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  1. #1
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    Bag philosophy: Transport vs Transit

    I had to take an emergency trip to handle something that came up suddenly and I discovered something that may need to change my bag "philosophy".

    I prefer a backpack style bag and I have been using my Brain Bag for while now. On this trip it dawned on me that a backpack is more about transporting stuff. I found myself sitting down to talk to people and trying to find something in the bag at the same time. It was then I realized why I read so often about people who travel on business a lot who go for the briefcase style bag for their job. A briefcase style does allow quicker access to things while you are in transit from one place or person to another.

    This isn't to say there is anything wrong with the backpack style bag, but I felt a bit out of place during my trip. For my day to day work life all I need to do is transport my stuff from the car to the office and then unload. But for the other types of trips I may need to look at a briefcase style so as to be more organized and not fumble around as much.

    Just thought I'd share some info.

  2. #2
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    I think I agree with this!

    I switch between my ID and my Brain Bag constantly. I love them both, but I find the ID much easier to work with when I am running from meeting to meeting because I am constantly going into the bag for a notebook, my laptop, etc. When the call is for a lot of stuff to be hauled, however, the Brain Bag is the go-to choice.

    I actually think the combination of the brain bag with some sort of messenger/briefcase is the winner.
    ----------------
    Bob P.
    Magic Tiki Studios

    Empire Builder (black/steel), Brain Bag (steel), Small Padded Organizer Pouch, Clear Wallet, Soft Cell, Snake Charmer (cayenne) and assorted trimmings.

  3. #3
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    This is an interesting distinction, and now that I think about it probably the reason that I frequently choose a messenger-bag / shoulder-strap-equipped brefcase over a backpack, even when carrying moderately heavy loads for which a backpack might be the smarter choice in some ways, wrt even weight distribution, shoulder fatigue, etc. Because the effort of putting the backpack on and off, and reaching in to retrieve things from the slightly narrower opening, gets annoying quickly when it's repeated several times.

    Several people mentioned this wrt the discussion elsewhere re: an ideal camera bag, and praised certain Lowe Pro models which swing forward easily for easy access from the side, without the need to remove the whole pack.

    Last week I was in San Francisco, and riding street cars, trains and buses; a Super Ego -- not small -- was far more manageable there, IMO, than my Brain Bag, even when carrying the exact same stuff. (Sure, the Brain Bag *can* hold more, though, which is often useful.) Being able to sling a messenger style bag easily to left / right / front / back is very useful in any kind of crowd, and the strap can provide some useful support in all these positions, whereas if you end up sitting down, a backpack ends up in your lap, or on the ground either between your calves or in front of your legs.

    As it turns out, my last train trip (across town to where my car was parked) was on a very crowded train -- electrical troubles had caused a shortage of trains, so it was jam-packed nearly all the way -- and I had both my brain bag and Super Ego along. Both were moderately full, but even if I *hadn't* had the Super Ego, there was no way I could have kept the BB on my back for this trip -- I would have been bumping into people left and right (or behind, mostly). So that went on the ground, awkwardly held up by my legs, until for the last few blocks of the trip I finally had a seat.

    timothy

  4. #4
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    The problem I face with all trips is trying to cut down to the bare minimum and go with a 1 bag approach. This means that a bag needs to serve more than one purpose. Normally my thought was to go with a backpack like the BB because it can haul more and has more uses than a bag that cannot hold as much but might be easier to access. But I might rethink that if another trip comes up and I will need to run around with notes and files and documents that need to be referenced with people as I drive around. In that case I think a more focused bag will make me a happier traveler.

    For me it flies in the face of some 1 bag philosophy. For example, on vacations I like to take a DSLR so a while ago I bought a Kata backpack that is made especially for cameras. The problem? It was hard to fit other stuff like books or even an iPod in that bag. I finally started to think it was better to get an all purpose bag that could handle my camera but could also handle other stuff. But now, I can see there are times when a bag that has a more focused purpose is something to seriously consider.

