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  1. #1
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    Carrying Laptop, Flute, Music Binder, Music Stand, Lunch, Jacket & Gloves

    Dear TB users,
    Does anyone have experience carrying a laptop and a flute in the older rectangular-style cases or the more streamlined 'French' style, as well as a music stand, a medium-thick 3-hole binder, along with spare jacket/raincoat & lunch?

    Laptop is 13" MacBook Pro, has a Moshi padded case.
    Flute is in older rectangular-style case, about 16" long, 6" wide with buckles & handle, & 2.5" or 3" inches tall.
    Music stand breaks down to about 20" long, has total shape & vol. similar to a small camera tripod.

    Looking at: Synapse 25, Brain Bag, maybe Smart Alec, maybe plus the longer Tripod Quiver.

    I like that the Brain Bag can be pulled to a narrower profile by its lateral compression straps, when it is not filled. This would help reduce my hitting fellow travelers on public transport. Also want to keep laptop separate from flute, and Brain Bag has those 2 equivalent main compartments. But the music stand I have is too long to fit. I don't think any equivalent sturdy stand would be shorter or more compact.

    Don't have to carry flute& music stuff every day; do carry laptop, almost always carry lunch and water, small Bihn knitting stuff sack, and extra garments.

    Your thoughts are appreciated.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toots View Post
    Dear TB users,
    Does anyone have experience carrying a laptop and a flute in the older rectangular-style cases or the more streamlined 'French' style, as well as a music stand, a medium-thick 3-hole binder, along with spare jacket/raincoat & lunch?

    Laptop is 13" MacBook Pro, has a Moshi padded case.
    Flute is in older rectangular-style case, about 16" long, 6" wide with buckles & handle, & 2.5" or 3" inches tall.
    Music stand breaks down to about 20" long, has total shape & vol. similar to a small camera tripod.

    Looking at: Synapse 25, Brain Bag, maybe Smart Alec, maybe plus the longer Tripod Quiver.

    I like that the Brain Bag can be pulled to a narrower profile by its lateral compression straps, when it is not filled. This would help reduce my hitting fellow travelers on public transport. Also want to keep laptop separate from flute, and Brain Bag has those 2 equivalent main compartments. But the music stand I have is too long to fit. I don't think any equivalent sturdy stand would be shorter or more compact.

    Don't have to carry flute& music stuff every day; do carry laptop, almost always carry lunch and water, small Bihn knitting stuff sack, and extra garments.

    Your thoughts are appreciated.

    Thanks.
    Quick reply: my thought was for the TriiPod Quiver and the Brain Bag. (I don't have a Brain Bag, as I think this would generally be rather big for my frame.) You might also be able to use lash straps at the front of the Smart Alec to hold the music stand in quiver to the bag. Don't know whether you want any separate protection for the flute case (e.g. a Cavallero case cover -I've only used their instrument rolls).

    Hope someone else replies.

  3. #3
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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    Hello

    If it helps, I posted some pictures of a Smart Alec and a Yoga Mat strapped on the outside.
    Backpack for a yoga mat?
    The Yoga mat is longer than your music stand by about 4" but you get the idea.

    I think all three backpacks (Brain Bag, Smart Alec and Synapse 25) would work. The only bag I do not have is the Synapse 25.

    Smart Alec - would look very similar to the pictures above but would not have laptop in a dedicated separate compartment from the flute - but your semi-hard Moshi case or a Brain cell should work to keep them separate with no bumping damage.

    Brain Bag - the 2 compartments for your laptop are good to separate laptop and flute with music stand in quiver and put on the outside middle straps. You can also lash it under the side compression straps.

    Synapse 25 - being 20" high, I wonder if you could fit your music stand in the main compartment with laptop in the inner big pouch (or vice versa). I wouder if your flute case would fit in where the water bottle pocket is. If they do fit this way, the Synapse 25 might be your best bet as everything would be inside the bag.

    Can anyone try test fitting similar sized equipment in their Synapse 25?

    Hope this helps

    Cheers
    Last edited by tpnl; 02-06-2014 at 12:57 PM.
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  4. #4
    Volunteer Moderator
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    Hi Again,

    @Toots, The problem is the music stand, because of its height. Also, if it sits inside your backpack by itself, its weight is coming down on a small area at the bottom of the bag.

