You have to give it to Triple Aught Design. They could have stayed in their lane and kept pumping out new versions of their Litespeed and EDC backpacks and TAD fans would have continued to line up to buy them. Instead, they opted to produce… luggage. Wait, what? You heard that right. Behold the Triple Aught Design Meridian Transport Case.
The Meridian is not a single bag but rather a platform designed to be used in combination with a variety of accessories to create a custom carry solution for one bag travel. In total, TAD released thirty-one new products including the bag along with a variety of packing cubes, padded cases, and control panels in different sizes and configurations.
My knee jerk reaction was to compare the features (and cost) of the Meridian to products from other one bag travel companies like Tom Bihn and Red Oxx. The bag that immediately came to mind was the Tom Bihn Tri-Star, which I reviewed back in 2013. I still use it today.
However, I think this TAD offering is in a different category capability-wise. Tom Bihn’s build quality and finish is almost without peer but TAD is no slouch in that area and the materials they use often separates their products from other brands. In this case, the VX Ripstop and YKK Uretek zippers are similar to what Mission Workshop used in their advanced VX project gear and those are the most water-resistant packs I’ve ever encountered (short of a dry bag). Add-in ultra strong Cobra buckles, Hypalon zipper pulls, ITW and Duraflex hardware… and well, you get the point.
The accessories are also very intriguing. The padded cases are loop lined. Some of the packing cubes are weather resistant. The Control panels, which come in three different configurations with loop and MOLLE webbing, could be used for internal organization or even concealed weapons carry.
Of course, there’s always a trade-off. The Meridian has a capacity of 38 Liters (2,321 cubic inches) and weighs 72 ounces empty not including the weight of any accessories. The bag comes with stowable carry handles and a patented Cordura/Neoprene non-slip strap that is very reminiscent of the Tom Bihn Absolute Shoulder Strap (one of the most comfortable straps under load I’ve ever worn). But, no stowable shoulder straps like on the Tri-Star, which have come in handy when I’ve had to lug my stuff in large airports.
There’s also the cost, which can add up quick when you factor in a couple of cubes and a control panel or two. Is it worth it? That’s a very subjective thing when you’re talking about top-end gear but I hope to form my own opinion once I get some hands-on time with the entire system.
The Triple Aught Design Meridian Transport Case retails for $425 and can be purchased direct from TAD’s website.