OBOW Light Travel Forum > Air Boss vs. Aeronaut

I have been evaluating the Air Boss vs. the Aeronaut carry-ons. Primary purpose is for business (i.e., need to pack dress shirts/suits/pants along w/ exercise clothes, spare pair of slim athletic shoes). I'm looking for something that can hold me for a week (maybe even a couple days past) and meet international carry on standards in Europe or Asia.

I do employ the bundle wrapping technique referenced on Red Oxx's website. Conceptually like the 3 main compartments on the Air Boss, but do also like the concept of backpack straps on the Aeronaut - though not sure how much I would use that wearing a suit (perhaps only at the start or end of the trip when I've ditched the jacket?). Reviews I've read on the Red Oxx Sky Train seem mixed with many concluding the Air Boss or Aeronaut are better options.

Any advice/thoughts on those 2 bags (and even the Sky Train) would be welcome. Or, if you have other bag suggestions. Thanks.
February 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrian
I don't own this bag but it has gotten some good reviews:


Three compartments and backpack straps.

I do own an Aeronaut and love it.
February 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterFrank@OBOW
For business, the Air Boss is what I have, even though I could have purchased the Aeronaut. I also have other bags by both Tom Bihn and Red Oxx.

I would never use the backpack straps for a business bag! I have the Tristar also and never use the backpack straps for a business trip.

The middle compartment in the Air Boss is great for a computer, running gear, work items, you name it.

I can also pack a suit in one of the other compartments and I like the way the bag opens fully. This is ideal for business.

I also use shirt and pants 'folders' and these slip in and out of the bag with ease.

Everyone has their picks for a bag and for business travel.

The Air Boss (mine is black) is very business-like!
February 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJerry S.
I don't have either bag.

For me, after having used a great bag that is lighter than the Air Boss or Aeronaut i came to the conclusion that the single strap shoulder carry set up is too uncomfortable for me. At that point I decided that backpack straps were an absolute requirement.

I understand that those on a business trip may not want to be back packing into a meeting. If you can carry the weight using a single strap that may not be an issue.

Others can comment on International travel, but I would mention that some airlines have restrictive size and weight limitations, and require you to meet both to carry on.

The bag I selected is the e-bags TLS Motherlode weekender. It has backpack and shoulder straps etc and should hold as much or more than either the AB or TBA according to the specs.. It is also one third the price of the other bags. It is of decent quality and design but is not thought of as upscale as RO or TB.

as part of this discussion I hope that others will comment on the pluses and minuses of a triple compartment bag vs an essentially single compartment bag like ROAB VS TBA.
February 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRon

My wife and I have the Air Boss, and we use them for both business and pleasure. I remain a bit mystified by how many persons have issues with shoulder-carry bags. I'm 60+ and suffered a fairly serious back injury several years ago (old lady in Buick T-boned me), but I'm reasonably fit, use the Op/Tech SOS version of the Absolute strap, and I just don't find it an egregious burden. My wife is 50+, also reasonably fit, and also fine with shoulder carry. I should of course mention that we are both chronically light packers, having long ago weeded all the "might-need-it" items out of our travel inventory.
February 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAustin

What do your and your wife's Air Bosses weigh when packed.
I am way better at packing than I used to be but have not yet packed super light.

I find that a carry strap on a bag which weighs 18lbs or more is very uncomfortable. It may be that a 10 lb bag would be OK but I am not there yet.

On the other hand there are so many great bags that offer both that the remaining issues are weight of the bag empty and adequate capacity.

I haven't tried the absolute strap but weight is weight and even though it and the claw may make shoulder carry better I doubt that it would be enough better to warrant the purchase, besides backpack straps are more fun for me.
February 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRon
I have ebags TLC weekender convertible and also looking for Red Oxx Air boss or Tri-star (Weekender already has the capacity and straps of Aeronaut).
Perhaps get weekender when its on sale for around $50 and Air boss to get the best of both worlds? Air Boss for business and Weekender for Vacation.
Aeronaut is a good bag - see Frank's recent review.. Make sure to get packing cubes for it if you go that route..
February 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterart

Weight? I'm not really sure, but I'm guessing around the 14-15 pound mark. I should add that neither myself or my better half are clothes horses on business trips - I wear my suit of choice to fly in and mix things up business-wise with varied (and lighter-in-weight) shirts. I should also add that both myself and the wife are in science fields, so a really slick fashion statement probably wouldn't be noticed even it you made it, so we don't sweat it too much.

Concerning straps, the Absolute-Op/Tech pad is neoprene (like wet suits) so it has a certain amount of boingy rebound quality to it. What I do is adjust the length of the strap on a loaded bag so, with a cross-body carry, the bottom of the bag sits just above the point of my hip. I can then wrap my arm over the bag to steady it or add a little extra lift to it if I have to really motor to another gate. But, as in many things, your mileage may vary. Admittedly it's all very subjective, kind of like bicycle saddles - if there weren't so many different butts, there wouldn't be so many different saddle choices.
February 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAustin

If I could get my bag down to 14 or 15 lbs I am sure that would help.

When you use the shoulder strap which side is the bag on relative to your favored hand. For example, if you are right handed does the shoulder strap go on the right shoulde and the bag above your left hip with your left arm wrapped around it? Or does it not make a significant difference which shoulder you carry the bag on.
Did you get the better strap after trying a lesser strap that may have been less comfortable, or did the strap come standard with the bag?

When you are walking a significant distance between gates at an airport do you find that you have to stop and put the bag down for a short time and//or change shoulders?
February 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRon

I never thought about handedness before, but I do tend to carry it on my "handed" side, although not always, so I guess it hasn't been a big issue for me (interesting question, though).

The strap I use (Op/Tech SOS) was an aftermarket choice. Some people love the rather stiff and unforgiving (IMHO) strap that comes with the Air Boss, but I preferred a somewhat cushier approach. The TB Absolute strap has a slightly longer boingy padded section and more massive clip hardware than the somewhat less expensive Op/Tech (who I think makes the Absolute), but I don't baby my bag at all and have never had a reliability issue with the Op/Tech. You can find it at photo sites like Adorama or B&H, if not locally.

Other than stopping for coffee (or a quick belt) I don't generally find it necessary to stop or change shoulders. When possible I try to arrange connections so I don't have to rocket between gates, but we all know that doesn't always work out. It would only be fair to note, though, that I'm a pretty active person physically, including swimming, hiking, bicycling, etc. Someone with a more sedentary background or physical limitations (or just can't deal with bits of relatively minor short term discomforts in their life) would probably be better off with alternative bag styles.

Both Red Oxx and Tom Bihn both make fine products (if pricey). Red Oxx tends to be a bit more rough-and-ready style-wise (not surprising considering the Marine background of the owners), and TB has a more refined approach. I'm not rolling in dough, but once in a while I will treat myself, so I never felt guilty about splurging on a nice bag. This isn't to say you shouldn't carefully survey the field to find what's best for you, though.
February 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAustin
Thanks everyone for all of the replies - they have been very helpful in giving me information to consider for my choice. I'm going to sleep on it, then make a decision. Thanks again.
February 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

You seem to be more comfortable with a shoulder strap than I thought would be the case, based upon my experience.

For the time being I will stick with my current bag and any future bag of mine would still need to have the backpack option.

If that bag was super light and I could keep the packed weight down I might be tempted to experiment with a shoulder carry.

As lighter stronger materials are incorporated into future bags the whole scenario may change significantly and might cause me to change, if I can also further reduce the weight of what is going into the bag.
February 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRon