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  1. #1
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    Am I a Smart Alec or a Brain?

    Hi. I'm moving soon and will be walking to work, so I need (well, maybe I don't need, but these bags are enticing) to find a good backpack. I am torn between the Brain Bag and Smart Alec, mainly because I'm having trouble getting a sense of how much they will carry. Here's what I'll be carrying:

    - A 12" ibook (but I'd like to be able to carry a 15" if necessary---yet something else I don't need )
    - Some notebooks, files, etc., preferably in a "Freudian Slip"
    - Lunch
    - A hardcover book or two
    - An iPod

    Would the Smart Alec be sufficient?

    Thanks,
    Josh

  2. #2
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    That shouldn't be a problem at all to fit in the Smart Alec.
    You stick the 12'' into the Braincell 5 and all the files and assorted stuff into the Freudian Slip, and then you've still got room for a lunch and a hardcover. The ipod goes into the side pocket...
    Assuming your lunch isn't meant to feed a starving group of 5 teenage boys that is

    Seriously that should go fine, the Smart Alec will be "fullish" then though so you probably couldn't fit a big textbook or something as well then.

    Cobos
    If you are not part of the solution you are part of the precipitate!

  3. #3
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    I agree with Cobos. I think the Smart Alec would be a great size of backpack for you.
    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

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the quick responses. Now I just have to pick a color.

    -Josh

  5. #5
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    Crimson. It looks terrific. Mine is sitting here next to me, quietly and faithfully.
    It's worth considering that your entire purpose in life could be to serve as a warning to others.

  6. #6
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    I'd just like to add my own Me Too post
    I've got a Crimson Smart Alec myself and it's lovely... I suppose there is a reason they use the Crimson one as the big or standard picture for the Smart Alec. It looks lovely and really makes the bag stand out.

    Cobos
    If you are not part of the solution you are part of the precipitate!

  7. #7
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    I too was torn between the Smart Alec and the Brain Bag. I ended up getting both! Here's why:

    During a recent trip to the States I ordered the Smart Alec for myself and the Brain Bag for a friend and colleague -- he knew that only the Brain Bag would hold, in separate compartments, his Thinkpad T43 and his flute/piccolo case. He couldn't be happier.

    As for me, I chose the smart Alex for its more modest, sleek and elegant proportions and I find it ideal for walking around town, in day to day use, with a moderate load. I don't think it takes well to being overstuffed with heavy items as its back padding is minimal and it's "raison d'etre" is defeated, although in a pinch it can accommodate surprisingly large loads. For the items you list in your original post, this bag would be ideal.

    The reason I ordered a week later the Brain Bag is that I felt the need for a large backpack that could be stuffed to the gills and still be acceptable as carry-on luggage on flights (and it does qualify even when expanded to the limit). Now I probably wouldn't have ordered the Brain Bag after getting the Smart Alec for my daily needs if I hadn't been able to examine my friend's Brain Bag and compare both. The Brain Bag is simply stupendous in its holding capacity while maintaining reasonable proportions but still gives the wearer that "backpacker" look.

    In short, I think these two bags complete each other ideally but if you can only have one, I would join the other posters in recommending the Smart Alec for your needs.

    Hope this helps.

  8. #8
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    Thank you all for the advice---I'm sold and will place my order tonight. Thanks again. You answered my questions and more. Bihn should be proud to have such loyal customers.

    -Josh

  9. #9
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    My loyalty to Tom Bihn is easy to explain: there are simply too few people out there anymore that do more than pay lip service to real quality and customer service, if they even bother to do that. And I'm not talking about bags, specifically, either. I find the same thing with respect to decent men's clothes, hotels, airlines, even watches (I once sold watches for a jeweler, so I know from whence I speak).

    Way back when I worked in the retail biz, one of the smartest businessmen I ever knew asked me a deceptively simple question: "What is the prime directive in business?" I answered quickly (and naively) "That's easy. To make a profit."

    "Wrong", he said. "The prime directive is to serve the customer. You make sure you're doing that the best you possibly can, all the time, and don't stop, you'll make money, and you'll be profitable. If, however, profit is your primary concern, you'll stop serving the customer right away, they'll go away, and I promise, you'll have no profits to worry about."

    Tom Bihn gets it, whether those words are explicitly spoken out loud out there in Washington state or not. As long as that remains their prime directive, and quality continues to matter top to bottom as it very obviously does in everything they do, I plan to stay a loyal customer indefinitely, as I suspect others here will, too.
    It's worth considering that your entire purpose in life could be to serve as a warning to others.

  10. #10
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    Kiwi is great too! It looks hipper in person than on the website.

    Amanda

  11. #11
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    I too have both the Smart Alec and the Brain Bag, and I can honestly say that either would be a good choice...

    however

    I find that when I use the Brain Bag, I have the tendency to put too much in it, or rather, more than I really need to take with me. The Smart Alec allows me to carry everything I need for day-to-day work, and I'm not tempted to overstuff it.

    That being said...I like the versatility of the Brain Bag.

  12. #12
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    I wish the Brain Bag owner's would post pictures to enrich their description of their great Brain Bag.

    I'm a Visual person, as you might imagine

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by backpack
    I wish the Brain Bag owner's would post pictures to enrich their description of their great Brain Bag.

    I'm a Visual person, as you might imagine
    Hmmm...I should be able to do that. Loaded? Unloaded? Worn?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan
    Hmmm...I should be able to do that. Loaded? Unloaded? Worn?
    Hi Alan,

    All of the above would be Great!!!!!


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