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  1. #1
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    Brain Bag vs. A45

    I haven't looked at any TB backpacks, because I've never been a backpack person. I didn't care for the A30 or WF or TS in backpack mode, but I'm kind of in love with the A45 in backpack mode.

    I've also never considered the BB because it seemed like it was designed to be a computer bag / briefcase, which I would not use. As I look at it more and more, I'm wondering if it would make a good suitcase.

    For those who travel without computers, and use the BB as a straight suitcase, how do you feel it compares with the A45 for how it packs?

    How do Eagle Creek Specter packing cubes or folders fit it the BB?
    Do toiletries or shoes fit well in the front pockets of the BB?

    Since the BB is designed to be a backpack, how is the comfort factor of carrying it compared to the A45?
    Is the padded hip belt worth it?

    Is the BB heavy? I sent back the TS because it was just too heavy and awkward.
    Is the BB about the size of a WF or TS on your back?

  2. #2
    Forum Member ceepee's Avatar
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    Brain Bag vs. A45

    Although I haven’t used my BB for travel so far, I have owned, or seen in person, all of the other bags you mention so I can attempt to answer some of your questions.

    The A45’s kind of horizontal orientation makes it much easier to get to everything with minimal unpacking, whereas the BB is basically two compartments that would have to be packed by stacking. The A45, therefore, would be much easier to live out of.

    3D Organiser Cubes will fit in the pockets as long as they’re not crammed full and you don’t want to put much else in the pockets as well. So if you can fit your toiletries in a 3DOC then I think that’s a ‘yes’.

    I find the BB very comfortable, but I think this is because it’s a short bag and it hits me just right, so the lower edge sits in my lower back. I’ve only ever carried a BB that was packed full once, It was OK for the couple of hours I wore it but I wouldn’t have liked to have carried it all day. The load expands away from your back and, even with all the heavy stuff packed close to my back, I felt it pulled a little.

    The BB is not a light bag, however, once I have it on my back, its comfortable ...... sometimes, if the ergonomics of a bag are right for the person wearing it a heavier bag can feel better than a lighter bag that doesn’t fit so well. The side webbing also makes it possible to cinch the bag up nice and tight to keep everything as close to your centre of gravity as possible.

    I do have the padded hip belt, but I find that the bag sits too high for it to be of use to me.

    The BB is the same length as the WF and, therefore, a few inches shorter than the TS. Whether one is more comfortable than the other may, therefore, depend on your back length.

    I found that the travel bags with backpack option worked fine in backpack mode when full. However, I found, with the WF especially for some reason, that carrying them in backpack mode when not full resulted in uncomfortable rolls forming in the back panel. But then, they’re travel bags/duffles/suitcases first and backpacks second. The BB carries much better as a backpack ..... probably because that’s what it is Smilie

    HTH.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Last edited by ceepee; 11-08-2017 at 12:51 PM.

  3. #3
    Volunteer Moderator Alumni Ilkyway's Avatar
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    Brain Bag vs. A45

    I have traveled with a BB once. The A45 half Packing Cubes fit niceley next to each other standing upright with space for a large Snake Charmer on top for example. BUT if fully packed it gets nearly dice shaped and is than on one dimention too big for a carry on. So youd always have to be carefull not to fully stuff it.

    As for the hip beld: the BB is not a long backpack. So depending on your torso the hipbeld might sit too high to do its propper work. I would say ceepee is of avarage hight but I also know she likes to wear her backpacks proper and high (I tent to wear them lower on my back).

    Weigthwise: the A45 Weight:
    1050d high tenacity ballistic nylon: 3 lb 1 oz / 1395 grams
    400d HalcyonBrain Bag vs. A45/420d nylon ripstop: 2 lb 7 oz / 1095 grams

    and the BB:
    525 Ballistic Nylon: 2 lb 15 oz / 1345 grams
    1000 denier CorduraBrain Bag vs. A45: 2 lb 15 oz / 1325 grams

    Ilkyway

    ETA: here is a 3D Cube inside one of the front pockets. Lots of room to spare.
    ďAnkh-Morpork people considered that spelling was a sort of optional extra. They believed in it in the same way they believed in punctuation; it didn't matter where you put it so long as it was there.Ē

    By Sir Terence David John Pratchett from The Truth

  4. #4
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    Thank you both.

  5. #5
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    My Brain Bag is a recent acquisition and Iíve only traveled with it once, last month. However, I was impressed with how much it held. It is 36 liters, so 9 liters less than the A45. The duffel shape of the A45 lends itself to carrying round or weirdly shaped things better than the Brain Bag, especially since the Brain Bag has two sections instead of one.

    I used large Eagle Creek Specter packing cubes. In the picture below, I packed it sideways. You can fit two large Specter packing cubes in the rear section, one on top of each other and still have room to pack some slim items in front or behind them. I do have a medium Eagle Creek folder, but I do not have time to dig it out and try it. Sorry! But I am confident it will fit in either section.

    I confess to be a notorious what-if overpacker, so the Brain Bag was heavy. I am only 4í11Ē and it was comfortable but heavy. I didnít weigh it, though. Some of the time I had Mr. pammy carry it since he only had a medium Yeoman duffel that was very light since heís an underpacker. But even if I had the A45, it would be heavy too because of overpacking.

