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Thread: Brain Bag Cordura 1000d Dust collector? Why Not 500d?

  1. #1
    Registered User zuyzuy's Avatar
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    Angry Brain Bag Cordura 1000d Dust collector? Why Not 500d?

    I am considering getting a Brain Bag, however, my experience with 1000d Cordura is that it collects dog and cat hair and other debris. Does the Brain Bag do that?

    Also, why doesn't Tom Bihn use Cordura 500d? The finish is a lot finer and nicer looking.

    I see many travel bags using Cordura 1000 and it is a puzzle to me.

    Reason is that several bag that is made to be abused a lot more than travel bag.. like the Manufacturer Mystery Ranch which makes everyday heavy backpack meant for war in Afghanistan.. (which.. you would think a travel bag will not be exposed to?)

    If it works for someone who everyday crawls in the dust in Iraq.. you would think that it would be good enough for a travel bag?

    It is lighter, better looking, more durable and does not attract dust.

    I have a MEI Voyageur and a Red Oxx bag plus a mystery ranch backpack I use in the forest. And it is just a puzzle to me.. why the one I use in the forest is of a "inferior" quality than the bags I occasionally use on airplanes and traveling with a car?

    On MR website they say: "For our primary outer fabric we use 500 denier Cordura because of its blend of durability and waterproofness. 1000d is more durable, but also has a higher level of porosity -- reducing its water resistance compared to the 500d -- so we use 1000d primarily for gear that is subjected to extreme abrasion, like our wildland fire packs."

    Can someone from Tom Binh Comment on this? I am dying here... Also please answer the question about the Brain.. I will probably choose a different color than black if it collects dust.

  2. #2
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Dana at Mystery Ranch makes some good points about 500d Cordura -- in fact, back in the early '90s we made our entire product line from 500d. However, just like how everyone has a favorite kind of beer or brand of chocolate that they think is the best, it does come down to a matter of opinion. Personally, we prefer the more cotton/canvas-like look and feel of 1000d Cordura as an exterior fabric. And, as it ages, we find that 1000d Cordura actually becomes more like cotton canvas, whereas 500d Cordura tends to become a bit boardy and stiff.

    We still do use 500d as a lining, and on some bags that are mainly used as inserts inside of larger bags, such as the Brain Cell. (We have it made in our favorite colors -- such as Cayenne and Wasabi -- and we've even seen other manufacturers bags made from our Wasabi 500d that was rejected by our fabric mill.)

    For most of our our travel bags, briefcases and laptop bags, we use U.S. high tenacity 1050d ballistic nylon -- a fabric that we choose to use over 500d or 1000d Cordura in those applications because:
    1) It's more tear-resistant than either weight of Cordura -- important in a travel bag that could potentially be checked, malevolently slashed or who knows what.
    2) It has pretty much the same abrasion resistance 1000d Cordura.
    3) The yarns in 1050d ballistic are filament yarns, vs Cordura yarns which are texturized. The filament yarns are what gives ballistic a smoother look and feel. And this smoothness helps a travel bag made out of 1050d ballistic, such as our Aeronaut, slide in and out of overhead compartments more easily.
    4) It's a stiffer fabric and gives the bag more structure -- we think this looks sharper and more professional, and also helps to make sure the bag doesn't look as "overstuffed".
    5) It takes the urethane coating better than either weight of Cordura, so is more waterproof.

    We also are using more and more 400d DyneemaŽ/420d nylon ripstop -- a very light weight nylon fabric with grid of white DyneemaŽ yarns. On Taber Abrasion tests (you can see our Taber machine at work in the video about our materials) abrasion-resistance of the 400d Dyneema/nylon is actually pretty close to 500d Cordura, and the white DyneemaŽ ripstop yarns provide greater tear/cut strength than Cordura does.

    Neither our 1050d ballistic nor our 400d DyneemaŽ/420d nylon ripstop are texturized fabrics: they don't collect pet hair, snow and dust like Cordura.

    Regarding your question "why the one I use in the forest is of a "inferior" quality than the bags I occasionally use on airplanes and traveling with a car" -- that's a good one indeed. If you actually spend more time in the woods or mountains than commuting to work or traveling, consider yourself among the lucky few. Our experience making bags for more than 40 years (remember -- Tom got his start making mountaineering gear) is that the bags people use for work and travel generally see much greater wear and tear than the gear they use in the back country. Obviously, daily use in combat situations may well be an exception to this, but most people go backpacking once or twice a year, perhaps for a total of a week or two. Additionally, most folks tend to be far more weight conscious when it comes to their back country gear: in the front country, we seem to be OK schlepping around a few extra ounces in the bags we use every day going to work or class. Hence, fabrics chosen for outdoor use tend to be, not so much "inferior", but rather lighter in weight and therefore potentially less durable.

    That said, you may see bags such as the Brain Bag offered in ballistic and/or Dyneema/nylon over the next year. Still, there's something about the Brain Bag in 1000d Cordura that is pretty classic. We definitely don't plan to offer it in 500d.
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

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    Registered User zuyzuy's Avatar
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    Hi Darcy,

    Thank you very much for such a comprehensive answer. You illuminated a lot of good angles.

    It seems like I am going for an Aeronout. I am happy to hear that it does not have Cordura.. as I am never going to have that again in a bag. (the two I have is enough..) I would consider the Brain Bag if you had it in Dyneema.

    It seems like Dyneema is a better fit for me, since I am going to use it for occasional travel. However, the only objection I have is the color.. and i understand that the Dyneema makes it difficult to have any other color than natural white?

    I am not sure if I will stand out like a sore thumb.. or it will look out of style. I honestly do not know..

    Thanks again for the wonderful service you are offering. I will sure find out quickly what bag to order from you guys. It is going to be a Tom Binh for sure!

  4. #4
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zuyzuy View Post
    It seems like Dyneema is a better fit for me, since I am going to use it for occasional travel. However, the only objection I have is the color.. and i understand that the Dyneema makes it difficult to have any other color than natural white?
    Correct: Dyneema yarns don’t accept dye and thus remain their natural white color.

    When available, I choose to carry Dyneema/nylon versions of all of our bags. Besides all of the practical reasons, I think it's quite the handsome fabric. There's something very technical looking (it reminds me of graph paper) about it, yet I also associate it with custom ultralight backpacking equipment, so there's an outdoors element to it that may not be obvious to everyone. Anyway -- another thing that comes down to a matter of opinion. :)
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

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    Just the fact that Dyneema doesn't suck up pet hair is why the Nordic SA and Nordic CoPilot are on my wish list! When I first saw the dyneema on the website, I thought it looked kind of cheap. (I know, I know) But after having received a few different dyneema pouches and finally getting a Steel Dyneema PCSB, I am sold on it! You really don't notice the white at all. The Nordic is gorgeous and the Steel just looks sleek. I'm a huge fan.


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