    I think you'll need to get a separate case for your music stand (which might be the longer Tripod quiver), and you may have to consider carrying the music stand separately either slung cross-body (you can attach a strap to the two ends of the Tripod quiver), or possibly you could secure the stand in its case to the front of a Smart Alec with lash straps, which work better than the bungee-type cables that @tpml used in his linked pictures of the yoga mat, since your stand will not have the wider, distributed weight of the yoga mat. You might be able to fit this into a Synapse 25, which is slightly longer than the Smart Alec, but the Tripod Quiver is really a little too long to fit inside this bag. Depending on what type of music stand you have, you might also look at the Cavallaro cases:


    (I have no experience with ordering through this company, which is now their standard distributor, and have only used the Cavallaro instrument rolls, which used to be custom-ordered directly. The outside case material is 420d Nylon, and the cases are lined with Shearling. You can probably consult your musical acquaintances for alternate recommendations.)

    In a Smart Alec, the music stand would come up to just below the top seam at the back of the bag --- that's for a 17" long stand sitting on the bottom of the bag, and not in any pouch. If your stand is 20" long, that's even higher against the back of the Smart Alec -- which has an outer dimension of 20" at it's tallest (i.e., the back of the bag, where the laptop sits). The Smart Alec slopes down from there. See the bottom of the two images that tpml posted in the Time to invest in a new EDC bag thread. The laptop is carried as close to your back as possible, both for comfort and stability.

    Advantages of the Smart Alec would be the padded bottom of the bag and availability of Ballistic Nylon exterior. Generally speaking, the Brain Bag and the Smart Alec are designed for carrying heavier loads than the Synapse. You also have the option of using a vertical Brain Cell with these bags, if you want even more protection for your laptop than the Cache on rails.

    The Synapse 25 can accommodate my 17" long folding music stand, but I would need to get a music stand cover, and the ~3 pounds of weight of the end of the bare, folded metal stand all come down on an area of unreinforced fabric about 1.5" x 1.5' in size at the bottom of the bag. It might be necessary to reinforce the bottom with some padding, and the space may be too tight to put the stand in depending on the exact size of your music stand and/or its case. I have the 400d Dyneema version of the Synapse 25, and I wouldn't feel comfortable carrying the bare stand this way in the bag. You would at least need to get the 420d HT Parapack Nylon version of the Synapse 25, since that fabric can better deal with abrasion from the metal end of the bare stand.

    A brief explanation of the design behind these backpacks: they're optimized to comfortably fit and be carried by people with a wide range of heights and body types. One of the features of Tom's Bags that doesn't come across on the product pages is how scalable the comfort and fit of these bags are. When the back is set really long, it becomes too long for the body length of shorter/smaller build users. Even with the current range of backpack sizes, they're pretty usable by people with very different builds (an Tom himself is in the 6' and over category). Take a look at draymen's Who says short people can't carry big bags? thread for pictures of these bags in use.

    The Synapse was designed as a light-weight urban backpack, and part of the reason that many love its Tardis-like ability to swallow large and variously shaped loads is its ability to "flex" and adjust the relative size and shape of the adjacent compartments to match the contents being carried. This uses light-weight materials (e.g., no heavy padded bottom) for the design. It's my favourite backpack, for its flexibility, light weight, organization in pockets, and comfortable carry and general durability for the things I carry. It will hold everything you mention, with the possible problem of the music stand. (The flute case would easily go in the main compartment, where it is most protected, and in any case it would not fit in the water bottle pocket.) My main concern is about how well this unreinforced design would handle the music stand.

    The Synapse and the Brain Bag offer the most organization. The Smart Alec works well for handling large volume or variable size loads, and both Smart Alec and Brain Bag will let you add a vertical Brain Cell for carrying your laptop should you want extra protection. The Synapse and Brain Bag offer more internal organization. I think that the TriPod Quiver can be secured to the webbing loops at the front of the Brain Bag, but I'm not sure, since I don't have this bag.

    It's possible that the large Tripod Quiver is a bit big for your music stand, since the circular cross-section of the quiver is about 4.75" in diameter.

    In summary, all three bags can carry your contents, with the issue of how you carry the music stand (and whether this could fit inside any of these backpacks) being the main question.

    HTH. I hope someone who carries music stands and instruments regularly in any of these backpacks can respond with more helpful information.

    moriond


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