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Thread: Question about the horizontal brain cell and the brain bag

  1. #1
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    Question about the horizontal brain cell and the brain bag

    I've got these on order, my first order from Tom Bihn. I'm demoing different laptop backpacks, I selected 5 to review and I've now gotten 4 of them. This will be the last one. I've got one that I like and am willing to use (the Expandable Trek from Brenthaven), but I'm excited to check out the Brain Bag. It's got a legendary reputation.

    One question/concern I have is the use of the Brain Cell. Once the thing is clipped into the bag, is it easy to take the laptop out of the Brain Cell and then at the end of my work day, put it back in? Or do I have to unclip it from the bag and remove it to handle the laptop? I'm hoping it's pretty simple and straightforward with a very low hassle factor. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Registered User marbenais's Avatar
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    I haven't had a problem with keeping the Brain Cell clipped into the Brain Bag and moving the laptop in and out of it. I've found the Horizontal Brain Cell to be easier, for maneuvering the laptop in and out, than the Vertical Brain Cell.
    I have : many pouches & wallets & 3D Cubes & CQPCs & Stuff Sacks & Shop Bags, plum & black (C) & black/UV & aubergine/UV (B) Side Effects, steel/UV Citizen Canine, black FJN, plum/wasabi SCB, Cork Little Swift, black/steel Co-Pilot, old plum/olive (C) & black/UV (D) LCB, plum/black (C) Swift, old plum/olive (C) Imago, old plum/wasabi Ruck's Sac, steel WF/TS PCB, plum/solar & black/UV (C) & steel/UV (D) Synapses, black/iberian Smart Alec, steel Brain Bag.

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    Thank you for that response! I'd actually tried to order the vertical brain cell but they were out of stock, so went with the horizontal instead. Very excited to check this bag and these accessories out in depth (also got the vertical freudian slip).

    My biggest concern with the bag is the one I mentioned above, and then will it have sufficient organizational capabilities. I understand I can get a bunch of separate pouches, but I'm hoping that the bag combined with the freudian slip will meet my organizational needs.

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    Not real sure I understand your question?

    As long as the Velcro top flaps of any Brain Cell are horizontal in the bag your computer will slide right in and out.

    If the flaps are on the sides of the bag,forget about it working.

    Does that make sense?

    Ed

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    Quote Originally Posted by AVService View Post
    Not real sure I understand your question?

    As long as the Velcro top flaps of any Brain Cell are horizontal in the bag your computer will slide right in and out.

    If the flaps are on the sides of the bag,forget about it working.

    Does that make sense?

    Ed
    Not really. I think I'll have to see it.

    Here's a link to the picture on the product page. Looks like the top should just fold up and reveal the laptop.



    Hopefully that picture shows. First attempt here.

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    Interesting. I posted a response and it never appeared here. Hmmm...

    AVService, thanks for the response. We're even now, because you don't understand my question and I don't understand your answer!

    All I was asking was, once I have the horizontal brain cell clipped into the Brain Bag, can I then easily put the laptop into it and take the laptop out of it without having to remove the brain cell from the bag. Sounds like the answer is yes.

    I'm really excited to get my bag and accessories. I'm in the midst of "the great laptop backpack search of 2012". Had a Tumi ballistic briefcase since 2003 but it started breaking down 2 years ago. Tumi used to make great stuff until they moved their manufacturing overseas. Then it went downhill. And no surprise, they shortened their warranty. Used to be a lifetime warranty, now limited 5 years. Had to pay $120 to fix the back up 2 years ago, now it's breaking again and I'm done with it. So looking for an alternative.

    It's almost impossible to get a true sense of all these different bags from a website, so I ordered 5 bags, figured I'd try them out and return the 4 I didn't choose to keep and use. The 5 I ordered were bags from eBags, Victorinox, Briggs & Riley, Brenthaven, and the Brain Bag. I got the first 4 and of those, the Brenthaven Expandable Trek is the winner to date. But I have a feeling that the Brain Bag with the brain cell and freudian slip may just knock it off the perch.

    At first, I was put off by all the options, thinking "don't make me research how to make this bag a good laptop bag, just sell me one", but the more I think about it, the more I like the modular approach. Once I get where I'm going on a trip, I can take that stuff out and just use it as a great backpack.

