My fantasy backpack
My old, cheap backpack is getting worn out, and one of these days it's going to be replaced when money permits. So I've been window shopping. ( I also use a Kensington Saddlebag laptop backpack, which is showing signs of age as well.)
Of all the backpacks I've looked at on the web-sites of USA bag makers, my two favorites are the Brain Bag and the Airborne Carry On Ruck Sack. Both of which come close to meeting my needs...
I want a large, extremely high-quality backpack that offers:
- an upright compartment for a laptop and file folder
- other compartments for things like a camera or camcorder, GPS unit, flashlight, binoculars, walkie talkies, iPod + charger + cassette adaptor, hand sanitizer bottle, business cards, and a plethora of other goodies
- excellent shoulder straps
- top quality and tough-as-nails USA hand construction with an outstanding warranty, able to take a beating in the outdoors
- offers a sternum strap, or waist strap
There is another backpack out there, from Tenba, and it could've been my fantasy backpack. Tenba's Shootout backpacks offer an extra-thick top carrying handle, a quick-access comnpartment for cameras, a tripod carrying holster, rain cover and a waist strap. Unfortunately, it also weighs between 5 and 10 pounds, depending on configuration. And Tenba's costs range from about the same as Tom Bihn's Western Flyer to more than a TriStar. (!!!)
After looking all these backpacks over, I find myself wanting more than one bag. One would be a "street pack", for carrying on hikes or for other activities outdoors or on the road. This would be a lightweight backpack. The other bag would be the heavy-duty photographer/videographer's "pro pack", heavy enough for serious protection on serious missions. Too bad they both can't be found in one bag.
For both the Brain Bag and the Airborne Carry On Ruck Sack, the top handle is too thin to pick up and carry the bag comfortably, even for short distances. I wish the top handles were more padded; even my current cheap backpack has a beefier handle, more like the Tenba.
Oh, and here is a Technorati article (with an embedded video) about the Tenba Shootout backpacks:
I'm looking at the Tenba you linked, and at my Brain Bag sitting next to me. Using the zippers for a reference (as the sizes are going to be roughly the same) I can't see any difference between the handles on either bag. Both are padded and roughly 3/4" wide. The only difference I can see is that they are sewn into the bag differently, but the actual *handle* looks identical.
Originally Posted by MtnMan
I had a similar issue with my WF. I schlep through a lot of airports and found the handle on the end wasn't quite large enough in diameter to comfortably carry any distance and the seam for the handle's cover was particularly "sharp" on the fingers.
Originally Posted by MtnMan
My solution was to tie a decorative knot which not only further personalized the bag so it couldn't get confused with another, but looks good and is now far more comfortable to carry...
The knot is tied from red paracord which is readily available and the yellow highlight is cord used to tie lacrosse meshes into traditional style pockets.
Just a thought....
Love that gorgeous braiding on the handle.
Do paracords come in blue?
I cannot tell you how much I love my Brain Bags, my Steel Brain Bag was my first Tom Bihn purchase and I was so taken by this backpack that I chose backpack as my nickname.
I have used backpacks since the early 90's and got many nasty surprises with workmanship including one backpack which lasted a day.
Others lasted more but the comfort factor wasn't there or they were too small.
The Brain Bag is the most versatile backpack in the market, period.
It will feel most comfortable for people at least 5.7 or shorter but with long torsos.
The most comfortable features are the back padding, the bag just mold to one's back; and the straps, no digging and perfect width.
When I first got the Brain Bag, I whined that the front pockets were not large enough, but I learned that it helped if one open the zippers all the way and open the pocket as if unfolding something.
The way the pockets are designed means the content is very secure both for staying put and not being able to be easily pulled out by stealing hands on public transport or curious hands, noses and paws at home.
The main compartments hold tons (see my post in bag reviews)
The bag is very versatile and despite its wonderful qualities doesn't look like a luxury bag that would tempt somebody to take it, the way some others brands which flaunt their logo do.
Some brands scream "designer clothes here" and others advertise "this way to laptop and other expensive electronics"
The Brain Bag doesn't scream it is just strong and dependable.
Thanks for the compliment.
You can find paracord from online suppliers in roughly 35 different colors. Of course, in many colors suitable for military applications, but also pastels, the entire spectrum, and neon colors too....
It is nice to take a great bag and personalize it....