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Tom Bihn Forums: Community discussion on travel bags, laptop bags, and backpacks. Tom Bihn has been designing and making bags since 1972. The best materials and innovative construction.

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  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    564

    Brain Bag vertical size on back

    I'm in the process of comparing a Brain Bag to the Smart Alec and after just getting the BB I'm surprised how large it is vertically. I have never had a backpack cover my entire back before. I'm not tall at 5' 10" but I do have a long torso and it's strange to have the bottom of the bag hit just at or below my belt line. I expected the width to be large with the room for two laptops but not the height.

    Anyone else find this height to be a problem? Since I'm in the trial stage I can only use them around the house (it's getting strange trying to do stuff around the house with a backpack on your back) so I'm not able to fully try them out. Right now it's just an unusual feeling which I'm not sure would get worse or not.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    127
    Well, I'm about 5'10" too and I don't think I have a "long" torso, but when I put the BB on, yes, it does reach to the small of my back and even my waist (belt line) if the bag is heavy. Because the bag does not have an internal frame like a true "camping" pack and it has the two compartment design, the overall structure will sag a bit under a heavier load. From the side, this doesn't look great, but the advantage is that the bag sits lower and therefore you can use the waist strap.

    If I'm going for a longer distance with a heavier load, you want the waist strap to fit around your waist comfortably, rather than having the strap angle down to your waist because it's sitting higher up on your back. In fact, a good backpack allows you to transfer the load to your hip, which is much stronger than your shoulders (sorry if you already know this). Personally, I find the more it covers my back, the more snug I can get the load compressed comfortably across my entire back and the closer to my centre of gravity for carrying the load better. You don't want the load to ride high on your back.

    I've tried other packs, such as LowePro camera packs, that are very short vertically and therefore sit higher up on your back. To me, very uncomfortable and renders the waist belt semi-useless.

    Good luck with your decision!

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    128
    I'm 5'10", and the length of the Brain Bag has never seemed awkward to me. I haven't worn it while hiking (yet), but I have worn it (fully packed) while walking reasonably long distances (a mile or so). Nothing seemed out of the ordinary to me.

    Historically, my backpacks have always been on the large side. Perhaps you're just used to a smaller length backpack than I was before trying the Brain Bag?

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    564
    I didn't know that a waist strap should not angle down. Thanks for telling me that. I never purchased a "real" backpack because there is no place to hike in my area so I never had a proper education on the topic.

    Just from your two responses it seems like the BB is more of a hiking bag turned laptop bag. That might explain why it feels different to me. You are right in that all the backpacks I have used thus far have been short so having something fit that low is different for me. Maybe TB designed it this way to handle a possible heavy load. I left the bags at home but it also seems like the BB waist straps were thicker than most waist straps which would also be the sign it's modeled after a typical hiking backpack (which have very thick straps if I remember correctly).

    Interesting. Thanks for the comments.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    128
    While I haven't gone hiking with the Brain Bag yet, I have had it packed so fully with electronics (two laptops, a digital SLR, a telephoto lens, and more) that it weighed *much* more than a full hiking pack.

    The primary difference between a hiking bag and a backpack like the Brain Bag are the different things they are designed to carry and the environments they'll be used in -- a hiking pack has no place for a laptop, while the Brain Bag has no good place for a sleeping bag.

    But in both cases, you'll probably have a heavy load on your back, and you'll want to carry it in the safest, most efficient way possible.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    127
    Good luck! See if you can get used to the different feeling. I personally like the load as close to my back and as snug to my hips as possible to take the load if it's heavy. This link might help you out: http://www.mec.ca/Main/content_text....34374302881817


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