overnighter? And of course, how does it "hang" against you when you use the shoulder strap? I want a great backpack but I will use the single strap a lot too. Probably most of the time.

My travel is about 80% business and 20% fun trips. I've been looking between the Red Oxx and the RS bag, and trying to decide between a 3 zip and a single huge packing area. Now I'm thinking that the Executive Overnighter might actually be one bag that can do it all.

In terms of functionality, do you think that the MEI EC bag is worth the additional 100$ versus the RS convertable?

Thanks!
Jackie

March 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJackie

Also, is there any way at all we could see a pic or two of the Executive Overnighter packed, or filled with something? It would be nice to see it "not all floppy", and even better if we could see it on a person's back and being hung on it's shoulder strap!!

Thanks!!!

March 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJackie

I was so impressed with the review of the Executive Overnighter that I got in touch with MEI and ordered one. I've just spoken with Ahmed tonight and my bag is shipping tomorrow! Now for the interesting part. After Ahmed and I first spoke he agreed in incorporate a few of my suggestions into my bag. So here are the changes to my version of the Executive Overnighter:

Ahmed opened up the second outside compartment, so now both outside sections unzip fully and will lay out flat for packing. He also added a set of internal compression straps, so both sides have those too. (Like the Air Boss)

The outside compression straps have been widened to be 1 1/2 inches, and will run on both sides of the bag for better and more even compression.

Ahmed also added "pickup handles" to the bag, one on the long side and another on the short side for easy handling in and out of an overhead.

With these improvements the Executive Overnighter may very well be the perfect 3 zip bag. And I have to say that Ahmed is one of the most gracious people I have ever dealt with. Yes, handmade items take longer, but I very much hope that it is more then worth it.

Anyway, Ahmed told me that my bag would ship tomorrow and I can't wait! He did have to tell me that the clothing/garment folder which comes with the bag is not yet done. He told me it may be up to another week before I receive it. No problem! In addition he has told me that he is arranging for an improved shoulder strap, one even nicer then the one currently being shipped with the bag. He told me that the new strap will ship to me along with the garment folder in a few days or a week. What a gentleman!!

I will follow up with more information as soon as I receive the bag and the garment folder/new strap.

I look forward to letting everyone on this site and others know how this goes!!!!

Skip

March 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSkip

Thanks for the great info Skip. Keep us posted.

March 27, 2008 | Registered CommenterFrank@OBOW

That sounds like a great set of improvements! The only thing I haven't figured out is how to use the outside pocket with the compression straps cinched up around the outside. Seems counterproductive? I think it would a major improvement to have a second smaller pocket for tickets, sown outside the pocket already there, maybe right between the straps.

March 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Skip, are the changes you requested only for your Executive Overnighter or are those changes going to be incorporated into every one produced going forward? I really like the Aeronaut but I take my laptop everywhere I go and this pack seems much more suited to that and a bit less work to pack. When you get it, could throw some pics up somewhere?

March 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPete

Skip -

Definitely some great improvements ! I look forward to seeing some pics of the improvements - along the lines of what I thought. I wonder if Ahmed could 'rework' a existing bag ....? Ah well, that's ok. I like my O'niter...

Jackie ~

I'll see what I can do RE> the pics you suggested. Although, perhaps Skip can do the same with his new improved version (hint hint ...)

P.

March 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Ok, let's see....

Brad-will do, I REALLY hope to have the bag next week.

Roy- I understand, I'm aware that may be an issue. The outside pocket may be inaccessable with the compression straps. I think you're right, a small "ticket pocket" right outside the large one would be perfect. Paul, how has that worked out for you? Can you access it during travel without removing the straps?

Pete- I can't speak for Ahmed, but we've spoken a number of times about my thoughts on the bag. I get the impression that MEI is "fine tuning" the bag, and I THINK that the bag I will be receiving will be close to the final version. And I think this may well be the "one bag" I've been looking for.

Jackie-good question, I actually asked Ahmed about that. He told me the other night that he had been working hard to locate the D-rings toward dead center. I hope that will make it hang well on my shoulder.

Paul- I agree, I think they're GREAT changes. I just really wish there were a way to address the need for one more "small pocket" on the outside of the bag. (something for tickets/receipts, etc) I know it would have meant a lot to me. That's something Ahmed and I have discussed, and I know he is giving it some thought. And you might want to get in touch with Ahmed, the last two times I spoke with him he mentioned having a bag or two back in for "upgrades". Something to think about?

I can't wait to receive the bag, and shortly after that the garment folder and "new and improved" shoulder strap. The new strap is going to be REALLY exciting, but I won't steal Ahmed's thunder on that one. I will post an update once I receive my shipment, and if there really is an interest I would be happy to get some pics, both empty and loaded. And because I have another biz trip in less then 3 weeks, I really hope to get the new strap and matching garment folder soon too! I have to do three cities in 6 days. That will make a great field test!

Ahmed- I hope you're reading this, and if you are...I hope you're smiling. There is obviously a LOT of interest in your new bag!

March 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSkip

Skip et.al.,

I've sent a couple new pics of the O'niter to Brad for posting, that may help re> having a 'ticket pocket' and also the location of the shoulder strap rings.

Even with the compression straps, there's enough side pocket available to allow me to carry my ticket info in a handy place, although I admit it's a bit awkward if you need to access the entire pocket. Seems to work though ...

On the ring location, I actually don't like centered rings - I find that makes a bag hang out a bit from my side at the bottom (Brad has a good pic in his Tri Zip review that sort of illustrates this) Where they are now, the bag hangs against my side better - unless you put the 'outer' face of the bag against your side. Seems to work pretty good ....

March 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

I'll append the new pix to the bottom of Paul's review (above). Here's the link to the Tri-Zip review Paul mentioned:
http://onebagger.squarespace.com/blog/2007/9/28/tough-traveler-tri-zip-full-user-review.html

March 29, 2008 | Registered CommenterFrank@OBOW

Paul, thanks for the comments on the D-ring. I need to clarify my post..I don't think I worded it very well....it was late when I wrote it. ;)

Ahmed had told me he'd been working to get the D-rings dead in the bag's "sweet spot", not actually "dead center". He seemed to be saying the same thing as you, that there was only one place where the shoulder strap could be that would make the bag hang in the optimal position against your body.

Anyway, I guess we'll see in a couple of days when it gets here.

More to follow...
Skip

March 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSkip

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