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  1. #1
    Forum Member Sera's Avatar
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    My silent bet on a Brain Bag

    When my son had been through seven backpacks in five years of school, I had nearly lost hope. Then I saw a review on a blog (I apologize, noble travel blogger, I've forgotten who you were...) about the durability of Tom Bihn bags. My thought - "MmHmmmmmm... okay, Mr. Bihn. You think you can do freaking durable? Right. I'll take that bet."

    My son, examining the choices, chose a steel colored Brain Bag. It was HUGE on him, but it held enough to hold his winter coat, which he needed to take to reassure the teachers but never wore, his bento lunchbox, his fencing clothes and shoes, his notebooks, and his textbooks. Save for winter with it's inevitable coat debacle, he only ever used one of the main compartments.

    In junior high they stopped bothering him about a coat, but his textbooks and notebooks and gym clothes began to make up the distance. In high school, by senior year, he could still always seem to find more room in it. Rather like the Tardis, or one of the sheik's tents from Bugs Bunny.

    He's gone off to his Freshman year of university this year with his Brain Bag. THE SAME ONE. The bag has shrugged off several disasters with leaking substances (use your imagination) that called for a hose and a night out on the porch. No dead zippers. No holes. No split seams. The straps haven't broken loose. The bottom, dragged on miles of railings, steps, and heaven-only-knows-what... shows no real wear.

    Mr. Bihn... I've never been happier to say these words - you win.

    With my eternal thanks,
    Sara M.
    Ego in Cardinal/Steel, Ristretto in Plum/Wasabi, Side Effect in Plum/Wasabi, Imago in Navy/Cork/Wasabi, Cafe Bags in Azalea, Turquoise, and Linen, TB Wallet, misc. pouches, and son's Brain Bag in Steel

  2. #2
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    I absolutely loved reading this post! Thanks, Sera!
    -m

  3. #3
    Forum Member Sera's Avatar
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    My son reminds me to add that he's also taken it on every single family vacation since he got it. To Germany twice, to Ireland, to Texas and Nevada many many times... that bag has logged more airline miles than it would take to get it a pilot's license.
    Ego in Cardinal/Steel, Ristretto in Plum/Wasabi, Side Effect in Plum/Wasabi, Imago in Navy/Cork/Wasabi, Cafe Bags in Azalea, Turquoise, and Linen, TB Wallet, misc. pouches, and son's Brain Bag in Steel

  4. #4
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    This is a wonderful thread!

    Congrats on your good TB Brain Bag choice and kudos to the traveling college student!

    It would be nice to hear from other parents whose children grew up with TB gear!

  5. #5
    Forum Member Saltgirl's Avatar
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    North of the TB Mothership
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    So we are finally taking the child to Disney later this year and I know my beloved Maker bag with it's open top will not be the top choice for taking bits and bobs around for the day when going on rides. So I am considering buying a backpack.

    Personally I use a daypack 1-2 weeks a year, cumulative. So I can't really justify replacing my aging Jansport. My kid, however, carries a pack every day with all kinds of things in it that he keeps sorted into various pockets. Surprisingly, his Walmart (shudder) pack has lasted 2 years with only minor tearing. I wonder if he just might be ready for a TB. And if I can bear to let him keep it after the trip.

    It's good to know they hold up to what little (and big) boys can dish up.

  6. #6
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    Wow, this is a great testimonial! I'm female, and when I was a little girl, I was a beast to my backpacks. I carried (too many) books and I went to school via multiple modes of public transportation through high school. I grew up and still pummeled backpacks (and messenger bags) mercilessly, going through at least one a year, until I bought the Smart Alec several years ago. Best EDC backpack I've ever had, still going strong and it still looks really good inside and out.

  7. #7
    Forum Member Sera's Avatar
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    I will say that the Brain Bag was ridiculously huge on a small fourth grader, but I can also cheerfully say that the quality of the bag has made it an absolute steal of a deal compared to a cavalcade of cheaper bags.
    Ego in Cardinal/Steel, Ristretto in Plum/Wasabi, Side Effect in Plum/Wasabi, Imago in Navy/Cork/Wasabi, Cafe Bags in Azalea, Turquoise, and Linen, TB Wallet, misc. pouches, and son's Brain Bag in Steel

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sera View Post
    I will say that the Brain Bag was ridiculously huge on a small fourth grader, but I can also cheerfully say that the quality of the bag has made it an absolute steal of a deal compared to a cavalcade of cheaper bags.

    I was really happy to read this post. I just bought Brain Bags for my 8 year olds. They are 4'7" and 4'8" and the bags are really big on them. Like your son, they've torn through cheaper bags over the past few years. I'm hoping the Brain Bags last them for many years. It's worth the cost to not replace them year after year.

  9. #9
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    Impressed that so many of you have been able to make backpacks last for multiple years of school. It's been a while since I had young ones, but our backpacks never lasted beyond one school year. do you wash the bags periodically?

  10. #10
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    Lost in the Midwest
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    So glad this post was revived, wouldn't have caught it otherwise. What a great story!

    I just received the first Brain Bag ever, TODAY. The only thing keeping me from trying one in the past was the dark gray interior color, but after the new colors were added, I got the Cloud/Grass version.

    This was actually purchased for my son for college, however after he tried it, he said he wants to keep his Empire Builder for now. So I tried it out, and really REALLY liked it.

    Even though it is "one big pack", as my son quoted, it is pretty comfy fully stuffed with things, AND I am able to put my FAVE EDC, the LUMINARY, right in there and pack enough for a FULL WEEK, no problem. It could easily become my only travel bag too. Hopefully my son won't take it back from me!

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