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Third Level personal Preparedness (Go-Bags)> Messenger Bags
Tom Bihn- Super Ego> Highly Recommended

Introduction :Third level Preparedness - Go-Bags> Messenger Bags
This section is dedicated to the analysis of some currently available options for portable carry bags that have the design distinction of a strap that's primarily designed to mount on the shoulder or across the chest and that are courier or messenger bags. Messenger bags descended from the newspaper delivery and mailbags that date from the turn of the century. They are most popular with travelers that must carry a daily burden of goods that must be delivered. They've become very popular for their simple and direct accessibility to the main compartment. They're easily recognized by their use of a large main compartment that's protected from the elements by a large over-flap that typically locks down via one or two straps. The single buckle variant is the most typical-as it expedites access. Another telling feature is a large shoulder/chest strap that connects securely to the sides of the bag underneath and below the top flap, This arrangement makes for an exceedingly ergonomic carry attitude whether worn at the rear, side or near the front of the hip. The best of breed may also include a waist strap that ensures a secure and well managed carry when used on a bicycle, scooter or motor bike. Such waist straps also take a good deal of the burden off the shoulder, sharing it with the waist.
Current day messenger bags are often embellished with a number of additional compartments that allow for the organization and carry of numerous accessories and tools. Every flap and panel is exploited for carry potential so as not to interfere with the main compartments- allowing for the stowage of contents both large and small. Nice touches will include the addition of reflective material to aid in safety at night.

Key benefits: Large main compartments| Quick access to main compartment | Multiple compartments for customized contents| Across the chest or shoulder carry | Highly ergonomic | Flexible positioning | Ideal for a range of commuter/travel end uses


General Description
Super Ego from Tom Bihn is one of a number of gear bags manufactured by Tom Bihn Inc (Seattle Washington-USA) for people of all walks of life.This sling pack is an excellent example of a new breed of products that evolved as a hybridization of backpacks and shoulder bags .The theme of an ergonomic 'across the back and chest' is beautifully implemented in this product. Faster to mount and dismount than a two strap backpack, it materializes the long held wish of itinerate commuters for a single strap pack to replace the habit of using backpacks with one strap dangling uselessly. Though Messenger bags are also designed to be carried- strap across the chest, Super Ego conforms more closely to body contours- making it the streamlined carry option of choice for those that demand the ultimate in aerodynamics in a messenger bag shape. This is a large size carry bag that will accommodate a 12" -17" laptop as well as a couple of average textbooks, a notepad and a modest stash of emergency tools and provisions. Two intelligently designed outer bottle pouches will secure a wide range of bottle diameters in the typical 16oz capacity. Numerous additional sub compartments organize the plethora of small tools needed by the itinerate traveler, student or commuter.

Target Market
-Urban Commuter / 12"-17" laptop,small electronics/PDA, cell phone,notepad,average sized textbooks, water bottles+ 1st 24 hrs emergency tools
-Itinerate Student / 12"-17" laptop,small electronics/PDA, cell phone,notepad,average sized textbook, water bottle+ 1st 24 hrs emergency tools
-Traveler /12"-17" laptop,travel document,small tools,digital camera,GPS, communication electronics,reading material+ 1st 24 hrs emergency tools

Form Factor & Build -
Sizes- Large

Geometry- Aerodynamic clam-shell
Material- Heavy duty Cordura nylon fabric and construction.YKK zippers throughout. Large Snap closure buckle ( National Molding - Warrior) . Braided nylon-cord zipper pulls with polymer terminal tabs.

Ergonomics- A uniform 2" wide shoulder strap carries the most burden while a second belt strap may be used to control and redistribute some load to the hips .A sliding shoulder pad effectively absorbs the shock that up and down bag motion may put on the user's shoulder. A padded inner back side shields the carrier from bumps against heavy or protrusive contents.
In trials, the Super Ego was comfortable carried either high or low on the back.Some users found it comfortable carried to one side as well .Thanks to a gently clam-shell shape, moving the bag around ones waist doesn't cause any of the fatigue one often experiences with boxy shaped luggage.Like other Tom Bihn products, the Super Ego is all about intelligent weight distribution, suspension and shock absorption. In addition to being suitable for carry by an upright person walking or dashing , the Super Ego is also highly effective to use while biking, riding a moped or motorcycle. Because it tends to sit lower down the rider's back and side, the lower center of gravity it creates makes it even more stable than some backpacks that ride high on the biker's back. While not essential when riding a bike, the included waist belt is highly recommended for its weight re-distribution properties as well as 'swing management' effectiveness.

