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  1. #1
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    In search of feedback from Writers on the best Bihn Bag

    Hello, everyone, I am a Newb to this Forum and even worse yet donít even own a Tom Bihn bag tho Iím hoping to rectify that in the near future. What I do have is a few questions about the ideal bag for my purposes....and am hoping to get a bit of informative feedback.

    Iím a writer by trade, vocation, choice and obsession/s. Among the basic daily tools of my trade I include my faithful Mac laptop, assorted pens, pencils and notepads, and a handful of various books, both reference, research and pleasure, that I always seem to have with me. Additionally, since I am a screenwriter, I tend to occasionally carry around the odd script or two, not to mention a handful of movie DVDís I need to watch for research, inspiration or general education; and of course that means, additionally, a good set of headphones (for the stereo equivalent of those surround-Dolby soundtracks) and assorted other odds and ends.

    My previous bags, for previous generations of laptops, included some very well made bags from Waterfield, as well as the early Canadian Mac laptop bag maker, Willow Designs; they had some quite nice features but all suffered from drawbacks as well.

    So.Ö.Iím curious. Among those of you who are writers - scriveners - or wordsmiths - and Iím guessing this is a large fraternity or sorority as the case may be.Ö..Which particular T. Bihn bag do you use? and Why? And.Ö.would you recommend it to other Writers?

    I realize this is a complex and subjective issue - human beings are all complex and subjective by definition, and writers especially so (or so we like to think.Ö!) - so Iím looking forwards to having my Bihn Bag horizons expanded.Ö

    Miguel

  2. #2
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    hi Miguel!

    welcome to the forum!

    tom bihn makes a number of bags that can nicely accommodate the items you describe. can you describe whether you have a preference for backpacks, messenger bags or briefcases? also, which size apple laptop do you carry?

    tom bihn makes some wonderful backpacks, including the smart alec and brain bag. each will accommodate your laptop inside of a brain cell or cache protective case.

    tom bihn also offers a number of messenger bags. most all of them will accomodate horizontal brain cells (except the imago), and all of them will accomodate the cache of one size or another.

    there are also the empire builder and zephyr briefcases, each of which will accommodate horizontal brain cells and caches of various sizes.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by maverick View Post
    tom bihn makes a number of bags that can nicely accommodate the items you describe. can you describe whether you have a preference for backpacks, messenger bags or briefcases? also, which size apple laptop do you carry?
    Ooops. Sorry. I have a fondness for Messenger Bags - the convenience of a shoulder strap is something I find it hard to live without. And since I must occasionally make forays into the conservative world of Hollywood, where Suits stalk the halls and even the mail-room clerks seem to wear Armani suits, having something resembling a briefcase isn't a bad idea. But, by the same token, screenwriters (most of us) are definitely not "Suits" - and since in the business world we often define ourselves by what we use and/or carry (Mac users vs PC laptop geeks, iPhones vs Blackberry's vs Androids, etc), the type of bag or case one carries....can impact (subtly) other things as well. I don't know any (other) screenwriters who would be caught dead carrying a traditional (banker/lawyer-style) briefcase - but the briefcase 'form factor' has some merits.

    My current laptop is the last generation of the older (non-Intel) Mac PowerBooks - a 15" model whose dimensions are almost identical to the newer Gen of 15 inch MacBook Pro's.

  4. #4
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    hi Miguel!

    the size 4 horizontal brain cell will protect your laptop nicely. under the beautiful 500 denier cordura is a corrugated plastic shell, inside of which is a 12mm thick strip of memory foam, and above above that is a sling made of 8mm thick soft foam padding that holds your laptop.

    there is also the size 4 cache if you'd prefer to forgo some of the protection for a slimmer case.

    the id, ego and super ego messenger bags will all accommodate the laptop, but you'll likely want the ego or super ego to accommodate everything you described.

    pens and pencils go nicely inside the organization pockets built into these messenger bags. if you'd prefer, you can opt for a pen/pencil sized clear organizer pouch for additional writing instruments.

    depending on the size of your notepads, you can place them directly into the main compartment of the messenger bag, or in an organizer pocket built into the front compartment of the messenger bag.

    your scripts will go nicely into a large clear organizer pouch.

    if your headphones came with a carrying case, you may want to use those. i use a medium ultrasuede organizer pouch to carry my sennheiser hd 25-1 II headphones.

    the books and dvd's can go into the main compartment of the ego or super ego nicely.

    i hope i didn't skip anything you mentioned in your list.

    let us know how this sounds.

