Backback v. Hybrid Bag - Need Advice
I’m new to this board and in need of some assistance in choosing a Tom Bihn bag. What I’m looking for is a bag to serve as a jack of all trades. My search began last month when I traveled on a 4-night vacation with my family. Because my wife and I have two young children flying can be a bit of a chore. Before you can even think about luggage you have to consider that you will be lugging around several car seats. Thus, begun my search for the perfect travel bag.
After some brief internet research I ordered a Patagonia MCL bag, which arrived the day before the trip. I was able to pack clothing for both myself and my young son in the MCL. I thought this was rather impressive. The trip went as smooth as a trip can go with two young children. The most satisfying moment was when I was running through the airport (late for a connection of course) with the kids in a stroller and the MCL on my back. Put simply, we never would have made the flight without the MCL or similar type bag.
Although I was impressed with the MCL’s ability to store my clothing, I was not completely sold. First, the primary handle on top was flimsy and I rarely used it for this reason. Second, I was not impressed with the material and hardware used. Third, the front pocket is designed in such a way that it is virtually worthless – the zipper is not long enough to access the pocket (apparently this was not an issue on older MCL bags). Finally, and most importantly, after reflecting on the trip I realized what I liked most about the MCL: its ability to be carried as a backpack. It was the form and function of the bag that I liked, not the execution. Once I came home the bag was promptly returned.
After spending many hours and reading countless reviews, it appears that Tom Bihn makes the best bags money can buy. Having never seen one in person I would love some help in finding the right one for me, so here it goes….. I am open to both backpacks and hybrid type bags. I rarely travel overnight for business (like 1-2 times a year). Therefore, most of the clothing I will be carrying will be somewhat casual. Also, I also rarely carry a laptop (or any sort of electronics for that matter) Most of my trips are long weekends, but I would like a bag that could be used for both long weekend as well as week long trips (if I pack really light). Also, to throw another wrench in the mix, ideally the bag could double as a gym bag.
Does anyone here use the WF, TS or Brain Bag for this purpose? Also, has anyone taken any of the above listed bags on a cruise? Any and all suggestions are welcome. Sorry for the long post.