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Just got a a MEI Executive Overnighter

Just got a a MEI Executive Overnighter

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Old May 17, 14, 11:40 am
  #1  
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Just got a a MEI Executive Overnighter

After much deliberation and review of the Flyertalk Forums, I pulled the trigger and ordered a MEI Executive Overnighter. It came this week and I already used it on my first overnight trip. I will post a longer review once I can get my photos uploaded, but I wanted to pass along the following impressions since I know this bag has very little recent info online.

1. Ordering - I emailed to get more info then talked to Salim and ordered over the phone. Salim was very polite. He asked me when I needed the bag and it actually arrived UPS ground one day before promised.

2. Construction - Very sturdy. I have a Tumi briefcase and a Briggs and Riley backpack and it also featured nice cordura and beefy zippers. The older reviews I saw did not mention that there is closed cell foam on the inside/back panel and them between the middle front panel to give the bag contents in the two largest pockets more protection. The foam is not on the smaller walls of those panels.

3. Features - nice compressions straps in all three of the clothing compartments plus external compression straps. Outside full width panel has organizer slots almost like a briefcase.

4. Carrying - the rubber handle on the top both looks better than in person and was comfortable in the hand. Shoulder strap is nicely padded (but not to the level of the absolute strap I have). I'm a little nervous that the weak point in the bag is the shoulder harness d clip closure which is a pretty small gauge piece of metal. It reminded me of a briefcase strap clip I had before the Tumi that failed on me. It also had backpack straps that show MEI's practice building camping bags - so beefy padding on those that when stored they actually make the bag thicker.

My first trip was just a suit and an extra set of casual clothes so it wasn't much of a weight test. The exterior compression straps let me shrink the bag to fit no problem in an ER-170 and Q-400 overhead bin on completely full flights where conventional carryons we're being gate checked left and right because of inadequate storage.

Overall I'm happy with it, but I haven't torture tested it with a whole week's worth of stuff yet to see how it works when stuffed to the gills.
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Old May 17, 14, 9:56 pm
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Pictures of the MEI Executive Overnighter

This is a picture of the front of the bag. The zipper on the right of the two visible on the front is not for one of the clothing compartments, but instead a full width slit pocket that is not quite the full height of the bag. It is tall enough to fit a magazine in it.

The zipper on the middle of the front is a single zipper that opens two slit pockets in the front. An iPad mini or kindle will fit in either of the two slits. I used one side for my liquids bag on the most recent trip as i could still get it out even with the external compression straps cinched down all the way.


Last edited by lostinohio; May 17, 14 at 10:46 pm Reason: Trying to get image post to work.
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Old May 17, 14, 10:52 pm
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Shot of full width slit pocket

Here's an interior shot of the slit pocket:

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Old May 17, 14, 10:54 pm
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Shot showing the two smaller exterior pockets

Here's a closeup of the exterior pocket.

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Old May 17, 14, 11:04 pm
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Clothing compartment number 1

This is the outermost of the clothing compartments. It zips completely flat for loading. The compression straps are on the outside wall, with the organizer panel is on the inside wall. The interior wall behind the organizer panel has closed cell foam, so if a person who is a one bag ninja wants to use this compartment for papers and a laptop, they need to have a padded laptop case for insertion in this pocket. Because the zippers go completely around the side, you can still reach in if you move the zippers to one of the sides, so you don't have the exterior compression straps in the way.

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Old May 17, 14, 11:15 pm
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Clothing Compartment number two

This is the middle clothing compartment. The compression straps attach to the wall that doesn't have the closed cell foam inside it. It is wider than the first clothing compartment, but not quite as wide as the third clothing compartment. Note that the closed cell foam is only on the dividing walls between the first and second compartment and the third compartment and the backpack straps.

I'm okay with that as it saves weight by not having it between the two compartments. The lack of foam around the side may pose an issue for people who are trying to put computers or other electronics inside, but it has the benefit that it allows the exterior compression straps to more easily compress the bag and shrink it down if it is not completely full. I really liked this feature as it let the bag shrink down to a size comparable to a tri-fold garment bag when I had just one clothing bundle in the third clothing compartment on the first trip I took with the bag. The fabric dividing wall between this and the third compartment is a plus in my mind as it makes it easy to use one compartment for clean clothes and one for dirty if you're on a multi-day, multi stop trip.

