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  1. #1
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    Brain Bag and Brain Cell questions

    Hi everyone,

    I've already decided I need an Aeronaut and some Packing Cubes, but I also think I want a Brain Bag and a Brain Cell, and I have a couple of questions about the latter items.

    (1) I need to know whether the Brain Bag will hold what I need it to hold. This is a matter of dimensions rather than just volume. I sometimes walk to work (about three miles), and when I do I carry a change of clothes (shirt and pants rolled up) -- including a pair of boots that are my normal work shoes -- a book, and some toiletries, plus a few other random items that don't really need to go but end up living in my backpack anyway.

    I'm currently using a North Face Recon bag whose volume is 30 liters (compared to 36 for the Brain Bag), and this stuff will go, but it is a rather tight fit. Note that when I say "boots," I'm talking really about low, sturdy hiking-type boots that don't cover much more than my ankles.

    Will this stuff fit well into a Brain Bag?

    Another question about this: Are there any dividers in the main compartment in the Brain Bag? I like to be able to keep my shoes (which generally have dirty and/or dusty soles) away from my clean clothes on the way to work.

    (2) I'm unclear on the difference between the Horizontal and Vertical Brain Cells. I don't get why there need to be two different ones anyway. What's the deal? (While I normally don't carry my laptop with me to and from work, I do carry it when I go on trips, in which case I would put it into the Brain Bag. That would mean I'd want a Vertical Brain Cell, I think...but I don't get the whole horizontal-vs.-vertical thing.)

    Thanks! I'm looking forward to placing my order....

    Tim
    Last edited by TimK65; 12-18-2007 at 02:50 PM.

  2. #2
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    You'll be able to fit everything you described in the Brain Bag.

    The reason we make a Vertical Brain Cell is that the Horizontal Brain Cell, in some sizes, is too wide to fit inside of backpacks like the Brain Bag or Smart Alec. Turn the laptop on its end and it can fit in something taller rather than wider.
    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

  3. #3
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    Hey Darcy,

    OK, thanks for the reply about the Brain Bag. I'll be gettin' me one; just have to decide on the color.

    I guess I wasn't very clear in my question about the Brain Cells. Let me put it this way: Why can't you just turn the Horizontal Brain Cell 90 degrees and put it into a backpack?

  4. #4
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimK65 View Post
    Let me put it this way: Why can't you just turn the Horizontal Brain Cell 90 degrees and put it into a backpack?
    Sorry! I misunderstood. Because of the suspension system and the memory foam at the bottom of the Brain Cell -- if you turn a Horizontal Brain Cell on its side, that suspension system/memory foam will be on its side and not on the bottom where it provides the most protection. Look at pictures f and g on the Brain Cell page to see the suspension system.
    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

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    Sorry! I misunderstood. Because of the suspension system and the memory foam at the bottom of the Brain Cell -- if you turn a Horizontal Brain Cell on its side, that suspension system/memory foam will be on its side and not on the bottom where it provides the most protection. Look at pictures f and g on the Brain Cell page to see the suspension system.
    Not your fault -- like I said, I don't think I was very clear the first time.

    What you've just explained is basically what I thought from the explanations on the product pages (I did read the FAQs, which are very helpful), and you've just confirmed it. What I still don't get is the reason for not having the suspension system and memory foam on all four sides, which would provide complete protection.

    I hope I'm not trying your patience too much.

  6. #6
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    Let me put it this way: Why can't you just turn the Horizontal Brain Cell 90 degrees and put it into a backpack?

    Also if you rotate the Brain Cell then you can not remove the computer without taking the Brain Cell out of the Brain Bag,Not the way you would want to do it.

    The Brain Bag will easily hold what you mentioned and more.
    I have enormous boots and they eaily fit in either main compartment with plenty of room to spare.
    The bag has compression straps on the sides too so it can be less full but not flop around because of it.

    I have two Brain Bags and various Cells,Pouches and containers of all kinds and trust me,you will not beleive how much stuff can fit in a Brain Bag.
    The odd thing is that I don't mind lugging it around even when loaded as the balance and strap system are so well designed.
    Last edited by AVService; 12-18-2007 at 07:33 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by AVService View Post
    Let me put it this way: Why can't you just turn the Horizontal Brain Cell 90 degrees and put it into a backpack?

    Also if you rotate the Brain Cell then you can not remove the computer without taking the Brain Cell out of the Brain Bag,Not the way you would want to do it.

    The Brain Bag will easily hold what you mentioned and more.
    I have enormous boots and they eaily fit in either main compartment with plenty of room to spare.
    The bag has compression straps on the sides too so it can be less full but not flop around because of it.

    I have two Brain Bags and various Cells,Pouches and containers of all kinds and trust me,you will not beleive how much stuff can fit in a Brain Bag.
    The odd thing is that I don't mind lugging it around even when loaded as the balance and strap system are so well designed.
    Hey AV! Thanks for replying.

    I guess my thinking is that for an extended trip where I'd want to take my laptop, the Brain Bag/Brain Cell combination seems nice, except that I'm not keen on paying $60 for a Brain Cell that can only be used in one orientation. Especially when I already have this:

    http://www.naturkompaniet.se/index.asp?ItemId=10580

    It's not as spacious as the Brain Bag, but it carries a laptop nicely AND it has an aluminum frame, so that you can sit on it...which I can testify comes in handy at some airports, where seating is in short supply.

    Since I don't carry my laptop daily, I'm inclined to get a Brain Bag for daily use and stick with my DePendler for long trips, and leave the Brain Cell out.

