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  1. #1
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    Recommendation for teacher?

    I’m looking for some advice regarding my second bag purchase. Whatever I get will need to accommodate a Macbook 13”, tons of papers + school supplies, a water bottle, and a change of shoes.

    My current beloved Buzz bag is so close to doing the trick, but I’m pretty sure the Freudian slip is going to change my life As a teacher, I’m partial to the vertical format because it will help separate the papers for my four different classes. That pretty much limits me to the Smart Alec, since the Brain Bag is too big for me (I’m 5’4’’). I’m just concerned that even the Smart Alec is going to be too big and I wish it had different (side zip?) laptop access.

    Are there any teachers out there who can recommend their system? Or women who can talk about the Q-AM strap + their bag of choice? Or walker/bikers who can vouch for comfort?

  2. #2
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    hi margot!

    my wife is is about 5' 4", and she has carried the smart alec backpack on many trips and has found it quite comfortable to carry - even when running through an airport to make it to the gate on time.

    the smart alec really does sound like a good fit for what you are describing. the synapse backpack would work as well (depending on what you mean by "tons" of paper) if you weren't going to carry a change of shoes.

    i've done 14 mile bike rides with the synapse, the smart alec and the brain bag, and have found them all very comfortable to carry. the synapse is certainly the most comfortable because of its size. it looks small, but it holds quite a bit. the difference for me between what the synapse and smart alec will hold is a big kids lunch box (yes, i use the hand me down lunchbox that my son used last year). and, i can carry a pair of shoes in the bungee cord of the smart alec - that's really what has me recommending the smart alec for what you describe. also, i keep a pair of sandals at work - not sure if that's an option for you.

    also, the freudian slip will fit in the smart alec, but not the synapse. but, the synapse provides an element of organization via the generous front compartments.

    best of all, you can order both and try them out inside the comfort of your home like you would a pair of shoes and see how each one holds the stuff you want to carry and how each feels on your back. oh, and it might be a good idea to put the shoes into a shoe bag before you try bungeeing them into the smart alec.


    Quote Originally Posted by Margot View Post
    Im looking for some advice regarding my second bag purchase. Whatever I get will need to accommodate a Macbook 13, tons of papers + school supplies, a water bottle, and a change of shoes.

    My current beloved Buzz bag is so close to doing the trick, but Im pretty sure the Freudian slip is going to change my life As a teacher, Im partial to the vertical format because it will help separate the papers for my four different classes. That pretty much limits me to the Smart Alec, since the Brain Bag is too big for me (Im 54). Im just concerned that even the Smart Alec is going to be too big and I wish it had different (side zip?) laptop access.

    Are there any teachers out there who can recommend their system? Or women who can talk about the Q-AM strap + their bag of choice? Or walker/bikers who can vouch for comfort?

  3. #3
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    Hey Margot:
    I do work in a university--so do have some thoughts.
    1. If you want to use the Freudian Slip, you are limited to the Smart Alec as a backpack. For organizational purposes, it will hold your Freudian Slip + macbook + shoes + kitchen sink! It is a cavernous bag--see Peregrina's recent video.
    2. If you do not want to use a freudian slip, I would say Synapse. I got it recently, and I love it. It holds the Macbook + I have several separate letter sized folders. I have been able to carry 2 2inch regular binders along with Macbook with no problem.
    The external pockets will swallow up all your supplies etc.,
    Shoes: I have been able to carry shoes in the Synapse --not sneakers--but slip ons even with the Macbook; I wear a size 7.5 in women's.

    I think you will love the Smart Alec: it is easy to carry etc., but if you don't fill it up, I find that it can get a bit messy. Things float around inside, and can get crumpled--again depending on how you carry them. The Smart Alec is more useful if you have various organizers; whereas Synapse is pre-organized for you!

  4. #4
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    Thumbs up Plus a Cafe bag

    On vacations, I use my Ruk's Sac backpack to carry things and a large Cafe bag with Absolute strap for instant access to needed item's. I'm 5'7" and it works out fine.

    The CoPilot will soon replace the cafe bag.

    This combination may work for you if you need to carry extra items.
    Been there. Done that. Can't remember.

  5. #5
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    Hi Margot,

    I'm a teacher educator (and former teacher), so I know exactly what you mean about having to carry around tons of papers and other odds and ends. I've done several posts in the past about the amazing amount I can fit inside my Brain Bag. But since that's not an option for you, I think you might give the Synapse a try. It's very sleek, but it will hold a lot and the multiple pockets make for great organizational possibilities. I still use my Brain Bag on days when I have my biggest loads, but most days the Synapse does fine. I typically carry a 13" laptop, several file folders of papers, a couple textbooks, cell phone, power brick, pens, flash drives, energy bars, etc. The Synapse can handle all that but still maintain a slim profile. (And maybe we can get Tom to design a smaller Freudian Slip for the Synapse since it seems like lots of people are using it as a laptop/work bag.)
    Last edited by gmich; 10-01-2010 at 09:33 PM.

  6. #6
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    Hi, Margot. The Freudian Slip is the best accessory ever for carrying papers.

    As for size, look at the product pages for the Smart Alec and Brain Bag. The SA is 18.5 inches high and the BB 18 inches. (The BB is wider.)

