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View Full Version : Brain Bag on 5'3" person



timarelay
03-09-2009, 05:45 PM
My Brain Bag arrived today! (Along with everything else. Happiest with the Shop Bag, which is awesome. Medium Cafe bag is great but I can't decide if I'm happy enough with the navy/cayenne or if I should get the plum/wasabi instead).

Unfortunately, I think the Brain Bag might just be too big. :( I loaded it up with my old laptop (4.4 pounds) and about four hardcover books. It definitely carries weight well. Back didn't ache from that. However, I find the straps really stiff and uncomfortable and they're too wide for me. They dig into my neck/shoulders.

I love the configuration of the bag and really wish there was a bag like it but just scaled down for my size. My boyfriend unfortunately left for a trip today, so I'm going to wait till he come back (under two weeks) to get his input as to whether it really is too big for me and I should return it (or if he'll want it; he's 6'0" so it'll fit him). I'm pretty sure I don't want a Smart Alec. I have a top loading backpack already and I'm not the biggest fan of that format. So I'll end up continuing to wait for the Synapse if I can't figure out how to make the Brain Bag comfortable.

I apologize for how dark the pictures are! I couldn't get them brighter in the mirror and I was too impatient to set up my camera with a timer. I'll post better pictures when my boyfriend's around to take them.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3372/3343029954_9182406cde.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3336/3343030140_301cd539aa.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3393/3343030336_8d12813196.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3306/3343030506_afb684e6f5.jpg

The pictures on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com''/photos/40577827@N00/3343030506/in/photostream/)

cpau
03-09-2009, 06:53 PM
Is it better if you do up the straps more? It seems to be sitting very low.

timarelay
03-10-2009, 12:48 AM
Is it better if you do up the straps more? It seems to be sitting very low.

The straps dig into my neck more when I have it sitting higher. =/ I'll try again though.

cpau
03-10-2009, 01:14 AM
Good luck. I'm shorter than you are, so I understand the difficulty! but I've managed to make a 22" long bag comfortable, it just needs a lot of fiddling. And the more weight on your hips the better.

timarelay
03-11-2009, 05:14 AM
Good luck. I'm shorter than you are, so I understand the difficulty! but I've managed to make a 22" long bag comfortable, it just needs a lot of fiddling. And the more weight on your hips the better.

Wow, 22"? I've cinched the straps up all the way and I'm finding that the body of the bag doesn't bother me. It's the straps. I had this problem with my other backpack though and I don't think that's what bothers me about it anymore... Hm. Maybe it gets better with time/I get used to it? Will try on my old backpack and try to figure that out.

I do feel that visually, the bag is a bit large for me though, and I haven't even stuffed it! I'm so sad it's so big. I really like it otherwise.

ETA: Do you mean hips or waist? Or the overall general area of both?
ETA again: Okay, read up on backpack fit: http://www.hitthetrail.com/backpacks.php According to this, and everything else I've read, even trying to make the Brain Bag work for me is a poor ergonomic decision. I need something with a shorter profile on my back (which I think even rules out the Smart Alec). Grr. I guess I keep waiting for the Synapse. :( Which I feel probably won't be out till end of summer or maybe Fall. I've been waiting for it for three years but other things keep being pushed in front of it as more important. I think I need to start shopping for a new temporary backpack at least.

bluedawg
03-11-2009, 11:47 AM
i can definitely empathize! i am also 5'3" (at most), and i ordered a smart alec (but am super-interested in the synapse) just a few weeks ago, in time for a vacation. i used it as my "personal item" (along with an aeronaut as my carry-on).

it holds A LOT of stuff and it fits me okay; i didn't have any problems carrying it around on travel days or as a day-pack, but the last day i caught a look at myself in a mirror and i kind of laughed at how large it looked on me. it looks very "normal-sized" on my husband (who is 5'9" or 5'10"), but on me it looks kind of like a turtle-shell when it's full. it definitely covers my entire back.

i haven't uploaded the vacation pictures to flickr yet, but if it would be helpful for you to see a smart alec on another 5'3" girl, let me know and i can post the links when they're up.

timarelay
03-11-2009, 12:41 PM
i haven't uploaded the vacation pictures to flickr yet, but if it would be helpful for you to see a smart alec on another 5'3" girl, let me know and i can post the links when they're up.

