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  1. #1
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    Laptop / briefcase ability in TB travel luggage

    This is an inquiry into the Tom Bihn travel luggage pieces known as Western Flyer, Tri-Star, Pilot and Co-Pilot.

    I am curious as to the "briefcase-ability" of each of these, mostly as it relates to laptop computer capacity. I am wondering what carrying a laptop, along with other "mobile office" items and standard travel gear, would be like with each of these carry-on suitcases.

    Example: I understand the Co-Pilot maxes out its laptop lugging capacity with an 11-inch MacBook Air.

    What about the others? What size laptop can each haul, maximum?

    Also: in February 2014, I started a thread in the TB Packing List forum about using a Large Clear Organizer Pouch as a "micro-briefcase". Which, if any of these, can carry my micro-brief idea? What about carrying a horizontal Freudian Slip instead of the micro-brief?

    I would also be interested in learning what the laptop and micro-brief capacities would be for both sizes of the Synapse backpack. I was inspired by ScottE22's excellent video/thread on using an S25 as a "mobile office".

    Thank you for your input.

    --The MtnMan
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  2. #2
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    You can use the FitGuide to figure out bags for specific laptops:
    Tom Bihn: Find the most suitable case for your laptop

    Also, if you use the "More" link in the main Tom Bihn page (you have to be out of the forums), there are links to show you all the bags that fit 13", 15" and 17" Macbooks.

    That would give you a general idea at least. If you are using a non-Apple computer, one thing to note is that Apple makes their laptops longer so something that fits a 13" MacBook but not a 15" MacBook could possibly fit a 15" laptop of another brand. Like my husband can squeeze in his 15" laptop into the Pilot (and it is a squeeze so I wouldn't necessarily recommend you do that) but I can't get my 15" MBP into it.

  3. #3
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    ^ Thanks for the pointers, Leena.

    This is helpful for the laptop component of what I'm asking.

    I'm still curious about the micro-brief and HF slip components. Any pointers there?
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leena View Post
    That would give you a general idea at least. If you are using a non-Apple computer, one thing to note is that Apple makes their laptops longer so something that fits a 13" MacBook but not a 15" MacBook could possibly fit a 15" laptop of another brand. Like my husband can squeeze in his 15" laptop into the Pilot (and it is a squeeze so I wouldn't necessarily recommend you do that) but I can't get my 15" MBP into it.
    It's crazy how much a difference the slight width change between the retina and non-retina MBP makes; I used a Pilot + Cache with a 15" Retina MBP on a weekend trip, and it worked out okay. I don't really carry a lot of traditional briefcase stuff, but managed to fit the 15" RMBP in cache, my iPad air in an apple case, and a LimeFuel battery backup in the back section of a pilot without much issue or feeling like I was going to break anything. It did take a pretty good grip on the cache to use the on-rails functionality because it's a tight fit (ballistic; dyneema might have been easier to deal with), and I wouldn't have felt save putting the back in the back of a car or anywhere that it might get knocked around at all, so I can see why it's not a recommended match, but in terms of a bag that never left my side, it worked out okay.

    While I don't have either on hand, looking at the dimensions of the large TB Organizer Pouch and HF slip vs the 15" RMBP cache, neither would really work in the Pilot. Too big.

    I filled my Pilot with: 15" rMBP, iPad air + case, LimeFuel battery in the back, Playstation Vita and Nintendo 3DS in one side front pocket, Side Effect containing an organizer wallet, a Kindle, an iPad mini, an iPhone 5, and my work Blackberry on the other side, and then stuffed the water bottle pocket with the lock cable for the MacLock on my laptop, a long extension cord for the multi-port charger in my Tri-Star, and a size 1 Stuff Sack containing all my cords (including rMBP power brick) and a spare USB charging adapter. It was pretty well filled up at that point, but did have enough space I could have added a few smaller items if needed.

    I then took that whole thing and stuck it in the center pocket of my Tri-Star, then stuck a Clear 3D Organizer Cube next to it in the same pocket. Tight fit, since the front and back pockets of the Tri-Star had stuff in them, but not too tight. Freudian Slip or Organizer Pouch as a Micro-Briefcase would be no problem in a Tri-Star. In terms of max computer size in a Tri-Star, I'm not sure, but I did just verify you can get a 17" Powerbook G4 in a Tom Bihn Monolith in the center pocket, so you could probably get almost anything in there without a case or in a thinner sleeve.

  5. #5
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    Maybe I didn't try hard enough, I have an rMBP and tried to put it in the Pilot

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leena View Post
    If you are using a non-Apple computer, one thing to note is that Apple makes their laptops longer so something that fits a 13" MacBook but not a 15" MacBook could possibly fit a 15" laptop of another brand. Like my husband can squeeze in his 15" laptop into the Pilot (and it is a squeeze so I wouldn't necessarily recommend you do that) but I can't get my 15" MBP into it.
    @Leena Since I don't have a 15" MacBook, best I can do is refer you to some of the pictures at the end of this thread on the Pilot vs. the Cadet. Start looking at posts in February 2014 after the Pilot shipped.

    A lot of these answers depend on the details of whether you are using a protective shell, a Cache with rails, or other type of cache, as well as what you feel comfortable with as a "Fit" if the bag wasn't designed specifically for that laptop/purpose.

    @MtnMan Again, I don't know the answer for your "micro-briefcase" but the current Large Organizer Pouch has a top edge that goes to the very top of the Pilot, and the snap hook at the corner will tend to poke up above the zipper level unless you fold it down. The Eagle Creek Large pack-It Sac is slightly less tall (14" vs. 14.5"), and is a better fit to the back compartment of the Pilot (disclaimer: I've only personally checked direct sizes for the light-weight, Specter 2 version of these sacs in Silnylon, but the earlier version Sac that I linked to is the same size, and was discussed and used by others in the Pilot thread) If your contents in the micro-Brief cause the Large organizer Pouch to bulge enough so that the top of the Pouch settles down lower into the Pilot, then you may be OK. It all depends on how far you are willing to go with marginal fits, and the possibility of stressing parts of the bag. My own opinion is that if you had the older style large organizer pouches (before they redesigned to make them larger, as referenced in the original thread about how people use the large organizer pouch, that would work both for your micro-brief and in the Pilot. The large size Eagle Creek Packing Sac is probably a safer design bet for both micro-brief and Pilot based on its size. I don't think there is a clear version of that bag but you can try the spill-proof version. For packing purposes, I would use the light-weight versions of these packing sacs with the triangular clips that are easier to fit into the o-rings. (The connector base can rotate, just like on the Tom Bihn Double Carabiner Clips that I use to attach my Side Effect to an airline seat pocket.)

    moriond
    Last edited by moriond; 04-24-2014 at 12:34 PM.

  7. #7
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    The typical (and ideal) configuration for my large Clear Organizer Pouch is shown in the photo at the top of the thread I started "Large Clear Organizer Pouch becomes a 'micro-brief'" in the Packing Lists forum.
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.


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