View Full Version : Western Flier as Daily Laptop Bag?

10-09-2009, 05:10 PM
Ok, I'm on a bit of a budget and am trying to make my Tom Bihn purchases carefully. I'm looking at travel bags (a struggle between the Tri-star and the Aeronaut) a day to day bag (I love the synapse, but not sure it's professional enough) and a laptop bag that I can use daily, would be formal enough for interview situations, and could be my secondary travel bag / personal item for when I just can't make it with one bag. So... the Western Flier? Will it fit under airline seats? Is it just too big for a laptop bag (I'm 5'10" 190)... Thoughts?

10-09-2009, 05:53 PM
Hi Loki:
I have the Western Flyer and it is great. It is actually not that much bigger than a slightly large briefcase in some ways--you can fill it up and it becomes mysteriously larger! But unstuffed, it is very much a briefcase...and is very professional looking..especially in steel (which i have and love) or black. In backpack mode it is fantastic. If you use a brain cell with this it does take up space..so I don't think it is going to be too big for everyday use. And it is a great travel bag. I think WF --even more than the Tri Star.

10-09-2009, 06:53 PM
I agree wholeheartedly with Shiva. For the purposes you listed above, the Western Flyer would be a perfect fit for you. Yes, it will fit under airline seats. Stuffed to the gills, it still fit in the small between-the-window-and-the-seat compartment on the upper deck of the Japan Airlines 747. Although admittedly it was a bit of a tight fit - but that was the smallest place to put carry-ons that I've encountered!

10-09-2009, 07:16 PM
I've been using the Western Flyer as my daily commute bag - in backpack mode - for two weeks now, and I love it! If my metric to imperial conversions are right, I'm 5'5” & 150 lb. I've posted three photos in the Tom Bihn Flickr pool (notmensa) http://www.flickr.com/groups/57753561@N00/pool/
Yes I've gone a little snap happy with this bag!

I use the rear compartment for papers, folders and sometimes my laptop, and the front compartment for my handbag, sweater and other stuff. At present I don't have a Brain Cell - though I think it would be great to add stiffness / structure to the bag.

The smallest aircraft I've been on so far is the 737-700 (Virgin Blue in Australia). I took this photo before I pushed the bag fully under the seat (window seat at the rear of the plane, backpack straps tucked away): http://www.flickr.com/photos/22691278@N06/3945933208/in/pool-57753561@N00 The ballistic nylon slides smoothly on the carpeted floor!

A question for others: how do you manage the Brain Cell through airport security? Do you unclip the Brain Cell? Take the laptop out? Thanks!

10-09-2009, 08:45 PM
A question for others: how do you manage the Brain Cell through airport security? Do you unclip the Brain Cell? Take the laptop out? Thanks!

Oooh, that's a really good question since I'm about to take mine through security on Monday. I would like to think I could just unclip the Brain Cell and send it on through.

As for the Western Flyer as a daily/interview bag, I'm not quite as sold on that, though one of my fellow bloggers at TUAW did an awesome write-up about using the Western Flyer as his electronics bag when he went to Africa last year. I've been looking at the Western Flyer (though I'll probably go with a Tri-Star) as a travel bag, but I don't think I'd use it day to day.

However, I am doing an overnight trip from Phoenix to Boston and back on Monday/Tuesday and am planning to use my ID as my carry-on with my small cafe bag as my personal item. Could I get away with this if the trip had been any longer than overnight? Absolutely not. But, my clothes will be in the main compartment along with the Soft Cell containing my MacBook and any other portable electronics (think Kindle) will go in my cafe bag. The colors of the ID (black/olive) are professional enough that I can haul the bag around with me on my interview all day and no one will know I've got a change of clothes in there unless I specifically show them the inside of my bag. If you're looking for something like that, maybe one of the messengers will be well-suited for you.

10-09-2009, 08:48 PM
A question for others: how do you manage the Brain Cell through airport security? Do you unclip the Brain Cell? Take the laptop out? Thanks!

Depends! For me, if the Brain Cell is clipped into a bag, I take the laptop out. If the Brain Cell is loose (like it would be inside of an Aeronaut), I put the laptop through while it's inside of the Brain Cell. If you lay the Brain Cell pocket side down (and of course with nothing in the pocket), usually it goes through just fine :D

Why do I take the laptop out if the Brain Cell is clipped into the bag? It's just way easier and faster than fiddling with the clips.

JAPAN: Just take the laptop out no matter what. Really, it's easier that way.

10-10-2009, 01:06 AM
Just & DQBunny - Thanks for the Brain Cell info!

I'd take the Western Flyer into an interview - though I'm not in a profession that demands high-end business dress. I bought it to take to engineering board meetings and research conferences. It became my day bag because I found the Smart Alec too awkward to carry.

10-10-2009, 12:35 PM
What an awesome community.

I am so torn about what bag to buy, but your replies really help. I'm a psychologist, and can get away with being more casual most of the time, but when interviews (hospitals, counseling centers etc) come around it's strictly suit and tie. So formalness is important... once in a while. I also am not a big fan of the messenger bag style (I hate having to get under the flap to get what I need)... that's one of the reasons the synapse is so appealing... there is an easily accessible pocket for everything I need.

A WF with brain cell and Freudian Slip may be just the ticket for work related stuff and a light travel bag.

I have used the brain cell while traveling and have gotten it through security more than once without taking my macbook out of it, but truth be told, it's often easier to slip the computer out of the braincell, put it in a tray, and slip it back in afterwards than it is to get the brain cell back into my (non Tom Bihn) bag.

As for my travel bag... thoughts about the Tri-star vs the aeronaut for someone who is looking for maximum flexibility and on occasion needs to pack a suit?

10-10-2009, 09:01 PM

I'm seriously considering the Tri-Star myself. That might be the best solution for you with flexibility plus adding in a suit, but check out maverick's video of the Aeronaut. I haven't had the chance to do so myself, but he does make the best videos about Tom Bihn bags (and has been an influence on my own purchases), so you can see if that can fit your needs regarding your suit. I think, too, it depends on how many days your trip will be as well.