C.L. emailed us this review of his (classic) Brain Bag and said it'd be cool if we posted it here for everyone to read.
-- TB Staff
My Brain Bag is now well over 15 years old, has held 6 different laptops, and -- as you can see from the pictures -- is still serving well without any visible damage as my day-to-day carry-all backpack. It has survived countless air travel trips, daily commutes by bike and foot, and some extended hikes, all without any wear and tear. Every time I look at some ad for a new backpack model, I just have to smile.
I travel a lot, mostly 3-4 day trips during the week, for business, predominantly by air travel or train, rarely by car. I also walk a lot with the Brain Bag during daily commutes. I am using the Brain Bag with a laptop case, Freudian Slip, and Snake Charmer in the back compartment, to contain all of my technical and paper business stuff. The Snake Charmer is a big help in air travel during security checks, as I can unpack all of the technical items from the bag in some seconds, and there is no need to search the bag itself. The option to remove the laptop case from the bag is very useful if I have to attend to more formal meetings, where a backpack might be considered inappropriate. The front compartment -- which is empty in the main photo -- usually contains clothing, a toiletries bag, and any optional items like food or books. The two front side pockets contain my first aid kit, a plastic cutlery kit, writing implements, flash light, utilities, and a water bottle. The front top pocket contains on-travel documents, keys and key cards, and other stuff I want to reach very quickly. Between the side pockets is an umbrella. Well packed, I can easily carry contents for a full week business trip.
As for the quality of the bag, what can I say: it just holds up to anything I throw at it. I have never had any problems with rain or other wetness. Airlines usually give me no problems at all concerning the bag, it fits most overhead compartments even if fully packed. In smaller planes there is sometimes the need to remove contents of the front compartment to fit into overhead bins, and for this I carry an extra small plastic bag. The total weight of the bag obviously needs to be watched with respect to any applicable weight limits. When walking, I usually use the provided original non-padded waistbelt, and it is absolutely sufficient.
I guess the only problem I have with my Brain Bag is that it tempts me to over-pack ;-) ...