Tom Bihn Brain Bag Backpack from Europe [Review]

Christine and decided to visit England, Spain, Northern Africa, and Rome this summer with as little baggage as possible. 10 years of marriage seemed like a great opportunity to hit the road for two weeks with as little as possible in tow (even the kids were staying home). It was great timing that the folks at Tom Bihn sent me the Brain Bag to try out.

As you’ll see in the video, the Brain Bag is 36 liters of smart packing. Everything I needed for our trip fit in one of the large compartments, with room in the other to stuff a Synapse. That came in handy for local touring since it’s a smaller bag.

The last thing Christine and I wanted to look like were tourists. Large backpacks with padded hip belts fall into that category, so I was excited to see that, not only were the hip belts not padded, they were also easily removable.

By the end of our trip, we (and by we, I mean Christine) were accumulating some nice souvenirs. I carried both packs while Christine also carried one. They all fit as carry-on pieces, even in the restricted, smaller size bins of discount European airlines.


Justin Lukasavige

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I love family and adventure and I'm creating stories one day at a time.
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  • Lotuslander

    Hey Justin, thanks for the great review! The Brain Bag certainly looks like a multi-purpose pack that’s built to last. I have a couple of questions about its use as a hiking pack, though. Would you use this pack on a multi-day hike like Kilimanjaro or would the straps leave a lot to be desired after the first 10-20 miles? Think a Smart Alec would fare any better or would you just stick with the more established outdoor pack brands like Gregory or Osprey for a hike like that? Thanks again!

    • Justin Lukasavige

      I suppose it depends on how much weight you’re carrying. I packed it completely full by the end of our 2 week trip and I left the waist belt at home. The waist belt is unpadded and will basically keep the pack in place and your load centered but not be all that comfortable if you’re using it with a heavy pack.

      That being said, I wouldn’t expect you’d be using a heavy load on Kili, just some snacks and extra food. That being the case, I’d opt for a smaller pack and you’d do just fine.

      • Lotuslander

        Noted. Much appreciated!