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Thread: A brief (?) review of the Founder's Briefcase

  1. #1
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    A brief (?) review of the Founder's Briefcase

    My wife was kind enough to have gotten me a navy Founder's Briefcase for Christmas. Unfortunately, we were out of the country and she couldn't order it until the notice that demand was higher than expected. But in typical TB style, even though the status said backorder until mid-January, it actually arrived on 12/27. That was before I had actually returned to work anyway. So thanks to them for delivering well before the projection!

    I mostly wanted this bag for my personal laptop and gadgets--rather than for using for work stuff--but if I end up using it for work as well, then that's a bonus. Overall I am very pleased with the bag, and I will definitely see how I like it for work in addition to my expected personal use. Here are my thoughts on a few things that might be helpful to others:

    1) General structure/padding: Both main side panels have structure and padding from what feels like 1/8" thick foam sheets. It is not just the laptop side with outer padding. The bag can actually stand up entirely on its own when empty and even with some stuff loaded in it--like a laptop! Uneven loads might lead to tipping over.

    2) Navy parapack/coyote brown: I do really like this combination. As I'd said in the other threads about the parapack, I'm a sucker for blue bags, and this color and fabric are a good one. The coyote brown with the navy does make for a very nice classic look similar to the old Orvis/LL Bean/etc. briefcases. I'm sure the FB looks great in other colors too, but I'm glad my wife picked navy. It's professional enough to fit in all but the snootiest formal situations, but because of the coyote brown it has good character.

    3) The laptop pocket: For those who can't tell from the photos, the padded area for the laptop is designed like the Cache. Really more like half of a Cache. As I said in #1, the outside panel has foam padding. My personal laptop is a 15" MacBookPro Retina, and the padded compartment in the FB is clearly designed for that size of laptop. It fits perfectly and is easy to get in and out. My work laptop is an older 13.3" Dell. It's definitely thicker than the MacBook, but is shorter and narrower by a good bit. It fits just fine. The extra thickness might cause the laptop compartment to bulge a little, but because of the smaller other dimensions, it isn't really noticeable unless you're really trying, and it doesn't change the functionality of the bag at all.

    4) Packing wedge: I have not tried clothing or other loose items in the packing wedge yet, but I did use it to contain about a 2" thick stack of letter-size documents. It worked perfectly for that. Legal will also fit but probably not a 2" stack of legal. 2" of A1 should be fine. With that plus my work laptop, the bag was not bulging at all.

    5) Mesh pockets: The MacBook's power adapter--with just the prongs, not the cable extension--fit perfectly in the middle compartment, and my mouse fit perfectly in one of the two side compartments. It's a fairly typical size "gaming" mouse with a long cable, not a mini travel mouse, so most standard mice will probably fit. I did not try my Dell power adapter because it normally stays home, and I just didn't think to experiment with it. I'm a bit worried that it's dimensions will be a problem in the mesh pockets. The middle pocket is pretty square, and the Dell adapter is anything but. My guess is that if it fits, it will only be with the AC-side cable disconnected and possibly stowed in a separate pocket.

    6) Outer pockets: The top one fits an iPhone 5s (or 5) with a fairly slim case. I can all but guarantee that a case like an Otterbox would NOT fit. It did fit my wife's HTC One VX (which is a 4" screen, I think). It will not fit a Samsung Note. It might fit something like a Samsung Galaxy 3, but not with a large case. The lower outer pocket has an o-ring. I'm not sure what I'll use that pocket for though. It's a little taller than other pocket, but it's flat, so stuffing a full keyring doesn't really work.

    7) Zipper pulls: They very nicely provided enough for all zippers in both coyote and red. I ended up doing coyote on the exterior zippers and red on the inner ones, including the packing wedge. The red stood out a little too much on the exterior, IMO. I'm sure there will be plenty of people who prefer the red all around, and plenty who prefer the coyote everywhere.

    I thought about taking a couple pictures, but honestly, I couldn't think of anything that wasn't already well-represented by the photos on the product page or the various blog entries about the bag.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by autolycus View Post
    1) General structure/padding: Both main side panels have structure and padding from what feels like 1/8" thick foam sheets. It is not just the laptop side with outer padding. The bag can actually stand up entirely on its own when empty and even with some stuff loaded in it--like a laptop! Uneven loads might lead to tipping over.
    This is a feature I'm very much appreciating -- the Founder's Briefcase sits upright next to me at my desk and I often reach inside throughout the day to grab one thing or another. The usability of the interior organization reminds me of that of my Synapse -- there's really no choice but to be organized.
    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

  3. #3
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    Very interesting insights. Could you show us some photos of this new packing wedge? I still don't understand/can't visualize this, even though it is briefly mentioned on the product page. I don't see anything in the video, either. (At least, it isn't pointed out in the narrative.)
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    Very interesting insights. Could you show us some photos of this new packing wedge? I still don't understand/can't visualize this, even though it is briefly mentioned on the product page. I don't see anything in the video, either. (At least, it isn't pointed out in the narrative.)
    MtnMan the packing wedge is shown in the product photos (images 13, 14, 15, and 16 of the 17 product images on the Founder's Briefcase Product page). Image 13 and 15 show how the packing wedge is attached with Gatekeeper clips. Image 16 shows the zipper open and clothes packed inside. It's also described in detail on the product page:

    We’ve designed an optional Packing Wedge which attaches via two Annex Clips to the interior bottom of the Founder’s Briefcase. It’s sized to accommodate a folded shirt and a change of underwear: if your work takes you away overnight, you’ll be ready. It’s also a great way to segregate and contain paperwork, an unruly down jacket, a light raincoat, or your lunch. The Packing Wedge of course will provide an additional buffer between your multitools and your laptop, should you be concerned about that.
    Here's a link to the first of the sequence of 4 pictures of the steel, zippered packing wedge (at the left side of the picture with the red attached zipper pulls) so you can identify it in the product pictures
    The last of the 4 pictures shows a view of the open packing wedge with clothing inside.

    HTH.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moriond View Post
    MtnMan the packing wedge is shown in the product photos (images 13, 14, 15, and 16 of the 17 product images on the Founder's Briefcase Product page). Image 13 and 15 show how the packing wedge is attached with Gatekeeper clips. Image 16 shows the zipper open and clothes packed inside. It's also described in detail on the product page:

    Here's a link to the first of the sequence of 4 pictures of the steel, zippered packing wedge (at the left side of the picture with the red attached zipper pulls) so you can identify it in the product pictures
    The last of the 4 pictures shows a view of the open packing wedge with clothing inside.

    HTH.
    I have the Packing Wedge and highly recommend it. Even if you don't plan on carrying clothes in it, it's a great place to corral all of those extra little items. I use mine to hold small first aid kit, prescription bottle, a letter size file folder, a couple of snacks, personal care items and there's still room for more! And the best thing is that you can remove it if you don't need/want it on a particular trip.
    Owner of TriStar (aubergine/steel), Founders Briefcase (navy/steel), Aeronaut (crimson/steel), Absolute Strap, Co-Pilot (steel/solar), Medium Cafe Bag (steel/sapphire), Imago (navy/cork/wasabi),Horizontal Freudian Slip, Snake Charmer (steel), Wallet (olive), Side Effect (olive), asst pouches and cubes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    Very interesting insights. Could you show us some photos of this new packing wedge? I still don't understand/can't visualize this, even though it is briefly mentioned on the product page. I don't see anything in the video, either. (At least, it isn't pointed out in the narrative.)
    The photos mentioned above do a good job showing the wedge. It's really pretty simply a removable pocket that sits in the middle of the bag and can be flipped to one side or the other while the bag is fully opened and laying flat. I have used it for documents, cables, and the like. I doubt I'll use it for a change of clothes like in the photo, but I do find it very useful.

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    Thanks for the review. There are a lot of things to like about this bag, but I have a question about quick access on travel. You mention one outer zip pocket has room for iphone with minimal case.

    Is the other zip pocket capable of holding a boarding pass or passport? Or do they need to go inside?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cresciant View Post
    Thanks for the review. There are a lot of things to like about this bag, but I have a question about quick access on travel. You mention one outer zip pocket has room for iphone with minimal case.

    Is the other zip pocket capable of holding a boarding pass or passport? Or do they need to go inside?
    I just got this bag not too long ago and am traveling with it now. I'd say that the other pocket would be capable of holding a boarding pass if you fold it in half and a passport might fit but it'd be a tight squeeze.

    As a side note, I do like the bag but am on the fence of it's usability for me. It fits a decent amount of stuff but doesn't leave much extra room for last minute throw ins/etc... Right now I have a 15" rmbp, ipad air in breve (inside the packing wedge), macbook charger, external hard drive, misc cables, and pens/etc in the bag. With that it's pretty much packed full.

    The one thing that has been annoying me about the bag so far is that without a laptop in it, it does stand up on its own but for some reason the side that has the laptop cache in it has a curve to it. I've tried to bend it so that it will stay straight but for whatever reason it always comes to rest with a slight curve. I'm not sure if it was intentionally designed this way for any particular reason but it's kind of annoying... when I have my macbook in there of course it doesn't do this but most of the time I don't have my laptop in the bag.

    Can anyone on the TB crew tell me if this is normal?? Attached is a picture of what I'm talking about.

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    Last edited by tangfj; 04-09-2014 at 12:17 AM.

  9. #9
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    tangfj
    was your bag's curve there all along or did it develop over time?
    mine(Steel Parapack!) just arrived and it has a slight curve to it, just a teeny one though, nowhere as pronounced as yours.
    although, I think this is due to the bag being empty and it seems perfectly normal to me.

  10. #10
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    @icebeng

    It was like that since the day I got it... I contacted the TB crew through e-mail and they said that this is perfectly normal for the bag. It's kind of annoying but doesn't impair the use of the bag at all so I guess I can live with it. I suppose I was just expecting perfection from their most expensive laptop bag.


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