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  1. #1
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    Advice for setting up my mobile office...

    Hey, All!

    With job changes pending, I am gearing up to set up my mobile office. That means it's time to buy new gear! It also means there are a lot of questions for the experts!

    My new responsibilities will require me to have a solid mobile office. Lots of moving from site-to-site for meetings, mostly, and little time spent at my actual desk. There will be some flying, but more car travel. Basically, I need all my stuff with me at all times. Here's the expected standing load o' gear:

    - Levovo Thinkpad 420 with power brick
    - Ipad (leather case), iPhone & associated cables & chargers
    - Notepad/folio, and an assortment of folders & paperwork
    - Water bottle and travel coffee mug
    - Lunch/snacks
    - Office essentials (pens and such)
    - Personal doo dads (sunglasses, gum, blah blah blah)

    I have been rocking the Brain Bag for a couple of years now, but I am afraid that it won't do the job given the need for constant access to my stuff as I move. I'm also needing something that's a *touch* more professional, as I will be doing a lot of work with directors/execs.

    Given that set of requirements (and the obligatory hours of research!), it seems that the Zephyr or Empire Builder is the best move. I was thinking the WF for a while (from an earlier post), but I'm not sure that the WF is as practical for office-to-office car schlepping. Does that make sense?

    And here are some specific questions for those Zephyr/EB experts:

    - Based on my daily haul, is the Zephyr going to be too small?
    - How are the Zephyr/EB for running with your laptop "naked" (no sleeve)?
    - Does anyone prefer the cache over the brain cell in this kind of situation?

    And (last but not least): it looks like I would need a size 4Z brain cell. Ideally, I'd like to use it in both the BB and EB/Zephyr as needed. Will that fit the Brain bag (clipped) as well, or would it need to be unclipped to work? I seem to recall some mixed feedback on the comfort of using a horizontal brain cell in the Brain Bag.

    Any thoughts/guidance would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!

    --Bob
    ----------------
    Bob P.
    Magic Tiki Studios

    Empire Builder (black/steel), Brain Bag (steel), Small Padded Organizer Pouch, Clear Wallet, Soft Cell, Snake Charmer (cayenne) and assorted trimmings.

  2. #2
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    I have both a Super Ego and an Empire Builder and have used both extensively for years to carry my mobile arsenal everywhere.
    You can always leave stuff out if you have extra room but it can be tough if there is not enough room. I have only regretted having the two larger versions when overstuffed and carried through an Airport all day long.

    I use either a Brain Cell or a Neoprene Waterfield Sleeve depending on my needs at the time and it is a lot nicer to have the carrier open in the same direction as the bag does. If using a Brain Bag though I am normally just transporting and not working out of it so it doesn't really matter to me then.

    I guess it boils down to how big you are and do you want to take the chance that the Zephyr is really big enough?
    I imagine they weigh about the same empty but the EB will be heavier loaded to the max.

    Like I always tell a client trying to decide on how big a TV to get,No man ever thought it is too big once installed but they often wish they had gone bigger.

    Ed

    The EB is an amazing bag and has a cavernous compartment that is ridgid and protected. I have carried all manor of odd stuff in there from 4 computers at once to a 20" Widescreen Monitor on its stand.
    I have crammed clothes in for weekend trips and there is still a lot of room in the front big compartment and on the flap.

  3. #3
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    It's a good point. As any basketball scout will tell you: you can't coach size.

    Multitasking is something I'll have to think about as well. My beloved Brain Bag is my go-to for travel & heavy hauling. It's my EDC at the moment, but it is more than I need for the daily office work. That extra space in the EB would definately make it a bit more flexible!
    ----------------
    Bob P.
    Magic Tiki Studios

    Empire Builder (black/steel), Brain Bag (steel), Small Padded Organizer Pouch, Clear Wallet, Soft Cell, Snake Charmer (cayenne) and assorted trimmings.

  4. #4
    Registered User TavaPeak's Avatar
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    Love my Zephyr. It holds several big books when I teach (3" wide reference books, etc.), water bottle, etc. The organizer flap is spacious for smaller things. I know I couldn't carry a EB if it were full. The plastic dividers are terrific for organizing and maximizing the space.

  5. #5
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    You know the worst part? The second guessing as all the good feedback comes in.

    Now I'm wondering if an ego or super ego would be a possible consideration. Not sure how they work in the professional environment, however, but they certainly meet the flexibility needs...
    ----------------
    Bob P.
    Magic Tiki Studios

    Empire Builder (black/steel), Brain Bag (steel), Small Padded Organizer Pouch, Clear Wallet, Soft Cell, Snake Charmer (cayenne) and assorted trimmings.

  6. #6
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    Bob

    The only downside to the SE for me is that it will not stand up without leaning on something?
    Very frustrating and I prefer the EB to it if workable for this reason many times.

    I know it seems like a strange nitpick maybe but it is real.

    I also can only fit my 17"MBP in the SE so I am torn a lot of times too.
    I also like the SE front panel as it does offer a little more organization over the EB and the bottle carriers come in very handy when traveling.

    If I have one gripe of the Bihn bags over the more widely commercially available bags it is the relative lack of little pockets to help organize me. The packing cubes and pockets are nice but I far prefer to have many pockets and also use external ones when I need to.
    Clearly they more than make up for it in general design and construction but it would be ideal to have everything in one bag too.

    I just got off the road after several multi-day trips both flying and driving and I used my Tri-Star as my only bag this time.
    I love the bag but found myself constantly unpacking and repacking little pockets instead of having built-in pockets ready to help me save some time and angst.

    Ed

  7. #7
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    I've used the WF as a work 'briefcase' - I certainly think it looks professional enough for the office! I've used it to schlep a laptop and handouts for full day workshops. I love that it converts to a backpack for travel (I find it much easier to negotiate trains, stairs, etc with a backpack rather than a shoulder bag). Of course, ymmv! And I should point out that I'm very biased - I'm completely in love with my WF as my main bag!
    -n

  8. #8
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    @ AVService - yeah, standing up on it's own is a good feature if you can get it. Not sure if that's a deal breaker for me, though, because I LOVE external water bottle pockets for convenience and freeing up room inside the bag.

    Not sure about the EB strap setup. I'm currently lugging around a work-supplied generic laptop hauler to get a sense for my size and feature needs (roughly 15 x 6 x13, CODI is the brand). That's got that the front-corner-to-back-corner strap configuration, and I'm not sure that I am digging it... but I have been using messenger style bags for a while now, so I am more used to the cross-body setup.

    @ Notmensa: I have thought about that option as well on more than one occasion! I am big on the convertible option, but I'm trying to decide if it looks too much like luggage or not. Some comparison pics I have seen of the WF make it look *slighly* smaller than the Zephyr/EB unpacked... is that the case?

    The overall dimensions seem good on the WF, but I'm thinking you would need some accessories to make it work-ready? How do you have it rigged out?
    ----------------
    Bob P.
    Magic Tiki Studios

    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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