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Triple Aught Design Meridian Transport Case First Impressions

Triple Aught Design sent over their Meridian Transport Case with some accessories and we added some more to the mix so we could truly get a feel for how adaptable this platform is compared to other travel bags on the market.

 

Triple Aught Design Meridian Transport Case and Fast Pack EDC

Triple Aught Design Meridian Transport Case and Fast Pack EDC

 

At 21” W x 13” H x 8.5” D, the Meridian Transport Case is a near-maximum size airline soft sided carry-on with an overall capacity of 2321 cubic inches or 38 liters.  It should fit in the overhead bin of most carriers except for some North American regional commuter jets and intra-European flights.  

The specs are impressive.  TAD used VX-21 Ripstop for the outer material.  I really like VX-21 (also known as Terrain X-Pac).  It’s part of Dimension Polyant’s Expedition Series featuring three layers:  diamond effect Dacron fibres and a 0.25mm PET film waterproof laminate sandwiched between a 200 denier Nylon facing fabric and a 50 denier interior scrim to protect the laminate.  Normally used in ultralight packs, it strikes a good balance between weight and durability.  It’s also waterproof up to 200+ psi.  Since sharp objects are known to wear the VX-21’s interior scrim, TAD wisely added a VX-03 lining to the interior of the Meridian for added protection.

The material has a nice sheen to it.  Especially in daylight.

 

 

The clamshell-style Meridian Transport Case is divided into three primary storage areas.  There is a 1365 cubic inch zippered center compartment which measures 21” (53.34 cm) W x 13” (33.02 cm) H x 5” (12.70 cm) D.  I loaded it up with the tall half, quarter, and eighth-size Viewport Transport Cubes.

 

Meridian Transport Case with three Tall Viewport Transport Cubes in different sizes

Meridian Transport Case with three Tall Viewport Transport Cubes in different sizes

 

All of the cubes are sold in three depths.  The Tall is 5-inches deep and is designed to fill up the depth of the main compartment.  The Mid is 3.5 inches deep and the Short is 1.75 inches.  The Mid and Short sizes can be used when you don’t want to fill up the entire depth of the main compartment with the packing cubes.  The Short also matches the depth of the two side compartments.

Each side compartment is 477.50 cubic inches in volume and measures 21” (53.34 cm) W x 13” (33.02 cm) H x 1.75” (4.45 cm) D.  Like the main, both side compartments have Hypalon (synthetic rubber) Helix attachment points and corner snaps.  The snaps can be used to anchor the Control Panel Type-MR, which has 6 rows x 14 columns of MOLLE webbing on one side and a large hook and loop panel on the other.

 

The Control Panel Type-MR snaps into either side compartment of the Meridian Transport Case

The Control Panel Type-MR snaps into either side compartment of the Meridian Transport Case

 

The panel is semi-rigid and adds some structure to the bag.  It can easily hold a concealed full frame firearm and several magazines using hook and loop accessories.  If you don’t conceal carry, either side of the panel could be used to mount pouches to organize and hold more gear.

The Control Panel Type-M is sold in two different variants:  CP-M1 and the CP-M2.

 

Left to Right: The Triple Aught Design CP-M1 and CP-M2 Control Panels

Left to Right: The Triple Aught Design CP-M1 and CP-M2 Control Panels

 

Both have zippered mesh pocket(s) on one side and MOLLE on the other. Like the cubes, they attach to the bag via Duraflex Siamese Slick Clips.  A simple but effective anchoring system.

If you buy no accessories, the bag does come with two pair of compression straps that also attach via the clips.  If you haven’t figured it out yet, these accessories could be used in any combination in the three compartments.  For instance, here I used the compression straps to secure my Rogue RS Jacket alongside a Short Airflow Transport Cube.

 

 

The combinations are vast and limited only by your imagination.

A few other observations.  The Hyplaon pulls on the Uretek water-resistant zippers are nice enough to make you not want to cut them off in lieu of paracord pulls.  The TAD branding on the bag and cubes is subtle and covert (see the tag in the picture below).

 

 

The shoulder strap is a near exact copy of the Tom Bihn Absolute Shoulder Strap.

 

 

TAD used seat belt webbing and added a different contour to the non-slip pad, but it’s essentially the same strap.  And that’s a good thing.  The Tom Bihn strap is as good as these things get.  I’ve used mine on several of my bags.   They also opted for a different attachment point…

 

 

The Cobra buckles do add weight but they are quick release and pretty darn cool to boot.

The Meridian also features a slip pocket and a zippered pass-through pocket on each side.  The slip pockets can be used to stow the carry handles and a magazine or newspaper.  One slip pocket has a concealed zippered passport/document pocket.  Also, inside one of the zippered pass-throughs, TAD included a mysterious set of Hypalon rails (backpack strap mount points?).   More detail and pics on those to follow.

 

CONCLUSION

I need to carry this bag out on the road more before writing a full review, but so far I’m very impressed by what TAD has done here.  For discerning road warriors, there isn’t much out there that matches the quality and versatility of this system.  The Triple Aught Design Meridian is costly but, if you live out of a bag enough days out of the year, the economics on what you’re willing to spend on something like this changes.  If you’ve ever held an Elite Status on any of the world’s airlines, then you know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, more to follow. Stay tuned.

 

 

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4 Responses so far.

  1. Eric says:

    Interesting. Have to get use to the cube idea.

    • Blaine B. says:

      Eric, I’ve been using cubes for a few years and I never travel without them now. Several benefits. First, they help organize everything so you can find things easier. Clothes tend to wrinkle less when they’re in cubes. Taking items in and out is much simpler. And they also give you a way to separate clean and dirty laundry as you’re traveling.

  2. Emmanuel says:

    Hey ! Nice review. I have looked around for info about this bag. It is here that it is best presented. I am a traveller to inhospitable places and have bought the Meridian and six pouches. I ordered by phone and it was a breathe. But I think TAD needs to show some of the most effective cube combinations with clearer drawings. You actually do a good job in showing some of the effective combinations this unique carry-on offers. I am actually going to Somalia, then to Iraq in the coming weeks. If I have the time I’ll share my experience here. All best, and far ahead. ED

    • Blaine B. says:

      Emmanuel, I’m glad you found the review informative. By all means, please share your experience traveling with the Meridian. Also, you’re heading into some “interesting” areas of the world. “Inhospitable” is putting it mildly. Safe travels and watch your six!

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