Living on the Road

Tom Bihn Brain Bag


Ultimate office and travel backpack

I spend 16 weeks a year touring back and forth across Canada. I work six nights a week – usually in a different city every night. My gear is in and out of airplanes and vans virtually every day. I have been a serious luggage fetishist for years (have been touring for 30) and have gone through every conceivable combination of suitcase and bag.

For the last four or five years I’ve been carrying a back pack. There were always obvious balance and hands-free comfort improvements with a backpack, but until a few years ago they were all made with hikers and outdoors people in mind. There was nowhere to put your computer, paper, and other essential toys. The Brain Bag is my second computer-oriented backpack. (An important additional virtue of a carrying a back pack is that they seem far less likely to be housing approximately $8000 worth of computer and related stuff and so are less likely to be stolen.)

I’m hard on luggage – even my guaranteed-for-life Tumi suitcase is starting to give out. My carry-on bags usually had a life-span of less than a year. The Bihn bag, after two years, looks brand new. It’s an organizational dream – obviously designed by someone who gives a shit. The computer (in my case a G4 Titanium) fits safely and snugly into a Velcro-closed, floating hard case in the back compartment. On top of it goes the “Snake Charmer” which is a two compartment accessories bag with see-through mesh sides that *perfectly* fits the remaining space. In the front compartment is an organizer for paper, files, etc. (the “Freudian Slip”) that can be removed from the bag easily. Each side of the slip is configured differently, so depending on how you choose to use it, you orient it with the most useful side out. There are three big pockets on the front and a water bottle holder thing. Two of these pockets are subdivided inside for further organization.

All the hardware and material is first class and the thing fits so well that often, at airports or waiting at hotel reception desks for check-in, I forget to take it off.

I love the bag not just because it’s a great bag but also because it’s an intelligently conceived, beautifully designed and well-made thing. A rare find these days.

-- Ra McGuire 06/26/03