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  1. #1
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    Brain Bag for Light Travel?

    I'm interested in the Brain Bag and have heard many recommendations on it. However, I'm worried about the weight and size of it. I would like to be able to use it at school as well as travel.

    Generally, I don't think I'll ever have two laptops in it and my current laptop is a 13in. at 4lb. I want to be able to travel as light as possible, so I'm wondering if this bag is the correct one or if there's something closer to what I'm looking for. I definitely want the ability to carry a lot like the Brain Bag offers though.

    The description page says that the bag is 3lb so that definitely worries me - the last thing I want is to have a bag almost as heavy as my laptop.

    Any suggestions would be great - thanks!
    Last edited by pftq; 01-01-2009 at 07:06 PM.

  2. #2
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    I have 2 Brain Bags, I use one to carry textbooks and one for travel.

    I find the Brain Bag ideal for travel as my main carry on, it will fit your laptop and a weekend casual wardrobe, or more clothes if you know how to pack tight with no problem.

    Do not let the stated weight fools you, this is the minimum weight (around 2-3 pounds) of a well made bag that is still light enough to be carried around and not break after a day, a month or a year. (trust me on this, I have tested luggage all my life, starting with the huge and ugly hard shell suitcases of the 80's)


    Tom Bihn makes 3 other carry on size backpacks/travel bags the Aeronaut, Western Flyer and Smart Alec. (There are many real life users reviews on each of those bags, check them out in the hem... review section)
    They are lighter.

    When I bought my first Brain Bag, I was also worried about the weight but...
    the ergonomics of this bag is fabulous, just cannot be beat.


    I used the Brain Bag for the air travel part of two of my moves, both stressful, due to external circumstances.

    During the first move plane trip, I carried two ibook laptops + cables and one external hard drive (a heavy one).

    During the second move plane trip, I carried one of the laptops + cables and other very heavy stuff, I also had to lug a very large non Tom Bihn bag full of soft stuff that could survive checked luggage rough handling.

    On both trip I had barely any sleep and not much to eat either, so I was not in top form. Still I was able to get into the curbside checking, security, the food court take out line in the vicinity of my gate and early in my Southwest numbered line.
    That meant a face paced trot most of the way.


    Before I bought my Brain Bags, I packed the same amount of stuff but had to tow the soft luggage bags I was using.
    The ergonomic was so poor that I could not carry them without bruising myself so I used the handle to slide them on the airport floor. It was slow and did not look good at all.


    I also have an Aeronaute and it is a great piece of carry-on luggage, very roomy with plenty of pockets but not humongous.


    I prefer the Brain Bag because of it's versatility, it can be a student bag, a short car trip bag, a great cabin carryon bag (it fits in commuter airplanes without trouble) but where it shines is on public transport not matter how many buses, train, metro, shuttles or ferry connections you need to catch to your destination it will stay on, mold to your every moves and somewhat keep distributing its weight evenly.

    I must be noted that the bag is made for average height, 5'.7"

    Please feel free to ask more questions
    Last edited by backpack; 01-01-2009 at 05:46 PM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the advice. I was looking for something that could perhaps be used at school as well though - perhaps I should include that in my main post. If possible, I'd like to keep the starting weight at a minimal as classes can be rather far apart.

    I'm looking at the Smart Alec you mentioned - you say the Brain Bag is more versatile. What would be the drawbacks of getting an Smart Alec over the Brain Bag? My main concern about the Smart Alec is it seems very limited when compared to the Brain Bag, though I guess to keep the weight low some things would have to be stripped out.

    Thanks - your information is very helpful!
    Last edited by pftq; 01-01-2009 at 07:14 PM.

  4. #4
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    I wrestled with the same question for quite a while, and I settled on the Brain Bag. I looked hard at the Smart Alec as well because I really like the design... but several factors steered me towards the brain bag:

    - The carrying capacity of the Brain Bag cannot be beat, and you never know when you'll need it.

    - You can cinch the Brain Bag if you're carrying a lighter load, so that it is not so awkward.

    - I have an ID that I use for my daily briefcase, so I wanted something specifically for heavy use.

    I just ordered my Brain Bag this week. I'll let you know more when it arrives... like Backpack says, there are plenty of great reviews here to help your decision. I also started a thread a few weeks back about the SA vs BB question in this forum, and a number of folks here posted some immensely helpful information and pics!

    Good luck deciding! Hope this helps!
    ----------------
    Bob P.
    Magic Tiki Studios

    Empire Builder (black/steel), Brain Bag (steel), Small Padded Organizer Pouch, Clear Wallet, Soft Cell, Snake Charmer (cayenne) and assorted trimmings.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pftq View Post
    Thanks for the advice. I was looking for something that could perhaps be used at school as well though - perhaps I should include that in my main post. If possible, I'd like to keep the starting weight at a minimal as classes can be rather far apart.

    I'm looking at the Smart Alec you mentioned - you say the Brain Bag is more versatile. What would be the drawbacks of getting an Smart Alec over the Brain Bag? My main concern about the Smart Alec is it seems very limited when compared to the Brain Bag, though I guess to keep the weight low some things would have to be stripped out.

    Thanks - your information is very helpful!

    I specifically bought the Brain Bag to be used as a carry on able to handle 2 laptops.

    I don't think that it is possible with the Smart Alex.

    Right now I am taking a class that is textbook heavy (pun intended), I am able to fit absolutely everything in the Brain Bag, I just take the texbooks and a plastic folder containing a letter sized pad but if I wanted to, I could take a laptop in his sleeve as well.


    I just came back from a weekend car trip 2 states north.
    Instead of using my new Brain Bag, I removed the class items described above and packed clothes (including a heavy robe), toileteries in one compartment and a couple of needlework items inside the Packing Cube Backpack and a Stuff Sac.

    The Bag was really stuffed, yet I could carry it from the car to the hotel luggage cart. (not far I know but just the same)
    When I stuffed other bags in the past, I could not carry them.


    I went to highschool then university carrying all sort of bags including two different kind of heavy leather briefcases and many backpacks.
    Both learning institutions had steep hills to get to the buildings and stairs to get to class. Let just say that I didn't need to go to the gym.
    And I was always really tired after a day of lugging.

    The Brain Bag does not do that, I had the same reluctance about the weight but two Brain Bags later it is no longer an issue.


    However, if you know for sure that all you need to take to class is a pad of paper, some slim handouts or light paperback books with a lightweight laptop or the occasional hardback textbook, go for the Smart Alec.


    You can always get a Brain Bag when you get ready a fabulous trip of a lifetime.
    Last edited by backpack; 01-04-2009 at 07:51 PM.

  6. #6
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    I think you will / you would be happy with a Brain Bag for "light travel." I'm gradually trying to improve my light-travel skills, but a Brain Bag can hold quite a bit, and the extra weight on the scale is less important than how it feels on your back; the Brain Bag may not be the lightest bag, but the ratio to consider is Actual Weight to Perceived Weight When it's loaded pretty well full, the Brain Bag is nicer to carry than certain other bags I've tried. If your laptop is fairly small, esp. you can really get a lot of other stuff into the B.B. Your exact needs are your own, but for "typical" light travel -- no tuxedos, trained ferrets, oxygen tanks, etc -- I think a BB is a good choice.

    If travel were the main use, I'd personally rather have an Aeronaut, but a BB is also great for carrying around books / computers, etc -- I really wish I'd had mine sometime before the last 2 weeks of law school

    timothy


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