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Thread: Can the Brain Bag accommodate *three* laptops?

  1. #1
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    Can the Brain Bag accommodate *three* laptops?

    Tom Bihn says the BB can hold two laptops, or a laptop and a camera I-O. Why can't it hold three laptops (or two laptops and a camera I-O)? There are *three* surfaces in the interior of the BB with annex clip webbing or cache rail loops.

    • Two annex clip webbing strips are sewn back-to-back. It's pretty challenging jamming annex clips into both facing loops, though it can be done. Is this the issue? Stress on the backpack?
    • Is the issue the potential thickness of the brain cells? If so, which brain cells are thin enough to fit two-to-a-compartment? How about a brain cell and a cache in the same compartment, what would fit then?
    • Is the issue the total weight of three laptops or two laptops and camera equipment?
    Blue Parapack Brain Bag with Brain Cell

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by feijai View Post
    Tom Bihn says the BB can hold two laptops, or a laptop and a camera I-O. Why can't it hold three laptops (or two laptops and a camera I-O)? There are *three* surfaces in the interior of the BB with annex clip webbing or cache rail loops.

    • Two annex clip webbing strips are sewn back-to-back. It's pretty challenging jamming annex clips into both facing loops, though it can be done. Is this the issue? Stress on the backpack?
    • Is the issue the potential thickness of the brain cells? If so, which brain cells are thin enough to fit two-to-a-compartment? How about a brain cell and a cache in the same compartment, what would fit then?
    • Is the issue the total weight of three laptops or two laptops and camera equipment?
    I don't have a Camera I-O but it looks kind of beefy and pretty much like it can fill one of the compartment.


    As far as electronic is concerned, I am pretty sure that you could fit up to 4 Airs in Cache or 2 laptops in Cache: one in each compartment and one iPad and one Kobo, each in Cache, besides each laptop.


    The problem is not the weight the Brain Bag can handle, but the weight the person who carries it can manage to lift up to their shoulders and even worse up to a plane or train luggage compartment.


    I know that my two iBooks, the heavy white Apple from 2000-2005 can fit inside the Brain Bag with power bricks and tons of accessories as well as external HDs.

    It can be done and the Brain Bag can also handle a mix of netbook and clothes for a week in the traditional, one outfit per day, which is nice but not lightweight. 30 pounds, to be exact.

    I love my Brain Bags, they are very sturdy, strong and handsome, just wonderful.


    But, I was very happy to see Tom make laptop/travel bags in Travel Dyneema and my fellow forum members being generous with sharing their experiences in ultralight packing.

    It makes a tremendous difference in the fatigue one experiences and multiplies the enjoyment of travelling, even in those days of long lines and no food.
    Last edited by backpack; 03-14-2014 at 09:27 PM.

  3. #3
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    Feijai

    I just test packed by BB. The BB can hold three laptops or two laptops and a CIO (plus a Lead's Pocket on top of the CIO and I suspect your Condor pouch should work too). There is still room for more stuff on the three front pockets and the middle strap. It is a tight fit, but it works. The compartment with the 2 Brain Cells stretches that compartment from the usual 4” deep to about 4.5” deep.

    For reference, based on your question, this is what I was able to fit in the BB secured using the Annex clips:
    In back main compartment: 2 BCs about 2.3" thick each – Sizes 1 and 2S (largest sizes that will fit in a Brain Bag and are for 15.6" PC laptops or 17" MBP)
    In front main compartment: CIO and GPLP (Guide Pack Leads Pocket)

    Note that you can definitely put in a third BC if you do not have a CIO and GPLP in the front main compartment. You then are carrying 3 laptops as per this post's title.

    That being said, I would not recommend it due to the weight it will put on your back. I agree with backpack - the issue is not the weight on the bag. The BB can handle it ... but can you ? Also, Tom Bihn’s comments on what the BB can hold is a good recommended balance that will allow a comfortable fit in almost all circumstances and sizes of BC. BTW, I have carried 2 laptops in my BB (work and personal) on a trip and it works but is at the limit of weight I am willing to carry when you include all the adapters, etc. Now, if you have light laptops (e.g. MBA) and not carrying too many lenses for your camera, the weight may be ok.

    To comment on your specific points, IMHO:

    The BB will not be unduly stressed by using annex clips on both sides of the centre wall. As for ease of use, I find that the annex clips become easier to use over time and as I get used to using them. I usually find pulling the wall with the annex clips up while putting in your BC or CIO helps the clip ends clear the webbing so they are free to lock in place. Releasing them by squeezing the two arms gets easier with practice.

    Fitting 2 BC is not an issue because the compartment will stretch the inch or so needed to accommodate the largest of the recommended BCs. Small BCs or BC / Cache combos will be a walk in the park.

    The issue is how much weight your back can hold and not what the bag can withstand. No matter the backpack, you cannot change the laws of physics about how much weight you can carry - but you can make it comfortable and bearable for short periods of time.

