March 31, 2022

Ready to Hold All the Things: What Fits in the Brain Bag

Brain Bag with a Pilot in the main compartment.

The Brain Bag is a powerhouse of a pack and for those of you who have been on the fence over the (many, many) years we’ve offered it and are thinking of jumping on it now, this will be a run down of all the various bits and bobs that you can fit in its cavernous pockets (warning: it’s a lot!)

To start with, depending on what you’re using your Brain Bag for, you might need very little or no additional organization at all. Like many of Tom’s designs, there’s enough built-in pocketry that you might like using it au naturale. However, if you prefer having a place for everything (and having everything in its place), then here are some examples of what TOM BIHN accessories will fit where. It’ll be up to you to decide which, if any, you need – I mean you are after all the Cicely Tyson, of your Brain Bag organizin’.

First, let’s start with the main compartments. That’s right, compartments – with an S. The Brain Bag boasts two, count ‘em, two main compartments, both alike in dignity (and size!) Here’s how to fill ‘em up:

The main compartments are pretty big, and a lot of the things we make fit into them. If something I didn’t cover looks like it might fit in there, it probably will.

Now let’s get into the smaller pockets. The small top pocket is a great place for little stuff you need at a moment’s notice, and you might not need any extra organization in here at all, beyond a small Pouch. Here’s a list of accessories that fit:

Next, we’ll go for the two side pockets near the bottom of the bag. They’re the same size as each other, but mirrored, and both have additional pockets and pen slots inside. Here are some smaller items that can help you further organize these already well-organized compartments:

You might have noticed the mesh pocket on the outside of the left-hand pocket and thought, "But wait!  What can you put in there?!"  The answer, my friend, is whatever you want.  It's a great place for a water bottle, though it may unbalance your pack (the center between the side pockets, using the straps and triangle clip, is another good spot for a bottle that will keep you balanced).  It's open-topped, though, so while a lot of the things that'll fit in a side pocket will fit in there, they can also not fit in there, if you catch my drift (my drift is that they could fall out or get swiped).

So there you go, a pretty comprehensive list of what-goes-where in the Brain Bag.  Didn't see an item we make in the list and curious where it might fit?  Have a Brain Bag yourself and have a great way to pack it?  Drop a note in the comments below or

Tune in next time when we cover…some other bag! Same BIHN time, same BIHN channel!


Mayank - May 3, 2024

The brain bag looks really awesome. I would think it would be great to upgrade the brain bag with some of the synik’s features. At 18×14×9 a slightly underpacked brain bag has the perfect dimensions for a personal item (18 × 14 × 8). I think you could lean into them and make this the perfect tech personal item/edc backpack.

Here are the changes I would suggest. Add a luggage passthrough, make the compartment closer to the back a tech focused compartment with a laptop sleeve. Finally if the central water bottle storage can be made into a compartment like the synic to give it a more streamlined look and more protection.

Bob Grenader - October 26, 2022

Wow, you’ve breathed new life into my Brain BagI. I am traveling right now with an Aeronaut, and when I get home, IO am going to see if I can get everything I have now into my BB!!

Max - October 25, 2022

The one reason I haven’t considered the Brain Bag is the lack of carry-on-handle pass-through. I know I can just use a strap but that’s a lot less convenient than just sliding the back onto my carry-on handle. I really wish more of your backpacks had them, ’til then my Synik 30 will be my go-to.

Christine - October 25, 2022

I LOVE my brain bag! The only thing I continuously wish it had is a water bottle mesh pocket on the sides. If it’s stretchy enough, you could still open the bag completely when packing or unpacking and then when it’s zipped up the water bottles could slide in:) …. I’d buy a whole new bag if it had this feature! Carrying my water in my hand all the time gets old really quick lol

Shep BOSTIN - May 20, 2022

I love the “Freudian Cache” idea – the padded section could fit a tablet or small laptop (like a Microsoft Surface or smaller MacBook), and the organizer section could fit random stuff like wires, small papers, etc. The one for the Brain Bag, in particular, would be very handy since it also fits in the Paragon. One comment about the Freudian Slips in general: if an FS is designed for a bag with lots of pockets and pen slots (like the Synik, Synapse, and Brain Bag, just to name a few), I think there is little reason to replicate those pockets in the FS. This is why I love the harder-to-find Makers/Swift FS – it eschews redundant pen and pad pockets for useful zip pockets on one side and flat, open top pockets on the other. Added bonus: it fits nicely in my Pilot and my Cadet as well – neither of which need additional pen, etc. pockets. 🙂
TOM BIHN replied:
Thank you! That’s great feedback, and we’re noting down that feedback on the pen pockets to our design team.

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