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Paragon - Is Halcyon Better?

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    Paragon - Is Halcyon Better?

    So I sent back my black GE Paragon yesterday. I loved the simplicity, since I'm not into multiple pockets. I loved the comfort and carry capacity. I loaded it up with a heavy 15" laptop and a bunch of files (probably equal to a couple of reams of paper). It carried well and comfortably. I was pleasantly surprised that it had a slimmer silhouette than I was expecting. It looked and felt good. Not sure I would use it as a work bag, given its casual look, but I can see using it as a simple daypack, or as catch all or tote bag in more casual settings.

    Turns out I didn't like it in black as much as I thought I would. In hindsight, Ursa or Wilderness would probably be better for me. But the real problem for me was how hard it was to get into the bag, due to the material overhanging the zippers. The front pocket seemed particularly hard to get into and use. The main zipper and compartment also seemed difficult, though I could at least fold back the stiff overhanging material. I forget what they call that overhang, but it seems unnecessary with modern zippers (I understand it's a callback to heritage style).

    I liked the bag enough to consider trying again. I suspect I would like it better in the softer more flexible halcyon material. Taiga may be calling my name. For those who have handled both versions, can you comment on the in hand feel, ease of entry, and breaking in of the zippers? Thanks.

    #2
    I only have the GE Paragon so I cannot comment on how it is in Halcyon, but I’m curious if you put the zipper pulls on? I have found more than once a hefty TB zipper is very difficult to open, but it’s made much much easier with one of the self-install TB zipper pulls, either with the plastic ends or just the knotted cord. I will not operate a beefy TB zipper without them.

    Originally posted by ayazgood View Post
    So I sent back my black GE Paragon yesterday. I loved the simplicity, since I'm not into multiple pockets. I loved the comfort and carry capacity. I loaded it up with a heavy 15" laptop and a bunch of files (probably equal to a couple of reams of paper). It carried well and comfortably. I was pleasantly surprised that it had a slimmer silhouette than I was expecting. It looked and felt good. Not sure I would use it as a work bag, given its casual look, but I can see using it as a simple daypack, or as catch all or tote bag in more casual settings.

    Turns out I didn't like it in black as much as I thought I would. In hindsight, Ursa or Wilderness would probably be better for me. But the real problem for me was how hard it was to get into the bag, due to the material overhanging the zippers. The front pocket seemed particularly hard to get into and use. The main zipper and compartment also seemed difficult, though I could at least fold back the stiff overhanging material. I forget what they call that overhang, but it seems unnecessary with modern zippers (I understand it's a callback to heritage style).

    I liked the bag enough to consider trying again. I suspect I would like it better in the softer more flexible halcyon material. Taiga may be calling my name. For those who have handled both versions, can you comment on the in hand feel, ease of entry, and breaking in of the zippers? Thanks.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Cristina View Post
      I only have the GE Paragon so I cannot comment on how it is in Halcyon, but I’m curious if you put the zipper pulls on? I have found more than once a hefty TB zipper is very difficult to open, but it’s made much much easier with one of the self-install TB zipper pulls, either with the plastic ends or just the knotted cord. I will not operate a beefy TB zipper without them.
      Nope, didn't try it with pulls on. I can see how that would help. I suspect entry to front pocket would probably still feel small and rough.

      Comment


        #4
        Last week I received my Paragon GE in Coyote/Coyote but I haven't had time to play with it much yet in comparison to my Taiga 400d halcyon version that I received earlier.

        The rain flaps over the zippers (for any material) do take a small moment to navigate but it's something I don't notice once I'm used to a bag. My 525 ballistic Brain Bag has the rain flaps too and I use that bag for two laptop bulky randomness work car trips with no problems.
        In my experience, all the pack zippers are sturdy enough that they generally require two hands to open, especially if the bag isn't packed full.
        With the halcyon version of the Paragon, I expect that since the material is more supple, the zippers will require that extra bit of attention but as Cristina mentions, zipper pulls of any sort make it easier.

        On the flip side, the more flexible halcyon probably makes it easier to get into and out of the lower front pocket. I've been using my Taiga Paragon for trips into the office to use lab equipment. I've enjoyed how quick and easy it is to just dump stuff in and go out the door (I have some weird last minute stuff going on) vs the more structured and deliberate Synapse 19 that I used in the before times. I can fit my bulky wired over the ear headphones in that front pocket if the bag isn't jammed full (which I haven't gotten close to yet).
        I may be going in later today or tomorrow, I'll try to take a pic.

        To me the Paragon in halcyon is like the backpack version of a Shop Bag.
        I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by G42 View Post
          Last week I received my Paragon GE in Coyote/Coyote but I haven't had time to play with it much yet in comparison to my Taiga 400d halcyon version that I received earlier.

