Hey guys, I bought a Brain Bag a couple of years ago and have been using it since. Great bag. I have a 15" MacBook Pro and use a vertical Freudian Slip and Brain Cell with it for organization. I like it, but it's not a perfect fit for what I'd really like and I find myself looking around again. I wish it had more built in organizational features, frankly, and I find that the side pockets are not quite as useful as I was hoping they would be.
It's also a LOT of bag. On my days when I'm simply using it as my edc, over half the bag is empty. It's perfect for when I have an overnight business trip. But on most days, it's just more bag than I need, with less organizational structure than I want.
So I'm thinking about other bags. I'm looking at the Briggs and Riley medium laptop backpack and want to find a store that has one of them. It has a lot of built in organization that is well designed and accessible, beautifully built, lifetime warranty, all that stuff. But it's strictly a busines bag. I wouldn't want to take a bag like that out on a hike, for example.
The Synapse 25 appears to be a much more versatile bag, and the design of it is very pleasing to my eye. I don't expect it to have the intrinsic organizational structure of the B&R bag, but I'm wondering if it has enough to work for me. So a few questions:
For someone using a vertical freudian slip with places for all kinds of stuff, are there corresponding homes for these items in the S25? I know one of the Tom Bihn usage paradigms is to use the small pouches and sacks to corral small items, but honestly, I really dislike that paradigm. I bought a ton of those pouches so I'd have all kinds of sizes and designs of them to use, and every time I try to use them, I find that I really dislike using them. I don't want to have to remember what pouch something's in, then pull out the pouch, open it and fish my stuff out of it. I'd rather just open the bag up and go to the place I have for that item and grab it.
Can files be stacked horizontally, as in a freudian slip, or do they need to go vertically because of a lack of width to the bag?
I wish the product page had more pictures showing the features of the bag. For example, there's no picture at all that i could see of the bottom compartment, so I have no idea what that even is.
Can I put a water bottle in the S25 without effectively losing use of another compartment? In the Brain Bag, you have a choice between using the exterior water bottle slot OR putting anything in the side compartment behind it, but you can't do both (which to me is a design problem).
I enjoy using my Brain Bag but I'm not in love with it. I really like the quality of Tom Bihn products and I want to give the S25 every opportunity to compete for my affections, but my sense is that Tom's design ethos is to create bags that are a bit light in the organizational arena and then allow the user to utilize various pouches to impose organizational structure. I understand the thinking, it makes the bag more flexible, allows it to adapt to a greater variety of usage scenarios. It's just not the way I really want to organize. It's one reason I tried out the Super Ego, which has a lot more intrinsic organizational capability. I really like that bag, but at the end of the day wanted a backpack, not a messenger back or briefcase.
I look forward to any comments, thanks.