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Packing Cube Shoulder Bag is perfect for travel/biking for me - with a little hack!

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    Packing Cube Shoulder Bag is perfect for travel/biking for me - with a little hack!

    Being a software app developer I need my computer with me all the time. I also travel a lot (well, travelled - in the "before-times") so I need something pretty versatile. Also, being a biker, I need something that can hold up to the bumps of the road. I normally commute about 10 miles each day, but the weekends will be long excursions with tents or hotels thrown in - and my computer is always with me. I've been using Surface devices since they first came out because of their small size and strong capabilities. And, I've been through many Tom Bihn bags over the years to match with differing Surface sizes. The bag I chose for the first Surface was the Ristretto. Remember those? Loved the look, and it worked great. Then, when the Surfaces got larger, I went with a larger bag and did the backpack thing. That was a Synapse 19 (with the cache for the Surface Pro). Again, perfect, except that I found it was larger than I needed most of the time. (Though I have used it as my only bag on some overnighters - airplane or bike - since it can fit a change of clothes, toiletries and any necessities). So, downsizing, I next got a Luminary 12. The smaller size was great - for a time. However, even it wasn't small enough to work well on the bike for most rides. I can't tell how many times I've looked at the measurements on TomBihn bags comparing this bag with this other one to get them smaller and smaller!

    The computer I've carried over the past couple of years is the diminutive, yet amazing, Surface Go. Of course I needed the perfect TomBihn bag to fit it in, be practical and look nice. That's where the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag (with the Standard Shoulder Strap - in Dawn) stepped in. I had never thought this little bag would be as amazing as it has been! At first glance it looks like all it would be good for is stuffed with clothes and put in a suitcase. But, oh no, for the last two years this bag has gone EVERYWHERE with me. I just upgraded to the new "Design Lab" edition this week - which has nudged me to write this post. Even though my previous bag, though a little dirty and scuffed, was in completely fine shape - even after being rained on and dropped multiple, multiple times, I decided to give it a rest and try the new design, with the regular strap connections (instead of the offset) and the better pulls.

    The "hack"...
    The way that I got this bag to work so well for me is by giving the bag a bit more rigidity and padding. This is necessary if the bag is going to be strapped to my rack on my daily bike rides. The way I achieved this was by using some foam board from the hobby shop. Cutting it to a form that fit the bag perfectly and keeping everything in place with some extra heavy duty white Gorilla Tape made the perfect little container for my Surface Go. This is how it looks by itself:

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    I know, I know, it doesn't look like much in this pic (or very pretty)! However, this makes ALL the difference, as can be seen when it is inserted into the "Packing Cube":
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    Notice how the bag becomes completely sturdy and provides plenty of cushion for the Surface. I can vouch how secure it becomes after times it has slid off the bike and down the road. Neither the bag nor the computer have been damaged! A testament to both designs, for sure.

    So, now, how do I pack it? This is my regular load:

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    I have a 3D Organizer Cube (Ultraviolet) that contains most of my cables, miscellaneous adapters, mouse, power bank that can power the Surface (98Wh/26800mAh), external SSD, external hub for ethernet/monitor/etc.

    I also have a Q-Kit (Aubergine) that holds my daily carry personal items.

    Next is a Cubelet (Island) that contains a USB-C 65W power adapter for plugging in directly to power and charge the Surface and 10ft USB-C cable.

    In the pocket of the "Packing Cube" are some disinfecting wipes, baby wipes, spare key for my bike lock, and OF COURSE a spare Tom Bihn Face Mask (Navy). Wear your mask - even after you're vaccinated!

    How does all of this pack into that little back???

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    And, packed up on the bike:

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    I do have two additional bungie cords that I use to help secure the bag to the rack better. As you can see from this picture, this perfect bag is the perfect size for everything I need to carry for my work. The additional foam insert insures that the Surface does not take any hard bumps. I have been using this setup for the last two years and over 6,500 miles riding - so I know it works for me! (Of course 2020 was a lockdown year - ugh)

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    Hopefully, this post helps people who may be wondering if this bag is right for them. Of course, the bag I chose is made of the ballistic material which I feel (but really don't know) is more durable than the halcyon material. And also, hopefully anyone who wonders if this bag would hold a Surface Go should see that it fits perfectly. I'm not an iPad person so I can't comment on which would fit of them, but I would think any smaller than 11" diagonal screen would work.

    Hope that helps!


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    That's really a cool set up!
    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...


      Excellent, I love a good hack!


        :heart_eyes: Well done! Ingenious, functional, and great color combo!