Customer J.S. in Colorado emailed us his guide for potential Empire Builder owners:
Having used the Empire Builder for a few months I offer some observations in hopes of being helpful to potential buyers:
1. This bag is capacious, as in big. It doesn’t look a lot bigger than the typical nylon case but it holds a lot. And there are no "theoretical pockets," the kind that look good in the store but can’t really hold anything. For example, the pockets under the outside flap (the one that’s secured with the big buckle) really can hold a lot when the main compartment is full.
2. I dismissed the talk about how comfortable the handle was as ad copy, but it really is. I’ve carried up to 22 lbs of charts and journals at a time. The handle is very nicely padded and distributes and cushions the weight very well. Of course, 22 lbs is 22 lbs (which is why I didn’t opt for the shoulder strap), but at least it’s 22 lbs that won’t leave your hand bone white and permanently curved.
More after the break.
3. The dividers are very, very nice. First, the way they’re held in the bag but easy to remove is a beautiful and creative piece of engineering. Second, since the bag stands up and open quite easily you have immediate and well-organized access to the contents. They’re not paper-thin, so too many would take up too much space for my use. I ordered a total of 6, which turned out to be just right.
Overall this is a very nice bag and well worth the money for its durability, comfort, size, and utility. I no longer have to empty out an attache at work and at home each day. Instead I often work directly from the bag as if it was a portable file cabinet.
I can’t think of a thing that I’d change.