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Thread: Advice? Time for a new Tom Bihn bag

  1. #1
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    Advice? Time for a new Tom Bihn bag

    I'm looking for a little advice from other Tom Bihn-ers. I've realized I need a new bag because I keep scrambling around trying to piece together what I need from bags I already have. I am a grad student and part-time personal/executive coach. I commute between Chicago (where I live) and Detroit regularly and work from three different locations when I am in Detroit. I have a Brain Bag, which I love and have had for six years now. It's great for packing my computer, Snake Charmer, and the tons of books I use for school. I also have a large Cafe Bag, which is great at conferences or places I don't need my computer. But the Brain Bag is just too big for everyday stuff, and I hate having to empty everything out before I can use it daily. The Cafe Bag doesn't hold my computer safely, though it did ok back in my 12" PowerBook days. So...

    I'm looking for a bag that's not too big but not too small. I'd like it to take my 13" MacBook Pro and essential cords; Sony reader; pencil case and another organizer pouch or two; a few inches of files; and maybe a book or two (not enough academic stuff available on ebook!). I've looked at the Ristretto, the Buzz, and the ID. I'd love not to have to transfer my Brain Cell from my Brain Bag, but I don't know if the Ristretto or Buzz has enough room for all the other stuff I'd like to lug.

    Thoughts? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcw5678 View Post
    I'm looking for a little advice from other Tom Bihn-ers. I've realized I need a new bag because I keep scrambling around trying to piece together what I need from bags I already have. I am a grad student and part-time personal/executive coach. I commute between Chicago (where I live) and Detroit regularly and work from three different locations when I am in Detroit. I have a Brain Bag, which I love and have had for six years now. It's great for packing my computer, Snake Charmer, and the tons of books I use for school. I also have a large Cafe Bag, which is great at conferences or places I don't need my computer. But the Brain Bag is just too big for everyday stuff, and I hate having to empty everything out before I can use it daily. The Cafe Bag doesn't hold my computer safely, though it did ok back in my 12" PowerBook days. So...

    I'm looking for a bag that's not too big but not too small. I'd like it to take my 13" MacBook Pro and essential cords; Sony reader; pencil case and another organizer pouch or two; a few inches of files; and maybe a book or two (not enough academic stuff available on ebook!). I've looked at the Ristretto, the Buzz, and the ID. I'd love not to have to transfer my Brain Cell from my Brain Bag, but I don't know if the Ristretto or Buzz has enough room for all the other stuff I'd like to lug.

    Thoughts? Thanks!
    The Ristretto wouldn't be able to hold a Brain Cell--it doesn't have the clips. Also, I do believe it would be to small for all of the stuff you want to hold. I have no experience with the Buzz--so I cannot help you there. That leads us to the ID. This probably would work for you. You would have to get a Horizontal Brain Cell* for your MBP. You should be able to fit the few inches of files and books into the main compartment. That leaves you with the front open compartment and the sides for the rest of your stuff.

    Have you thought about a Zephyr or Empire Builder? Both have ~ the some capacity as the ID--but they're more of a briefcase and less of a bag.

    Black/Steel/Wasabi Super Ego, Cardinal/Steel 15"/13" Cadet, Cardinal/Steel Aeronaut, Olive/Cayenne 13" Ristretto, Camera Insert/Outsert, Horizontal Freudian Slip, 13" MBA Cache, Brain Cell for 13" Macbook, Steel Snake Charmer, FoT/FoJ pouch, Organizer Wallet, and more organizer pouches than I can shake a stick at.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcw5678 View Post
    I'm looking for a little advice from other Tom Bihn-ers. I've realized I need a new bag because I keep scrambling around trying to piece together what I need from bags I already have. I am a grad student and part-time personal/executive coach. I commute between Chicago (where I live) and Detroit regularly and work from three different locations when I am in Detroit. I have a Brain Bag, which I love and have had for six years now. It's great for packing my computer, Snake Charmer, and the tons of books I use for school. I also have a large Cafe Bag, which is great at conferences or places I don't need my computer. But the Brain Bag is just too big for everyday stuff, and I hate having to empty everything out before I can use it daily. The Cafe Bag doesn't hold my computer safely, though it did ok back in my 12" PowerBook days. So...

    I'm looking for a bag that's not too big but not too small. I'd like it to take my 13" MacBook Pro and essential cords; Sony reader; pencil case and another organizer pouch or two; a few inches of files; and maybe a book or two (not enough academic stuff available on ebook!). I've looked at the Ristretto, the Buzz, and the ID. I'd love not to have to transfer my Brain Cell from my Brain Bag, but I don't know if the Ristretto or Buzz has enough room for all the other stuff I'd like to lug.

    Thoughts? Thanks!
    Hi there:
    did you want a backpack style or a messenger style? The Synapse will hold everything you have listed here and it is very compact. It is a great design and by far the most versatile.
    I think the Imago will work too--the MacBook Pro does fit in it with the cache and it will have space for all the other stuff.
    dorayme likes this.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcw5678 View Post
    Brain Bag is just too big for everyday stuff, and I hate having to empty everything out before I can use it daily.
    What about Tristar / Western and packing cubes to make swapping contents easier? When full they hold a lot, and when more empty they deflate and look pretty close to a briefcase / laptop bag...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcw5678 View Post
    I'm looking for a bag that's not too big but not too small. I'd like it to take my 13" MacBook Pro and essential cords; Sony reader; pencil case and another organizer pouch or two; a few inches of files; and maybe a book or two (not enough academic stuff available on ebook!). I've looked at the Ristretto, the Buzz, and the ID. I'd love not to have to transfer my Brain Cell from my Brain Bag, but I don't know if the Ristretto or Buzz has enough room for all the other stuff I'd like to lug.

    Thoughts? Thanks!
    I have the Ristretto, Buzz, and ID bag, and also carry a 13" MacBook Pro. I agree with Shiva's recommendation that the Synapse would be the best bag for the combination that you describe. In size, its capacity (19 liters) is larger than any of the other bags you mention, except for the ID bag (20.9 liters). This is a little over half the capacity of the Brain Bag (36 liters). It's also really well designed for carrying just the MacBook Pro and cords, but also accommodating other books and notebooks if you need to carry them, whereas I don't think that's as true of the Ristretto or the Buzz. The main argument that I'd see going for the ID Bag in your case would be if you decided that you wanted to carry the MacBook Pro inside a Brain Cell. In that case, the ID Bag is the only bag of the ones that you mention that will carry the Brain Cell. If you wanted a more formal, briefcase style bag that will carry a Brain Cell and still have the capacity for the other items, you could consider either an Empire Builder or a Zephyr. In the case of the ID Bag or Empire Builder (22.5 liters) (or smaller sized Zephyr (17.5 liters), you'd probably carry the bag over the shoulder with an Absolute Strap. However, for the academic environment (unless you are trying to look professional for business interviews or law school), I think the Synapse will work better for you.

    The organization of the pockets is extremely handy for cables, power supplies, and miscellaneous stuff. You've got a water bottle pocket (and if you don't use it for water, you can fit a Kindle in that pocket). You probably want to get some 3D Clear Organizer pouches and maybe a Kit to use in the bag. The big difference is that you'll want to use a vertical cache to carry your laptop in the Synapse. If you're used to carrying a backpack, you'll find the Synapse very comfortable.

    Check out the pictures from a first impressions review of the Synapse at the edcforums. (OK you're not going to use this backpack as a tactical bag, but these are some of the best pictures I've seen of the backpack pad and strap design.) The Synapse carries an amazing amount in its small size. It will also fit even under airplane seats that have entertainment control boxes. I recommend it highly.

    moriond

  6. #6
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    Thanks to all

    Thanks, everybody, for the advice. After all that, my dad pulled out a backpack that he's not using that is perfect for my purposes. But I am definitely keeping the Synapse in mind for Christmas anyway!

  7. #7
    Registered User Lani's Avatar
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    I'm going to assume the Co-Pilot is too small to house a 13-inch laptop? Maybe time for a smaller laptop so you can use the Co-Pilot? How's that for backwards?!? lol
    Lani Teshima: A Dyneema diva with a closetful of Tom Bihn products!
    Publisher, The Travelite FAQ: Don't get saddled with baggage—free yourself & your mind by packing lightly!
    Editor, MousePlanet: Detailed park guides, daily news & stories from all over the Disney kingdom | Technical writer | Marathoner


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