Brain Bag + Aeronaut = happiness
This is my first field test for my new Brain Bag and Aeronaut.
After hearing Leo Laporte rave about his Tom Bihn bags, I rushed to the website and immediately bought a Brain Bag to hold my 17" MacBook Pro and all of the associated stuff that comes along with it. I got the recommended Brain Cell to provide added support for the laptop, and perhaps act as a carry case when I don't want the whole bag.
I'm a road-warrior, logging between 50 and 100 flight segments a year, mostly domestic US. I had been swearing by my Eagle Creek Switchback, using the daypack as my personal "laptop bag". However, more than once, my laptop floating around loosely in the daypack has gotten cosmetically damaged.
The Brain Cell is a welcome change! It fits very nice, and the clips hold it well in the Brain Bag, to keep it all from coming apart as I (frequently) pull the laptop out for use or inspection at flight checkin. I also got a Snake Charmer, and can't imagine working without that convenience now. I put the power cord in one side, and everything else in the other, so that I can easily pull out the power cord without it being tangled in everything else.
After using the Brain Bag for a couple of weeks, I decided I wasn't ever going back to my Eagle Creek, so now I needed "the clothes bag". Based on the "One Bag" site's info about how much space and weight the wheels take up, I decided to try a non-wheeled approach for for the first time in years. This was a brave move, but boy, am I happy with the results.
I picked up the Aeronaut, opting for the smaller-frame backpack since I'm a small (but round) guy, and I don't think I'll be backpacking often with this. However, I stepped up to the Absolute Comfort shoulder strap, knowing that my back would be holding the Brain Bag while my shoulder (and neck) would be supporting the Aeronaut. I got a full size packing cell, two half size, and two small end-cap size cells, as recommended. (I'm still sorting out how to use these best.)
After packing the Aeronaut with my usual "reusable one week of clothes", I couldn't believe it... I still had space left over, and I could easily support the bag with one hand! My Eagle Creek rollaboard was never this light, even packed with a light loadout.
But the best part was on the outbound leg of this trip I'm currently on, to Brazil. My Delta flight from Portland to Atlanta got an hour weather delay, leaving me 15 minutes to get from the T concourse to the E concourse for my international leg. (Many of you reading know what this is like, I presume.) So, I grabbed the Brain Bag, and threw it on my back, and then slung the Aeronaut over my right shoulder and neck. I slung the bag forward in front of my waist, and grabbed both handles to reduce the weight on the neck. I ran like this to the tram, trammed to E, and then ran the rest of the way down to E1. Even carrying this, rather than rolling, it was still less effort, and I was especially happy not to need a double-wide space that the roller took. I might have looked a bit funny running with a big backpack sticking out my back, and a fullsize carryon in front of my stomach, but it worked, and that's all that mattered to me.
I made my flight, and as I was getting settled in, I had just one small space over my seat to put my bag, the other spots already claimed by those that had a more leisurely connection. My Eagle Creek with its hard back would not have fit, but the Aeronaut fit nicely by "giving" just a bit since the sides are entirely soft. Again, a win for the Aeronaut. (If you've ever fought the center overhead storage in business class on a 757, you know the problems there, especially when someone else has a large rigid barely legal bag.)
So far, I'm very very happy. Count me as one highly satisfied customer. Pictures soon... I've got to do the "what's in my bag" picture that everyone ends up doing as a rite-of-passage.
Randal L. Schwartz