Affordances- One large main compartment houses the larger and more delicate items. A second and smaller compartment is revealed upon opening the over-flap. In and around this second space are numerous sub compartments for stashing all types of necessities. Messenger bags are all about speed of accessibility and the Super Ego aptly delivers on this requirement. Two slash stash pockets are opened and closed with zippers. They are deceptive looking for once opened they each hold a lot of small stuff. An array or vertically oriented pouches hold the ubiquitous beverage bottles, travel umbrellas and other 'vertically shaped' items of need. Small travel office tools fit neatly into smaller slots that are in one line inside the secondary compartment. This second space then becomes home to medium sized objects.

Human Factors & Usability -The Super Ego conforms to most heuristics guiding excellent user-centered design in the industrial engineering of a carry case.In other words, the need for effective, efficient and easy to learn functionality are fully accommodated through sound consideration of the cognitive, reflexive and contextual aspects of this product's use. In addition, sound ergonomics contribute to a pleasant and transparent user experience .Usability has therefore been closely aligned to the operator requiring a certain type of task and goal-centric carry case.The judicious use of padding and shock absorbing foam in strategic locations is noticeable, especially when one has to suddenly take off in a dash to catch a bus or train. The weight of Super Ego, laden with a heavy laptop and books is barely noticeable. Because Super Ego holds it's shape, even when empty- it's easy to swing it around to the user's front for quick access to both main compartments as well as the bottle / umbrella pouches and sleek peripheral compartments.

Styling and Aesthetics
Within a number of contexts, the Super Ego exterior appearance coordinates well with the user and their task- in order to create a harmonious visual ensemble that projects an image of normalcy and not discontinuity. Messenger bags abound but few are put together with as understated an elegance as one experiences looking at Super Ego. Its uncluttered exterior silhouette makes it fitting for numerous walks of life, all ages, and genders. The Tom Bihn logo patch- stands out proudly against the pristine backdrop of the chosen pack color. A conspicuous detail, not to be forgotten, is the 1.5" wide band of reflective material that runs vertically down the cover flap. This not only bisects the otherwise massive shape of the Super Ego- it also serves to effectively make it and its owner, noticeable to oncoming motorists from far away at night.

Environmental Stress- We evaluated the Super Ego under everyday circumstances. The toughness of the fabric was well suited to casual brushes with metal surfaces such as those that might be encountered in a typical commuter, outdoors or light duty professional settings. It fared very well in scuffs against concrete, subway doors,trees, thorns and the usual combatants of the urban village street. To test the protected zippers, we subjected Super Ego to a 10 minute shower- Not a drop of water was discovered inside. Considering the replacement cost of potential content electronics, this was deemed a success- instilling great confidence in its ability to withstand a typical downpour.

Sales Source:http://www.Tom
Tom Bihn- Super Ego

  • The exterior of the Super Ego is made with 1050 denier Ballistic
    Nylon. The interior/lining of the Super Ego is 500 denier Cordura.
  • #8 and #10 YKK Uretek "splash-proof" zippers.
  • laptop Carrier interface for Brain Cell
  • Choice of 11 different color strips(Reflective white strip shown)
  • Overall dimensions: 17" x 14.5" x 6.75" / 370mm x 435 mm x 175 mm
  • Weight:Super Ego w/plastic buckle: 2lb, 10.65 oz.
    Super Ego w/seatbelt buckle 3 lb., 3.1 oz.
  • Volume: 7 liters / 1680
  • Made in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.


