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View Full Version : Tri-Star or Brain Bag if primarily backpack carry



JRH
01-15-2019, 04:25 AM
I am thinking about purchasing either a Tri-Star or Brain Bag for onebag travel.

TL; DR
Iím curious if others have used both the TS and the BB and can share their experience with backpack carry of these two bags or other thoughts about the relative advantages of each from their experience.

Some Background:
I previously owned an A45 (purchased in 2008) that I used on a 4-month journey, along with an Imago. They both performed really well, but I came to realize that my shoulders donít do well with one-shoulder carry (I never really used the A45 with the backpack straps).

Fast-forward to 2017, I did a trip walking 15 miles a day for a week in England and bought an Osprey Farpoint 55. I really liked it with its detachable day pack and found the backpack carry worked well for me. I used this same bag last summer for another 4-month journey and found it just too big. I brought too much stuff.

I just bought an S25 intending it for a day pack to accompany a roller bag (the Farpoint day pack is a bit too small and no organization). Now having the S25 in hand, I think it may get used as my one bag on some trips. I actually have another 7-day 12-mile-a-day trip this summer in Italy and may just use this.

But, Iím ready to get another larger bag that I can use any time I need a bit more space than the S25 provides. I would like to sell both the roller bag and the Farpoint and use either a TS or BB unless the S25 will do.

I really like the TS organization and looks. But Iím concerned that, while I would be able to carry it as a backpack, I wonít find it comfortable for more than a short walk through an airport. Iím not looking to hike with it, just be able to walk easily from a train station to a hotel, for example.

The BB is built as a backpack and even has an optional padded hip belt. But, then, the harness canít stow, and I donít much care for the flaps over the zippers.

Thanks

AVService
01-15-2019, 05:59 AM
Well I have both and have traveled a lot with both but it seems you really need to decide which is more important to you before deciding anything too?

I would say that the TS carries a lot like the A45 that you had as a BP but then you say you actually never used yours this way so I am confused a little about why you think you might now?

The BB is a BP and will carry as one better every time I imagine and you won't have the choice unless you carry with one strap over a shoulder.
The TS can be carried as a BP but if stuffed always feels like a blob on my back and I will only carry it that way if I absolutely have to.

Honestly if it were me I would use the A45 and not stuff it too full which makes mine carry as a BP a whole lot better and you already own one too or don't you?!
They also now sell a stiffener and belt for the A45 which sounds like a great solution to make one carry better but I have not seen or tried this myself so......

I love the BB and I have 3 of them but honestly I find them tough to get things in and out of unless they are long and slim like Eagle Creek Packing Cubes which is the only way I can live out of mine if I ever try to again.
The BB was expressly designed for the Brain Cell to carry computers of the day and is just not as handy to me these days as it once was.

I also have an S25 and an A45 and that pair again has become my go to combo for most trips over a few days and I can also easily stick the S25 inside the A45 as needed which can be really handy too!

If I were hiking I would take the BB or a BP by others probably now given that option but for trips between transit stations and Hotels I would be OK with the TS or A45 in BP mode and have used them this way many times.

PrimalMama
01-15-2019, 06:29 AM
I own a tri-star, and have used it as a backpack both fully packed and not fully packed (for reference, I'm 5'3 on a good day, but long-torsoed)...It's comfortable, it's fine, I've shlepped it all over the Northeastern US via plane, train, bus, subway, walking, car... It was my main luggage bag for drum and bugle corps in 2013, and I also used the pcbp a LOT.

It's very... Rectangular? I'm not sure how else to describe it, but in a thread I recently started (I'm also looking for a backpack, but smaller, so I'm debating the synapses or the WF), someone suggested they think of the WF more like luggage than a backpack, and... I'd say the same for the tri-star in your situation.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't get it, just something to think about.

Do you still HAVE the A45? Maybe try it as a backpack. Maybe try the A30? I've been using my A30 as my main luggage lately, and I carry it as a backpack 90% of the time. It's kind of longer/thinner than the TS, (and the layout works better for my current trip needs) and a tiny bit more comfortable as a backpack.