    My concern is how integrated will the modular approach feel? With the Brenthaven, the quality is great and the features are built in. The bag is efficient and ergonomic. I'm hoping I feel the same putting these add-ons into the Brain Bag. It's got a legendary reputation, can't wait to get mine and see how it fits and feels.

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    I guess I was confused by your question because of course the Brain Cell works as designed and the computer slides in and out without trouble?
    I had to think I misunderstood you as trying to stick the Cell in the bag sideways or something.
    It is not uncommon for me to remove and reload the computer a dozen times a day or more from each side of a BB and I have never even considered this really,it just seems like it is as it should be.
    You will like it.

    I also like the Brenthaven bags and in general am a huge Briggs and Riley fan too. They both do still stand behind the product but it is a different design look than here but great bags nonetheless.

    I like the modular design here as I am always reconfiguring my bags for different jobs.
    The only problem with the BB is it just holds too much!

    Ed

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    Ed....that's what I was hoping (re the brain cell) and figured, just wanted to be sure.

    I've read a ton of reviews on all these bags, the Brain Bag most of all simply because it's so distinctive. I hear a lot of people saying the problem is you can put too much into it and it gets heavy. I'm going to use this in two ways:

    First, and by far the most predominant, is simply as my briefcase replacement, going to and from my office. I own a small business in Austin, TX. I don't travel much any more, maybe just 3-4x/year. So the main usage is from my home office to the car to my office, um, office, then back to the car then back to home. the contents of what I haul back and forth are pretty constant with minor variation, and I don't have all that much stuff. With the Brenthaven, for example, when I put all the stuff from my briefcase into it, I'm probably using a third of the bag, if that. So overloading the Brain Bag won't be an issue in normal usage. There are days where I want to haul more stuff, like some books I want to take back and forth, but that's the exception, not the rule.

    Then the second use will be on those 3-4 trips per year (by plane). There, I'll fill it up a lot more. But I still probably won't have this Brenthaven at more than 70% full.

    The thing I like about the Brenthaven is it has strong organizational features. "a place for everything". I'm hoping that between what is built into the Brain Bag and then the Freudian Slip, that it can match it in this regard. If the answer to creating sufficient organizational control is to buy a bunch of pouches, then that may be an issue.

    From a size perspective, the Smart Alec would've probably been more 'right sized', but I'm just not a fan of the styling of that bag so I'm hoping the Brain Bag is just the ticket. Can't wait to play with it!

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    I hear you loud and clear,I too wish most bags had more and better spots for smaller items.
    I use a variety of small pouches and Snake Charmers with the BB and most bags to really let me make it as organized as I like it.
    We must be in the minority though as few people seem to notice or comment on this and it drives me crazy!

    My solution is usually either the Super Ego or the Synapse in a Bihn bag.
    The Synapse is truly unbelievable and is able to pack much more than you would imagine but is just limited to certain size computers.

    I recently emptied out my Synapse to load it with camera gear and take pics for this site.
    I ended up with such a giant pile of stuff on my desk that after a few days I forgot that it all came from the Synapse and I couldn't remember why it was sitting there!

    So Yesterday I loaded it back in and there is still room for more. I try to keep it ready to grab and go but there are just a lot of items organized in there.

    The Empire Builder is also exceptional as a day to day bag and has slightly more structure to it too which can be nice at times.

    Too many choices!

    Ed

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    Yes!

    I'm not one of those who wants 87 different compartments. My Tumi briefcase is probably a bit of overkill in this regard. There are probably 6-7 pockets/slots/pouches I've never used in 9 years. I don't want too many, but some bags just don't have enough. One thing I like about the Brenthaven is it seems to strike a nice balance in that regard.

    I'd never heard of Tom Bihn bags before this 'quest'. I started a thread about my reviews over at flyertalk.com where I'm reviewing each of the bags I get, and someone suggested I look at the Brain Bag. I'd actually heard of it once before starting that thread and had briefly looked at the site and was just confused and off-put by the different options. But the post on that thread got me to take a more lingering and serious look, and I really like what I see. Honestly, I'm rooting for the Brain Bag to be 'the one'.

    If I was willing to go with a briefcase, I'd take a very hard look at the Empire Builder. It looks like a great case. But I really want a backpack, for a variety of reasons.

    The Synapse looks cool, but I have a 15" macbook pro and while I saw threads where people said their computer would fit, it looked like the top of the laptop was right up against the zipper, such that if the bag was dropped upside down, the computer would be dented.

