Brain Cell Protects Your Notebook
One thing that you'll notice about the Brain Bag is that while it is certainly large enough to accommodate most notebooks, it really doesn't have a dedicated padded compartment for your portable computer. To get that, you need to invest in a Brain Cell, which is available in both horizontal and vertical variations.
The Brain Cell can operate as a fairly minimalist notebook bag on its own, since it has a few small outer pockets, but anything more than a quick trip to the coffee shop will require a more substantial bag. It does help that the largest compartment in the Brain Bag has attachment hooks to keep the Brain Cell in place during transport.
The Vertical Freudian Slip
While some other backpacks already have slots that are designed for files, folders, and other paperwork, the Brain Bag does not. You need the two-sided Freudian slip for that. Again, it helps that you can remove this completely from the backpack to grab your pens, portable hard drives, reading material, and so forth. The side not pictured is more typical of holding file folders.
Another accessory that you might want is the Snake Charmer, which looks like a small pouch for your toiletries while traveling. They say it's good for your notebook power supply, but it'll take on more than that for sure.
Little Protective Pouches for Little Things
What about all those other little things that inevitably need to be packed into your backpack whether you're going for a day on campus, an afternoon at your favorite coworking space, or another jaunt to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show?
Tom Bihn has you covered on that front too with a variety of clear organizer pouches. Each of these is clear on one side, fabric on the other side, and come with a zippered enclosure, as well as a hook.
The down side is that I had a hard time finding just the right place to clip these little pouches. It would have been nice if the two major compartments (each is big enough to hold a laptop on its own) had something better on the inside where you could connect the hooks.
There are some small straps on the inside and I thought they would be a good place to clip the pouches, but the clips don't really fit onto these straps very well. With all this other attention to detail, especially with the integration with the Brain Cell, couldn't Tom Bihn do some thing for these pouches too?
Being Creative with Attaching Accessories
The only place where I found an available strap with a hook was in the top pocket on the front, but this really isn't the ideal location for the clear pouches. You might have to get a little creative with how you pack your gear.
You may also notice the single small loops near the top (front side) of each major compartment. These are good for connecting the pouches, but I wish there were a few more. The idea is there, but it was never completely embraced.
Alternatively, you can be satisfied with having a series of loose pouches, Snake Charmers, and Freudian Slips hanging around in there. I appreciate the versatility, but something should have been done to better accommodate the accessories if they really want to push them as an add-on purchase.