I have been trying to complete my long-overdue review of my Empire Builder and the stellar service I have received from Tom Bihn. While trying to think of negatives about the EB (I had to think pretty hard), I realized one thing that has bothered my from the beginning: the bag doesn't really do a great job of standing up on its own. It will sit upright most of the time, and it does a far better job than previous bags I've used (especially messenger-type bags). But it definitely has a tendency to fall forward onto the flap side.
It only falls in one direction. In fact, getting it to tip over on it's back side (side with the large open pocket) requires a good deal of force - you literally have to push it over. But getting it to fall on it's front side sometimes requires little more than a cough from the other room. By that I mean, it often just falls over on its own.
From what I can tell, this is partly due to the bottom of front pocket (under the buckle) and it's rounded shape. My EB seems to be slightly pitched forward when I set it down. I have gotten in the habit of setting it down very carefully or leaning it again something facing inward. But this is sometimes inconvenient - not only do I have to find something to lean it up against, but I have to turn it around - back side out. So the front pockets aren't accessible.
Note that the bag does not ALWAYS fall over. It's just very prone to fall over, and it will always fall over to one side. It doesn't seem to matter if it's setting on carpet on flat tile or concrete. It just sits there "wanting" to tip over onto it's buckle.
My question is: what are other people's experience with their EBs? Is mine just an anomaly? Is it possible that the bottom was manufactured at a slant??
This is really my only gripe with the bag. If it's just how it is, I can certainly live with it - I have so far (since February). I guess I'm just wondering if this is a characteristic of a soft-sided bag, or is my particular EB slightly off?
I have considered attaching some material or something to the bottom of the front pocket to help stabilize the bag. But this idea just seems like it would be U-G-L-Y... And I love the look of the Empire Builder.