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First Look: Triple Aught Design Meridian Transport Case

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 Triple Aught Design Meridian Transport Case

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.


Meridian Accessories

Meridian Accessories


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.


Meridian Transport Case Accessories 2


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.  

11 Responses so far.

  1. AA says:

    I really admire TAD for being able to deliver such a complete system at launch.

    I do think there might actually be too many accessories, the number of packing cubes is a bit mind boggling. It wasn’t as clear as it could have been either, with very few comparison shots. I love TAD’s photography, but I still think Goruck has the edge in informative product photos by far.

    My other issue is, as an international customer its going to be both incredibly difficult and costly to be able to get all of the system unless TAD restocks it as a whole each time. I’ve had this issue with getting accessories for my lightspeed. It’s just too costly a proposition to do smaller individual orders.

    Also, I’m a bit disappointed that backpack straps are in development. Depending on your perspective backpack straps are pretty essential. It’ll add to the cost as well, and would just be a pain to get internationally. They also might not show up – looking at you, sterile transporter tail and other anchor accessories.

    • Blaine B. says:

      Anil, the microsite was really well done but I agree that the accessory choices are still a bit confusing. Perhaps a video? If memory serves, TAD did one on the Litespeed when it was released describing some of the new features of the re-design. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll do my best to compare and contrast the different options.

      Regarding the backpack straps… yes, I would not make a buying decision on speculation that backpack straps will be released at some point. Like the Sterile Transporter Tail, it may never materialize.

  2. heavyduti says:

    The Meridian is a beautiful looking bag which TAD aficionados will no doubt snap up but you’re spot-on about high weight and cost. Compared to the Arc’teryx c/o or i/c/o I think the meridian suffers badly.

    I have the i/c/o and it’s only 41 oz (it feels even lighter) giving it a 31 oz advantage, which is a lot. I’ll bet the TAD is much more robust but I’m not sure how necessary that would be in this segment. The Arc bag also cost me less than $100 on sale in a sporting goods store.

    Cost with a few of the new packing cube accessories easily takes the price of the Meridian over $500 before shipping so it will be interesting to see what the market does with this new offering.

    • Blaine B. says:


      I agree that there are plenty of lighter weight choices out there and if that’s the primary consideration when you’re shopping for a travel bag, then the Meridian is probably not going to be the ideal choice.

      I struggle with the Arcteryx C/O example because its basically just a soft shell box with very minimal organization (and I think I’m being kind there). It’s easy to make a lightweight product when you strip everything and that what’s you’re left with. It does have thin foam backpack straps but I didn’t find them to be particularly comfortable.

      If I’m going that way, I’d rather go with a Aeronaut.

      • heavyduti says:

        You’re exactly right about the Arc lack of organization and the straps but it retains Arc-tough materials and workmanship and hasn’t failed me yet. I pair it with my GR1 for air, car and rail traffic so far, within its limits, it’s been a great bag.

  3. PIE says:

    Im really intrigued about this bag, I’ve been using a Tom Bihn Aeronaut for a while but excited to see the likes of TAD making a travel bag. Thanks for sharing

  4. Jeff Urbach says:

    As always, an interesting new offering from TAD. I just sent them an email echoing other’s thoughts about doing a video.Goruck does an excellent job in that regard.

    It’s a big outlay for a bag which,frankly, has many less costly but well made competitors. Your review and other comments indicate echo that sentiment.

    No backstraps is a deal buster for me. At 63, with several shoulder injuries on each side, I cannot do single shoulder carries. While a pack is tough for me , it spreads the load out. Even more so when using a waist belt.

    Packing cubes of all sizes and colours are widely available from Magellan and similar dedicated travel companies for far less money. I have cubes which are nearing ten years old (Eagle Creek) which have been all over SE Asia, China, India, the Middle East – well you get the picture, I love to travel, and are only now showing signs of wear.

    I love TAD , but, sorry guys, gotta pass on this one.

  5. Gavin says:

    I’m happy with my Goruck GR2, more space, harder wearing, complete with shoulder straps and free molle on the inside no no need to buy addition admin pannels. Its great on planes. I can just as easy add a padded pocket as well.

  6. Michael Baker says:

    I ordered the Meridian which arrived today. I’ve only taken a quick look at it but I think I am going to be returning it. I have Goruck GR2, which is supposed to have more volume but does seem a bit smaller than the Meridain, which I have used without an issue for so long. The shoulder strap on the Meridian is nice but it is essentially a Tom Bihn Absolute strap with different connectors. It’s a nice bag but at $150 more than what I paid for my GR2 during a sale, I think I will be boxing up to go back to TAD.

  7. Jeff says:

    How does this compare in weight with the Red Oxx Air Boss. I used to travel with one but found it rather heavy.

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