I've been looking for a backpack to take with me to college and my search brought me to Tom Bihn. I ended up ordering both a Brain Bag and a Smart Alec as I was having a lot of trouble deciding between the two without seeing them in person. Unfortunately, after handling, playing around with, packing and unpacking the two bags I decided that neither one is going to work for me. :( The quality of the materials is wonderful and the craftsmanship is clearly superb, but there was something about each bag that caused it to just miss the mark.
I love the Smart Alec, but I feel that the top-loading design just isn't suited for a book bag. If I were using it for something other than school it would have been great, but even moderately full it tough to put wider books into the bag - just tough enough that it would have driven me crazy.
The Brain Bag is great too and I almost kept it. However, no matter how I adjusted the straps, they just weren't comfortable. I don't know if it's the width of the straps themselves or the positioning of the straps on the bag, but something caused them to dig into me at the sides.
On a happier note, I did hold on to the large solar Clear Organizer Pouch and I'm looking forward to using it for papers (as backpack recommended) when school starts. :) I may also order a Medium or Large Cafe Bag in the near future.