Well, after years of using backpacks I've decided (been chided into) to switch to something more 'mature' (I'm 40).The reason I've been using backpacks is that I tend to carry a lot, always have and probably always will.
I currently work at my aunt's realty office during the day and teach English as a volunteer at night (I live in Japan). On any given day I carry my 15" Macbook Pro, various files, small digital camera, two textbooks, dictionary, white board markers and eraser, various items from the U.S. for 'show and tell', Leatherman multi-tool, cell phone, umbrella, Powerbar and something to drink. All told, I'm pretty much ready for anything that may stumble my way. However, at times my current backpack (38 litre Jansport) can weigh up to 30+ lbs.
I've been debating between the Super Ego and the Empire Builder. While both are great alternatives to a backpack, I'm leaning toward the Super Ego because;
I would prefer a messenger over a briefcase.
Dedicated spots for an umbrella and drink (very important for me).
My questions are;
Is the Super Ego as big as people say it is?
If I'm loaded for bear, will it feel like I'm carrying one even using the Absolute Strap?
Will the stretch on the Absolute Strap gradually fade away reducing its effectiveness?
Can I use the Brain Cell as a stand-alone case?
I'm 5' 3", will the Super Ego make me look like I'm running away from home?
I wish I were stateside to see these in person in order to make a better decision for myself. That being impossible at this time, I would greatly appreciate any advice that you may have for me.
Thanks in advance,