That would be awesome! Thanks for offering.

How do you find the Aeronaut? I've wanted one for a while but I keep hesitating. It'd be nice to own a duffel bag of some sort (I don't have any).

Darcy
03-11-2009, 12:45 PM
I've wanted one for a while but I keep hesitating. It'd be nice to own a duffel bag of some sort (I don't have any).

Tom's designing a really cool duffel bag that should be out this summer. It'd be a perfect large gym/sports bag, road trip bag for the trunk of the car, etc. You might want to wait for that!

timarelay
03-11-2009, 03:07 PM
Tom's designing a really cool duffel bag that should be out this summer. It'd be a perfect large gym/sports bag, road trip bag for the trunk of the car, etc. You might want to wait for that!

Ooh, that sounds nifty! I'll happily wait as this isn't really something I actively need (*cough* unlike the Synapse, for example ;) ).

yeti
03-11-2009, 03:33 PM
I'm really excited about this too...I'm 5'3" too (well...5'2.75"). Is this the bag mentioned in the OBOW blog called the "Compass"?

Just
03-11-2009, 07:26 PM
RE: DUFFEL

I would be immensely interested in a smaller duffel option as well. Like, mini-duffel. Like, 18" length, 7" diameter. Putting that out there! =D

cpau
03-13-2009, 05:41 AM
I really do mean 22" - that's aeronaut size, although I'm not fortunate enough to own one (yet). I have a 24-25" bag as well that I'm completely comfortable with. By comfortable I mean "able to carry it for hours" comfortable. I'll upload pictures if there is some way of doing so...

And by hip I really do mean hip - the bony bits at the top of your legs, definitely below your navel, probably a fair bit below, too. As low over your pelvis as possible, but of course above where your legs start to bend. For me this means that the upper part of a hip belt comes near my waist, but that's because the belt is always very wide and there is padding at the sides of my hips. I disagree with making it above your actual waist - there is no bone or strong muscle to hold it there, it's all squishy bits (at least for me) and I can't breathe.

Photos soon.

EDITED to add: here are the photos. The green one is 24-25" long and is a 16-year-old travelpack without the daypack attachment. The brown bag is a voyageur, 22". Both are filled with blankets and towels, and weigh about 8kg (it was all I had on hand). In the past I've filled the green one to about 18kg and the brown one to 12kg.

They have serious harnesses, of course.

The black one is a relatively cheap tatonka 17" long and full of books, to over 10kg. It is shorter so the hip belt rides higher. It is actually *less* comfortable than the others. It is sitting a bit low so I keep wanting to hoik it up higher, but then the hip belt rides up.

cpau
03-13-2009, 06:23 AM
p.s. I'm 5' tall but, as you can see, am solid. I think the 22" bag is actually ideal for me, size-wise, but it does end up too heavy for cabin baggage if packed fully. Bring on the Tristar!

timarelay
03-13-2009, 06:43 AM
p.s. I'm 5' tall but, as you can see, am solid. I think the 22" bag is actually ideal for me, size-wise, but it does end up too heavy for cabin baggage if packed fully. Bring on the Tristar!

Hm. Looking at your pictures, I think part of why the brown bag is comfortable, even though it's long, is that the shoulder straps have a wide space between them. For me, in order to get the Brain Bag to sit right, the straps are too close together and dig into my neck (the pictures above show the bag at the point where the straps are fairly comfortable, but then the bag is placed incorrectly). If they were simply attached with more space, I probably could make the bag work comfortably.

Thank you so much for the pictures!

cpau
03-13-2009, 07:23 AM
You're welcome.


Hm. Looking at your pictures, I think part of why the brown bag is comfortable, even though it's long, is that the shoulder straps have a wide space between them.
That may be a factor, yes. But if it gets too wide they slip off your shoulders, or pull too close to the joint (something I'm particularly sensitive to, due to shoulder surgery). I read somewhere that many women need shoulder straps that are located closer together than men usually do, for this reason, especially if you're slim.