          The rain flaps over the zippers (for any material) do take a small moment to navigate but it's something I don't notice once I'm used to a bag. My 525 ballistic Brain Bag has the rain flaps too and I use that bag for two laptop bulky randomness work car trips with no problems.
          In my experience, all the pack zippers are sturdy enough that they generally require two hands to open, especially if the bag isn't packed full.
          With the halcyon version of the Paragon, I expect that since the material is more supple, the zippers will require that extra bit of attention but as Cristina mentions, zipper pulls of any sort make it easier.

          On the flip side, the more flexible halcyon probably makes it easier to get into and out of the lower front pocket. I've been using my Taiga Paragon for trips into the office to use lab equipment. I've enjoyed how quick and easy it is to just dump stuff in and go out the door (I have some weird last minute stuff going on) vs the more structured and deliberate Synapse 19 that I used in the before times. I can fit my bulky wired over the ear headphones in that front pocket if the bag isn't jammed full (which I haven't gotten close to yet).
          I may be going in later today or tomorrow, I'll try to take a pic.

          To me the Paragon in halcyon is like the backpack version of a Shop Bag.
          Yeah, I was trying to think what my use case was, and realized it was actually similar to a tote or shop bag, but with backpack straps. Given the robustness/cushiness of those straps, it seems like it would be great for a simple haul bag. I can see where the flexibility of the halcyon would make the zipper pulling just a tad fussier, but it seems like that would be offset by not having to work quite as hard to push the rain flap out of the way. I had the same thought about the front pocket being a little easier in halcyon. Still like the look of the GE, but don't really need 2 of the same bag. Can't quite figure out if Taiga in person would be what I affectionately call puke green, or merely muted and natural looking.
          Last edited by ayazgood; 04-20-2021, 08:35 AM.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by G42 View Post
            Last week I received my Paragon GE in Coyote/Coyote...
            What do you think of this colour combo in real life? I've ordered the same one but asked for my order to be held until the Shop Bags ship, and I keep going back and forth on it. I think I'll like it, but the Wilderness and Ursa are also lovely.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by ayazgood View Post

              Yeah, I was trying to think what my use case was, and realized it was actually similar to a tote or shop bag, but with backpack straps. Given the robustness/cushiness of those straps, it seems like it would be great for a simple haul bag. I can see where the flexibility of the halcyon would make the zipper pulling just a tad fussier, but it seems like that would be offset by not having to work quite as hard to push the rain flap out of the way. I had the same thought about the front pocket being a little easier in halcyon. Still like the look of the GE, but don't really need 2 of the same bag. Can't quite figure out if Taiga in person would be what I affectionately call puke green, or merely muted and natural looking.
              Ohhhh, Taiga is just lovely and not (to me) puke green at all!!!! Some folks have used 'lichen' to describe it and I think that's a good word...it's a moody greenish with hints of brown - think cool (temperate) forests with hanging lichen or moss... the colour is warm
              I have to say that I was not a fan of either Taiga based on the small 2" square or so swatches, but in the full size bags, I love it.

              The Paragon and the Shadow Guides are both good dump & run type Shop-Bag-in-backpack-mode to me - the Paragon is more of a flat rectangle and the SG more of a 3D column of space.
              Last edited by G42; 04-20-2021, 09:35 AM.
              I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by k_p View Post

                What do you think of this colour combo in real life? I've ordered the same one but asked for my order to be held until the Shop Bags ship, and I keep going back and forth on it. I think I'll like it, but the Wilderness and Ursa are also lovely.
                Coyote is another colour that has slowly grown on me... it goes well as trim or accessory to many of the other rich warm colours.

                The final form factor of a bag, with how the colour of trim, zippers, etc all work out in the end, definitely changes my total appreciation of a colour combo.
                For instance, my Synik 22 is Wilderness/Coyote and I adore that combo, especially in that bag - it just seems very harmonious and symmetrically pleasing to me. I have a zip top Shop Bag to pair with it for air travel, once that happens for me again... (I also have a Monster Truck in Wilderness)

                With the announcement of the Guide's Editions being in last run forever (or years) due to unavailability of materials, I considered options. The SN30 and S25 are too tall for my torso comfort, I already have my ideal SN22 GE, and there are no S19 GEs (bummer)... so I FOMO'd a Paragon GE to try. The Coyote was the most visually harmonious to me... maybe because there is only one top lash point? If I only had one Paragon, I'd probably stick with the Taiga halcyon because I tend to prefer halcyon overall... but of all the Paragon GEs, the Coyote/Coyote tone on tone is what I kept coming back to - it's a warm comforting colour like toasted caramel.