    Like backpack said earlier, I love my BB too. I also enjoyed your posts on fitting the condor products and your questions on what else uses annex clips. Keep up finding new ways to use your BB. It truly is a versatile bag.

    If you want me to post a few picture of the double BC, CIO, GPLP combo, I can do so tomorrow.

    Hope this helps!

    Cheers!
    Last edited by tpnl; 03-15-2014 at 08:12 PM.
    Zephyr/SA/BB (Black/Black/Steel), S25/TS/WF/A45 (Black/Iberian), CPF (Black/Indigo/Steel), EB (Black/Steel/Steel), CP (Black/Steel), Ego (Black/Black/Steel with Indigo Stripe), Vertical & Horizontal Brain Cells, Vertical and Horizontal FS, Camera I/O, PCBP/PCSB/TT (400d Nordic), SE (Black/Iberian), Lead's Pocket (Black), Tall YSS (Iberian)

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    Thanks all. Actually, the question I had posed was not so much for my own benefit (I don't have a Camera-IO and I have only one brain cell) but for a friend who actually *does* need to carry that much backpack weight, day in and day out, and is considering a Brain Bag as a new replacement for his current situation. I agree: it's a ginormous amount of weight.
    Blue Parapack Brain Bag with Brain Cell

  5. #5
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    If your friend is already carrying that weight, I am sure the BB will work for your friend. The BB can take it.

    Here are some pics showing the fit of my BB loaded with 2 Brain Cells, Camera I/O and a Guide's Pack Lead's Pocket (note - my 2004 BB is a bit dirty and I need to clean it):

    Top view of what is in the BB - 1st pic is with everything closed, 2nd pick is with everything opened up minus the GPLP so you can see the CIO. Note that the CIO looks a bit warped - it actually isn't. I just did that for the picture so the top flaps would stay open.
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    Three Quarters views of the BB with all the stuff in it
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    Back view
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    Hope this helps your friend.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by tpnl; 03-15-2014 at 08:18 PM.
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  6. #6
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    ... one last view - a side view

    Name:  BB_2BC_CIO_GPLR_3.jpg
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    Cheers!
    Darcy likes this.
    Zephyr/SA/BB (Black/Black/Steel), S25/TS/WF/A45 (Black/Iberian), CPF (Black/Indigo/Steel), EB (Black/Steel/Steel), CP (Black/Steel), Ego (Black/Black/Steel with Indigo Stripe), Vertical & Horizontal Brain Cells, Vertical and Horizontal FS, Camera I/O, PCBP/PCSB/TT (400d Nordic), SE (Black/Iberian), Lead's Pocket (Black), Tall YSS (Iberian)

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    Tell me about the pouch you have attached to the back of the bag.
    Blue Parapack Brain Bag with Brain Cell

  8. #8
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    It is a Hazard 4 Sub-Pod - largest of their rigid cases for sunglasses (not a hard case but close). It is 7.8" long and made of 1000d Cordura with a soft interior lining. It has a snap clip and is MOLLE compatible. There is a slightly smaller Ballistic Nylon one as well - called the Mil-Pod. I just got them last week.

    Currently, I am using the Sub-Pod to hold various "tools" - pocket knife, screwdriver, pocket wrench, fire starter tool, flashlight, etc. - survival stuff. If I needed to protect something fragile, I would put it in the Sub-Pod if it fit. Clipped to the centre snap hook, it still is suspended above the bottom but it fits in the webbing that is in the centre section well. I also like that "Hard Ballistic Nylon" look of the case and gives my Brain Bag a unique look. I also like the MOLLE compatible button down strap - it means I can quickly unhook my "survival gear" and strap it to my belt (or hook it) when I want to leave my Brain Bag behind.

    I am also looking at a Condor MA57 GPS Padded Pouch for the middle section. I ordered that one to fit my Bluetooth speaker. It looks like it will fit in the centre of the Brain Bag too and it has a section for a patch - a flag or whatever else you want. Let you know when I get it. There is also the Goruck RR Field Pocket or Shallow Rucks but the Condor version is cheaper.

    Let me know if you have any more questions or want me to post any close-up picture.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by tpnl; 03-16-2014 at 09:42 PM.
    Zephyr/SA/BB (Black/Black/Steel), S25/TS/WF/A45 (Black/Iberian), CPF (Black/Indigo/Steel), EB (Black/Steel/Steel), CP (Black/Steel), Ego (Black/Black/Steel with Indigo Stripe), Vertical & Horizontal Brain Cells, Vertical and Horizontal FS, Camera I/O, PCBP/PCSB/TT (400d Nordic), SE (Black/Iberian), Lead's Pocket (Black), Tall YSS (Iberian)

  9. #9
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    As you are aware, I'd been looking into bags to attach to the back: I wanted one which could accommodate bottles but was also interested in other options. Failing to find something which fit right, I eventually wound up making a pouch. But I like the idea of the Sub-Pod, though I wish it were longer. Not sure how you're planning on attaching the MA57 though.
    Blue Parapack Brain Bag with Brain Cell


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