I've been testing the new Tom Bihn Techonaut 30 for a few days now.  After test packing and comparing it to my all time favorite bag, TB's Aeronaut 30...  labelling Techonaut as the "new" aeronaut seems premature!

About me:

I am 5'8", a frequent business flyer (in non pandemic times).  I've been carrying an aeronaut 30 for about 7 years on 3ish day trips, and have carried it for up to two week trips internationally when we didn't want to roll a bag.  I tend to roll a suitcase for long-ish domestic trips, or some work travel when I need suits.  I'm not necessarily a minimal traveller, but I try to pack light. 

NOTE:  As I say above... this bag really feels like more of a backpack that can serve as a duffle, whereas Aeronaut is a duffle with a packpack option.  As such when I say 'side', or 'top' or 'bottom', I am referring to the backpack mode where the secondary, smaller zipped pocket is on the bottom of the bag - backpack mode.

Fabric looks great; switch cameo!


You can see the bag photographed in far greater detail direct on their site.  It's a very sharp looking bag in black halycon, and the addition of the blacked out 'stealth' tom bihn label certainly minimizes things further.  It is very obviously a premium bag, but not gaudy in any sense.

Construction & External Details

Top notch like everything else Tom Bihn makes. It is rock solid. The backpack strap hideaway made me laugh when I realized how it works - basically they carved two channels that the straps neatly slide in to, which minimizes bulk when you carry it in duffle mode.  They are using new zippers which slide super easily, with much less force than the old zippers on my Aeronaut.  Zippers are loud when they clang together, as usual, so I'd absolutely advise adding pulls or heat shrink or some sort of method to silence them.

The new laptop pocket is nice, and certainly gives you a ton of room.  It is suspended from the bottom of the bag, ensuring your device stays safe.  No issues with a macbok and an ipad nestled in there.  The back panel has mesh annd a dedicated padding again, changes the carry completely from an Aeronaut 30.  

Smaller exterior pockets include two 'side' pockets now, when carried in backpack mode.  One is small, about 6"w x 8"d, the other is around 6"w  x 11"d.  Bihn positions them as water bottle, umbrella or water bottle pockets.  The long pocket neatly handles a nintendo switch, the smaller one does not.  Additionally there is a zipped exterior pocket on the 'top' of the bag, similar to the smaller edge zippered pockets on the Aeronaut that will easily fit a nintendo switch.

A30 on an away roller

They've added a luggage passthrough which I am super curious about usage for.  Next time I have a flight and I'm not in a rush I may try to carry on a suitcase and the Techonaut to see if I can get them both in.  The T30 will fit under seats just like the A30 can, so theoretically it's possible?

One thing I thought was weird.. there's not a really well designed spot for their excellent HLT (handy little thing) pouch.  I am looking at third party pouches for the size pockets which is kind of a bummer to be out of the ecosystem.

Seriously; look at all this room to pack!

Finally:  the Techonaut has a much larger U shaped zip to the main compartment, which is AWESOME.  Just a joy to pack.


I did a test pack, containing:

  • 5x - button down shirts (4x short sleeve, 1x long sleeve)
  • 2x - long pants 
  • 1x - shorts
  • 7 days worth of socks / underwear in a large Tom Bihn laundry stuff sack
  • 1x - Eagle creek toiletry 
  • 1x - Adidias Iniki Runners

This pretty much filled up both the Aeronaut 30 and the Techonaut 30.  The interesting thing is that it filled them up in different ways!  Aeronaut has one large chamber, and two smaller zipped side pockets which can adjust to give them more or less room.  I have always found it a very elegant way to pack:  a pair of shoes goes in one side pocket, my shaving kit + cable management pouch goes in the second side pocket, and everything else goes in the large main space.  

Techonaut has one larger main compartment and one good sized zipped 'bottom' pocket.  It presents a weird little packing conundrum that is going to cause me to have to unlearn how I have packed my Aeronaut over hundreds of thousands of miles:  how do I split up these three main segments?  Since the shaving kit can't go in the bottom pocket it has to live with my clean clothes, leading to possible spills or bottle breaks, whatever.  You have to be cognizant of how you pack shoes, or the bottom of the bag can get a little lumpy leading it to not sit upright.  