    I call my Smart Alec the jet pack; it can feel that big. The Brain Bag actually seems smaller (when not fully loaded), because of the compression straps. They cinch down to reduce the bag's depth and bring the weight of the contents in against my back.

    The Synapse is a great size that seems to work for a lot of different-size people. Since there's no Freudian Slip for it, I use a large pouch for files and papers; it also works in the Buzz. (I'm impressed that you can get a pair of shoes in the Buzz along with everything else.)

  7. #7
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    Gosh, thanks everyone for all the info and speedy advice…what a great place!

    After mulling this over, I realized that I’m looking for a vertical laptop bag/backpack. My dream situation would be to use the Q-AM strap with an (imaginary) XL Ristretto, say 2-3 inches larger on all sides, enough to fit the horizontal Freudian slip (turned vertically) or, better yet, a smaller version of the actual vertical slip. While I’m dreaming I’d add my favorite feature of the Buzz bag, the cell phone pocket, which I actually use to carry my little camera. And since this is a fantasy, I just somehow wouldn’t need the whole bungee/shoe system.

    Alas, with the snow in Boston (read: change of shoes), and the quantity of papers for my job, it seems the Smart Alec is in order. I’m just a little concerned about feeling like I’m wearing a rocket! If only the Synapse or the Buzz could fit the Freudian slip, which I’m totally persuaded is going to solve all my problems

    ps: anyone know if the Ruck Sac's will be available again?

  8. #8
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    Hi Margot,

    I'm 5'4'', carry around papers for teaching, have a 13" MacBook, and have the Smart Alec, vertical Freudian Slip, Buzz (both original model designed for the 12" Powerbook and current version for larger laptops), Ristretto, Imago (with Q-Am strap), and Synapse (and I've also lived in the Boston/Cambridge area). (Wow, confessions about my multiple bags; I don't have a Ruck's Sack) My personal preference is for the Synapse. I could carry shoes (size 6) in that bag, but I agree that it would be tight for all the stuff you want to carry. The Smart Alec does carry a lot, and I have one colleague who likes it (for Airplane travel -- she uses a Buzz for day to day). Even given the wonderful use of the Freudian Slip that is possible with the Smart Alec, I still prefer the Synapse (and the built-in water bottle compartment is great). I think this is all personal preference. Another possibility is the ID bag, and the Horizontal Freudian Slip (I have this, too), but I think that you're better off considering either the Smart Alec or the Synapse. Just my thoughts. YMMV.

    moriond

  9. #9
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    Before I got a Freudian Slip, I used this and it worked really well. It's vertically oriented, and since the opening is at the top you can access individual folders from a backpack without removing it from the bag. Also, the folders that come with it are plastic (so they last a long time), and closed on the bottom edge so papers don't fall out when you're removing it. In fact, I still use those folders with my Freudian Slip. Using this I think you could get most everything you need inside the Synapse...just not sure about the shoes.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmich View Post
    Before I got a Freudian Slip, I used this and it worked really well. It's vertically oriented, and since the opening is at the top you can access individual folders from a backpack without removing it from the bag. Also, the folders that come with it are plastic (so they last a long time), and closed on the bottom edge so papers don't fall out when you're removing it. In fact, I still use those folders with my Freudian Slip. Using this I think you could get most everything you need inside the Synapse...just not sure about the shoes.
    This is a nice suggestion. Here's another thought. What if you carried your shoes in a bag like The Little Swift along with your regular wallet, etc. items? I can fit my shoes into the bottom of the Little Swift (size 6, probably could be a bit larger and still fit). You can see the Little Swift in peregrina's video of the Smart Alec in the Little Swift inside Smart Alec thread. I actually do use the combination of the Synapse and the Little Swift. I can carry my iPad separately in the Little Swift if I want to just take along a more restricted set of items.

    moriond

  11. #11
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    Perhaps this will help--in my Synapse I have loaded up the following for work in the main compartment:

    9 Manila file folders of moderate thickness
    A very large text book
    A regular notebook
    IPad

    Right side pocket:
    Maui Jim sun glasses in hard case
    IPhone

    Left pocket:
    Keys
    Access card in small, clear pouch (on a key fob)
    Pens, pencil and highlighted

    Water bottle pocket:
    Contigo Spill - proof bottle OR a small umbrella (depends on the weather)

    Add 6 pouches of various sizes on a medium key ring clipped to either of the o rings in the main compartment.

    In the front bottom pocket, there is Burt's Bees lip balm, small pack of tissues, microfiber cleaning cloth, and other strange girl stuff not worth detailing.

    This is my everyday, go everywhere bag! I love it. If it is a heavy duty work day and I must haul my huge HP laptop, I ask my Empire Builder to come along for the fun!
    Ego in Black, Steel, Wasabi, Empire Builder in Black, Black, Sapphire (Husband), 2 Brain Cells (Black), 2 Medium Cafe Bags - 1 in Black, Wasabi & 1 in Navy, Cayenne, 2 Large Cafe bags w/Absolute Straps - 1 in Linen, Olive and 1 in Cocoa, Wasabi, Guardian Dual Function Light & Lots of pouches!


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