I'm looking for a backpack style bag. My wife has some monsterous Vera Bradley diaper bag with some obnoxious colors that just doesn't work for me. When I take my son out for daytrips I'd like to have something more palatable for me and also easier for me to carry; my own daddy diaper bag. I could easily solve this with any number bags-- dedicated diaper bags or any old pack at a big box store. However, I've been riding a messenger bag kick (timbuk2) the last few years and and no longer have any good backpacks. I'm strongly considering overbuying and getting a high quality backpack that will last a long time and serve me in far more than just daddy diaper duties. My aggressive internet searches have led me to Tom Bihn bags, but I'm stuck on which bag is the best for my situation. Maybe I can get some help here.
First, I'm a big guy-- 6'6" and about 250 lbs. Many backpacks don't fit me all that well and/or look like I'm carrying a kid bag. If I'm going to plob down some serious cash for a bag, I want it to fit.
Most important and super easy is that I need this as to work as a diaper bag. My primary goal is to have something that will work for one day excursions. If I need more than a day, I can bring the mothership (wife's diaper bag) and leave it in the car. That being said, if the best bag for me holds enough for more than a day, great, but its not a need.
Here is the tricky part. I also want to carry some camera gear around with me. I'm not a pro, but I do have a nice DSLR, a few lenses, accessories, and tripod. I would like to be able to use this as a camera bag. Two scenarios here: 1) using the bag just for photo gear 2) be able to safely, and easily carry a limited amount of camera gear (camera + 1-2 lenses) when using as a diaper bag. That part was probably pretty easy, but I'd also like to be able to carry a tripod with the bag too. I've got super small(think gorillapod), medium (travel size) and a more regular sized tripods. I'd prefer to be able to carry something more than the super-small guy.
Those are the primary roles for the bag right now: 1) diaper duty, 2) camera bag, and 3) diaper + limited camera
1) I commute by train into NYC daily. If I like the bag alot, I may want to start using it in this capacity and give my timbuk2 messenger a rest.
2) Use as my personal bag during air travel (if its not already being used for camera gear)
3) Depending on the bag, I may want to take it on day hikes or weekend trips (if its not already being used for camera gear or as a diaper bag).
I've spent hours looking at the Smart Alex, then the Synapse 25 and now I'm starting to look at the Brain Bag. I originally thought the Brain Bag was too big for my needs, but then stumbled across an FAQ for the Smart Alec where one of the questions asked about how the bag fits different sized people, and the answer suggested that the Smart Alec was designed mostly for people up to 6'2" and indicated that the Brain Bag may be more appropriate for larger people. It seems that the Brain bag would do a good job of meeting my needs, but I just wonder if its too big.
I appreciate any help or advice you have. Thanks.