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First thoughts on Tom Bihn Brain Bag

Discussion in 'EDC Bags' started by binary_jester, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. binary_jester

    binary_jester Loaded Pockets

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    So I finally upgraded my EDC street cred. I am the proud owner of a Tom Bihn Brain Bag. I feel like this is a momentous moment…that I am part of a club that has secret handshakes and free Taco Tuesdays. Three of my coworkers have scrutinized my bag and are considering purchasing a bag of their own.
    So I thought I’d offer some thoughts. Now if you’re thinking, “Dude, I read your intro. Your main attraction to a bag was that it looked ruggedly cool. What do you know?” You’d be right. If you are looking for a review while I scaled K9…no wait that’s a dog…K2 with one hand and dragging my Sherpa along with the other (do they even have sherpas at K2?), then you should look elsewhere.
    What I can say is I have a slight bag fetish. I own or have owned a Slappa Stovepipe backpack, Mountain Hardwear backpack, Everki backpack, REI Flashpack, CamelBak, 2 UnderArmor duffel bags, Ogio 9.0 gym bag, REI Wheely Beast, Fitmark Velocity backpack, Thule 56L Crossover and Thule 29L Paramount. In terms of backpacks, lots of them were good, but never covered everything I wanted. So I know what I like and am looking for, but for you, I have no idea.
    I had never heard of Tom Bihn until I came to this forum. The only name brands I really knew were ones you saw at REI. When someone recommended I look at the Synapse, after further investigation finding the Brain Bag, I was sold.
    So I started setting aside money. I won’t tell you what I did, but I was not-so-young and needed the money. Finally I had enough, logged right in and without a care in the world (and not really reading the description) ordered my bag. More to come about not reading the description later.
    I just got it yesterday. The box was very rectangular, cardboardish and pleasing. When I opened the box, clouds parted and angels trumpeted.
    No, not really. But there sat my backpack. With trembling hands I picked up my bag. My first thought was wow, it’s heavy. It is heavier than my previous bags. That’s not a bad thing. The extent in which I’ll be carrying my bag is from home to car, car to work and back, in the airport and when it will get a serious outdoors test, a stress test at Disneyland. If you have to flee a ravenous bear (yes that idea gives me night sweats), gigantic boulder or really pissed off squirrel, weight might be a factor. Then again I am soft city folk, so what do I know?
    So why did I purchase this bag? I wanted a bag with some sort of organization. My EDC has grown and I need to organize it. I wanted a bag that didn’t look like I just came out of the military. I lived in fear if I had a bag with molle webbing, I’d end up in some dire survival situation. Worse, people would see my bag as a ray of hope and I would sheepishly have to explain my only learned survival skills were crawling through the jungles in FarCry 4. This was rugged yet understated. Ideally, I wanted a bag that I could use daily yet carry on a plane on a one-bag trip. I needed a bag that would carry my laptop and laptop cooler, controller, gaming mouse and pad, various usb flash drives, external drives, etc.
    This bag seemed to fit all of that. In my extensive 1 day test, I was able to put my EDC gear on one side and my external hard drive, charging battery, etc in the other pocket. The top pocket is small, but perfect for a MP3 player, chapstick, an energy bar…ok who am I kidding, candy bar…etc. My 32oz CamelBak Chute fits into the water bottle holder.
    And my laptop! Well that’s where I ran into a problem. In my haste, I didn’t comprehend there is no padded sleeve right out of the box. I get it. The lack of a padded sleeve gives you much more room for outdoor stuff if you don’t need to lug your laptop along. But now I have to purchase a cache for my laptop. But how the cache uses the rails to slip in and out of the bag is really clever.
    The problem with my Paramount was that all the pockets were in front and the bag was very narrow. So with all my stuff, if there was nothing in the back, the bag would fall forward. Also because of the construction, anything on the pockets bulged inward, making the main compartment even narrower.
    The quality of the bag was really impressive. I didn’t see any errant thread or over stitching. One funny thing is the zipper pulls are huge and tinkle when you walk. So if you have always wanted to be a cowboy walking down the dusty road with spurs clinking, leave the pulls as is. Tom Bihn does include corded zipper pulls, but the cords were too short, so I purchased some paracord, cut down to the size I preferred and used the TB plastic clips. The red paracord matched the TB label. Once again you will probably question why you have read this so far if I am concerned with the cords matching the label. I don’t blame you.
    The compression straps are really nice for collapsing the bag for day to day use. The cavernous interior swallowed my breakfast, lunch, 3 Diet Mt Dew cans and the small Honduran family I was smuggling across the border.
    So thoughts? I am really impressed by the bag. When I can safely store my laptop, things will even be better!
    I highly recommend the bag. The handshake is a bitch to master, but I have been told a knowing nod to a fellow Tom Bihn owner is sufficient.
     
    Elieolio likes this.
  2. binary_jester

    binary_jester Loaded Pockets

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    I just realized this may be in the wrong forum. Apologies if it is. Feel free to move it.
     
  3. Slaterbj

    Slaterbj Loaded Pockets

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    Pictures please! I have been considering getting one myself. Oddly enough I am in between the Everki and the Brainbag.

    Sent from my SM-T560NU using Tapatalk
     
  4. binary_jester

    binary_jester Loaded Pockets

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    I bought this before I was really into EDC. My problem with the Titan was I am a 1-strapper unless I am walking long distances. I noticed that unless I had my thumb under the strap while on my shoulder, the backpack would slip off. This was using it on my way to work. I figured maybe it was because there wasn't enough weight in the bag.
    I was wrong. I took it to California. I had an xbox 360, g73jh laptop, Nexus 10 tablet and other carry on things. To the Titan's credit, it took all that like a champ. But it wasn't comfortable with 2 straps and it still slipped off with one. I believe, and I am no expert, it is the excessive padding in the straps. The way they were sewn I think is the problem. My son uses that backpack for high school now and when he wants to take the XBone to a friend's house.

    So pics. Here is my backpack in the lovely box:

    [​IMG]

    Here it is after I added the paracord:

    [​IMG]

    Close up

    [​IMG]

    The right-side pocket. This contains a Silicon Power Rugged Armor A30 Military Shockproof Standard Hard Drive 1TB, Anker® 2nd Gen Astro E4 13000mAh External Battery Portable Dual USB Charger Power Bank and in the mesh pocket (mesh bag that contained small bottles from REI...lost the bottles, love the bag) contains flash drives, adapters, readers, etc.

    [​IMG]

    The other pocket has a lighter (the o-rings in each pocket are extremely convenient), flint, pocket knife, and Gerber multi-tool.

    [​IMG]

    Last pic shows the water bottle I strap in. Right now it's the Zulu Glass water bottle, but the CamelBak Chute fits in there also.

    [​IMG]

    In a month I am going to Cali for a weekend so i am going to use the Brain Bag for a 1-bag trip. I purchased packing cubes from Ikea for $7 and have ordered the Tom Bihn cache for my 2014 Razer Blade.
     
    foxmo likes this.
  5. Slaterbj

    Slaterbj Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for the info. I may go ahead and order it. I have a fleeting thought that the Western Flyer might be a good option. So many bags so little money.
     
    binary_jester likes this.