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My New ID Bag - Initial Review and Lots of Photos (Part 2 of 2)

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    My New ID Bag - Initial Review and Lots of Photos (Part 2 of 2)

    So, in the last post I showed a brief comparison between my old bag and the ID. I thought I would start this one by listing some of the features I really like, and follow it up with some shots of the bag stuffed with various combinations of stuff.

    Initial Impressions

    As I mentioned in the last post, looks are very decieving. When I opened the box and pulled out the ID, I thought it would simply not be the right size based on its overall similarity in size to my old bag. Boy, was I wrong! Here's the pic again of the fully loaded beastie:

    The ID, loaded and ready for battle!

    Front view, showing how the front pocket fills out.

    Some quick observations:
    • The design of the front puches is genius, and does not encroach on the capacity of the main compartment as I have seen in many bags.
    • In the photo above I have a sketchbook, a paperback novel, my laptop's power brick (in the front zippered compartment, not viewable), and all of my assorted sundries in the front space. I could easily swap out another textbook in that front pouch if need be.
    • The main compartment contains the Freudian slip, my Thinkpad, and two full-size texbooks. Believe it or not, there is room to spare.
    • While the overall load is quite heavy, the balance of the bag with the absolute shoulder strap makes it seem very light and manageable. I was frankly suprised at the difference between this and my old bag in terms of managing the overall weight of a heavy load.
    • The water bottle holder is fantastic and very flexible. I have an oversized refillable bottle in their now for sizing purposes.
    • With all of this, there is still room for a variety of small items. I have not even touched the pocket on the flap or the two sippered size pouches, other than my iPhone.
    • The clever design of the two side zippered pouches in the front allows for easy, quick access to often used items. I also bought an extra key strap, and the position of the two rings allow for quick access to keys, sunglasses on a tethered case, etc.
    • The absolute shoulder strap is deceptive, and really does a nice job of balancing the load very comfortably.

    Examples of Some Other Loads

    Since I had the camera out and my wife & kids were already ignoring their Dad's odd behavior, I figured I would take a couple of other shots to show different combinations of typical loads one might be carrying all day. Here we go...

    A typical workday setup: basically all the gear without the textbooks. Note that there is plenty of room to spare.

    Here is an example of the main compartment sans laptop, loaded with three large textbooks and two notebooks in addition to the Freudian Slip. We're pushing maximum density, but still more than in line with what it can hold.

    NOT RECOMMENDED: I put my Dell Inspiron e1705 in the bag to see if it would fit with the Freudian slip. It is close, but it gets in there. You should not travel with it like this, but it will do in a pinch!

    I should note here that I DID NOT purchase the brain bag for any of my laptops yet, because I am planning on buying a smaller laptop than the Dell behemoth for personal travel. From what I have seen, I have no fear that the laptops in my size range will fit nicely.

    Final Thoughts

    So far, I absolutely love this bag. Every little design detail is just about right on the money. As I huge fan of heuristics, usability and product design I have been completely impressed with the whole package. The use of space, the positioning of pockets, the little details... everything is just smartly laid out so that you don't have to fidget and fumble for what you are looking for.

    I should also mention the fact that the customer service is top notch. Darcy is amazingly patient and helpful; I also made a mistake on the night I ordered the bag (wrong color) and called about 10 minutes after customer service closed... I think Tom himself picked up the phone and made the correction immediately. It does not get any better than that, my friends.

    If you all found this useful, I'd be happy to post my impressions as I settle in with my new baby. Let me know!

    Bob P.
    Magic Tiki Studios

    Empire Builder (black/steel), Brain Bag (steel), Small Padded Organizer Pouch, Clear Wallet, Soft Cell, Snake Charmer (cayenne) and assorted trimmings.

    Congrats on the new bag, and thanks for such a thoroughly detailed review!
    Aeronaut (Original in Hunter Green), Aeronaut 30 (Forest), Smart Alec (Hunter Green), Pilot (Forest), Co-Pilot (Coyote), Synapse 25 (Black Dyneema), Two Large Shop Bags (Iberian and Steel), Passport Pouch (Iberian), Two Travel Trays (Solar stays in the Aeronaut, Iberian stays home), more than a dozen accessories.


      Nice review and good pictures.

      Since you seem to carry a heavy load I was wondering if you gave serious thought to a backpack style bag or why you didn't choose a backpack style bag. I know the absolute shoulder strap does work wonderfully well but even though I work out nearly every day I find having a heavy briefcase load on my shoulder or in one hand is annoying. I admit I'm in the minority though as nearly everyone at work or at the airport seems to prefer should style.
      Owner of : Imago, Aeronaut, Brain Bag, Smart Alec, Synapse, Co-Pilot


        Congrats on the ID and thanks for the Gr8 review! The more you use it, the more you'll love it. Tom & Co and quite the geniuses.


          Thanks for the kind words! I hope others find this information useful!

          Pretzelb, in answer to your question: most days my load is not quite that heavy. Flexibility and access to all of my things was a top priority, with the ability to handle a large load in emergencies.

          I have had a variety of backpacks (a Targus XL used to be my daily bag, and I still have it for dire circumstances). While they are great for huffin' it from place to place while saving your back, I found them cumbersome because I am very often digging into my bag for things and did not have easy access to what I needed quickly.

          Granted, a lot of those issues were related to the bag itself which was not well designed in my opinion. I hear nothing but good things about the the Brain Bag and Smart Alec for well organized, spacious backpack solutions. Personally I would lean towards the Empire Builder or Zephyr if I needed something larger for the same reasons I mentioned above: organization, flexibility, and quick access.

          Bob P.
          Magic Tiki Studios

          Empire Builder (black/steel), Brain Bag (steel), Small Padded Organizer Pouch, Clear Wallet, Soft Cell, Snake Charmer (cayenne) and assorted trimmings.