  5. #5
    keb
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    Interesting discussion. I have never been a backpack person but about two years ago I bought a small hiking day pack for a trip to Whistler in the summer. I have found it invaluable for vacations, when I just want to carry some suntan lotion, a spare shirt and shorts, sunglasses, etc. It has a lot of outer pockets and plenty of straps for hanging wet bathing suits on, etc, and inner divided pockets for separating my wallet or my kids cameras from the other stuff in the bag. For me it serves so many purposes and is so unobtrusive to carry that I will rarely go on a family vacation without it, no matter where we are going. But I never use it at home and I find it inconvenient as a carry on because it has no protection for anything inside and if it is full it is hard to get things in and out, and in my regular life I find very little need for a backpack. I just got the Western Flyer for its versatility and so far it has served as a briefcase/computer/electronics/dopp kit/first aid travel carryon but I have just ordered an Empire Builder because I don't want to have to use the WF as my briefcase all the time and I want to be able to use the clothing capacity of the WF when I need to wihtout leaving all my other stuff strewn on the floor of my office. The idea of the 1 bag philosophy to me (as a newbie and struggling convert to this concept whose family has yet to convert and likely will not) is not necessarily to have 1 bag to do absolutely everything, it is to be comfortably mobile and independent without putting your possessions at risk or having to limit your activities when you get where you are going. (I still have a baggy ski jacket because I can carry some stuff with me in the pockets that I might need.) TB bags seem to be able to fill multiple needs depending on how you vary the accessories you use, and so they are all very much complementary (and very dangerous to the wallet I have discovered!) But what really seems to be great about them is that they have specialized capabilities that are truly specialized but also are versatile. So when my Empire Builder arrives it will be my computer and electronic accessories briefcase. But if I take out the brain cell it is no longer a computer bag but a cool briefcase and does not look like a computer bag! The Western Flyer is a great 2-4 day travel bag or gym bag or supplemental carryon and looks like a sharp small suitcase, but I can put a brain cell/Freudian slip in it and it becomes an acceptable briefcase or computer bag, or even a backpack in a pinch. It seems from the backpack folks that this same versatility is in the Brain Bag and Smart Alec, even though first and foremost they are outstanding backpacks. In the end, having this versatility allows you to tailor a few key main bags to your travel needs and have the ability to add a specialized bag to your main bag and still not have to check luggage, drag things on the floor, whack people in the head as you walk down the aisle of the plane, or put your stuff at risk. And it gives you the ability to have that specialized bag that you really want when you get where you are going, i.e. a briefcase on a business trip or a day pack on a beach trip or a protective camera bag on a trip to the Grand Canyon. Anyway, just a newbie's 2 cents. (Confession-- I am becoming a TB addict... I spend way too much time on this forum already and I am looking for reasons why I need to buy new things and looking for people for whom I can buy them as gifts. Thank God I don't need a Smart Alec. I see the customer service and the consumer loyalty and the true value of these products and I find every excuse and rationalization to support this entity as every day we hear more and more stories of just how screwed up the values of our country's businesses have become. I think I need professional help...)
    Western Flyer (Crimson); 4Z Brain Cell; Swift (wife); Empire Builder (Black/Steel/Wasabi); Aeronaut (Black/Steel); Side Effect (Black), 3D Cube (Olive); lots of cubes/pouches/kit; Synapse (Navy/Solar); Smart Alec (Cardinal/Steel)

  6. #6
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    I'm definitely a "Transit" person, on a day to day basis, which is why I love my Imago. I don't usually have much to transport, and what matters to me is quick access to my wallet or my lip balm or my keys, etc. However, when I'm flying, I turn into a transport person, because I'm paranoid and like to carry my expensive things (usually electronics) on me, and I also tend to have long layovers and flights so I want my back to be okay. My current backpack isn't very good for this, so I'm buying a Brain Bag soon (although I'm hesitating and wondering if I should get something smaller or wait for one of the bags that's designed as a carry-on. On the other hand, one can always find a use for a backpack, right?).

  7. #7
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    The Brain Bag should be perfect for you.

    The vast main compartments mean that you can use one of them for your gear and the other for your clothes.

    Then you can change and use the bag for clothes only, if you need different kind of clothes like going to Canada from Florida in winter.

    Then you can use it for a big shopping day such as Spring shopping at outlet malls for clothes or a tour de Fry's if you want gear.

    It is also useful to haul lots of books if, one day, your favorite book place just happens to get your favorite author or subject on sale at the store or they become available at the library after weeks of waiting for others to return them.

    The uses are endless.


    And you can use your Imago as your personal item

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    The Brain Bag should be perfect for you.

    The vast main compartments mean that you can use one of them for your gear and the other for your clothes.

    Then you can change and use the bag for clothes only, if you need different kind of clothes like going to Canada from Florida in winter.