                I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by G42 View Post
                  ... it's a warm comforting colour like toasted caramel.
                  This helps! Neutral colours can look so different depending on the screen you're using that I was having a hard time describing it. I also really like the Taiga, but for me the grids on the halcyons are too busy as an exterior fabric. Thanks for your response!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I actually like the zippers on the Paragon because they're not the aquaguard zippers that are so hard to get into on other bags (hence the need for the rain flaps instead, I suppose). I agree that zipper pulls are a must -- I even left mine longer than I usually do to help with access.

                    I do agree with you and others that the front pocket is tight and hard to use, especially once you've loaded the bag. Hopefully if TB does future iterations they'll consider adding some depth to that pocket to make it more usable. (Bonus points if they add some depth to the interior zip pocket as well. It does hold a decent amount of small items as-is, but there's definitely some empty space to play around with at the top of the bag because it's basically a bucket and everything settles to the bottom.)

                    I'd also love to see a rounded main opening in conjunction with the flaps since the zipper mostly gets hung up in the corners, but I understand why they squared it off instead of leaving it curved like the original.


                    Last edited by Surrealle; 04-20-2021, 12:01 PM.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I share your sentiment about the rain flaps sometimes hindering the ease of use of the zippers. But I did find that once I attached a paracord knot zipper pull, it helped a bit, as the angle of the pull isn’t as restrictive anymore. I have the halcyon version, so I don’t know how it compares to the ballistic, but I did find the Taiga to have a lot more sheen than I had expected it to (and slightly more than I would have liked).

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by k_p View Post

                        This helps! Neutral colours can look so different depending on the screen you're using that I was having a hard time describing it. I also really like the Taiga, but for me the grids on the halcyons are too busy as an exterior fabric. Thanks for your response!
                        FWIW, the grid on the Taiga 400 is more subtle than the 400 Original (the white grid black) but more obvious than the 400 Black
                        Last edited by G42; 04-20-2021, 04:53 PM.
                        I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by ayazgood View Post
                          . But the real problem for me was how hard it was to get into the bag, due to the material overhanging the zippers. The front pocket seemed particularly hard to get into and use. The main zipper and compartment also seemed difficult, though I could at least fold back the stiff overhanging material. I forget what they call that overhang, but it seems unnecessary with modern zippers (I understand it's a callback to heritage style).

                          I liked the bag enough to consider trying again. I suspect I would like it better in the softer more flexible halcyon material. Taiga may be calling my name. For those who have handled both versions, can you comment on the in hand feel, ease of entry, and breaking in of the zippers? Thanks.
                          I got 2 Design Lab version Paragons and a 3rd that I am returning. I found the main compartment flap to be the easiest opening TB bag once the flap was rolled back completely out of the way and the zippers not being the Aquaguard. I also found the front zipper hard to use and less accessible due to the flap. Here is my quick takes on the Paragon:

                          * Love the simplicity, size, theft deterrence, squareness, and non-turtleness of the design
                          * It is the simple bag I wanted. Give me the main compartment of the S25 and I am good to go with my packing style
                          * I like the ballistic more than Halcyon version as the bag needs the fabric to give it structure. Could 1050 be even better for the minimalist structure of the bag?
                          * Paragon is the makings of a simple, light, minimal travel bag
                          * The zipper flaps appear to be a theft deterrent hiding the zippers (maybe future iteration has a zipper garage like the Luminary's)
                          * The laptop compartment is simple and adequate for me
                          * For travel and my test packs, an Aeronaut 45 large cube fits with a snake charmer on top. A PCSB fits if the packing cube compresses. The A30 large cube works, but leaves some room imo. (I find 1 large cube of clothes, the clothes I am wearing, and a few necessities enough for a month travel if I wash every 4-5 days)
                          * The internal small compartment is hidden is secure for passport, keys, pen, toothbrush, and basic travel toiletries
                          * The accessibility to the whole compartment is great if the bottom of main compartment is a packing cube and then little bag of bags on top are fully accessible
                          * The front pocket fits an old Surface 3 tablet with type cover, zipper barely closes. Little more height would be nice.
                          * The overall design is minimalistic simplicity with enough but not too much.

                          *Another inch height would allow bag to stretch some pockets and an 1 inch depth/thickness at top to allow other packing cubes to fit with the items in inside pocket
                          *1050 ballistic may give bag more structure
                          *The front pocket fit 8.5x11 paper vertically (sorry I live in a paper world)
                          *Mesh back? I only will wear it walking through airport or maybe a 1km on street so maybe/maybe not a needed thing
                          * Give front pocket little more height for papers
                          * Front pocket zipper design for better, easier access
                          * Cache loops if only for use as easy spot for a pen with clip
                          * Bottom line, I like it a lot, I invested in a pair because thought it could be a one off production run. I feel it has a sibling to be born of a 24-26L size like the Synapse 19/25 pairing.

