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Onsite Mac & PC Tech Looking for an Uber-bag

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    Onsite Mac & PC Tech Looking for an Uber-bag

    Heya all. I've been planning on buying a Tom Bihn bag for a while, but been holding off as nothing really has fit the bill to-a-T yet. I work on the road 7 days a week and carry a new 15" Macbook Pro and Dell Inspiron 1520 with extended life battery on me at all times. I carry the 2 power adapters, CD binder, flash drive, and a number of misc. accessories. I leave my tools in the car unless needed. So I'm stuck in a rut here. Kinda a lot of stuff to tote around (not including my trapper-keeper, which, I'd love to also fit in the bag, but that's hardly necessary, as I oftentimes utilize it at red lights. So, the only officially 2-laptop bag that I've seen on the site is the Brain Bag, which I think is neat, but I'm more of a messenger bag guy. I did notice the Super Ego mentions being able to fit 2 Brain Cells (the 17"ers, even), however, I'm slightly turned off by the lack of 2 clips for the Cells. Any recommendations? Do you ever make your Super Ego bags with 2 sets of Brain Cell clips? While I don't doubt that I could easily fit almost all my stuff (if not all of it) in a Super Ego, I'd really like both Cells secured solid in the bag, as I am always on the move with them.

    I also sevice Mac and PC at remote sites sometimes at opposite ends of the country.

    I carry a 12"Powerbook and a Panasonic Toughbook 73 as my load.
    My choices of machines was partly driven by the weight factor and partly by usage and ergonomics.
    The toughbook are great as you really do not need any type of protection for them,maybe just what they come in contact with!
    I like the 12" PB better than anything they now sell so I just found a newer one and put a giant drive in it and I am very happy.

    So my bag descision was in concert with my Machine choices and was very deliberate.

    I have no trouble at all getting both into either an Empire Builder or Super Ego and I use one of them most of the time. Mainly I use the E.B. but I have also just had it longer.

    I carry the Powerbook in a BrainCell and the Toughbook nude? I mean the computer is nude of course!

    I also use Snake Charmer's to cary all the random cable and power supplies ,Network Adapters,TV Tuners,Drivesand other stuff we need and I can get the Brain Cell and Snake Charmer in next to each other without a problem. I can not do that if the BrainCell is clipped in though and the bag is so much wider than the 12"PB Brain Cell that I will just waste space if I clip it in.

    The Empire Builder is a whole lot bigger than think people expect and the pics available just do not do it justice for size.

    I prefer the Super Ego for the better small item organization and pockets on front but the E.B. is truly my bag of choice.

    To give another idea of the space,I can get a 700ml water bottle in next to the Toughbook although that is not so smart for other reasons.

    The other two main compartments are like bottemless pits and I often find things in them that I forgot I even had.

    Hope this helps,feel free to ask anything that comes to mind.



      I agree. The EB seems like it would be the perfect solution for you. The other nice thing about it is even though it's large enough to accommodate everything Ed mentioned, it doesn't look ridiculously large. IMO, the Empire Builder is the bag you should seriously consider.
      Proud owner of the sapphire/steel Buzz, crimson Aeronaut, steel/crimson Empire Builder, two Absolute Straps, steel Brain Cell, quarter convertible packing cube, and a variety of other packing cubes.


        I'm going to look around for some better pics of the Empire Builder in use. Sadly, while I love my Inspiron, It's definitely not as durable as a Toughbook, so it's gotta go in a Brain Cell lol. I'm just concerned about fitting the two 15" laptops (in Brain Cells) in the Empire Builder and having room for the rest of my stuff. From what you both are saying about the bag, the pictures are definitely deceiving (in a good way).


          Have you seen this picture? Note that the Empire Builder in the picture is one of the first bags ever produced: a lot of the details (the flap color, zippers, logo) are now different. These differences are reflected in the pictures on the Empire Builder page.
          Last edited by Darcy; 03-20-2008, 04:56 PM.
          Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

          Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.


            You might also consider carrying the computers in sleeves rather than Brain Cells.
            The Brain cell is an amazingly protective sleeve but it does take a lot of space in the bag.
            I imagine with sleeves you could easily get them both in.
            I know this as I have carried my 12"PB in the Brain Cell and the ToughBook in a sleeve before I realized I did not really need to sleeve the Toughbook.

            I will try to get some pics over the weekend of two full size machines inside the E.B. so you can see just how "Ginormous" it is inside.