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Old May 17, 14, 11:33 pm
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Back (largest) clothing compartment

Here is a picture of the back compartment. This compartment has the compression straps attached to the outside wall, which not only has the foam inside it, also has the storage pocket for the backpack straps on it so it is very well protected. This compartment easily swallowed a bundle with a pair of blue jeans, casual shirt, socks, underwear, a spare short sleeve shirt to sleep in, a set of lightweight lounge pants, my dress shirt and a suit along with my dob kit and electric shaver on the first trip. I'm six foot two and 200 pounds, so while my clothes are by no means the biggest of the users on this board, my clothes do take a fair amount of space. There was enough extra room around the bundle I could have put a set of shoes in this compartment if I wanted on the trip.

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Old May 17, 14, 11:53 pm
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The backpack straps.

The thing that ultimately swung me to this bag versus the Red Oxx was the backpack straps. I liked the three compartment layout and the way they opened more than the Skytrain or the Tom Bihn Aeronaut.

The backpack straps are accessed by a pair of zippers on the back inside panel. Here is a shot showing those zippers. The straps you see in this picture are the external compression straps on the bag.



I didn't use them on my 1st trip with the bag (I had my Tumi briefcase on one shoulder and wore this as a shoulder bag on the other shoulder), but the straps were incredibly well padded and reminded me of those on a true backpacking bag. The one downside is the backpack straps do add some width to the bag when used in non backpack mode. You can also see that the bag has a serious hip belt to help support the weight in backpack mode.



To get an idea of the padding on the backpack straps, here is a picture showing the padding in detail.

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Old May 18, 14, 12:12 am
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Shoulder strap for use as a shoulder bag

My first trip with this bag I used it as a shoulder bag.

The shoulder strap has a nicely padded strap. It is a conventional pad instead of the stretchy material used in the Tom Bihn absolute strap. I've not tested it yet with a heavy load to see how it compares when the bag is fully loaded for comfort with the absolute strap I use on my briefcase.

Here is a shot showing the pad:



Here is a shot trying to show the thickness on the pad:



The most worrisome feature on both the shoulder straps (and the entire bag) to me is the clip to connect the shoulder strap to the bag does not appear as sturdy as the rest of the bag. It doesn't have any locking feature and only has a small metal pin keeping it closed. While I had no problems on my first trip and it has some spring strength to keep it closed, I worry if the bag is jostled while heavily loaded or if the shoulder strap closure takes a hard hit or two it may fail. Here is a picture of the closure:

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Old May 18, 14, 12:14 pm
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Join Date: Jun 2013
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That is a well thought out bag. I ended up with the Eagle Creek Adventure Weekender but it doesn't have those external compression straps. Wish it did; it looks a bit floppy when under packed. The backpack straps on the EC are not as comfortable looking as the MEI, but I haven't used them for any distance.
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Old Jul 22, 14, 4:04 pm
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How has it held up? Can you speak to it keeping its shape while "under" packed?
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Old Jul 22, 14, 10:52 pm
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I've not been burning through the frequent flier miles like I did last year, but I put a couple more trips with the bag in June. The bag is as strong as I first believed.

I love the compression strap setup. Bag works really well when loaded with just one suit and cinches down nicely. When I do that, I only use one compartment for clothes and the compression straps make the other two disappear. It then becomes a tight package pretty similar to a shoulder carried trifold garment bag.

Here's a picture of the bag in the very first overhead bin on a Delta ERJ on a one day trip. I used the external straps to cinch it small enough that it fit in next to a Tumi briefcase. With the straps you can tell if you look closely it was compressed, but there was no floppiness to it. I wasn't embarrassed to carry the bag with me to court the next day.