                          Last edited by organicfarmer; 04-20-2021, 02:26 PM.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            My main comment response to @organicfarmer's post on the Paragon:

                            It's actually difficult to make the front zipper pocket taller without dealing with other design compromises in this bag, like the size of the inside zippered pocket on the reverse side that you are using for passport, etc., placement of the zippered opening for access to interior of bag (would be smaller), clearance access to O-rings on the sides of the inside of the bag would also be affected.

                            If you're looking into paper world use, consider getting the Large Cafe Bag Freudian Slip for the Paragon when it becomes available. (The specs still haven't been update yet, but here are the old dimensions:
                            Large Cafe Freudian Slip:
                            Dimensions - 12” x 12” x 1" / 307 x 306 x 25 mm
                            Weight: 8 oz / 222 grams

                            And, BTW, increasing the height of the front zippered pocket would also have made pulling the Large and Medium Cafe Bag Freudian Slips out of the Paragon less convenient. As it currently stands, they work pretty well without blocking access to the laptop compartment. I do take your point about missing the flexibility of alternate usage of the top of the bag because of no webbing loops etc. but the design is optimized for taking out a laptop there.

                            For a lot of purposes the Paragon is optimized for carrying more and being more supportive of items like heavier camera gear, so I also get why there are more Ballistic combinations, but it probably does work well in Halcyon, too. And, I also understand why some people who want this as a travel bag (mainly for clothing, etc.) find that it falls short for their usage, with the inside zippered pocket being too small, etc. But the Paragon design derives from the Daylight Backpack, and I think that for all of the Tom Bihn bags, there has to be a clear idea of the bag's being optimized for a certain range of uses, which will not necessarily suit everyone, but which will find its niche among certain users.

                            HTH

                            moriond

                            ​​​​​​​

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by moriond View Post
                              My main comment response to @organicfarmer's post on the Paragon:

                              It's actually difficult to make the front zipper pocket taller without dealing with other design compromises in this bag, like the size of the inside zippered pocket on the reverse side that you are using for passport, etc., placement of the zippered opening for access to interior of bag (would be smaller), clearance access to O-rings on the sides of the inside of the bag would also be affected.

                              If you're looking into paper world use, consider getting the Large Cafe Bag Freudian Slip for the Paragon when it becomes available. (The specs still haven't been update yet, but here are the old dimensions:

                              And, BTW, increasing the height of the front zippered pocket would also have made pulling the Large and Medium Cafe Bag Freudian Slips out of the Paragon less convenient. As it currently stands, they work pretty well without blocking access to the laptop compartment. I do take your point about missing the flexibility of alternate usage of the top of the bag because of no webbing loops etc. but the design is optimized for taking out a laptop there.

                              For a lot of purposes the Paragon is optimized for carrying more and being more supportive of items like heavier camera gear, so I also get why there are more Ballistic combinations, but it probably does work well in Halcyon, too. And, I also understand why some people who want this as a travel bag (mainly for clothing, etc.) find that it falls short for their usage, with the inside zippered pocket being too small, etc. But the Paragon design derives from the Daylight Backpack, and I think that for all of the Tom Bihn bags, there has to be a clear idea of the bag's being optimized for a certain range of uses, which will not necessarily suit everyone, but which will find its niche among certain users.

                              HTH

                              moriond
                              I understand the trade-offs to any design. An inch more here or there has consequences, but can have benefits.

                              On the rail loops at top of the bag, I forgot about the Synapse ability to attach a 3DOC or SE as a top pocket. The laptop compartment and single layer fabric would probably not allow that use. Again compromise.

                              I have found the laptop compartment works great for papers alone or along side my thin tablet. The Freudian slip at 1 inch thick in a 5 inch compartment with things that can catch onto other things requiring space to clear other items past so it takes a lot of real estate. The convenience of "just a little more" space in the front pocket would add a use case to that pockets value.

                              I see intent of the design for what it is. It is like the Daylight backpack, but can't be rolled, but does have a laptop compartment plus better straps. I just see the use case nudged far enough over into a travel bag with maybe another few liters, pocket size adjustments, if another inch in height could add an inch of foam to bottom of laptop compartment (maintain simplicity, but hold laptop off the ground), maybe there becomes a Freudian slip that attaches to the front of the main compartment with a larger top pocket, who knows. The Paragon when I saw it fit perfectly to the quote “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

                              Bottom line to is the Paragon is simple, light (the Sn22 is 76% heavier than Paragon), and fits many/most airline personal item sizes. I will travel with it, but it oh so close to perfect one bag travel.

                              Comment

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