Sits up straight!

A lot of this is personal preference and nearly a decade of learned behavior.  However I keep thinking: could the orientation flip?  To me the smaller pocket makes sense up top, because in backpack mode you can't put anything fragile or breakable in there without being very cautious about dropping it on a concrete floor.  This is solvable of course:  a shoe bag for your shoes in the main compartment, and putting shirts or something in the bottom pocket.  It's just an interesting change from the flexibility I think Aeronaut does really well, but something I will adjust to with time.


However you get there, once the thing is packed it carries like a DREAM.  My 5'3 wife and I (5'8) both had no issue with it in backpack mode.  The bag does ship with really long length adjusting straps, so you will have to find a way to address that.  The bag features TB's seamless straps, which are a joy to use.  The spacing of the shoulder straps is really fantastic, it's just a very comfortable carry.  The back pad isn't super firm but I know they've talked about a frame.  

I am a duffle guy, however.  So this is where you really need to be aware of how you plan to carry this bag.  The shoulder straps tuck into dedicated channels in the back panel, which is a little awkward to do on the fly.  There is a slim, but still present mesh / padded channel for backpack usage which kind of looks weird in duffle mode.  All in all the added backpack functionality is NOT a bad thing, at all - it gives a better option as Aeronaut has always been kind of a deficient backpack.  Does it detract from the duffle carry?  No, not really, but if you want a pure duffle bag just know the backpack features add a little bulk (but also vital laptop padding!).


As I said starting out:  Tom Bihn's Techonaut 30 is a BAD ASS addition to the family - the younger influencer sibling to the business-first Aeronaut. I didn't grasp it at first, but holy cow it just feels like a totally different bag!  The build quality is exactly what you expect it to be, Tom Bihn never ever misses in this regard.  Fabric choice is top notch.  The layout, the small details, everything about this bag is incredible.  It has some usability differences vs. Aeronaut that make me really pause to suggest it as a blind upgrade.  Techonaut is, in many regards, a nod to modern travel.  Aeronaut compromises in a way that leans towards duffle carry, Techonaut does the opposite.  They are both wonderful, versatile bags that are objectively superior to anything else I have ever carried.  

I'd recommend the Techonaut 30 to:

Gadget folks - this has a fantastic nintendo switch sized pocket!  It carries a big laptop, plus an ipad!  You don't have to repurpose the shoulder strap compartment as a janky, poorly protected laptop compartment.  It is in many ways a more modern design than aeronaut, but in a way that allows you to pack based on your own style.  Too many DIGITAL NOMAD ONEBAG LIFESTYLE bags force you in to their system....  the techonaut is a blank slate, with Tom Bihn's signature attention to detail.

Backpack folks - this thing is a million times better as a backpack than aeronaut.  

Packing maximalists - the nooks and crannies and small pockets remind me of synapse / synik.  The pockets are all very intentional while allowing you to pack it however you want.

I'd still recommend Aeronaut 30 to:

Duffle travelers - Techonaut 30 works really well as a duffle.  I think the Aeronaut is really designed around duffle carry so if I am picking between the two, A30 is my duffle pick.  If you want more versatility, however, Techonaut is probably the better option.  

Segmented packers - Techonaut has one less end pocket than aeronaut does.  It has less smart little pockets, however.  Depending on how you like to segment out your stuff, this means either you get more creative with packing cubes / pouches, or you look at aeronaut to give you more versatility. 

Here's the crazy thing....   I don't see any reason why you couldn't carry both at once.  You could very easily travel indefinitely, and fit your luggage on any plane in the world by carrying an A30 in duffle mode and a T30 as a backpack.  They have the same capacity, allowing you to rebalance weight on the fly while still remaining nimble.  I've always been a two bag traveller, an A30 as a duffle + a GR1 or TB Synapse on my back.  This is a logical extension and would give you an absurd amount of packing room.

Additional Photos