The bag also works on larger trips and will hold an enormous amount of stuff. Actually, this can be a problem as the bag will swell to bigger than sizer depth if you're not careful how you laid stuff even with the compression straps. I don't know if it is because it a shoulder bag or being six two and 210 pounds makes it look smaller, but the Delta agents never asked me to stick it in the sizer when I did that trip. It got so thick, it was a really tight fit in the 757 overhead bin.



I think that was a bit over 20 pounds worth of stuff in there (I need to be more disciplined in packing). That much weight was a little uncomfortable with the shoulder strap, but not a problem with the backpack straps.

I'm very happy with the purchase. The design improvements I would recommend to the bagwould be the following:

1. The two small exterior pockets and the full width pocket serve the same function and just add thickness to the bag. I'd drop the two small ones and just keep the full width pocket. I'd also make that pocket unzip on the size that would face up when you use it as a backpack so that you could more easily slide out a laptop without having to undo the compression straps when one bagging it. The alternative is to stick the computer in one of the main compartments which already allow you to unzip on the side like that.

2. I'd shave a little bit off the width of each of the main compartments just to help insure it fit the sizers when you aren't disciplined while loading it - even on the haul where I stuffed it to the point where it was dubious on fitting in the 757 there was more room left in the bag.

3. While I haven't had a problem with them, the shoulder strap attachment carabiners still concern me as a long term wear issue.

4. If Briggs & Riley doesn't have a patent protecting it, I'd look at the BDX Duffle solution for how the shoulder straps unfurl where the panel covering them becomes a pad to allow airflow when used as a back pack. The current solution has them slip out of a zip pocket so the entire nylon side of the bag wants to lie flat on your back when it is used as a backpack.

Last edited by lostinohio; Jul 22, 14 at 11:06 pm Reason: Fixing photo links.
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Old Aug 27, 14, 2:54 am
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Originally Posted by lostinohio View Post
I've not been burning through the frequent flier miles like I did last year, but I put a couple more trips with the bag in June. The bag is as strong as I first believed.

I love the compression strap setup. Bag works really well when loaded with just one suit and cinches down nicely. When I do that, I only use one compartment for clothes and the compression straps make the other two disappear. It then becomes a tight package pretty similar to a shoulder carried trifold garment bag.

Here's a picture of the bag in the very first overhead bin on a Delta ERJ on a one day trip. I used the external straps to cinch it small enough that it fit in next to a Tumi briefcase. With the straps you can tell if you look closely it was compressed, but there was no floppiness to it. I wasn't embarrassed to carry the bag with me to court the next day.



The bag also works on larger trips and will hold an enormous amount of stuff. Actually, this can be a problem as the bag will swell to bigger than sizer depth if you're not careful how you laid stuff even with the compression straps. I don't know if it is because it a shoulder bag or being six two and 210 pounds makes it look smaller, but the Delta agents never asked me to stick it in the sizer when I did that trip. It got so thick, it was a really tight fit in the 757 overhead bin.



I think that was a bit over 20 pounds worth of stuff in there (I need to be more disciplined in packing). That much weight was a little uncomfortable with the shoulder strap, but not a problem with the backpack straps.

I'm very happy with the purchase. The design improvements I would recommend to the bagwould be the following:

1. The two small exterior pockets and the full width pocket serve the same function and just add thickness to the bag. I'd drop the two small ones and just keep the full width pocket. I'd also make that pocket unzip on the size that would face up when you use it as a backpack so that you could more easily slide out a laptop without having to undo the compression straps when one bagging it. The alternative is to stick the computer in one of the main compartments which already allow you to unzip on the side like that.

2. I'd shave a little bit off the width of each of the main compartments just to help insure it fit the sizers when you aren't disciplined while loading it - even on the haul where I stuffed it to the point where it was dubious on fitting in the 757 there was more room left in the bag.

3. While I haven't had a problem with them, the shoulder strap attachment carabiners still concern me as a long term wear issue.

