I've been the proud owner of a Tom Bihn Super Ego, Freudian Slip and Brain Cell since the Fall of 2009, as well as several pouches and other accessories. (see the signature line at the footer on all my posts) At the time, I needed a high-quality replacement for an aging (and inadequate) briefcase. Money really tightened in the 2008-09 time frame, and has remained tight in my part of the country ever since. I wanted to buy a new, made-in-USA high-quality backpack as well as an Aeronaut but the economy and other considerations delayed those plans indefinitely. Now, with some promising prospects in the New Year on the horizon, I want to revisit my backpack plans.
Originally, I was looking at the Tom Bihn Smart Alec. I liked the styling, but there's a little too much black on the denier ballistic nylon models. The introduction of the camo Brain Bag and the Camera Insert/Outsert changed everything. In the Fall of 2011, I received a surprise birthday gift: a brand-new Canon Digital Rebel T3 with 18-55 "kit" lens and 75-300 telephoto lens in a Canon 2400 Gadget Bag. Then, this past spring, my MacBook Pro suddenly died on me, forcing me to buy a refurbished late-2012 iMac as an emergency replacement. All of these occurrences muddied the waters and pushed things further down the road. In this thread I discuss aspects of Dan Bihn's Camera I/O YouTube videos and my photography holdings and plans.
In the past, I carried a point-and-shoot digital camera, a "mobile office kit" (as I would term it), a variety of other personal and items it a cheap backpack. For ages, I've been wanting to find a superior-quality EDC backpack that could serve my diverse needs, be comfortable to wear on hikes in all seasons, and offer superior design, durability and quality. Throwing the Canon and the Camera I/O into the mix makes the Brain Bag the perfect fit.
Here's what I would like to carry (as standard equipment) in a Brain Bag:
- Camera I/O, with at least one digital camera
- Vertical Freudian Slip, to serve as a "mobile office kit"
- compact binoculars, in their own pouch
- Large Clear Organizer Pouch (already own one) with Letter-size clipboard and Letter-size writing tablet
- my "personal organizer kit", to include things like a checkbook
- iPod kit in a CaseLogic padded & zippered pouch
- Olympus LS10 prosumer-grade digital audio recorder
- DeLorme Earthmate PN-40 GPS receiver
...and here are some optional items that I would like to carry on occasion:
- Tripod Quiver Kit, with tripod for camera and/or camcorder
- Tom Bihn Field Journal
- Vertical Brain Cell or Cache (if I ever get another laptop)
- Small first aid kit (configuration and container to be determined)
- Maybe a water bottle and a LunchBots or other food container for lunch/snacks
- Canon Vixia HV40 camcorder (tape-based HDV / DV format; would require carrying MiniDV tape stock)
No, I am not talking about carrying all of this stuff at the same time.
Some activities I have often carried backpacks to in the past:
- Construction project-sites (when I work there)
- Meetings on-the-ground with customers, contractors, utilities personnel, or gov't officials
- Recreational trail work bees (trail maintenance, construction, inspection tours, either on-foot or riding in a vehicle)
- Recreational hikes (to historic sites, scenic vistas, history lectures, etc.)
- Meetings in other peoples' offices, residences or vehicles
- EDC bag for carrying around my gear during public events, such as county fairs, street fairs, historic reenactments, shopping/touring, etc.
I need a durable, well-designed backpack that will be a constant companion, for work and play. It needs to take a beating, stand up to being tossed around, set in the dirt, hung on a tree limb, carried for hours, and still look great and feel comfortable. I am sick-to-death of cheaply-made backpacks and inferior camera shoulder bags that fall apart, don't work well, lack versatility or don't feel comfortable. I want something that serves my needs without forcing me to either carry additional bags or leave needed items behind.
Note on the walkie-talkies: the old ones in the Smart Alec forum thread I have linked above have since gone kaput. I will be looking for at least three, possibly four, replacement radios for job-site, hiking and volunteer use. I will need to devise a storage solution so that the talkies can be carried in the backpack and not have to worry about them being sloshed around and accidentally turned-on, resulting in the batteries going dead before they can be used.
Comments and advice on configuring a solution would be appreciated. Tom Bihn backpack owners, especially Brain Bag owners: please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences. Thanks in advance.