    About shoes and toiletries, I use the classic Snake Charmer for non-3-1-1 toiletries and miscellaneous stuff. And I wear size 5 shoes, but in tennis shoes I buy a size 6, and I always bring a pair of Havaianas flipflops for the hotel. I split up the two packing cubes, one in each section, laying sideways. Then I packed the toiletries, shoes, 3-1-1 bag, iPad mini either on top or next to the packing cubes. I also was carrying a PCSB with a Side Effect and other stuff like airline tickets and hotel and rental car confirmations. Before boarding I packed that inside the Brain Bag.

    I didnít use a padded hip belt because I wasnít going great distances with it. Maybe I will try that in the future since I have one.

    Brain Bag vs. A45-sa2-jpg
    Seeking Solar shop bags and Solar packing cube shoulder bag Spring Also coveting an Iberian Synapse or Copilot

  6. #6
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    The Eagle Creek folder also fits in either compartment of the BB.

    Having had both the BB and the A45, I think it is difficult to compare the two. As others have mentioned, the A45 is a better “suitcase” than the BB; however, I prefer the BB to the A45 as I rarely if ever have an issue with how much it fits. That is, 36L is the sweet spot for me. I also would recommend the BB as a single bag since it is easier to use as EDC than the A45.

    As others have shown, packing cubes fit nicely in the BB as well, but it is harder to live out of than an A45 simply due to its opening. I don’t usually find that to be a problem though as I exclusively use packing cubes, and that is easy enough to pull out the packing cubes and stick them back in. When I spent a month in China a couple years ago, the BB was the only bag I brought. I don’t remember the exact packing list, but I did have a tuxedo, thick music folder, Eagle Creek folder, medium cube, and small cube. More than enough space and I ended up bringing back some Terra Cotta figures that also fit.

    Another reason I prefer the BB is it’s versatility. I am often, every day, carrying upwards of 50lbs in it and it feels fine. No hip belt needed in my opinion as it is short enough to keep the weight high and tight, and the cinch straps do a great job of compressing everything. I’ve often tried to justify a S25 or SA for some lighter EDC, but the BB is so perfect for me that I never pull the trigger. It has the trademarked Tardis qualities of all TB bags, but i am still surprised at how small it seems the majority of the time.

    Toiletries would fit fine in a front pocket, but shoes might be tight depending on the size and style. Minimalist shoes or sandals should be fine, sneakers would be tough if possible. Comparing weight, it is a little lighter than the A45, but the big difference I find is that it carries better. The straps are thicker and wider I believe, so there aren’t any issues of it digging in or pinching.

    Hope that helps! I can try to take some photos if wanted as well. I have a few different sizes of packing cubes I can try to use to give you an idea of how to pack it.
    Boots, Bags, and Beer. (And Coffee)

  7. #7
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    I have the D36 (medium road duffle) and that 36L is the sweet spot for me, too. I like to pack flat in cubes or folders, so much like the WF, slipping a folder in or out of a section works fine for me. What I didn't like about the WF was the front pockets. They were too flat or weirdly shaped to be useful. Plus, it didn't carry well on my back. I'm 5'5" but short waisted, so the hip belt might work for me. Although I don't plan on hiking with it, but just carrying it around an airport.

    I might have to order one just to see it in person. I like that the front pockets have some depth to them, so you can actually put things in them, plus pen slots, etc. But I'm also concerned it will be too deep. I do tend to like flatter bags. Then again, it's really the same size at the A45, only a bit shorter. Hum. I wish I lived close enough to see these in person, instead of having to order, wait a week for it to get here, then try to decide.
    Last edited by BWeaves; 11-10-2017 at 05:23 AM.

  8. #8
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    So now I'm eyeing the Synapse 25, too. How does it compare to the BB? Dimensions wise, they seem to be almost the same size, but there's a huge difference in volume. Does the S25 fit an Eagle Creek specter medium packing folder? Will shoes fit in the bottom pocket?

  9. #9
    Forum Member melminimalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BWeaves View Post
    So now I'm eyeing the Synapse 25, too. How does it compare to the BB? Dimensions wise, they seem to be almost the same size, but there's a huge difference in volume. Does the S25 fit an Eagle Creek specter medium packing folder? Will shoes fit in the bottom pocket?
    As someone who has owned both the brain bag and s25 I can answer this one. The BB, while only 11L bigger seems volumes larger. Fully packed the s25 still sits close to your back whereas I found the BB as it got full was too heavy for me and pulled back. Now, I am only 5ft and 110lbs so I believe it was my diminutive size that made the BB too big for me. I am an ultralight minimalist packer so 36L was way too much. I traveled 6 weeks in Europe with a 30 L and acknowledge that even that was overkill. I have this weird habit of packing full any bag I am using, I don't know why. Therefore by going with the smaller s25 I still have more than enough room and I don't go overboard with extras. I am actually awaiting the arrival of an s19 as I believe that will be the sweet spot for me. I LOVE the synapse built in internal storage, which is a reason I ultimately chose that over a SA or BB. I have found that I do not like just an open "cavern" type bag. Lastly, I do not even own a laptop, so I never Travel with one. Everything is done via an iPad or my Motorola phone. I pad and kindle fit perfectly in the interior "computer" slot on the synapse. Hope this helps. I believe for your needs the BB is the way to go!

    Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
    "Not all who wander are lost"
    "Love people, use things, because the opposite never works" - The Minimalists
    Synapse 25 in Olive, Aubergine Side Effect, UV A30 PCBP, Sitka PCSB

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