Brain Bag Suggestions
I have been using my brain bag now for a few months and have some feedback.
In general the bag is excellent. My boss liked it so much that he got one as well. I also bought a brain cell for my TiBook as well as a snake charmer and freudian slip-- that is about $235 of bag (don't tell my wife)-- which I must say has been worth it.
The waist strap went almost immediately. It would be nice if it were detachable like on the smart alec. I fly frequently and the straps were a hassle to deal with in putting the bag under the seat. The strap is also uncomfortable when fastened behind the back (to keep it from dangling).
Since the brain cell sits on the bottom of the bag it can be a bit cumbersome to pull the laptop out for airport security. I don't know what, if anything, could be done to make that easier. I have one of those handles for the TiBook which makes it a bit better but still not as smooth as it could be.
My snake charmer will not usually stay in place on top of the brain cell but rather slide down in front of the brain cell. It would be nice if there was a snap or some such thing to keep the snake charmer up where it is supposed to be. This would make it easier to put the TiBook back in the brain cell as usually I have to pull the snake charmer out from the depths of the bag before the TiBook will slip back in.
I like the two front (long) zippered pockets. However, they would work better if they had two zipper pulls each instead of just the one. I keep my iPod in one of them and if the bag is under a seat it can be awkward to pull that zipper to get into the pocket.
I know that the iPod case market is a bit saturated, but it would be nice to have an iPod case that clipped on or otherwise integrated well with the Brain Bag while also serving the dual purpose of pouring vast amounts of capital into the Port Angeles economy...
Anyway, I hope this feedback helps somewhat. I love the bag.
Thanks for the feed back & glad you like your Brain bag, etc.
Regards your specific comments:
The waist strap is not removable because we concluded (originally) that the hardware required to make it removable was almost as cumbersome as the strap itself, thus more or less negating the reason for removing the strap. That being said, when we redesign the Brain next year, we will re-examin this issue. Similarly, the front pockets will get redesigned and another slider likely added.
The Snake Charmer was originally designed to sit on top of the size 3 Brain Cell; now that we have new sizes of Brain Cell that are *thinner* (which is mostly cool - more room for other stuff), it's true there is a problem with the Snake Charmer drifting off and slipping down to bottom. A snap or hook at the top would be cool but again another hassle for the user (as the manufacturer, we love slapping more stuff like that on there!); maybe there is a simplier & more elegant solution.
Regarding the security check-point issue and also the iPod idea: let me think on those for a while.
Agian, thanks for the feed back.
I also have a brainbag, which I purchased when i took a job in San Francisco to which I had to hike 9 blocks from the commuter train I take in every day. Add to that 9 blocks back to the train to go home, and you can see it's a rather long hike in the long run.
I personally LOVE the chest and belt straps. Carrying the pack without these in use is, for me, uncomfortable as due to the large ammount of cargo I have to carry (17" PB, a couple firewire HDs, some equipment for work, books, etc.) it tends to slide around on my back or pull the straps out against the outside of my shoulders too much. Using the belt and chest straps, the pack sits comfortably on my body and i can move with ease despite the weight I'm carrying.
What I would personally like, though, is if the chest straps were either a bit wider, or had some sort of padding as the thin straps that are there now tend to twist and cut into me a bit in circumstances. Also, i would welcome some kind of hip pouches (sorta like padded strap mounts of some sort that attach with the belt) that could double as iPod and/or Cellphone holsters that are integrated with the pack. (maybe make lower back/side support "Sleeve" that can be added?)
As for the snake charmer, this thing is amazing. I used to carry all the cabling in one giant mass in its own seperate pocket and hope that it didn't coil up together too badly. I absolutely LOVE being able to stow it into one pouch. As far as attaching it to the bag, what about adding a couple of nylon loops inside the bag through which a couple of snappable "Tiedowns" could be slung on the snake charmer, making it fix to the top of the bag? This way, you add maybe two small loops at the top of both large compartments, and the bulk of anything that may be a hastle is kept on the snakecharmer (and, heck, looping two small straps on the snakecharmer through two loops on the bag and snapping them would be perfectly simple for someone who's in a hurry, like me).
All in all, the bag rules, and is the best $170 I ever spent. (Add to that the $65 of the Monolith, which hasn't arrived yet, and it's on par with the bags I was looking at to carry my stuff in to begin with).
Thanks very much!
Regarding the Snake Charmer, we could add loops that correspond to the upper placement of the Annex Clips and you could clip it there. This would not be a super quick clip or un-clip, but you may find it does the trick. Disregard this idea id you have the old-style snaps in the Brain Bag rather than the new Annex Clips.
Regards little iPod/cell phone pockets that attach to the waist or other straps, we have developed a cool little pocket for the diagonal shoulder strap of the Buzz (the new sling bag) that may be ultimately inspiration for other little mobile pockets, but that's a ways off. Sorry.
Padding on the sternum strap? We might be changing to a different clip on the sternum strap so that change might facilitate adding a pad. Sadly, most manufacturers use 3/4" webbing on their sternum strap (we use 1"), so most of our choices of hardware for it are limited by that.
I haven't seen any wider sternum strap hardware offered yet, but I'll keep my eyes peeled (ouch!).