So, a few first impressions on my Empire Bag that was on backorder for quite some time.
Overall it's a very good bag, but not great, here are my (very personal) ideas to improve it.
Add a larger, zippered pocket on the outside. I travel a fair amount and like to put tickets, schedule etc in an easy to reach (but safe) area. It just needs to be able to fit a business size envelope without folding. (11" x 4")
Add a place to locate a business card under the front flap in a visible place, in case the bag is lost or stolen.
Add a place to keep a small stack of business cards, the pockets on the inside are the right size but my experience is that during travel they tend to fall out, just adding a little piece of velcro would do it.
Add more slots for pens inside the flap, 2 is not enough!
I travel with a spare battery and a charger, a pocket (or velcro) on the inside at each end would be a great place to stow these items, rather than floating around the bottom of the bag somewhere!
On the braincell the top flaps need to be reversed so that when it is inside a bag the top flap (first to open) hinges to the outside, not the inside like it does today, would make it easier to open.
It would be really neat for those of use who will never take the braincell out of the bag to be able to remove the carying handles, they just get in the way!
The strap is good but the loose ends (after the buckle) are a pain, any way to tuck them back (or cut them curved so the corners aern't as sharp?)
My only other issue is, this seems a very noisy bag, lots of metal zippers bouncing around! Can anything be done to quiet them?
This sounds like a long list but, this bag is way ahead of anything else I have found on the market, these are just my personnal impressions on how to get it even further ahead.
Agreed that it would be nice to be able to remove Brain Cell handles... it's a permanent fixture in my ID, and tucking them into the side pocket kind of gets in the way of using that pocket. Just a thought!
The reason the Brain Cell flaps are oriented as they are is purely aesthetic; when the bag is used on its own, as many people use it, it would not look right for the flaps to be oriented as you suggest.
We are making changes to the Empire Builder. The changes are a relatively minor reorganization of the organizer pockets and thicker, denser foam in the padded handles. We will also add a key snap in the zippered pocket on the flap.