What happens if you put the sternum strap above your breasts? Not too high - about 4" below the little notch at the bottom of your neck, or even lower if possible. I tend not to use them at all, but that's because the hip belt is serious.

Hmm, the brain bag doesn't actually look that narrow from the bag photos, and the straps seem to curve outwards quite well. My black bag is a shade under 2" between the strap roots, and the brown bag is only a shade over 2". The green ones actually meet, but a lot further down. At the point where it curves over the shoulder, the gap for the brown bag is only 3" or so (the curve is held by straps above). The big difference is the presence of cinch straps above the shoulder (very obvious in the green bag photo but also present in the brown). It actually lifts the back of the strap off the body, and probably lessens the rub that you seem to be suffering from.

Good luck! I'd like to try a brain bag as an experiment, but distance is a problem :-)

p.s. i just found this page: http://www.trailspace.com/forums/backcountry/topics/40859.html and those straps they call "load lifters". Looks like the green bag is close to a perfect adjustment according to their guidelines - but again, this is a different type of harness to the usual simple backpack type.

autumnmist
03-13-2009, 11:55 AM
timarelay, I know you've seen my pictures (http://forums.tombihn.com/showthread.php?p=10665#post10665) in the "Brain Bag for a small woman" thread. I am using the chest strap to keep the regular shoulder/backpack straps closer together. I see in your picture that your chest strap is positioned fairly low on your chest. I have it a few inches below my collarbone (e.g. just above my um, breasts). It helps a lot with making the backpack straps stay closer together.

I'm guessing some of the difference between the two of us fitting/not fitting the BB is that you're a lot slimmer than I am. :)

cpau
03-13-2009, 02:07 PM
Thanks for the pics, autumnmist, very helpful. Or not - now I think I'm lusting after the Brain Bag too!

bluedawg
03-13-2009, 05:04 PM
That would be awesome! Thanks for offering.

How do you find the Aeronaut? I've wanted one for a while but I keep hesitating. It'd be nice to own a duffel bag of some sort (I don't have any).

okay, i finally uploaded all of my vacation photos and there are a couple of relatively good ones where you can see a fully-loaded smart alec on my frame. they're not perfect, but there's one that is straight-on from the back so you can see how tall it is on me, and there's one from the side so you can see how much it sticks out when it's full. there's also a good one where you can see my husband wearing it, for comparison. i tagged them all with "smart alec" so you can see all three pictures here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/veganchai/tags/smartalec/

we had great luck with our new aeronauts, as well. my husband wore his with the absolute shoulder strap the whole time (also carried a timbuk2 messenger bag as his personal item). i usually carried mine as a duffel bag, because i was wearing my smart alec as a backpack, but there was one point in the atlanta airport where we had to walk a fair amount, and i switched: i wore the aeronaut as a backpack, and then slung the smart alec also over my right shoulder (sounds crazy, but it worked).

timarelay
03-13-2009, 05:44 PM
Thanks everyone for all the pictures! They've been really helpful and hopefully will also be helpful for other future short women shopping at Tom Bihn!

Yeah, I think it might just be that I'm too skinny. The back of the bag is actually wider than my torso. I tried it on again and while I've gotten used to how it looks, it still just doesn't feel right. Mostly the straps. I don't think I can adjust it any more.

If all goes right, I'm going to be in Seattle this summer. Boyfriend's doing an internship and I'd like to visit him so I can see more of the US beyond the north east. I think I'll wait till then to try the other bags that I'm curious about (like the Smart Alec and the Swift). However, if the Synapse comes out before then, I'm going ahead and buying it directly.

More pictures! This is after I figured out how to move the chest strap higher. It's as high as it goes, and the actual straps are as tight as they can be. I was showing my bags off to my boyfriend over skype (Yes, I'm excited enough about them that I couldn't wait another week or so till he comes back to show them off) and when I tried on the Brain Bag he suggested I tighten the straps more. I sighed and said they're as tight as they go.


http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3538/3351954295_d83fc2f097.jpg?v=0


http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3652/3351954153_0d24d3d358.jpg?v=0


http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3444/3352780134_91c807ae5c.jpg?v=0