    Robust laptop protection is priority #1. I use one computer, the laptop, and it goes everywhere with me. I run my business on it, my life is on it. My music, photos, tax records, documents, everything. Now I back the heck up out of it, but it's an expensive piece of gear and it needs to be protected, which is something I find very attractive about the Brain Bag/Brain Cell combo. I also like that if I end up going back to a 17" laptop (doubtful, but possible. Had one for 6 years and loved the size but hated the weight of dragging it around) I can just get a new Brain Cell and I'm back in business.

    But yeah, I'm concerned about this solution's organizational capabilities. I ordered a few of the padded pouches, should've probably ordered the see through ones instead. But it'll give me an idea as to whether or not that approach will work. If I just need a pouch or two and I've got a home for everything, then that's fine. If I need 6 pouches to keep track of, then I'll probably go with the Brenthaven.

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    I was wondering about the vertical vs. horizontal brain cell for my BB as well. It seems to me that the horizontal config might be more comfortable, because it would sit higher on your back? Anyone have thoughts on this?

    As far as organization, I would classify the brain bag as having just enough built-in organization to avoid the insanity of constantly hunting for my stuff. I hate fishing through a multitude of pouches and pockets, so I keep a couple of organizer pouches handy for specific items like my iPhone/iPad accessories... They seem to like to burrow into the dark corners of your EDC unless you keep them contained.
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    Empire Builder (black/steel), Brain Bag (steel), Small Padded Organizer Pouch, Clear Wallet, Soft Cell, Snake Charmer (cayenne) and assorted trimmings.

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    I was definitely wondering about the vertical vs horizontal brain cell thing, too. May have already mentioned this (apologies if it's redundant), but went to buy the vertical brain cell and it was sold out in my size so I bought the horizontal one. Wasn't sure if it would sit higher or lower in the pack. My assumption is higher because of the clips keeping it up. Which then makes me wonder how one efficiently utilizes the space beneath it to best advantage.

    And MagicTiki hit on what is for me the organizational balance issue. I don't want too many pouches and pockets so that I'm searching for stuff, and I don't want too few where I have to put too many things into the same cavernous space.

    To tell you how pumped I am to check this bag out, I'm actually having knee surgery this morning, a relatively simple procedure just to clean up a torn meniscus. Will hopefully be back doing light running in 3 weeks. That said, I messed up and had the order shipped to my office, where I won't be today. So I'm having one of my employees drop it off at my house after work so after I get home and sleep off the anesthesia I can wake up and have a christmas in March to look forward to!

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    The Brain Bag is essentially two large compartments. You can attach pouches with key straps to the o-rings, but the main built-in organizational features are the outside pockets. The designed-to-fit Freudian Slip is fantastic for protecting paper—file folders et al.—and offers more pockets. For travel, hiking, etc., an Aeronaut Large Packing Cube fits in each large compartment. The water bottle goes outside (I read your post at flyertalk).

    I don't have a Brain Cell, so can't speak to that.

    Good luck with the operation.

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    Conejo23, best wishes on your surgery. Follow your Dr.'s instructions and do your PT when it's prescribed for the best recovery. I had this procedure done when I was 18. . . 20 years ago.
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    Quote Originally Posted by conejo23 View Post
    I was definitely wondering about the vertical vs horizontal brain cell thing, too. May have already mentioned this (apologies if it's redundant), but went to buy the vertical brain cell and it was sold out in my size so I bought the horizontal one. Wasn't sure if it would sit higher or lower in the pack. My assumption is higher because of the clips keeping it up. Which then makes me wonder how one efficiently utilizes the space beneath it to best advantage.

    And MagicTiki hit on what is for me the organizational balance issue. I don't want too many pouches and pockets so that I'm searching for stuff, and I don't want too few where I have to put too many things into the same cavernous space.

    To tell you how pumped I am to check this bag out, I'm actually having knee surgery this morning, a relatively simple procedure just to clean up a torn meniscus. Will hopefully be back doing light running in 3 weeks. !
    Good luck with your surgery! I had this same procedure done last October, and I was amazed at how comfortable I felt afterwards. Perhaps a bit too comfortable, as I probably didn't stay off the knee as much as I should have the first week after the op. So don't do what I did; if you're patient (bad pun unintended, I swear) and force yourself to be a true couch potato for the first 72 hours, using lots of ice and keeping that knee elevated, I hope you'll recover quickly.

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