  5. #5
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    I echo maverick's sentiments above, with more of a SHOVE in the direction of the Ego/Super Ego (depending on the size of your laptop). Your notebooks would be easily accessible under the flap (and your writing utensils would be neatly organized there too), while your scripts, laptop, DVDs, and books and perhaps your headphones as well would reside in the main compartment.

  6. #6
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    Smile Which ones do YOU actually use? And WHY?

    I'm curious about several things....

    If you are a fellow writer.....WHICH bag do YOU actually use?.....And WHY?

    I'm defining "fellow writer" here very broadly.....as anyone who actually needs to write anything down.....though I'm especially interested in the personal solutions of other scriveners, wordsmiths, playwrights, scribblers, screenwriters, novelists, poets....the whole nine yards.

    Second item of curiosity - what about the Empire Builder and/or Zephyr? They seem like interesting compromises between the so-called 'messenger' and 'briefcase' formats - any thoughts here?

  7. #7
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    Miguel, I'm a writer and I use the ID. I absolutely love it. I got it because it's a good size for me, and someone of my size. I'm able to get my MacBook (13") in it with ease, it's actually in a Brain Cell for a 15" MacBook Pro. I can also carry along my Kindle, several pouches, pens and pencils, several large thick books and can tuck papers into the rear. I can pull out several of what I carry along and do up some pictures if you'd like.
    Meg
    -----
    Proud owner of a conifer/steel Synapse, indigo/black Swift, a linen/olive Small Cafe Bag, a couple of yarn stuff sacks, a clear organizer wallet and various organizer pouches

  8. #8
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    Welcome to the Tom Bihn Forum, Miguel! :)

    For those days you will be not taking your laptop, a Medium Cafe Bag (or a Large Cafe Bag) would be great.
    Bags: Super Ego (Black/indigo w/cork seatbelt); Aeronaut (Crimson/Steel); 2 Medium Cafe Bags (Navy/Cayenne, Linen/Olive), w/an Ultrasuede Shoulder Strap Wrap; Large Cafe Bag (Cocoa/Wasabi) w/Absolute Strap; Imago (sadly lost to hazmat); a Brain Cell w/ another Strap Wrap; and a Shop Bag (Steel). Accessories: Bunches and bunches.
    Wanted: Zephyr or Empire Builder.
    " ...all [that] you have to depend on is yourself and your luggage." - The Luggage Salesman (Joe Versus the Volcano)

  9. #9
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    Hi, Miguel.

    You said your previous bags "had some quite nice features but all suffered from drawbacks as well." Could you describe the nice features and drawbacks?

    So far as I know, there is no such thing as an "ideal" bag; everything is a trade-off. For you, the priorities seem to be how much you want to carry regularly and good looks. If you can fit everything into the Zephyr, it might be a good choice. The Zephyr and Empire Builder should work in corporate settings, especially in Black/Black/Steel, but look cool in the coffee shop or wherever screenwriters hang out.

    For paper management, nothing beats the Freudian Slip.

  10. #10
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    Talking Drawbacks of Previous Bags

    Quote Originally Posted by gmanedit View Post
    You said your previous bags "had some quite nice features but all suffered from drawbacks as well." Could you describe the nice features and drawbacks?
    I used to carry my old Mac laptop (one of the original G4 Titanium Powerbooks) around in a semi-rigid shoulder bag/case made by the now defunct Canadian bag company, Willow Designs, a pioneer in early laptop case design. The case, a fairly hard rectangle, unzipped to open up; a top protective layer carried the laptop; lifting that up revealed a bottom level, maybe 3 inches deep, into which all one's accessories (cables, plugs, portable backup HD's, mice, etc) could be stashed. Additionally there was a thin outer pocket on the top layer, useful for stashing things like mousepads, thin books, etc.

    The big advantage was that the cases were built like tanks and insanely protective; if you dropped one off the roof of a building, not only would your case survive but probably your laptop might as well. There were two big disadvantages. The first was - it was hard to get at all the stuff you needed - you had to unzip the entire bag, then remove the laptop, then lift up the upper layer to get access to the bottom layer where all your important accessories were stored. That obviously sucked....perhaps it's one of the reasons the company went broke?

    My other recent case, for a smaller (12") Mac laptop - was the Racer-X made by Waterfield/sfbags, in the S.F. bay area, and nicely made too. Its advantages, apart from excellent build/finish quality, and a very comfortable carrying handle (in addition to a nice shoulder strap), were easy accessibility - the laptop got stashed in its own special padded/protected compartment on one side of the bag; the other (front) side zipped open to give access to a compartment which contained pockets for stashing smaller things, and an open space for stashing larger ones.

    The biggest disadvantage was...not enough space to stash extra odds and ends. To put this in perspective, the Waterfield cases are on 4.25 inches deep - and don't forget at least 2 of those inches are devoted to the built-in laptop sleeve - which doesn't leave as much room for any of the assorted accessories which a person sometimes might want to bring a long. By contrast, the TB Zephyr is a little over 6 inches deep - the Empire Builder is 7 - and the ID is 5.5 inches. And, yes, the idea of a little extra room (I'm not greedy) is....intoxicating.

  11. #11
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    Okay, it sounds as if you know what you want. So pick out a Brain Cell, subtract its depth from those of the Zephyr, Empire Builder, and ID, and measure how much space the rest of your stuff takes. For extra room, it's the Empire Builder. Yeah, you want the Empire Builder.

  12. #12
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    In writing, you seem to be torn between traditional vs. cool as far as looks, so I was torn between the Zephyr vs. Ego as far as which to recommend to you. But having taken a peek at your previous bags, I can see that you'd prefer the Zephyr ;)

    Convenience, for me (and, it seems, for you as well), means not having to unzip the main compartment to get at things you may need in a flash - you can simply unbuckle a flap if needed and reach in, or unzip a smaller pocket to get at the item you need, all while it's still on your shoulder. The Zephyr offers such convenience - probably more so than the Ego for larger format items.

    This time I'm shoving you in the direction of the Zephyr, or depending on your inches-greed, the Empire Builder. Additionally, you may be interested in this love story chronicling the romance between an L.A. writer and his Empire Builder.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just View Post
    This time I'm shoving you in the direction of the Zephyr, or depending on your inches-greed, the Empire Builder. Additionally, you may be interested in this love story chronicling the romance between an L.A. writer and his Empire Builder.
    Just, that was a great link! I'm not sure that the case for Zephyr vs. Ego is that clearcut from his description, though. He might want to look through this thread of photos of the Ego to decide for himself.

  14. #14
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    Cool Ego Pix

    Quote Originally Posted by moriond View Post
    Just, that was a great link! I'm not sure that the case for Zephyr vs. Ego is that clearcut from his description, though. He might want to look through this thread of photos of the Ego to decide for himself.
    Thanks for the link. I'd already looked at these but it was good to revisit them. One of the big disadvantages of not living in - or near - Seattle....is not being able to visit the TB Showroom and actually see touch feel poke and/or otherwise abuse different bags....but most of all get a sense of how they work 'in the flesh'. It's one thing to look at pictures....but the tactile experience is a vital one....and it's hard to get that when one lives in a small town in Southern Oregon and can only look at (admittedly nice) photos....

    Maybe a new series of 3-D photos - which would then require special 3-D glasses? The online bag site equivalent of....the Avatar experience? What do you say, Tom, Darcy and Katy? Interested?

  15. #15
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    Specific Brain Cell fit question

    Okay, a small tangent here. I've seen photos of different T.Bihn bags - both with - and without - Brain Cells loaded with laptops.

    Clearly, if you have a slightly larger capacity Bag - like for example the Empire Builder or even the Ego - there is not only room for you laptop/brain cell combo (clipped to one side of the bag)....but oodles of space for....other odds and ends.

    BUT.....in the one or two photos I've seen of either Zephyr's or ID's containing Brain Cells - it LOOKS LIKE the full Brain Cell takes up....at least half of the space in the main compartment....maybe more?

    Is this true? I know this is a subjective question, but all you Zephyr or ID owners who regularly tote your laptop or MacBook around in a Brain Cell inside...would you care to comment?

    And - on the other side of the coin - all you Ego (NOT Super Ego, I know that's too large for my needs) owners who also carry loaded B. Cells - how much room is left over in your opinion/s?

    I know, I know, several people have already said that when it comes to TB bags, there are no poor choices. But that reminds me of an old Garrison Keilor quote: 'There is no such thing as bad weather....only poor choice of clothing!'

    Miguel

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