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  1. #1
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    Brain Bag on 5'3" person

    My Brain Bag arrived today! (Along with everything else. Happiest with the Shop Bag, which is awesome. Medium Cafe bag is great but I can't decide if I'm happy enough with the navy/cayenne or if I should get the plum/wasabi instead).

    Unfortunately, I think the Brain Bag might just be too big. :( I loaded it up with my old laptop (4.4 pounds) and about four hardcover books. It definitely carries weight well. Back didn't ache from that. However, I find the straps really stiff and uncomfortable and they're too wide for me. They dig into my neck/shoulders.

    I love the configuration of the bag and really wish there was a bag like it but just scaled down for my size. My boyfriend unfortunately left for a trip today, so I'm going to wait till he come back (under two weeks) to get his input as to whether it really is too big for me and I should return it (or if he'll want it; he's 6'0" so it'll fit him). I'm pretty sure I don't want a Smart Alec. I have a top loading backpack already and I'm not the biggest fan of that format. So I'll end up continuing to wait for the Synapse if I can't figure out how to make the Brain Bag comfortable.

    I apologize for how dark the pictures are! I couldn't get them brighter in the mirror and I was too impatient to set up my camera with a timer. I'll post better pictures when my boyfriend's around to take them.









    The pictures on Flickr
    Owner of:
    Imago in Cocoa/Cocoa/Wasabi, Large Cafe Bag in Black/Wasabi, Various organizer pouches, Shop Bag in Steel Dyneema (love it!), Synapse in Steel/Steel (love it too!), and a Medium Cafe Bag in Plum/Wasabi.

  2. #2
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    Is it better if you do up the straps more? It seems to be sitting very low.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpau View Post
    Is it better if you do up the straps more? It seems to be sitting very low.
    The straps dig into my neck more when I have it sitting higher. =/ I'll try again though.
    Owner of:
    Imago in Cocoa/Cocoa/Wasabi, Large Cafe Bag in Black/Wasabi, Various organizer pouches, Shop Bag in Steel Dyneema (love it!), Synapse in Steel/Steel (love it too!), and a Medium Cafe Bag in Plum/Wasabi.

  4. #4
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    Good luck. I'm shorter than you are, so I understand the difficulty! but I've managed to make a 22" long bag comfortable, it just needs a lot of fiddling. And the more weight on your hips the better.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpau View Post
    Good luck. I'm shorter than you are, so I understand the difficulty! but I've managed to make a 22" long bag comfortable, it just needs a lot of fiddling. And the more weight on your hips the better.
    Wow, 22"? I've cinched the straps up all the way and I'm finding that the body of the bag doesn't bother me. It's the straps. I had this problem with my other backpack though and I don't think that's what bothers me about it anymore... Hm. Maybe it gets better with time/I get used to it? Will try on my old backpack and try to figure that out.

    I do feel that visually, the bag is a bit large for me though, and I haven't even stuffed it! I'm so sad it's so big. I really like it otherwise.

    ETA: Do you mean hips or waist? Or the overall general area of both?
    ETA again: Okay, read up on backpack fit: http://www.hitthetrail.com/backpacks.php According to this, and everything else I've read, even trying to make the Brain Bag work for me is a poor ergonomic decision. I need something with a shorter profile on my back (which I think even rules out the Smart Alec). Grr. I guess I keep waiting for the Synapse. :( Which I feel probably won't be out till end of summer or maybe Fall. I've been waiting for it for three years but other things keep being pushed in front of it as more important. I think I need to start shopping for a new temporary backpack at least.
    Last edited by timarelay; 03-11-2009 at 05:28 AM.
    Owner of:
    Imago in Cocoa/Cocoa/Wasabi, Large Cafe Bag in Black/Wasabi, Various organizer pouches, Shop Bag in Steel Dyneema (love it!), Synapse in Steel/Steel (love it too!), and a Medium Cafe Bag in Plum/Wasabi.

  6. #6
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    i can definitely empathize! i am also 5'3" (at most), and i ordered a smart alec (but am super-interested in the synapse) just a few weeks ago, in time for a vacation. i used it as my "personal item" (along with an aeronaut as my carry-on).

    it holds A LOT of stuff and it fits me okay; i didn't have any problems carrying it around on travel days or as a day-pack, but the last day i caught a look at myself in a mirror and i kind of laughed at how large it looked on me. it looks very "normal-sized" on my husband (who is 5'9" or 5'10"), but on me it looks kind of like a turtle-shell when it's full. it definitely covers my entire back.

    i haven't uploaded the vacation pictures to flickr yet, but if it would be helpful for you to see a smart alec on another 5'3" girl, let me know and i can post the links when they're up.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluedawg View Post
    i haven't uploaded the vacation pictures to flickr yet, but if it would be helpful for you to see a smart alec on another 5'3" girl, let me know and i can post the links when they're up.
    That would be awesome! Thanks for offering.

    How do you find the Aeronaut? I've wanted one for a while but I keep hesitating. It'd be nice to own a duffel bag of some sort (I don't have any).
    Owner of:
    Imago in Cocoa/Cocoa/Wasabi, Large Cafe Bag in Black/Wasabi, Various organizer pouches, Shop Bag in Steel Dyneema (love it!), Synapse in Steel/Steel (love it too!), and a Medium Cafe Bag in Plum/Wasabi.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by timarelay View Post
    I've wanted one for a while but I keep hesitating. It'd be nice to own a duffel bag of some sort (I don't have any).
    Tom's designing a really cool duffel bag that should be out this summer. It'd be a perfect large gym/sports bag, road trip bag for the trunk of the car, etc. You might want to wait for that!
    Current Carry: 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

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    Tom's designing a really cool duffel bag that should be out this summer. It'd be a perfect large gym/sports bag, road trip bag for the trunk of the car, etc. You might want to wait for that!
    Ooh, that sounds nifty! I'll happily wait as this isn't really something I actively need (*cough* unlike the Synapse, for example ;) ).
    Owner of:
    Imago in Cocoa/Cocoa/Wasabi, Large Cafe Bag in Black/Wasabi, Various organizer pouches, Shop Bag in Steel Dyneema (love it!), Synapse in Steel/Steel (love it too!), and a Medium Cafe Bag in Plum/Wasabi.

  10. #10
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    I'm really excited about this too...I'm 5'3" too (well...5'2.75"). Is this the bag mentioned in the OBOW blog called the "Compass"?

  11. #11
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    RE: DUFFEL

    I would be immensely interested in a smaller duffel option as well. Like, mini-duffel. Like, 18" length, 7" diameter. Putting that out there! =D

  12. #12
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    I really do mean 22" - that's aeronaut size, although I'm not fortunate enough to own one (yet). I have a 24-25" bag as well that I'm completely comfortable with. By comfortable I mean "able to carry it for hours" comfortable. I'll upload pictures if there is some way of doing so...

    And by hip I really do mean hip - the bony bits at the top of your legs, definitely below your navel, probably a fair bit below, too. As low over your pelvis as possible, but of course above where your legs start to bend. For me this means that the upper part of a hip belt comes near my waist, but that's because the belt is always very wide and there is padding at the sides of my hips. I disagree with making it above your actual waist - there is no bone or strong muscle to hold it there, it's all squishy bits (at least for me) and I can't breathe.

    Photos soon.

    EDITED to add: here are the photos. The green one is 24-25" long and is a 16-year-old travelpack without the daypack attachment. The brown bag is a voyageur, 22". Both are filled with blankets and towels, and weigh about 8kg (it was all I had on hand). In the past I've filled the green one to about 18kg and the brown one to 12kg.

    They have serious harnesses, of course.

    The black one is a relatively cheap tatonka 17" long and full of books, to over 10kg. It is shorter so the hip belt rides higher. It is actually *less* comfortable than the others. It is sitting a bit low so I keep wanting to hoik it up higher, but then the hip belt rides up.
    Attached Images Attached Images      
    Last edited by cpau; 03-13-2009 at 06:15 AM. Reason: added photos!

  13. #13
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    p.s. I'm 5' tall but, as you can see, am solid. I think the 22" bag is actually ideal for me, size-wise, but it does end up too heavy for cabin baggage if packed fully. Bring on the Tristar!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpau View Post
    p.s. I'm 5' tall but, as you can see, am solid. I think the 22" bag is actually ideal for me, size-wise, but it does end up too heavy for cabin baggage if packed fully. Bring on the Tristar!
    Hm. Looking at your pictures, I think part of why the brown bag is comfortable, even though it's long, is that the shoulder straps have a wide space between them. For me, in order to get the Brain Bag to sit right, the straps are too close together and dig into my neck (the pictures above show the bag at the point where the straps are fairly comfortable, but then the bag is placed incorrectly). If they were simply attached with more space, I probably could make the bag work comfortably.

    Thank you so much for the pictures!
    Last edited by timarelay; 03-13-2009 at 06:45 AM.
    Owner of:
    Imago in Cocoa/Cocoa/Wasabi, Large Cafe Bag in Black/Wasabi, Various organizer pouches, Shop Bag in Steel Dyneema (love it!), Synapse in Steel/Steel (love it too!), and a Medium Cafe Bag in Plum/Wasabi.

  15. #15
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    You're welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by timarelay View Post
    Hm. Looking at your pictures, I think part of why the brown bag is comfortable, even though it's long, is that the shoulder straps have a wide space between them.
    That may be a factor, yes. But if it gets too wide they slip off your shoulders, or pull too close to the joint (something I'm particularly sensitive to, due to shoulder surgery). I read somewhere that many women need shoulder straps that are located closer together than men usually do, for this reason, especially if you're slim.

    What happens if you put the sternum strap above your breasts? Not too high - about 4" below the little notch at the bottom of your neck, or even lower if possible. I tend not to use them at all, but that's because the hip belt is serious.

    Hmm, the brain bag doesn't actually look that narrow from the bag photos, and the straps seem to curve outwards quite well. My black bag is a shade under 2" between the strap roots, and the brown bag is only a shade over 2". The green ones actually meet, but a lot further down. At the point where it curves over the shoulder, the gap for the brown bag is only 3" or so (the curve is held by straps above). The big difference is the presence of cinch straps above the shoulder (very obvious in the green bag photo but also present in the brown). It actually lifts the back of the strap off the body, and probably lessens the rub that you seem to be suffering from.

    Good luck! I'd like to try a brain bag as an experiment, but distance is a problem :-)

    p.s. i just found this page: http://www.trailspace.com/forums/bac...ics/40859.html and those straps they call "load lifters". Looks like the green bag is close to a perfect adjustment according to their guidelines - but again, this is a different type of harness to the usual simple backpack type.
    Last edited by cpau; 03-13-2009 at 07:27 AM.

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