Tom Bihn Brain Bag

My Rating

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A hefty and versatile backpack that can hold a lot or a little just as well.

My Review

What can I say? The Brain Bag is perhaps Tom Bihn’s most versatile backpack – yes, even more versatile than its most-famous Synapse 25. The bottom line? Pure, unadulterated space. There are two huge main pockets which are square shape – not that weird rounded shape like the Synapse has – which means it’s equally at home being an EDC bag or a travel backpack. I’ve used it as both. (Of course, I’ll usually augment it with packing cubes when traveling.)

It’s not as organized as the Synapse (yes, I know I keep mentioning the Synapse, but it’s the OTHER most popular Tom Bihn backpack) but you can augment that with the Freudian Slip to add some pockets if you need that. I own one for each of my Tom Bihn backpacks and have found it to make up nicely for the lack of organization. The water bottle hook on the front makes up for the lack of dedicated water bottle pocket and the three front pockets will perfectly hold whatever little nick-nacks or organization pouches you need (typically, I use it for my Snake Charmer and my toiletries) while the Freudian Slip holds my portable keyboard, mouse, chargers, and a pad of paper (and whatever paperwork I need to be carrying around that day).

The downside? Like the Synapse, the Brain Bag suffers from one major flaw – pure lack of style. Frankly, I think the bag is straight up ugly. I minimize this by owning the all-black version – otherwise the bag looks strange with the mesh holder on the left pocket. (What can I say – I like symmetry.) That’s a small complaint though, and perhaps I’m being too hard on it. Of all of the bags I see in the wild, I see the Brain Bag more than any (typically by folks who’ve used them for years). Still waiting to see one of the rare pink ones (yes, I’ve heard they exist!)

What I Like 👍
  • It's super functional since it holds a lot.
  • You can fill it up if you need - but if you don't, you can always compress it down.
  • Versatile - has enough organization to keep it interesting but isn't very opinionated.
  • Very comfortable to carry.
What I Don't Like 👎
  • Frankly, it's one of the uglier bags in the Tom Bihn line.
  • Unless it's in black, it doesn't look symmetrical.
Use This If
  • You need to carry more than one laptop.
  • You need a travel backpack that can hold a ton.
  • You carry around a lot of electronics and/or accessories.
  • You need a backpack that can do it all - clothes-in-packing-cubes-but-carry-it-to-the-office sort of thing.

What others have to say... Add a review!

Brain Bag holds a ton!

I love this bag for its size but ability to shrink if necessary. As a music major in college, I often will carry a ton of music and folders, up to three or four at a time! When that gets to be chunky, this carries it like a dream. With all the space, I usually keep my tech and laptop in the back pocket (headphones, mouse, portable charger, etc.) and papers, folders, binders in the front. I personally do not mind the style (mine is red), but I can definitely see where others find it unattractive.

Used primarily for: EDC

Yes, I would recommend this product!

Value
Style
Organization
Overall
Two Compartment Brain Bag

This bag is capacious for separating items between the 2 main compartments. Have all your electronics go in one compartment, clothes in the other. Or separate your mobile office items from your gym essentials when using as mobile office/gym bag. Looks can be polarizing, but not an issue for me. The outside front pockets are great for housing larger items for quick access. Can expand or compress the bag with side cinch straps, which can strap down jackets and larger items on the outside. Love it!

Used primarily for: Travel

Yes, I would recommend this product!

Value
Style
Organization
Overall
Brain Bag - HUGE

Imagine a synapse 25 with an extra main compartment. The brain bag is a massive bag for those who need space, both large spaces and small organizational pockets. The front has multiple pockets for storing smaller items. A clip on the front allows a water bottle to be attached. The two main compartments can hold a lot and the bag has the same mesh back and shoulder straps as the synapse. This is huge for edc so I would say it is more appropriate for travel.

Used primarily for: Travel

Yes, I would recommend this product!

Value
Style
Organization
Overall