Thinking about purchasing... something
Hooo-rah! I just got paid for a seemingly endless project I just wrapped up. Now, it's time to take care of some things I've been putting off for too long. If I'm lucky, I'll have a budget of about $200, give or take a few. I want to replace one on my aging bags with a new Tom Bihn bag. There are other necessary charges about to go onto my plastic first, notably some computer upgrades.
I will definitely not have enough money to replace all of my aging pack wares at once, so I'll have to choose one and get something minimal, maybe adding onto it later.
In this thread, you'll see pictures of some of my aging wares, and why I need to replace them. There are more images in this thread, which discusses briefcases and notebooks. I've been thinking about which one to tackle first, and how to go about it.
Choosing between which bag to replace first is a bit of a headache. The one in the most ailing condition would be my backpack. That thing is really showing its age and foreign-made lack of quality. I was thinking of replacing it with a Smart Alec. Problem: if I bought a bag, any bag, I would likely want to buy a Brain Cell for my MacBook Pro to go with it. (It is my understanding that the Brain Cell can be snapped inside many TB bags using "annex clips", an extremely attractive safety feature for me.) That would jack to price up considerably. I doubt I could afford a Freudian Slip to go with it. (I do not know enough about this pending "field journal" as yet, so maybe I should hold off and see if I get more money down the road for a Freudian Slip and/or a "field journal". I will definitely not have enough money for other add-ons like Organizer Pouches, which I would really want to have, but I could always buy pouches at a later date, as I figure out how I could use them. A Guardian Light would also be nice, but that would also have to wait.)
Then there are other, competing interests. Despite the shape my backpack is in, I would be equally inclined to look at replacing two of my other bags first: the slowly deteriorating Kensington Saddlebag and my simple briefcase. The thought occurred to me that I could kill two birds with one stone here by replacing both bags at one time with a single Tom Bihn bag with a Brain Cell, the candidates being:
Empire Builder or Zephyr - an all-business-looking briefcase, which has built-in file folders (a HUGE plus; I could forego the Freudian Slip for the time being)
Ego or Super Ego - I'm not a huge fan of the styling, but I like the construction and capacities of these bags and I could always add a Q-AM strap to it down the road to make it into a quasi-backpack. These bags would make a Freudian Slip more of a necessity though, and I can't afford one now. The Super Ego would be a HUGE plus, beacuse it would have enough room for use as a semi-overnight bag.
If I went the breifcase/messenger bag route, I could not afford a Shoulder Strap, Organizer Pouches or a Freudian Slip right away, but having one of these would be a tremendous asset for business purposes.
What I really want doesn't seem to exist: I want an extra-large version of the Checkpoint Flyer that can be worn as either a shoulder bag, a hand-carried-briefcase or as a backpack with sternum and waist straps. Unfortunately, no such animal exists. Maybe someday.
TB SuperEgo vs. Orvis Safe Passage Laptop Briefcase
My bag purchase has been delayed because my laptop upgrade turned out to be more expensive than I expected. But I am still intent upon replacing the old Kensington Saddlebag and briefcase with something that will combine the two into one highly functional shoulder bag. It will simply take longer than expected to raise the money.
I've been looking at other sites, and never found anything that compares to Tom Bihn bags. Then this evening I attended a meeting and one of the presenters had a briefcase unlike any I had ever seen before. He said it was an Orvis. I checked the company out on the web and the bag is called a Safe Passage Laptop Briefcase. I decided to compare the Safe Passage with Bihn's Super Ego:
TOM BIHN SUPER EGO
- Capacity: 27 liters / 1680 cu. in.
- Eye-catching styling, nice selection of colors
- Exterior: 1050 d Ballistic nylon
- Interior: 500 Cordura
- Made in USA (HUGE PLUS!!!)
- Lifetime Warranty (ANOTHER HUGE PLUS!!!)
- O-rings and substantial selection of pouches and other accessories make this bag highly "expandable"
- Available shoulder strap options, including Q-AM strap, make this into a urban quasi-backpack
- Brain Cell option provides superior protection for laptops, all the way up to 15-17-inch sizes
- Downside: all those options add up fast; fully outfitted bag could cost over $250 when equipped with Brain Cell, Freudian Slip, shoulder strap and pouches.
ORVIS SAFE PASSAGE LAPTOP BRIEFCASE
- Capacity: 1,768 cu. in. / 28.9 liters
- Seems to only be available in green, but looks great
- Foreign-made (Bummer!)
- Lifetime Warranty (HUGE PLUS!)
- No apparent o-rings or any expandability options
- Comes with only one shoulder strap; no apparent Q-AM option
- No Brain Cell option, no way to clip it in this bag if bought separately
- Cheap at less than $100, but lacks expandability options, so low cost is misleading.
What do you think of my evaluation?