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Thread: Brain Bag VS. Smart Alec?

  1. #1
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    Question Brain Bag VS. Smart Alec?

    I've been rocking a Smart Alec for just over two years now. I love the bag and utilize it to its maximum potential. Which makes me think I need to upgrade to a larger bag. Anyone have any insight?

    Here's what I need:

    I currently use my Smart Alec to carry a mixed office when I travel for work. My bag usually contains a plethora of small items like keys, pens, IDs/passport, change, and the like. My main focus is on my 13" Macbook Pro + Vertical Brain Cell, a backup external hard drive, a Canon Rebel XT + Sigma 17-70 lens + Canon 50mm lens, a Snake Charmer packed to the gills (snakes don't have gills), plus I sometimes carry an accordion folder for papers, invoices, etc (maybe a Freudian Slip could help with this?). I'll also be adding an iPad into the mix in the near future. The camera and lenses I normally wrap inside of a hoodie. But I'm looking into grabbing an insert (like this one) to sit in the bottom of the bag, as I see no release date for Tom's camera insert in the near future.

    Would a Brain Bag be an upgrade for me? Or should I stick with the Smart Alec?
    http://www.playthisrecord.com

    My Tom Bihn arsenal
    Bags: Steel/Solar Aeronaut w/ Absolute Strap | Black/Steel Brain Bag | Black/Cardinal Tri-Star | Black/Steel/Solar Smart Alec
    Accessories: Camera I-O, Tripod Quiver, Brain Cell, Snake Charmer, Vertical Freudian Slip, Vertical iPad Cache, RFID Blocking Passport Pouch, Kit, Travel Tray, various Organizer Cubes & Pouches

  2. #2
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    Sounds like you're asking for agreement that you should buy the Brain Bag. So here it is: BUY THE BRAIN BAG. And definitely buy the Freudian Slip.

    Seriously, is the Smart Alec overstuffed? If so, it's time to move up—so long as you don't mind carrying everything and the kitchen sink. And with a handle like leviathan, I'm guessing you're up to it.

  3. #3
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    The Freudian Slip is great for organization and will help you cart some papers around. You do want to use file folders in it because the Slip is not totally stiff and if you put papers straight in it they will wrinkle...

  4. #4
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    I don't have a Smart Alec but I have 3 Brain Bags.

    The best backpack I've ever owned, hands down.

    I have been using urban backpacks (as in non camping) ever since they were first put in the market. I have used many brands and many size of backpacks hence my screen name.

    Like others, I strongly suggest that you order a Freudian Slip (or two).

    The Brain Bag has two main compartments, it should be ideal for the items you plan to transport.

    Do measure your widest item to make sure it fits in the width of the compartments, there is no need to worry about a quarter, half or inch because the divider is flexible.

    I am sure owners of both the Smart Alex and the Brain Bag will chime in.


    In the meantime, check the picture thread on this forum and on Tom Bihn Flicker page Flickr: tom bihn bags

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the replies, friends. I think my biggest concern is if that insert I linked to would fit into the bottom of the front pocket. If that works out I'll be golden.

    Mountainsmith

    Its outer dimensions are: 11'' x 4.5'' x 7.5''
    http://www.playthisrecord.com

    My Tom Bihn arsenal
    Bags: Steel/Solar Aeronaut w/ Absolute Strap | Black/Steel Brain Bag | Black/Cardinal Tri-Star | Black/Steel/Solar Smart Alec
    Accessories: Camera I-O, Tripod Quiver, Brain Cell, Snake Charmer, Vertical Freudian Slip, Vertical iPad Cache, RFID Blocking Passport Pouch, Kit, Travel Tray, various Organizer Cubes & Pouches

  6. #6
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    I have both and my only caution would be that the BB is really big. If you really must carry a ton of stuff then it's a good choice. I've found that I don't like all the weight so I opt for the SA more often. I do like the organization of the BB better though. But the SA is better looking imo.
    Owner of : Imago, Aeronaut, Brain Bag, Smart Alec, Synapse, Co-Pilot

  7. #7
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    The BB is really big if you fill it up. Otherwise, cinch it in. (Can't do that with the SA.)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by leviathan View Post
    Thanks for the replies, friends. I think my biggest concern is if that insert I linked to would fit into the bottom of the front pocket. If that works out I'll be golden.

    Mountainsmith

    its dimension are 17.5" x 13.5" x 4.25"

    The Packing Cube Backpack for Aeronaut fits in either compartment of the Brain Bag with a little more wiggle room.

    Its outer dimensions are: 11'' x 4.5'' x 7.5''
    Last edited by backpack; 05-25-2011 at 10:14 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    The Packing Cube Backpack for Aeronaut fits in either compartment of the Brain Bag with a little more wiggle room.

    Its outer dimensions are: 11'' x 4.5'' x 7.5''
    YES. This is exactly the info I needed. In which direction(s) does the Packing Cube have wiggle room? If the width of the compartment is 5" I think I may have found a suitable camera insert.
    http://www.playthisrecord.com

    My Tom Bihn arsenal
    Bags: Steel/Solar Aeronaut w/ Absolute Strap | Black/Steel Brain Bag | Black/Cardinal Tri-Star | Black/Steel/Solar Smart Alec
    Accessories: Camera I-O, Tripod Quiver, Brain Cell, Snake Charmer, Vertical Freudian Slip, Vertical iPad Cache, RFID Blocking Passport Pouch, Kit, Travel Tray, various Organizer Cubes & Pouches

  10. #10
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    My Packing Cube Backpack is packed full.

    I use it the way I would use a Synapse.

    Tomorrow, I will test it inside one of my Brain Bag.


    I can already tell you that I think it will fit, a quarter of an inch for the depth of each compartment is nothing.

    It will fit in length and in width.


    18" x 14" x 9" Brain Bag outer dimensions.


    PS: sorry for messing up the quote while responding to your post, I clicked the wrong button, I guess.

  11. #11
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    Let me just say that you all are terrible for my bank account. i just caved in and bought the Brain Bag (Steel) and an iPad Cache.
    Janine likes this.
    http://www.playthisrecord.com

    My Tom Bihn arsenal
    Bags: Steel/Solar Aeronaut w/ Absolute Strap | Black/Steel Brain Bag | Black/Cardinal Tri-Star | Black/Steel/Solar Smart Alec
    Accessories: Camera I-O, Tripod Quiver, Brain Cell, Snake Charmer, Vertical Freudian Slip, Vertical iPad Cache, RFID Blocking Passport Pouch, Kit, Travel Tray, various Organizer Cubes & Pouches

  12. #12
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    Congrats leviathan! You will not regret it and we can all sympathize on the bank account front!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffmac View Post
    Congrats leviathan! You will not regret it and we can all sympathize on the bank account front!
    +1 and we want pictures when the package comes in!
    jeffmac likes this.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by leviathan View Post
    Let me just say that you all are terrible for my bank account. i just caved in and bought the Brain Bag (Steel) and an iPad Cache.
    You really can't go too wrong with the BB. If you need that size and space and you like the looks it's a great bag.
    Owner of : Imago, Aeronaut, Brain Bag, Smart Alec, Synapse, Co-Pilot

  15. #15
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    I find a fully stuffed Brain Bag is too think to fit in the luggage sizer when flying. I take out the Brain Cell, and use that as my second carry on, and fly with the laptop part empty and compressed.

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