(sorry to have zero input about the BB, I have yet to try it)

Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk

JRH
01-15-2019, 10:46 AM
Thanks to you both. I actually sold the A45 just not even thinking about backpack options at the time. I now wish I still owned it. I'm going to give the TS a try. I like the way it's organized and laid out. I know I can return it and try something else if it doesn't work, but I think it's worth seeing and trying on.

Perhaps there will be a larger 35-ish liter backpack sometime soon with a frame sheet and more like the S25.

pvn
01-15-2019, 12:00 PM
FWIW I have the older brain-cell-era BB and I never really liked it until I stopped using the brain cell. The above poster is correct, it can be a bit of a pain to get clothes into the BB because of the way it opens, but if you use packing cubes it's fine. I've been one-bagging with it for years now (I previously used a shoulder bag similar to the redoxx air boss) and I won't ever go back.

Passagare
01-15-2019, 06:44 PM
I have both a TS and BB, and have used both extensively since buying them last spring on international trips and weeklong business trips. The BB is a mansion, holding whatever you want to throw in there. It's possible to make it too heavy to carry, as I learned on a long weekend trip to the UK -- and I didn't even have a laptop with me.

The TS is wonderful. If it's not too heavy, I either hand carry it or use the Absolute Strap. If it's full, or heavy, I'll switch it into backpack mode -- especially when walking through an airport terminal. That's the killer feature of the TS. But, yes, it's not the primary intended way to carry the TS, and I wouldn't use it as regular backpack. If you need 30+L of size on your back, get the BB.

JRH
01-18-2019, 06:41 AM
Thanks for all the input. It really helps think through this as I try to minimize when I travel. I have 12 trips of various sorts coming up this year and want to onebag them all if I can.

I found a great deal on an Osprey technical 35L pack that I will take on my two trekking trips. That will work much better.

And I have the Tri-star arriving on Tuesday that will be for trips longer than I can fit in the S25.

Yesterday, I saw a post by @maverick, I believe, where he put an A45 frame sheet and hip belt on a TS and said they fit reasonably well.

Has anyone actually used a TS this way?

Carolina
01-19-2019, 07:19 AM
The Brain Bag wins---hands down!!! I tried traveling with the Tristar (beautiful bag by the way), but, you cannot pack much in it without the bag bloating like a gorged tick. The Brain Bag, on the other hand, fills up nicely and is more comfortable to carry. The Brain Bag is the very best bag TB makes in my opinion.

greenfossil
01-20-2019, 03:58 PM
Does the Brain Bag fit under an airline seat? I’m guessing maybe not???

pvn
01-20-2019, 06:18 PM
I put the BB under the seat all the time. If I've overpacked it I sometimes have to shove pretty hard but it goes.

Buffalonian
01-28-2019, 05:19 PM
I haven't used a Brain Bag, but I have both a Shadow Guide (31 liters) and a Guide's Edition S25. I'd take either one (or the Guide's Pack) over the BB in a heartbeat. If you're carrying a reasonably heavy load, the comfort and structure provided by the frame sheet makes a HUGE difference.

And if you want something that also works as more of a "suitcase," I'd take an A30 with a frame sheet over the Tri-Star. Others may disagree, but if I were walking a half-mile up a steep hill from a train to my lodgings -- something I've done with a loaded SG -- I'd much rather have an A30 with a frame sheet than a TS.

AVService
01-29-2019, 04:19 AM
I haven't used a Brain Bag, but I have both a Shadow Guide (31 liters) and a Guide's Edition S25. I'd take either one (or the Guide's Pack) over the BB in a heartbeat. If you're carrying a reasonably heavy load, the comfort and structure provided by the frame sheet makes a HUGE difference.

And if you want something that also works as more of a "suitcase," I'd take an A30 with a frame sheet over the Tri-Star. Others may disagree, but if I were walking a half-mile up a steep hill from a train to my lodgings -- something I've done with a loaded SG -- I'd much rather have an A30 with a frame sheet than a TS.

But you haven't used a Brain Bag either?:confused: