I'm on the road quite a bit and always travel with my laptop. I'm a bit particular about my bags, not that I'm a slave to fashion, but I am a "fit and function" fanatic. But heck, if it looks good too, all the better. I recently acquired the ThinkTank My Second Brain Briefcase 15 and took it on a few trips to test it out.
I recently retired an old bag that served me pretty well, but it had a few things that I didn't particularly like, after living with it for some time. I didn't want another briefcase with a big flap that folds over the top. I know these are very popular, and they do a decent job of keeping confetti and other minuscule particles from falling in the bag, but they really aren't that ergonomic. I want quick and easy access to my most used items: reading glasses, earphones, pen, wallet, and my interstellar transponder confobulator. I don't want to lift a flap and then unzip another pocket to get to these. Silly, I know.
Here are the key things that drew me to the ThinkTank 2nd Brain:
- Clean, attractive design, not overly flashy, and top quality build materials
- Separate zippered pocket for my laptop
- Large main compartment for a plethora of other travel and daily accessories
- Lots of pockets that make sense!
- Dedicated iPad pocket easily accessible from the front pocket, or store it internally in one of the other pockets.
- Dedicated fast access phone, wallet, or sunglass pocket on the top.
- Water bottle or accessory pockets on both ends of the bag. They cleverly zip closed when not in use.
- Included rain cover
- Slot on back to ride on your rolling luggage
- Comfortably padded handle and shoulder strap
- Very high quality hardware and YKK double zippers for fast, easy access and durability.
- The bag has structure so it stands up un-supported when set down. My old bag was floppy and would collapse flat on the floor if I didn't lean it up against something.
I used this bag on recent out-of-town trips to do SPTV.me and creativeLIVE. I had to carry quite a bit of stuff and move through airports, cars, taxis, restaurants, and studios quickly and effectively. It got knocked around, scraped, rained on, and put to the test. I had to work in small spaces and be able to quickly find and access items when I was going live in 30 seconds and realized I'd forgotten something in my bag.
Granted, I'll need a year of use to attest to its durability, but judging by the build and materials, I feel confident it will last as long as I do. It is comfortable to carry with a lot of weight in it – as I had my 15" Macbook, iPad, power adapters galore, cables, toy dragon, water bottle, etc.
I really like having the laptop compartment separate and quickly accessible via the smooth zippers. I also like the dedicated iPad pocket on the front, giving me quick access on the airplane without having to pull the whole bag out and dig through it.
Our personal every day carry bags can be very, well, personal. Everybody has their favorites, so I thought I'd share mine. ThinkTank makes some great gear and they also have a special going now if you purchase with this link: free gear with orders over $50. Do you have a favorite too?