4. If Briggs & Riley doesn't have a patent protecting it, I'd look at the BDX Duffle solution for how the shoulder straps unfurl where the panel covering them becomes a pad to allow airflow when used as a back pack. The current solution has them slip out of a zip pocket so the entire nylon side of the bag wants to lie flat on your back when it is used as a backpack.
Hi LostinOhio, thanks for this very rare reveiw of this bag. I am a proud owner of the MEI Voyageur and I am seriously considering to buy an Executive Overnighter for my business trips. I also thought about the Air Boss as an alternative, but I think that backpack straps may be really useful for me.
I have a few questions:

1) I know the standard size of the EO is 22x14x9, but I also know that MEI may be able to accommodate requests for slightly different sizes. Could you confirm what size is yours, and what would you recommend? Pls consider I am based in Europe and travel everywhere, including Europe, Asia/Australia and USA.

2) Can you tell how wide are the individual compartments? If I were to use an 18" Eagle Creek folder for shirts, would it only fit in the bigger compartment or also in the middle one? How about shoes?

3) I have read your comment about the two front pockets. If you had the choice between having your configuration (one long slit pocket and two additional ones, which I think do not allow easy access with compression straps in place) vs one long slit pocket plus one smaller central slit pocket that fits between the compression straps, which way would you go? Any other configuration you would recommend?

4) Any other change you would advise, other than those structural changes you mentioned earlier?

Thank you very much for this review and I hope to get some feedback from you.
All the best
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Old Aug 28, 14, 10:17 pm
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1. My MEI Overnighter is standard sized. I got out the tape measure tonight and measured it empty and it was 21.5 by 14 by 10, but that was with both the exterior full width and the two slit pockets absolutely flat and I was measuring at the edge for the width rather than where the backstrap folded. With the flexibility in the bag it will balloon out if you're not careful how you pack it.

I've only traveled to Europe once and never to Asia, so I can't really speak to foreign sizers or the weight restrictions. There's always been some extra room around the edges when I bundle packed into the bag so I would think you could shed a little bit from each dimension. If you wanted to make a radically easier to carry version, you could drop the third 2 inch compartment and keep the others the same width.

2. The three large clothing compartments are 5, 3 and 2 inches. Because the foam is on the outside wall of the 5 and the 3 inch, there is some give in between those compartments. I've only packed shoes in the 5 inch compartment, but men with narrower feet or most women could probably put shoes in the 3 inch inch. I don't own any shirt folders, but I have packed a bundle with a suit, two dress shirts, casual shirt and some other stuff in the 3 inch pocket without a problem.

3. If I had the choice when ordering, I would have gone with the long slit and a small slit that fit between the compression straps. There are about 6 inches between the compression straps which would give plenty of room for a 3/2/1 bag or other small items you wanted to access while the bag is closed and cinched with the compression straps.

4. Besides the redo on the slit pockets mentioned in 3 and what I have said in the earlier comments in the thread, I wouldn't mind having the little rain flaps to cover all the zippers to add some protection in the rain and against zippers getting snagged.

If I were trying to one bag it instead of most of the time using a separate brief case, and were truly customizing it, I would think about the following:
A. A pocket on the outside of the bag that would fit a water bottle
B. A holder for a mini umbrella that could be accessed without exposing the rest of the contents of the bag to rain (the one on TUMI briefcases is wonderful)
C. A compartment designed to hold a laptop sleeve that could be accessed without having to undo the external compression straps. One way to do this would be to install a pocket on one of the two existing padded walls that was positioned to be accessed from the sides. If you didn't want it in the main clothing pockets, it might be possible to build one in to the wall of the backpack strap storage pocket or to alter the full width slit pocket to also open on the side so that you can get to it without having to undo the compression straps. Because of the wide range of laptop sizes out there, I'm not sure there is an easy way for them to do this that doesn't pose needless weight and packing complications for those who aren't routinely carrying a laptop in the bag.

I don't have a need for it, but I suppose a user that wanted more flexibility in packing might want the ability to remove the divider between the five inch and three inch compartments by installing it with a zipper.

Feel free to fire off anymore questions.
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Old Aug 30, 14, 7:01 am
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Not sure if this is the right thread, but i figured if anyone has an idea how to solve this problem it would be you guys. I thought some of you must have stayed in dodgy areas when you couldn't keep your stuff on you at all times
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