August 16, 2022

Travel & Leisure

Tom Bihn Techonaut 30 evaluation: Versatile carry that can final for years to come back

Like lots of issues in life, when it comes all the way down to journey luggage and backpacks, it’s all very subjective. I imply, it’s not simply aesthetics, however capability, consolation, and in addition worth. Personally, one among my favourite manufacturers in terms of luggage typically proper now’s Tom Bihn (it began with the Synik 22), and I used to be given the chance to check out the brand new Techonaut 30 journey bag.

Whereas my journey has been pretty restricted previously yr and a half, I had made plans with the husband to go to Las Vegas this previous week. I usually use the baggage with wheels on journeys, however since we had been hitting the street as a substitute of flying, I noticed this as an ideal alternative to place the Techonaut 30 to the check.

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For individuals who are unaware of the Tom Bihn model, it has been round since 1972, and every little thing is handmade within the manufacturing facility in Seattle, Washington. The Techonaut is definitely a variation of the model’s authentic (and well-liked!) Aeronaut bag, which is available in 30 and 45-liter capacities. I used to be given a 30-liter bag to check out, however the Techonaut additionally is available in a 45-liter capability when you want extra space.

Tom Bihn Techonaut 30

Backside line: The Techonaut 30 is a spacious journey bag that has a number of methods to hold however primarily focuses on the backpack aspect. It has loads of room for necessities, together with an iPad or as much as 16-inch MacBook Professional, and is comfy to put on.

The Good

  • Loads of area and organizational pockets
  • Three carry strategies: backpack, duffel, or shoulder bag
  • Devoted system compartment
  • Breathable, supportive again panel
  • Makes use of Bihn’s edgeless shoulder straps

The Dangerous

  • Very costly
  • 30L dimension not sufficient for greater than 3-4 days
  • Aspect pockets can eat into the primary compartment capability
  • Could look cumbersome on smaller folks when absolutely packed
  • Shoulder strap, different equipment offered individually

Tom Bihn Techonaut 30: Worth and availability

Supply: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

Like all different Tom Bihn merchandise, the one place you should purchase the Techonaut 30 (or Techonaut 45) is straight from Tom Bihn’s web site. The Techonaut is available in a wide range of totally different colours and material varieties, together with 525 or 1050 Ballistic Nylon, 400 Halcyon, and even 1000 Cordura supplies. The Techonaut can also be debuting with the brand new Night time Stroll 400 Halcyon material, which can even be making its strategy to different Tom Bihn luggage.

Tom Bihn has provided two pre-order runs for the Techonaut already, however the bag will probably be in inventory in November, which would be the subsequent alternative to buy. Nonetheless, solely the pre-order luggage will characteristic the Tom Bihn Design Lab label. The Techonaut is without doubt one of the pricier luggage at Tom Bihn, at $360 for the 30-liter and $370 for the 45-liter dimension.

Tom Bihn Techonaut 30: A flexible, spacious, and comfy journey backpack

Supply: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

Since I already had a street journey deliberate not too long ago, I figured that it might be the most effective time to check out my Techonaut 30 in Aubergine 525 Ballistic with a Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon inside. The journey was from California to Las Vegas, Nevada, and would final 4 days and three nights. For this function, the 30 liter capability of the Techonaut was good all through the journey — nevertheless, when you’re going away for longer than that, I’d most likely say that the Techonaut 45 is a greater wager. In fact, in case you are a extra minimalistic packer, which I’m not, then you might get away with extra days out of the 30-liter.

The Techonaut is extra of a backpack you can carry as a duffel when you so select.

Since my Techonaut 30 has the 525 Ballistic nylon exterior, it is a little more stiff and difficult in comparison with the Halcyon material. Nonetheless, whereas I don’t have a bag with the Halcyon materials myself, from my understanding, Halcyon does have a bit extra flexibility to it, so it’s simpler to pack extra stuff inside. However circling again to the Ballistic material, once more, it’s very sturdy and will be capable to face up to just about all parts and no matter else you possibly can throw at it. I’ve a number of Tom Bihn luggage in Ballistic, they usually all proceed to look model new.

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Whereas the Aeronaut journey bag is extra of a duffel-style bag that you may carry as a backpack, the Techonaut is extra of a backpack you can carry as a duffel when you so select. A key characteristic of the Techonaut is the U-shaped principal compartment, which is a bit more than six inches deep. There are tie-down straps inside the primary compartment that will let you use the Techonaut like conventional carry-on baggage, however I discovered it simpler to make use of packing cubes, simply so every little thing is neatly organized and separated. The zipper flap of the primary compartment additionally has a little bit of give to it, so it is best to have points zipping it shut even when you’re packing somewhat greater than essential.

