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Tom Bihn Forums: Community discussion on travel bags, laptop bags, and backpacks. Tom Bihn has been designing and making bags since 1972. The best materials and innovative construction.

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  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    2

    Empire Builder - 4 Month Review

    I purchased my Empire Builder in April with constant use in the past 2 months. It has been to Mexico and Kansas City from Knoxville.

    I absolutly love it. I have never had a need for more room in it. I has been used for my work laptop up until today when I finally received my new laptop.

    Both my Latitude 610 and Inspiron 1505 fit inside with the 610 in a Size3 Brain Cell. My best guestimate is they will both fit in their Brain Cells. I will let you know when I receive my Size1 in the next few days.

    I do have a few complaints about it though.

    1. The plastic buckle has scuff marks on it from going through the airport. It was by my side the entire time so I am not entirely sure how it got scuffed up. Just know it was on the trip to Mexico. Not terrible, just annoying to me.
    2. My empire builder does not stand very well. I have to pack it just right for it to stand. I am sure this has something to do with what I am carrying, but there have been a few times that I felt it should have when it wasn't.
    3. The strap can be annoying when you set down the bag and it holds the front flap down. I am not really sure if there is anything you can do to change that given the strap is placed for better hanging on the sholder.
    4. I am left handed so I have a different perspective than most. Regarding the sholder strap. It is on the wrong side for me. Also, it would be nice to have the key clip able to be moved to either side.
    5. The corners at the top look like they are losing their shape. Like they are starting to curl in. Hard to describe and is not obvious right now. Just looks like they are starting to.
    6. On the front flap, when looking at it, it would be nice if the left pocket was a little larger to accomdate a bottle of water. I can count the number of times I wish I had someplace convenient to put my bottle of water while carrying this.
    7. Inside the front pocket it would be nice to see a few more of the small pouches. Like a second row below the first. Maybe 3 that are 4-5 inches across. I have a 1/2 dozen items that would idealy fit inside small pouches like that.
    8. Place the pen holders near the edges instead of the center. It would be much easier to quickly grab a pen than to grab what ever is in the larger pockets with out opening the flap. Going with #4, I say put them on both sides.

    Yes I have a lot of things that could be improved from my perspective, but I do love the Empire Builder. It is a great bag that is very functional. It holds enough for most people. It looks great, is sturdy, durable, and well built. I wouldn't trade it for another bag.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    2

    1 Year Review

    I have had my Empire Builder for a year now and I still love it. An amazing bag that has met my every need!

    On occasion I have to carry two laptops. A Dell 620 and E1505. I can fit both laptops in the back in their respective Brain Cells (Size 3 and Size 1 respectivly). It takes up all of the room in the main compartment, but there is still an abundance of room in the front pocket. I can carry all of my accessories and the bag just starts to look full. The Absolute Strap is amazing. With two laptops and assorted gear, the bag gets real heavy. The AS makes carring it bearable.

    The bag still looks great with no signs of wear. I wouldn't trade the Empire Builder for another bag.

    Thanks for making an amazing product!

  3. #3
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    The far west
    Posts
    4,526
    Wow, thanks for the four month and one year reviews! It's great to hear that the Empire Builder is continuing to serve you well.
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes


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