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!


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.

Ron - April 30, 2022

I would love to see Synik 30 front pockets added to the brain bag
TOM BIHN replied:
Interesting! Replacing the current front pockets or adding to them?

David - April 12, 2022

I would love to see the BB get together with the S30 have the “Out Western” A bag set up like the S30 but optimized to fit into the overhead of a SWA 737 series plane ( as they do not follow the rule of 45 but have a larger max of 24×16×10 =3840 CI = 62.92L.) We, therefore are talking about 55ish liters total (presuming 10% loss of space due to zippers/seams etc.) As I type this, an offered option would have to be some type of hip belt that would take weight off the back.

TOM BIHN replied:
That is a really interesting idea, we will pass this along to the team!

Rob - April 1, 2022

I’d love to see the Brain Bag Freudian Slip get together with the Synapse 25 FS and have a baby. The larger BB slip would be more amazing with the zip top pockets and O rings galore to help fill all that space more efficiently. As it is now, the BB FS feels so large with a lot of lost potential.
TOM BIHN replied:
I will pass your suggestion along!

G42 - March 31, 2022

The Packing Cube Shoulder Bags also fit well as cubes and/or bag-in-bag.
TOM BIHN replied:
For sure!

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