Supply: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

In the direction of the underside of the primary compartment is a cloth zip-in/out divider — releasing this provides extra vertical area to the primary compartment, however at the price of the top pocket area. I selected to go away this divider zipped up, so I’ve extra space for the underside pocket, however you may technically depart it unzipped as nicely. Regardless, it’s there for you, whether or not you want extra space or not.

The top pocket is designed to carry issues like a pair of sneakers, however I discovered it to be an ideal dimension to carry my Nintendo Swap. I additionally ended up utilizing it to carry my laundry bag on the way in which again dwelling, however solely as a result of I couldn’t precisely match that in the primary compartment with my packing cubes. No matter how you employ that backside pocket, it’s versatile and fairly spacious — simply be sure to don’t thoughts it holding the burden of the remainder of the bag when you have it standing upright.

Tom Bihn made the Techonaut roomy and spacious for all your touring necessities, together with electronics with the devoted system compartment.

There are additionally three different slim pocket compartments alongside the outside sides of the Techonaut, which function fast entry. The one alongside the facet with the edgeless duffel deal with is a bit shallower than the opposite facet, however it will probably maintain your passport, telephone, pockets, keys, and different small objects. I personally used that pocket to suit some small bottles of nutritional vitamins and medicines. The opposite facet pocket (reverse of the duffel deal with) is bigger, designed to carry water bottles, umbrellas, or perhaps a light-weight jacket. For me, I used this to stow away some bigger capability moveable battery packs. The highest pocket also can match a smaller water bottle, umbrella, jacket, or different miscellaneous objects. It additionally has a snap hook key strap for attaching your keys or small organizational pouches. I liked how straightforward it was to get to objects in these quick-access pockets, however be warned — they do eat into the area of the primary compartment when you pack them up too full.

Supply: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

I discussed earlier that the Techonaut is mainly an improved model of the Aeronaut, and that’s as a result of the Techonaut has a devoted system compartment. This may be accessed via a zipper opening on the high of the backpack, closest to the again panel. This laptop computer sleeve part is slim however extremely deep — it would maintain up a 16-inch MacBook Professional with the 30-liter model, however the Techonaut 45 can just about maintain any dimension laptop computer on the market. I selected to not carry a MacBook on my journey, however I did stow away my 11-inch iPad Professional within the system compartment, and there was loads of area to spare.

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By default, the Techonaut doesn’t have the normal inner body for again assist. As an alternative, it makes use of a brand new Skeleton again panel, which has a spine-like form to supply consolation with much less weight and higher airflow because of the comfortable and sturdy mesh panel that it’s enclosed in. The again panel additionally has a rolling baggage deal with pass-through, so you possibly can simply slide it over the deal with of your rolling baggage when you’re taking alongside extra stuff.

Due to edgeless straps and a Skeleton again panel, the Techonaut could be very comfy to hold as a backpack even when absolutely packed out.

My bag ended up being fairly heavy as soon as I had all of it packed up for my Vegas journey, however the Skeleton again panel helped alleviate the burden sufficient in order that it was pretty comfy. Tom Bihn claims that almost everybody on the manufacturing facility who tried a Techonaut with and with out an inner body truly prefers it with out, however there’s an elective Techonaut Inside Body you can buy individually if want be.

Tom Bihn Techonaut 30 Aubergine Duffel Handle

Supply: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

With the Techonaut, there are 3 ways to hold it: backpack, duffel, or shoulder bag. Sadly, if you wish to use it as a shoulder bag, you’ll must buy a strap individually. For backpack mode, which is what the bag was primarily designed for, you’ve the tremendous comfy edgeless shoulder straps. The edgeless design lets the straps conform to your shoulder, which will increase the extent of consolation. I’ve had a number of Tom Bihn backpacks with these edgeless straps, and they’re by far my favourite — I can barely really feel that the straps are there. The duffel mode for Techonaut is finest for shorter durations of time, however the duffel deal with can also be edgeless, just like the shoulder straps, for extra consolation. There are additionally two additional seize handles on the high of the bag (in backpack mode) for comfort when pulling the Techonaut from underneath a aircraft seat or overhead compartment or simply hanging the bag on a hook.

Total, I’m discovering the Techonaut 30 to be an important journey backpack. It has loads of area to your touring necessities, has a number of carry strategies, is comfy, and you’ll even take all your digital units with a roomy system compartment.

