I have been a long time fan of Tom Bihn owning many of their travel bags and a couple of their smaller backpacks. In total I own the Aeronaut, the Western Flyer and the Tristar travel bags and the Synapse 19 and 25 and I love absolutely all of them. However, I needed a backpack that is bigger and capable of carrying at least 2 laptops and more. The Brain Bag fits this quite well and now that I have used it for almost a year I wanted to share some thoughts on the bag.
First the outer material is bluesign® certified High-Tenacity 2×2 Ballistic nylon in the Aubergine (purple) color. Inside is made from bluesign® certified 210 denier Cerylon 6,6 Ripstop nylon in the Cobalt color. The blue color of the inside of the bag makes it really easy to find stuff instead of it being lined with a black nylon like many bags. Both fabrics are really durable. After going on many car trips and a trip to Reston, Virginia with the bag I feel safe to say this might be the last laptop bag I ever need and not just because of it’s durability.
Many years ago, Tom Bihn never made bags with a dedicated laptop compartment. They do now with the Synik 30 and the Synik 22. I do not see that as a negative. The Brain Bag is one of the older designs that they still make so it holds true to the old way Tom Bihn accommodated laptops and other delicate devices with the caches. The great thing here is if I get a smaller laptop, I can get a smaller cache. Or as this has the hardware integrated into it both of the larger compartments, I can add a second cache to it to hold 2 laptops in caches. So the new system makes it very flexible and is why I am a fan of this method of carrying laptops. It also makes it east to go through TSA security if you don’t have TSA Pre.
They also make other accessories like the Fruedian Slip. This is essentially a insert that can hold pens, a magazine or even my iPad in. Unfortunately, it looks like they currently do not have the one designed for the Brain Bag in stock. Fortunately when I bought mine last year I also ordered it and I use this almost every trip to hold various things I may need.
You can also use their Packing Cubes for the Brain Bag as well. Unlike the travel bags, they do not make specific cubes for the Brain Bag but the cubes for the Techonaut 30 or the Aeronaut 30 will fit the Brain Bag as well their cubelets or the Snake Charmers. I ordered the Large Snake Charmer which fits my MacBook charging brick and many cables in and makes it really easy to fish out the Charmer and eliminates much of the cable tangles.
As for the design, it has two mammoth compartments. As I previously mentioned, you can put a cache in both compartments. This makes this the perfect bag for those wanting to carry multiple laptops. Even though I only have one cache for my MacBook I do have a Tomtoc 360 bag which fits the smaller MacBooks or my Surface Pro 6 in and this plus the Freudian Slip in one compartment and my MacBook in it’s cache in the other compartment. I also stuff my Snake Charmer into the same compartment as my MacBook holding most of my cables.
The front has two pockets on either side of it with a carabiner and straps for a umbrella or a water bottle in the middle. One of the pockets has a mesh pocket on the outside of the pocket which is great for carrying your boarding pass in it and inside it has a smaller pocket to help organize the contents of this pocket. The pocket on the right also has a smaller pocket inside and on the top of the pocket it has slots for pens and pencils which is really nice. I don’t use those slots for pens as I have the Freudian Slip but it’s nice that they are there. On top is a small pocket which is ideal to stick your mouse or keys in there and it also has a keystrap in it.
Finally, it has 2 sets of compression straps on the sides so that once you are at your destination and leave some stuff behind, you can make the bag a little smaller.
The Brain Bag has been around for a few years now. It’s one of the oldest designs that they currently have and I absolutely love this thing. From the design and the materials it’s the best bag I have ever had. It’s not the perfect bag. That doesn’t exist! It is a great bag and the one I use whenever I travel for personal or work reasons and it will serve me well for the next decade or more. I have Tom Bihn bags that are 15 years old and they still look and feel great! You cannot go wrong with the Brain Bag if you need a large backpack that can carry multiple laptops. This is the one I recommend. The Brain Bag costs $242 dollars currently and that sounds like a lot but it’s really not for the quality you get.