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Which single bag best suits my requirements?

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    Which single bag best suits my requirements?

    Here are my requirements:
    • Holds 15" MBP (possibly with brain cell) + clothes for 3-4 day trips
    • Ability to use just as a laptop bag after arriving at the hotel and removing the clothes
    • Fits under the seat on planes
    • For use as my only travel bag

    The first bag to catch my eye was the Smart Alec. With a brain cell, it looks like the ideal laptop backpack. My concern, however, is that with a laptop + brain cell, it won't be able to fit my clothes. The brain cell looks like it takes up a lot of space, but since there's no dedicated laptop compartment in the Smart Alec, it seems like this is the only way to sufficiently protect it.

    So, I then began looking at other bags Tom Bihn has to offer: the Western Flyer, Tri-Star, and the Aeronaut. While these bags have backpack straps, the size and shape make for one awkward-looking and cumbersome backpack when all I'm hauling is my laptop.

    What do you guys think?
    Last edited by Bronto; 03-08-2012, 04:31 PM.

    What about the Brain Bag? There are two compartments in that backpack, so you could put your computer in a Brain Cell in one and your clothes (maybe in a packing cube) in the other.

    The WF, TS, and Aeronaut are way too big to use as a computer bag, IMO. I mean, you could, but it would look funny.


      I agree with Badger about the size of the other bags, and, actually, the Brain Bag is pretty large for just a laptop, from what I understand.

      I know you want a "single" bag, but how about, say, a Checkpoint Flyer Laptop Case with a Western Flyer? Put the laptop case inside the WF when on the road and just use the laptop case at meetings at your destination. Would probably only work if you really have nothing but a laptop though. Has anyone used a Brain Cell as a stand alone laptop case?


        How much room is left in the Smart Alec when you've got a laptop + brain cell in it?


          Originally posted by Bronto View Post
          How much room is left in the Smart Alec when you've got a laptop + brain cell in it?
          Not enough for 3-4 days' worth of clothes unless you are a very small person.



            I had a similar dilemma and ended up with the TriStar. My solution was to purchase the TriStar with the WF/TS Packing cube backpack (PC/BP). I use the PC/BP as a packing cube and when I arrive at my destination I use the PC/BP as a day pack. It fits my 15" lenovo laptop with power cord, a Seagate portable hard drive, 8x11 notebook, 5x7 (2" thick) notebook, my office kit (pens, pencils, markers, 3x5 cards, mini stapler, paperclips, small binder clips) a small pouch with cell phone chargers (2), earbuds, verizon MiFi (w/charger), retractable ethernet cable) and IPod. There is room to spare. All of this plus a weeks worth of clothes fit in the Tristar.

            Now, I do not have any case for my laptop, ever; in my opinion it is already big enough. I did add a strip of padding on the bottom and sides of the center pocket of the Tristar (cannibalized from a defunct laptop bag), but in my opinion/experience that padding and the clothes on both sides amply protect my computer. My EDC bag at home and the PC/BP I carry on the road, I personally carry and I am just careful (I also back up often).

            The TriStar may not fit under seats of commuter flights, but it slips into overheads with ease. If you find something on your trip that you just have to have, then you can use the PC/BP as your personal carry.
            Hope this helps.