Tom Bihn Techonaut 30: Costly, bulkier on smaller people

Tom Bihn Techonaut 30 Aubergine Wear

Supply: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

My greatest problem with the Techonaut is the truth that regardless of the way you pack it, the bag will look a bit cumbersome in your again in case you are on the smaller facet. I’m about 5’2″ and really feel prefer it’s just about taking over my whole bottom. Should you’re bigger, then this shouldn’t be a giant problem. Nonetheless, I benefit from the practicality of the Techonaut an excessive amount of, so I’m going to proceed utilizing it after I journey.

If in case you have a smaller construct, the Techonaut could look somewhat cumbersome on you. It’s additionally very costly, however you get what you pay for.

One other small problem is the truth that when you overpack these quick-access pockets, you can be taking away from the primary compartment. In fact, you most likely received’t be placing an excessive amount of stuff in these pockets, to start with, nevertheless it’s simply one thing to remember.

I additionally discovered the 30-liter dimension to be barely sufficient for a four-day street journey with simply the necessities. In case you are planning for an extended keep, or have to pack issues like a pair of headphones (and aren’t going to have a checked bag or carry-on), then it is best to think about the 45-liter dimension as a substitute.

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Lastly, the Techonaut could be very expensive, even by Tom Bihn requirements. As a lot as I just like the Techonaut, the worth is certainly a giant adverse, particularly when you think about that it doesn’t include a shoulder strap. However Tom Bihn luggage can final for years and years, so maintain that in thoughts — you get what you pay for.

Tom Bihn Techonaut 30: Competitors

Waterfield Air Travel Backpack Lifestyle With Water Bottle

Supply: Karen S. Freeman / iMore

Tom Bihn isn’t the one one who launched a journey backpack not too long ago. Considered one of our different favourite manufacturers, Waterfield Designs, only in the near past launched the Air Journey Backpack. This bag can act as a backpack or a briefcase, it’s made with ballistic nylon or waxed canvas with leather-based accents, and it additionally has many organizational compartments to your stuff. Nonetheless, it’s even pricier than the Techonaut 30 at $419.

Tom Bihn Techonaut 30: Do you have to purchase it?

Supply: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

You should purchase this if …

  • You favor versatile and spacious journey luggage
  • You worth consolation when touring
  • You need one thing that’ll final a number of years or extra

You shouldn’t purchase this if…

  • You’re on a price range
  • You don’t like utilizing backpacks when touring
  • You need a bag that features all equipment with buy

Regardless that my touring has been sparse currently (much more so with a child coming into my life in a number of months), I’m completely having fun with the Tom Bihn Techonaut 30. The 30-liter capability is nice for a visit that’s only a few days and particularly good for street journeys — I believe I’d nonetheless want rolling baggage for flights, although the Techonaut does have rolling baggage deal with pass-through, so it really works both manner.

The principle compartment has loads of room to your necessities, and the zipping divider for the underside pocket makes the complete bag extra versatile to your wants, no matter they could be. The system compartment is slim however offers you loads of room for as much as a 16-inch MacBook Professional, so that you’ll by no means must be with out your laptops or tablets. Fast-access pockets on the edges make it straightforward to get to your smaller objects that you just’ll want to drag out incessantly, and there are sufficient seize handles to cowl just about any state of affairs. And when you worth consolation, then it’s fairly exhausting to beat Tom Bihn’s edgeless shoulder straps, which you’ll discover on the Techonaut. They’re extremely comfy, and once you mix it with the Skeleton again panel, you’ll hardly discover how heavy the backpack is, even when absolutely packed.

out of 5


In case you are on the smaller facet like me, then the Techonaut could look somewhat massive and hulking on you when absolutely packed out. Additionally, it’s essential to remember that the short entry pockets will take away from the primary compartment when you put in bulkier objects, as they’re designed primarily for flat and light-weight objects. The Techonaut 30 may be too small by itself for longer journeys, and if that’s the case, you’ll wish to look into the Techonaut 45 as a substitute.

Nonetheless, there isn’t a denying it — the Techonaut, each the 30 and 45-liter variations, are expensive. And if you wish to add equipment to it, such because the Techonaut Inside Body or a shoulder strap, that will probably be separate. However remember that Tom Bihn luggage will final a really very long time (no less than a number of years or extra from what I’ve seen from different Tom Bihn followers and luggage), they usually have a tendency to carry their worth, like Apple merchandise.

Tom Bihn Techonaut 30

Backside line: Tom Bihn’s Techonaut 30 is a flexible journey bag that focuses on backpack carry. It has loads of area to your units and necessities whereas being extraordinarily comfy.