            Last edited by AVService; 03-20-2008, 05:36 PM.


              I have on occasion carried both my 17" PB and my 15" PB in their Brain Cells inside one of my Empire Builders. It works - and still leaves room for a 1 TB external drive (and 2 Snake Charmers full of stuff and etc.).

              It is way too heavy that way to carry comfortably or often, but I have done it more than once.
              Jim Hall
              Check out the dogs in need at
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              My TB bags: 2 - Empire Builder 1 - Checkpoint Flyer


                I've gone ahead and ordered a Brain Cell for my MacBook Pro. Once it arrives and I get a good feel for it, I'll decide if I want to get one for my Dell too or simply get it a sleeve. As for the bag, I'm swaying towards the EB based on everyones' recommendations. If I'm as satisfied with the Brain Cell as I'm sure I'll be, I'll probably be ordering it quite soon too. Pics are definitely appreciated. I've seen a bunch of pics of "things I can fit in my bag", but can't seem to find any good pics of an Empire Builder loaded and opened up.


                  I would recommend the Brain Bag or the Super Ego. I have an EB, and the size 1 (the 2S is a few centimeters taller) is a lil squished on the edges and is close to the zippers when the bag is full. If you do go with the EB, maybe the Dell will fit in a soft sleeve, but I'm not sure. (The 2S brain/soft cell isn't listed under what fits into the Empire Builder)


                    Hmm. Yeah, I'm thinking I'll probably go with a sleeve for the Dell. Gonna be a tough call. I really appreciate the feedback so far . More is greatly appreciated!


                      Video review of Ego:

                      Last edited by reina; 03-30-2008, 11:29 PM.


                        That Ego video review was totally awesome. It blew me away just how how much that guy was putting in that smaller bag. I've gone ahead and ordered an Empire Builder, as I went and compared the volume of the Ego, Super Ego, and Empire Builder. I really would have liked to get a messenger bag, however, I was surprised by the volume of the EB vs even the Super Ego. After seeing what that guy was putting in his bag, I could just imagine how much stuff will fit in the EB. I'll probably end up getting an Ego down the line for some reason or another (really like it), however, for now, I think the Empire Builder is gonna be the fit-all bag for me.


                          Alright. Here's my follow-up. I was going to create a new thread for it, but I figured I'd keep it here to prevent having to repeat what I was looking for in a bag. So I received my Empire Builder and Snake Charmer today and the first thing that came to mind was, "oh man, this bag isn't as big as I was expecting... all of my stuff isn't going to fit in here." So I start examining it. Lots of pockets and absolutely amazing quality. The zippers Tom Bihn uses rock! I simply love them. So I start putting stuff in. Snapped in my Brain Cell. I was expecting it to be cake, but I was surprised that initially, like many have said, it was a bit of a pain. I think that it'll get easier in time. And then I loaded in my computers, then some miscellaneous accessories, pens, and the sort. Loaded up the Snake Charmer. I was blown away. The Empire Builder has so much space it blows my mind. It simply does not look like it's as big as it is. I can't stress how impressive the bag is. I was expecting it to either be way bigger than the pics make it out to be, or simply not as roomy as people say it is. I'm comfortably fitting 2 laptops with chargers, tons of "little things", and a Snake Charmer full of 6 lbs of cables and accessories, and I still have plenty more room to work with. My only other gripe is that, Like was said in another thread that I just replied to, the absolute shoulder strap is quite a bit too small for me. I'd really like to carry my bag over the opposite shoulder and I can't really do it without looking goofy and feeling slightly uncomfortable lol. If anyone is reading this and has any doubts in their mind that the Empire Builder won't be big enough for what they're carrying, while plenty others have already said it, I'll re-affirm the fact that this bag will swallow almost anything you can throw at it! It's an amazing product. Thanks Tom Bihn and co.!


                            ugh. . . I should have bought the Empire Builder instead of the Zephyr.
                            Once I put the horizontal brain cell, a couple of paperback books plus all my little odds & ends, I'm not left with a lot of room. I might have to go ahead and buy the Empire Builder as well . . . so many Tom Bihns . . . so little $


                              If you haven't used the zephyr you can return it.
                              Proud owner of; Ego (first run) in Black/Steel/Deep Blue; medium organizer pouches in cayenne and crimson; small organizer pouches in olive, pink and storm blue; mini organizer pouch in sapphire; quarter packing cube; ego strips in crimson, plum, blue glitter and sapphire.