  8. #8
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimK65 View Post
    What I still don't get is the reason for not having the suspension system and memory foam on all four sides, which would provide complete protection.
    It's a cool idea and something Tom has thought about. There has to be, as AVService mentioned, a "door" that allows you to take your laptop out. Also, the suspension system and memory foam adds about 1-1 1/2" bulk to the bag: a Brain Cell that had that on all sides would be pretty huge.
    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

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    It's a cool idea and something Tom has thought about. There has to be, as AVService mentioned, a "door" that allows you to take your laptop out. Also, the suspension system and memory foam adds about 1-1 1/2" bulk to the bag: a Brain Cell that had that on all sides would be pretty huge.
    That makes sense. I don't see any reason why the side that has the "door" couldn't be padded, but the padding itself on all sides would indeed make the Brain Cell very large.

    I think what it boils down to for me is that the Brain Cell doesn't make sense for me right now, since I don't routinely carry my laptop. When I get ready for my next trip, wherever that may be, if by then I've fallen in love with my Brain Bag and want to take it, I'll probably order a Vertical Brain Cell then.

    Thanks for all the feedback!

    Best,
    Tim

  10. #10
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    I think what it boils down to for me is that the Brain Cell doesn't make sense for me right now, since I don't routinely carry my laptop.
    Keep in mind that the Brain Cell is removable. The first time I removed mine, it took a little figuring out (3-5 minutes), but once I got through it, I understood how it worked. Now I can pop my brain cell in and out of my bags rather easily, and it stays firmly in place. It's a great little suspension system they have in there.

    I bought a horizontal size 6 brain cell for a Super Ego in 2006, and when I added a Brain Bag backpack to my arsenal this month, the horizontal brain cell still fits.

    You mentioned that you don't want a laptop case that can only be used in one orientation. Is there any other kind? I don't think I've ever seen a custom-fit laptop case that has more than one access point. Unless you have a very large (or very wide) laptop, I'd suggest a horizontal case, which seems to be the most useful.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BJ Nemeth View Post
    Keep in mind that the Brain Cell is removable. The first time I removed mine, it took a little figuring out (3-5 minutes), but once I got through it, I understood how it worked. Now I can pop my brain cell in and out of my bags rather easily, and it stays firmly in place. It's a great little suspension system they have in there.

    I bought a horizontal size 6 brain cell for a Super Ego in 2006, and when I added a Brain Bag backpack to my arsenal this month, the horizontal brain cell still fits.

    You mentioned that you don't want a laptop case that can only be used in one orientation. Is there any other kind? I don't think I've ever seen a custom-fit laptop case that has more than one access point. Unless you have a very large (or very wide) laptop, I'd suggest a horizontal case, which seems to be the most useful.
    Hi BJ,

    You make a good point about there not being any other laptop cases/sleeves with multiple openings; I think my counterpoint would be that I've also never seen one before that cost $60. :-)

    As far as the Brain Cell being removable, I understand that, but I don't see any point in paying for any kind of laptop sleeve now when I don't routinely carry my laptop with me. When I get ready for my next big trip (where I'll be likely to want to take it with me), I'll consider a Brain Cell.

    Thank you for suggesting a Horizontal Brain Cell. My laptop is a 13" MacBook, so it's not particularly large at all. Would that fit horizontally into the Brain Bag (that I'm about to go pick up shortly at the UPS station)?

    Happy holidays to you and everyone!

    Best,
    Tim

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimK65 View Post
    Thank you for suggesting a Horizontal Brain Cell. My laptop is a 13" MacBook, so it's not particularly large at all. Would that fit horizontally into the Brain Bag (that I'm about to go pick up shortly at the UPS station)?
    Hi Tim,

    The MacBook fits in a Size 6 Brain Cell, so yes, you would be able to fit it horizontally into the Brain Bag as BJ Nemeth does. The ordering page for the Brain Bag has drop down option lists for additions, and only lists the Brain Cell options (Horizontal or Vertical) that fit in the Bag. (You do first need to check the Laptop Fit List link on the page to find out which size Brain Cell works for your laptop, though).

    Another accessory that's sized particularly well to work with the Brain Bag (and Brain Cell) is the Snake Charmer. (I have one of these even though I don't have a Brain Bag). With the horizontal Brain Cell in place, it conveniently sits on top, for easy access to cables, etc Here's a link to a review of the Brain Bag on a recent blog that describes the experience of using this with the Snake Charmer, Horizontal Brain Cell, and Vertical Freudian Slip as accessories. This may give you a better feeling for what choices might be useful for you and how other people are using these bags with accessory combinations.

    In the meantime, enjoy all your new Tom Bihn Bags.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by moriond View Post
    Hi Tim,

    The MacBook fits in a Size 6 Brain Cell, so yes, you would be able to fit it horizontally into the Brain Bag as BJ Nemeth does. The ordering page for the Brain Bag has drop down option lists for additions, and only lists the Brain Cell options (Horizontal or Vertical) that fit in the Bag. (You do first need to check the Laptop Fit List link on the page to find out which size Brain Cell works for your laptop, though).

    Another accessory that's sized particularly well to work with the Brain Bag (and Brain Cell) is the Snake Charmer. (I have one of these even though I don't have a Brain Bag). With the horizontal Brain Cell in place, it conveniently sits on top, for easy access to cables, etc Here's a link to a review of the Brain Bag on a recent blog that describes the experience of using this with the Snake Charmer, Horizontal Brain Cell, and Vertical Freudian Slip as accessories. This may give you a better feeling for what choices might be useful for you and how other people are using these bags with accessory combinations.

    In the meantime, enjoy all your new Tom Bihn Bags.
    Thanks! I got my stuff on Saturday. I ordered an Aeronaut with a set of Packing Cubes, and a Brain Bag with a Snake Charmer. All of this stuff has already proven its worth.

    Best,
    Tim


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