ABOVE: Left, front view | Right, back view

ABOVE: Bottom view NOTE: aerodynamic contoured profile

ABOVE: Left, Detail of reflective strip| Right, Detail of Zipper pulls and self-sealing zipper

ABOVE: Left,left -side accessory pouch|Center,right-side accessory pouch| Right, additional elasticized pouch(es)

Above: Protective laptop inner carrier

Above: Main compartment contents

Above: Peripheral outer compartments - contents (Collapsible umbrella not shown)

Evaluation Results & Summaries

Ease of Use
Excellent. The user simply loads contents according to individual or task requirements. Smooth zippers are easily opened and closed thanks to the easily grasped pull cords.The design of the Super Ego invites objects to be loaded in a certain way. Small items that may need to accessed more quickly may be stowed around the front tier of sub-compartments that are suitable for controlling pens, PDAs, small electronics and so on. The main space is a zippered compartment that may house up to a 17" laptop a couple of average sized text books, papers and emergency supplies. Two capacious water bottle pouches cinch tight to control their passengers for the duration of a bumpy ride. A collapsible umbrella amy also take residence in one of these pouches, while a bottled beverage may rest in the other. A single buckle retains the large over flap, making for faster access
The Super Ego exudes ergonomic intelligence and logical compartmentalization. Even after we finished loading all the objects shown, there was still an unfilled flat compartment at the back that could hold several periodicals and a legal pad! The moniker 'Super Hero' might be apt for so effective a piece of everyday luggage.

Task performance optimization
Extraordinarily Effective. The Super Ego is ideal for carrying a large daily load of a laptop plus books and papers .Laptops get extra protection thanks to dedicated and customized inner carry cases.The Super Ego manages to contain the full gamut of personal electronics and still leave room for a self-stowing rain parka, evacuation mask, food and water as well as various and sundry additional tools. In addition to being effective and very comfortable at the customary shoulder and across the chest carry, a beefy padded grab handle makes it a pleasure to carry in that manner as well. For bikers and motorcyclists of all stripe, a snap-buckle closure waist belt ensures that the Super Ego stays in its place, even when doing duty on board such vehicles. In fact, the waist belt ends up sharing part of the burden, which makes even a fully laden Super Ego feel light in comparison with less ergonomically designed Messenger bags.In practice it was extremely comfortable for carrying school / work contents and was especially pleasant during quick dashes on and off subway trains.Its contoured profile is not only aesthetically pleasing but it also gives the Super Ego an aerodynamic profile to wind. Unlike boxy shaped carry-alls and cargo bags that tend to bump up against obstacles, the clamshell styling of the Super Ego seems to encourage obstructions to just roll off its back.

Accommodation for emergency provisions
Excellent. The most important emergency preparedness passenger riding in the Super Ego is the Emergency escape hood. House in its dedicated red zippered carry bag, the Dupont brand Evac-U8 is positioned inside the main zippered compartment close to the top so that it may be accessed quickly with minimum fuss.In the same compartment the laptop and books may be stowed along with a small sac of personal items or tools. Then it's up to the owner to dedicate the remaining spaces- of which there are several of surprisingly great capacity.
See> Emergency Preparedness Provisions 24/48/72

Fabrication Design and Construction quality
The fabrication quality of Super Ego is top notch and is in keeping with the expectations of its intended customers. More than this it may also be relied on by users beyond this base and can work well within a number of professional settings. The Cordura fabric is a tightly woven 100 denier weave which, based on our decades of experience with Cordura, lead us to believe it should last for many years if treated with care. Stitching is also high quality with heavy stitches being used to ensure that stress points stay firmly intact.Most impressive is the attention to details such as the use of YKK zippers,protected by Uretek "splash-proof" zipper seal. This added touch helps to keep debris, loose threads and other obstructions out of the zipper's path and acts as an effective deflector against rainfall as well. YKK zippers are renowned for durability and are proof positive that no corners were cut in designing and manufacturing Super Ego.The zipper pulls are directly attached loops of braided nylon, that terminate in locking polymer pull tabs. This seemingly trivial touch is actually very supportive of task optimization, since they are quick and easy to grab and provide much more effective purchase for fingers than traditional metal pulls. The best part of Super Ego's construction is it's ergonomics. Messenger style bags abound and several are of high caliber.Few manage to balance ergonomics with styling and capacity as well as the Super Ego. The use of top notch materials and high quality fabrication give the Super Ego an understated elegance that defies the boundaries of age, gender or occupation.
Items of Note:
Excellent Customer Relationship Management |Superb design and construction quality|Excellent protection from shock and impact | Logically arranged compartments and sub-compartments | Form fitting flexibility | Premium materials and hardware | Does not stand upright | Ideal for medium- large volume loads & active lifestyles |Exceptional comfort especially on bikes/mopeds/scooters.

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