It’s hard to find the perfect bag or backpack, but even harder to find a bag that adjusts to carry a different set of gadgets and gear every day.
The Tom Bihn Brain Bag can do just that, slimming down when I need to carry just a notebook, and expanding when I need to carry two notebooks, two tablets and a DSLR.
For the past 6 months I’ve abused the Tom Bihn Brain Bag from Detroit to Denver and through a long week in Vegas covering CES 2012.
I’m impressed with the versatility and the durability of the Brain Bag. Because I can grow and shrink the bag to fit my needs for that day it is my go-to bag.
The Tom Bihn Brain Bag has room for 2 Brain Cell notebook cases. These light, but durable cases lock into the compartment to offer a higher level of protection that can easily be removed to double as a stand alone bag.
Tom Bihn sent over one Vertical Brain Cell with the Brain Bag, and it is a perfectly sized for the MacBook Air. Larger sizes are available for almost any notebook. The Vertical Brain Cell is $60.
I like that this is a separate part of the bag, and that it provides protection on the base of the bag, a place where many bags skimp.
I often kept my MacBook Air in this spot, and in a pinch kept my iPad in between this and the remaining room.
The next large section can hold a Brain Cell, but I used the Fredian Slip here to keep odds and ends and paper. The large pockets on the back of the Fruedian Slip proved perfect for any size tablet or a thin notebook like the Toshiba Portege z835.
When carrying two notebooks I keep one in this section behind the slip. I also keep adapters and a portable hard drive in the elastic sections at the base of the removable organizer. I used the Snake Charmer to carry my cables to CES and eventually to hold my iPhone 4S camera rig when not in use.
When I arrived at CES I removed the Freudian Slip and the Snake Charmer to lighten the load without the need to do any real unpacking.
When I was in Detroit to check out how Ford is using technology to make awesome cars I had to have my notebook, iPad and a camera on hand, and the front section of the bag proved large enough to hold my Nikon D5100 DSLR without bulging.
I really like the ability to use the four straps on the sides of the bag to tighten up the bag when I am only carrying a notebook, or let them out when I have a lot of gadgets in the bag. This versatility allows me to pack heavy for a trip and go slim when I arrive.
In addition to the two main compartments, the Tom Bihn Brain Bag includes a large top pocket that is perfect for iPhone battery cases or a MiFi. On each side there is a pocket large enough for a water bottle complete with interior pockets for pens and papers. There is a mesh pocket on the outside of the left pocket as well.
In between the pockets is a hook and latch system that can hold a water bottle, thermos or an umbrella.
The bag is water-resistant and has a water-repellent finish to keep rain and snow from damaging your gadgets and documents. The overall build of the bag is great with little wear noticeable after six months of use.
The bag is comfortable to wear even when loaded up with multiple laptops and tablets and includes a removable chest strap.
I highly recommend the Tom Bihn Brain Bag and accessories to travelers that need a durable, versatile bag. The Brain Bag is well worth the $150 price, especially considering the ability to do the job of more than one bag.
Buy the Tom Bihn Brain Bag at Tom Bihn for $150.
Tom Bihn Brain Bag Gallery