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The Smart Alec Backpack: Q&A

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    #31
    I'm pretty sure that I'm going to order a Black/Hunter Smart Alec. Your comment about being able to use both it and an Aeronaut as carryons clinched it for me, Darcy! I guess you wore the Smart Alec as a backpack and used a shoulder strap for the Aeronaut? Out of curiosity, what is the feature that you think makes it look smaller? Can I guarantee that I'll be able to get it by the end of May? I leave for a trip to Israel on June 1 that I'd like to have the bag for...

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      #32
      Originally posted by Joy View Post
      Darcy! I guess you wore the Smart Alec as a backpack and used a shoulder strap for the Aeronaut? Out of curiosity, what is the feature that you think makes it look smaller? Can I guarantee that I'll be able to get it by the end of May? I leave for a trip to Israel on June 1 that I'd like to have the bag for...
      Correct: I used the Smart Alec as a backpack and either carried the Aeronaut by its handle or used the Absolute Shoulder Strap.

      I thought that cinching the bungee cord really tightly made the front of the bag look sort-of concave and more empty than it actually was. I can't say whether the airline agreed or if it really made any difference, but I thought it did!
      Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

      Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.

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        #33
        Don't tell my Smart Alec, but I like the redesigned version a lot more than the one I own.

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          #34
          Okay, I saw the redesigned Smart Alec and I'm not feeling buyer's remorse (except maybe for the comfier shoulder straps). I think the loops and bungee cord (and drain valve) are visual clutter.

          So when will we see the Synapse?

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            #35
            P.S. If any of you are interested in colors Grape, Kelly, or Hunter, order soon: we have 3 Kiwi left and not many more than that in Grape or Hunter.
            Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

            Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.

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              #36
              Originally posted by Skylark View Post
              Bee-u-tiful redo on the Smarter Alec. Thanks Tom for tempting me with yet another TB Bag. Now I'm not gonna be happy until I have one. tee hee.
              And great photos, Darcy! Kudos again to the team!
              Thanks, Skylark

              We hope to add even more pictures soon: of people wearing the Smart Alec!!
              Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

              Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.

              Comment


                #37
                A few more questions about the Smart Alec

                Hi, all,

                Long time reader, first time poster. I have the large cafe bag and am quite pleased with it. For heavier loads, though, I am thinking about getting a backpack. I think that the Smart Alec would work best for me, but I have some questions.

                1) I am 5'0" and am wondering about the size of the Smart Alec. Would it be okay for my height?

                2) I have a MacBook 13", and I would like to get the horizontal Brain Cell to go with the backpack because I would like the flexibility to use the horizontal Brain Cell alone. When I look at the sizing chart, size 6 is the same width as the 6x. Will the size 6 horizontal Brain Cell clip into the Smart Alec as well?

                3) Are wasabe and kiwi the same color?

                It'd be helpful for me to see a picture of the Smart Alec with a Brain Cell inside. Thanks for any info!

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                  #38
                  Originally posted by Darcy View Post
                  The Smart Alec is almost here. It will probably be available for pre-order by the end of this week.

                  I used the new Smart Alec and the Aeronaut as my two carry-on bags on a recent trip. There's a new feature on the Smart Alec that I think definitely made it easier for me to make the bag look smaller so that it was accepted as my "personal item" on the flight. And it fit under the seat in front of me on the airplane perfectly. It was an already great bag that's even better: I can't wait for you to see it!
                  Hey Darcy,

                  Thank you for that post! I've been trying to figure out which bag would suit me best as an under-seat "personal item" bag on a trip later this year. Sounds like the Smart Alec will fill the bill nicely. Order placed.

                  Best,
                  Tim

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                    #39
                    Originally posted by drpher View Post
                    Hi, all,

                    Long time reader, first time poster. I have the large cafe bag and am quite pleased with it. For heavier loads, though, I am thinking about getting a backpack. I think that the Smart Alec would work best for me, but I have some questions.

                    1) I am 5'0" and am wondering about the size of the Smart Alec. Would it be okay for my height?

                    2) I have a MacBook 13", and I would like to get the horizontal Brain Cell to go with the backpack because I would like the flexibility to use the horizontal Brain Cell alone. When I look at the sizing chart, size 6 is the same width as the 6x. Will the size 6 horizontal Brain Cell clip into the Smart Alec as well?

                    3) Are wasabe and kiwi the same color?

                    It'd be helpful for me to see a picture of the Smart Alec with a Brain Cell inside. Thanks for any info!
                    I can only respond on the size issue. I'm 5'4", and a few years ago I was deciding between the Buzz & the Smart Alec, and got to try them both on in the Port Angeles store. The Smart Alec just felt way too big for me. But that's not to say that it's unusually large, I just tend to find most backpacks that I try on feel pretty huge on me. Among other things, I don't how wide most backpacks are, b/c they stick out wider than my torso & get in the way of my arms/elbows. The Smart Alec is probably a bit narrower than a lot of bags out there that have water bottle pockets, etc. that stick out the sides. But I went with the Buzz at the time, and I'm now holding out for the Synapse! So you might want to check it out too, since it shouldn't be that far behind the Smart Alec in availability. Someone posted the volume yesterday & it looks like it'll hold about 75% as much as the Smart Alec (but quite a bit more than my old-model Buzz, which is a little smaller than the current Buzz), and that sounds like a good size to me, but I don't know yet what the actual dimensions will be. I've been really happy with the Buzz (and really like being able to rotate it around to access things w/o taking it off) but occasionally I have to carry a canvas grocery bag with it, b/c it can't handle more than my laptop, a folder, and a novel-sized book, and sometimes the grad student life just demands that I haul more than that. Plus, it really is a bag for laptop-toting occasions only, not something I'd take when wandering around a city or on a hike. So I'm excited about a small backpack!