    Then you can use it for a big shopping day such as Spring shopping at outlet malls for clothes or a tour de Fry's if you want gear.

    It is also useful to haul lots of books if, one day, your favorite book place just happens to get your favorite author or subject on sale at the store or they become available at the library after weeks of waiting for others to return them.

    The uses are endless.


    And you can use your Imago as your personal item
    haha, yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm getting one. I always go through at least a few days on wondering if I'm sure before I actually buy anything, especially in this price range. I still need to settle on color though! I thought I was sure I wanted Olive, but now I'm wondering if I want to go more conservative and get black or Steel, but on the other hand I don't think I'll ever need to worry about my backpack being more conservative. I'm going to med school, and then even when I'm a doctor, I won't be carrying my backpack around at work, so it doesn't matter.

    Er... complete thread derail. Back on topic, I'm flying out for a med school interview tomorrow and I really wish I already had my Brain Bag (and my new computer that got delayed by the weather). My Imago will be fine as my only carry-on though, as it's such a short flight and I'm not flying with much at all. Essentially, my Imago is my purse. Backpacks are a much different creature from messenger bags, I think.

    I wonder where the Buzz fits in. Are sling bags as easy access as messenger bags or more like backpacks? I've always wanted a Buzz because I love the aesthetic but I feel that it wouldn't make sense to own one because I already have my Imago and if I really need to carry something heavy, then I want something with backpack straps.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by timarelay View Post
    haha, yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm getting one. I always go through at least a few days on wondering if I'm sure before I actually buy anything, especially in this price range. I still need to settle on color though! I thought I was sure I wanted Olive, but now I'm wondering if I want to go more conservative and get black or Steel, but on the other hand I don't think I'll ever need to worry about my backpack being more conservative. I'm going to med school, and then even when I'm a doctor, I won't be carrying my backpack around at work, so it doesn't matter.


    What color is your Imago? A matching or contrasting color would work.

    I think that getting the Brain Bag in a novelty color is a good idea, I speak from experience since I missed the last of the Grape and ordered a Steel instead. I just got a new one in Sapphire before they are all gone too.

    Black and Steel are standard colors for Tom Bihn bags since they are considered "conservative, standard business colors". So you can always order
    a Brain Bag in that color later.


    Er... complete thread derail. Back on topic, I'm flying out for a med school interview tomorrow and I really wish I already had my Brain Bag (and my new computer that got delayed by the weather). My Imago will be fine as my only carry-on though, as it's such a short flight and I'm not flying with much at all. Essentially, my Imago is my purse. Backpacks are a much different creature from messenger bags, I think.

    I wonder where the Buzz fits in. Are sling bags as easy access as messenger bags or more like backpacks? I've always wanted a Buzz because I love the aesthetic but I feel that it wouldn't make sense to own one because I already have my Imago and if I really need to carry something heavy, then I want something with backpack straps.
    I have only one sling bag in my ample collection of bags and purses of all sorts.
    It is not a Tom Bihn bag. I bought it years ago thinking that it would help to lighten and balance the load of the stuff I carry everyday.

    Because of it's shape, it had to be loaded bottom heavy.
    When used cross body, It would not pivot fast enough to reach for bus passes, phone etc... and I could not wear it when it was cold, the strap wasn't long enough.

    I had to carry letter size documents and they would fit so I had to get one of those cheap nylon novelty bag at the local dollar store to hold them.
    The last straw was when I discovered that the seam of the cell phone pocket had an pinky size opening.

    But....when the Buzz came out I was seriously impressed.
    Ultimately I found out that I am not a sling bag person. I'd rather have Large Cafe Bag for my everyday bag and use it with the Brain Bag when I need to carry more stuff.
    For you the combo can be Imago/Brain Bag and it is usually sufficient for a weekend or a couple of days trip depending on the weather and access to a laundry facility (most of the higher end motel chains have a laundry room)
    Last edited by backpack; 01-29-2009 at 08:12 AM.

  10. #10
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    I must be the only one here with a problem because these bags will hold so much?

    I am just back from a few week long trips where I drive over 1000 miles each way,each trip.

    I used to fly a lot more but since 9/11 I really can not fly with what I need to have with me so I drive mostly now.
    Luckily I am going from cold and nasty to warm and beautiful so I have little challenge in the clothes area really.

    Of course technology is the issue for me.

