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Ideal combination of bags - Brain Bag and Western Flyer?

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    Ideal combination of bags - Brain Bag and Western Flyer?

    Well, here's an odd thought. I've had a Brain Bag for 9 years almost, and an Aeronaut for about 4 years. When I got the Aeronaut, I tried traveling with both. Part of the reason is that my BB is my daily work bag, so it carries most of the items I would want to easily access during my travel anyways. There were some issues with this combination:
    1) While it's in black, the BB wouldn't be "business" enough in some settings.
    2) I couldn't comfortably use the Aeronaut strap on top of the BB pack straps.
    3) The Aeronaut got heavy enough to get cumbersome only carrying it by its hand strap instead of the shoulder strap.

    So, I concluded that the best way to go is to use the Aeronaut and switch out the BB for travel. I replaced the BB with the ID messenger bag, which is pretty good for holding my laptop and dSLR camera if necessary. I can have one bag on one shoulder, and another on the other shoulder. The bonus is that I can use it more as a shoulder camera bag when I'm done business and just touring around.

    Except that a "true" backpack is still more comfortable on the pack, especially if you're walking the entire distance down an airport or through town. It then struck me - what about using my BB and a black Western Flyer? The WF in black would be business appropriate when needed, and it could carry more than a just a briefcase can, making it more useful for traveling on short trips. Then I can go back to my BB on my back, and I'm assuming the WF would be light enough to carry by hand. I'm not sure the WF would double easily for a camera bag, but there's always going to be trade offs.

    Maybe I just want to buy another bag. My wife will hate me... :-)

    Any thoughts?

    Bag Addicts unite! Just got a WF, my first TB purchase. Am awaiting arrival of my second helping of padded pouches and packing cubes. My wife got a Swift bag so she can't hate me yet. As long as you don't expect the WF to perform at the ends of the spectrum, it is awesome. Meaning it is not a max carryon bag like the Aeronaut or a true briefcase like the EB seems to be (though it is doing a fine job of that right now for me), nor is it a true hiking backpack like the Brain Bag or Smart Alec. However, for anything and everything in between (sometimes simultaneously), it is versatile enough to complement any other bag you already have and take some of the role of the bag it is replacing. And it is really easy to carry and fit in tight spaces (no problem on a recent regional jet flight). I am probably going to end up down the road with an Empire Builder and an Aeronaut as well, and probably anything in between that Tom comes up with. The only drawbacks I have seen are popping zipper pulls (replacements en route), and that with a Brain Cell in the back compartment and the recessed pockets for the backpack strap clips on the back wall it is a little hard to "stretch" the back compartment capacity. Having said that, the back compartment of mine is currently holding the 4Z Brain Cell, power cord, two pouches with external hard drive, presenting mouse, display cables, Airport Express, back up DVD, and empty space; a Freudian slip with portfolio and CoolPad are in the front compartment and not near full; and the front pockets are empty. So there is plenty of space. Just not enough for the Brain Cell and a full packing cube in the back compartment though I think it might be possible with very pliable clothes rather than jeans and shorts. Anyway. My two cents after three weeks with a WF including a ten-day family vacation...
    Western Flyer (Crimson); 4Z Brain Cell; Swift (wife); Empire Builder (Black/Steel/Wasabi); Aeronaut (Black/Steel); Side Effect (Black), 3D Cube (Olive); lots of cubes/pouches/kit; Synapse (Navy/Solar); Smart Alec (Cardinal/Steel)


      I am thinking about that very set up for extended trips, I love my Brain Bag, it fits perfectly for a short trip in winter and longer one in warmer climate. The Large Cafe Bag held by its Absolute Strap in one shoulder below on of the Brain Bag strap is great. But...

      The Western Flyer is much more roomy but still carryon size in commuter airplaines.

      I have been thinking and thinking how to fit a minimal wardrobe and take more than two two bags with me.
      I realized that I would need to nest some bag in others.

      Could a filled Large Cafe Bag fit into a Western Flyer?


        Funny that you mentioned the Large Cafe Bag...

        ... I bought one a little while back and found that it is an excellent size for hauling around things when on a day trip. I typically pack it into my Aeronaut unfilled to use when I get to my destination. In a pinch, it also doubles for holding clothes, etc. in my Aeronaut as a "packing cube".

        I'm pretty sure it would fit into the Western Flyer. If the dimensions are smaller, it should fit.

        What I found amusing is that on my recent Italy trip, I took the Aeronaut, my ID messenger bag, and my Large Cafe Bag (LCB). Sometimes, when my ID bag would seem too large for a day trip, I unloaded my ID bag contents into my LCB... and almost everything fit nicely. So even though the ID bag has more pockets, seems bigger, etc., the simple design of the LCB just seems to work. It was kind of weird, despite the ID bag being another 9 cubic litres bigger.

        Hmmm... I have the Empire Builder. Admittedly, it's been underutilized. It actually is about 2 cubic litres larger than the ID bag, and about 3.5 cubic litres smaller than the WF. Maybe I should try that out first. Plus the EB is obviously suitable for a business setting.
        Last edited by ozone; 01-18-2009, 12:05 PM.


          if i have to choose for two bags on a trip through airports/trains, etc. it has to be one wheelie plus either a backpack or messenger.

          sure on some stairs you will have to carry the wheelie, but get a good one with a nice squishy handle and you are good to go. or there are convertible wheelies that switch to a backpack or messenger if you are so inclined.

          right now my ultimate set-up is a Super-Ego (brain cell + multiple pouches) with the Q-AM strap making it great to strap close to your back so when i have to carry my wheelie, it is easy - my wheelie is an Eagle Creek Tarmac Plus One carry-on. the handle is insanely comfortable on that thing.