                    Comment


                      #40
                      Originally posted by drpher View Post
                      1) I am 5'0" and am wondering about the size of the Smart Alec. Would it be okay for my height?
                      I have friends who are 5'0" who use and love the Smart Alec. I'm 5'5" and it fits me perfectly. But others my height or under -- like slinstar -- can feel that the bag is too big for them. It really depends on you and how you feel carrying a larger backpack. I'd also add that the new shoulder straps on the Smart Alec will make the bag more comfortable for everyone to use, but especially more comfortable for those under 5'7".

                      Originally posted by drpher View Post
                      2) I have a MacBook 13", and I would like to get the horizontal Brain Cell to go with the backpack because I would like the flexibility to use the horizontal Brain Cell alone. When I look at the sizing chart, size 6 is the same width as the 6x. Will the size 6 horizontal Brain Cell clip into the Smart Alec as well?
                      The Size 6 Vertical Brain Cell is a more comfortable fit in the Smart Alec than the Size 6 Horizontal Brain Cell.

                      Originally posted by drpher View Post
                      3) Are wasabe and kiwi the same color?
                      No: Kiwi is more green than Wasabi.
                      Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

                      Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.

                      Comment


                        #41
                        Originally posted by TimK65 View Post
                        Hey Darcy,

                        Thank you for that post! I've been trying to figure out which bag would suit me best as an under-seat "personal item" bag on a trip later this year. Sounds like the Smart Alec will fill the bill nicely. Order placed.

                        Best,
                        Tim
                        Thanks, Tim, and you're welcome!! Let me know how it works for you.
                        Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

                        Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.

                        Comment


                          #42
                          Thanks and some more questions

                          @Slinstar - thanks so much for your input! I'll look into the Synapse; I tend to carry a lot of stuff and am not sure if it will be big enough.

                          @Darcy - thanks a bunch for your response as well. It's good to know that the horizontal COULD fit into the Smart Alec, although perhaps not as well.

                          I like the proportion of the horizontal BC better; the vertical looks too long for some reason. Just wondering, though, does anyone use a VERTICAL Brain Cell by itself? what strap do you prefer to use it with? or just for the backpack?

                          Thanks again for your help!
                          Priscilla

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                            #43
                            Originally posted by drpher View Post
                            @Slinstar - thanks so much for your input! I'll look into the Synapse; I tend to carry a lot of stuff and am not sure if it will be big enough.

                            @Darcy - thanks a bunch for your response as well. It's good to know that the horizontal COULD fit into the Smart Alec, although perhaps not as well.

                            I like the proportion of the horizontal BC better; the vertical looks too long for some reason. Just wondering, though, does anyone use a VERTICAL Brain Cell by itself? what strap do you prefer to use it with? or just for the backpack?

                            Thanks again for your help!
                            Priscilla

                            At first I thought I would like the horizontal BC better for use by itself, but it did bump into my elbows and couldn't be pushed much to the side to do things with my hands freely (i.e. pay for something at the store). I put the Absolute Shoulder Strap on the Vertical BC, and it really doesn't seem too long It doesn't hinder your elbows at all, and is really comfortable. Just my personal opinion, though. I was carrying it over just one shoulder at kind of a short length, so if you have the HBC across the body with the strap longer, it probably wouldn't hinder much, but I think the VBC is great alone as well.

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                              #44
                              I just got my new Smart Alec in the mail today. Thanks a lot for getting it out ahead of schedule! Just in time for my trip to Mexico tomorrow. Everything looks as I expected so far, which is great.

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                                #45
                                Originally posted by Darcy View Post
                                Thanks, Tim, and you're welcome!! Let me know how it works for you.
                                Hi Darcy,

                                I've been a bit slow, but here's my assessment.

                                I flew with the Smart Alec and the Aeronaut last month. I carried them both on, which at times was unpopular with flight attendants because, I think, the Smart Alec was a tad too large to pass as a "personal item." This was really only a problem on RJ flights, because of course there's a lot less space for carry-ons on them. On full-sized jets, it was obvious that the Aeronaut would go in the overhead bin and the Smart Alec under the seat in front of me, and not a word was spoken. (Although that might be because the friend who checked me in got me in first class on both my full-sized jet segments. ) Unfortunately, where I live, a lot of the flights in and out are RJ flights.

                                I'll be trying this again on an international flight this summer. We'll see how that goes.

                                Thanks,
                                Tim

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