    I need to bring an obscene variety and amount of gear for fear that I will not have some tool I may need and will have to either buy new or go without.

    So this last trip I brought both the Super Ego and Empire Builder with me,both as full as I have ever had either of them.

    I used to be able to drive non-stop but now I find myself getting to tired and so I stop and get a room.
    This is one spot where it gets interesting.
    I never want to leave too much valuable in the truck but I also do not want to carry too much inside and then back out in the morning.

    What I have learned is that I need to be smarter about exactly what I may be duplicating and also more detailed and organized about it all.

    An example is that while I have two Snake Charmer's and have no problem filling them both,do I really need both and do they have to crammed full?
    While I can get 2 computers into each bag easily,do I need to?

    So I have realized that these two bags can be the limit of how much Tech. I can carry along with an overnight bag for toiletries and a change of clothes and while I can lurk through an Airport with either one full for an unlimited time it gets old fast carrying them both even a short distance.

    One answer.....as I regress......Wheels!

    I have a few lightweight yet very strong folding carts that I have had for years.
    They are strong enough that I can move 300lb Televisions by myself easily with one and they fold flat too.
    So I just put my Briggs & Riley overnight bag on the bottem and the Empire Builder on it with the strap over the handle and the Super Ego on my shoulder and away I go.

    One thing I have learned about myself is that I will increase the level of stuff I bring in proportion to how easily I can move it.

    So now of course I am thinking of bringing more again.

    It will never end,the truck is too big!

    I guess what I am getting at is that I need both transport and transit all the time and at least I do not fear the bags will break and let me down,just that my back may.

    Ed

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by keb View Post
    (Confession-- I am becoming a TB addict... I spend way too much time on this forum already and I am looking for reasons why I need to buy new things and looking for people for whom I can buy them as gifts. Thank God I don't need a Smart Alec. I see the customer service and the consumer loyalty and the true value of these products and I find every excuse and rationalization to support this entity as every day we hear more and more stories of just how screwed up the values of our country's businesses have become. I think I need professional help...)
    Welcome to my world. No sooner to I pick one bag that I start to come up with reasons for another. What's worse is I'm trying to make my life simpler in a lot of ways and collecting a bag for every occasion (even if it is a TB bag) is not the way to do that.

    Back to your comments on the backpack for trips ... I definitely agree. I find a light and simple backpack very useful for vacations. I have one that folds from LL Bean that works well but even folded it's pretty bulky. I always end up with my Aeronaut full of essentials and that backpack in my hand staring at it and asking "do I really need this?" I'm usually happier if I bring it, except when packing.

    Which kind of relates to the topic if you think about it. Technically I should just use my Brain Bag or get a Smart Alec for my trips. Then I not only have a personal item but I also have my backpack for walking around at the beach or shopping. But (since I have to make an excuse) I don't like putting a DSLR in a backpack with no specific padding (or putting anything really rigid in a backpack for that matter) and I don't like the idea of a nice bag like the Brain Bag or Smart Alec being abused at the beach. So the specific backpack gets the nod and increases the load. (BTW - yes I know of the cube that converts to a backpack but I don't like they way it looks).

  12. #12
    keb
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    It is a slippery slope. Just "unboxed" my new Empire Builder and the first impression is outstanding. So now my Western Flyer is liberated from semi-permanent briefcase duty (which has felt sort of "abusive"-- it is weird how these bags take on personalities!) and I think my wallet can rest until the Aeronaut-TriStar debate begins before my next family vacation...

    My small backpack is a Gregory, I think. It doesn't fold into itself (too much padding on the back and straps). It lays pretty flat when empty so I usually just pack it either in a suitcase if I am going on a long trip or in one of my kids suitcases (there is just no way my wife and three girls are going to be one bag travelers), or just in the bottom of a wheeled carryon I have been using. The first three times I sat there staring at it just like you say, thinking "do I really need to pack this?" then once I get where I am going I am glad I have it. The hassle/benefit ratio calculation is so much more annoying now that the airports are so unpleasant and there are so many luggage mishaps and charges.
    Western Flyer (Crimson); 4Z Brain Cell; Swift (wife); Empire Builder (Black/Steel/Wasabi); Aeronaut (Black/Steel); Side Effect (Black), 3D Cube (Olive); lots of cubes/pouches/kit; Synapse (Navy/Solar); Smart Alec (Cardinal/Steel)


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