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    More Smart Alec Pics and Comments...

    Hi folks,

    I thought more pictures are more good ;) especially since the Smart Alec will be on pre-order for just one week. The Smart Alec was my first TB bag and is still one of my favorites. I love the clear lines and the unobtrusive design (although that can be said of many TB bags) which conceals how clever this bag is designed. Here are some shots side by side with the Shadow Guide 23 (in Ursa). The Smart Alec (26 l) is slightly larger than the Shadow Guide (23 l).

    Please note that on this Smart Alec the side panels are made of Cordura and the front panel from 1050 Ballistic Nylon. The interior is lined with 400 Iberian Halcyon. I also attached the Upper Modular Pocket which I think is an indispensable addition as it certainly boosts the utility of this bag very much! So if you'll order this backpack make sure you get this accessory!

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    A nice feature which I use a lot is the complementary front bungee to fix a jacket.

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    The identifying feature of the Smart Alec is certainly its slanting lid. My Smart Alec has the beefy YKK Aquaguard zippers the re-issue will have the slimmer Raquet-Coil water-repellent zippers. In terms of usability I think this is fine as the Aquaguard zippers are a little stiff (even after five years of intensive use!) so it is a little difficult to open the main compartment using just one hand. The Raquet-Coil zippers are easier to handle.

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    Here is a shot showing the inside of the Upper Modular Pocket. Great for storing all the little things you need all the time.


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    It is big enough to swallow a Handy Little Thing 1 (the smaller version).

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    What I really love are the two small pockets on the inside of the lid. I always put my wallet here. They are quite large so one or two Ghost Whale Organizers easily fit.

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    Next clever detail are the side pockets, that are very nicely integrated into the lines of the bag and barely visible. One side is meant for a water bottle (here with my 27 oz / 800 ml water bottle).

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    The other one is designed to take pens, a phone, a wallet, glasses or whatever small things you want to carry.

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    The pocket is also big enough to swallow e.g. a 3D Organizer Cube and a Cubelet stacked on one another.

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    I love the Smart Alec for its huge main compartment which makes this bag very flexible. There is one additional pocket on the back of the front panel (a reverse kangaroo pouch) where I usually carry three Gatekeeper Straps that you can use instead or in addition to the complementary front bungee (I don't use them very much as the bungee is already very useful for securing things on the outside e.g. a jacket). (To make it more visible I put a Solar Halcyon Cubelet in the reverse kangaroo pouch).

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    As I am a fan of Freudian Slips (I am a psychoanalyst by training, no kidding!) I use them a lot. In the Smart Alec they are especially useful as I use them to store my laptop (13'' MacBook Pro in a neoprene sleeve).

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    I even add more organization by fixing a 3D Organizer Cube to a 8-inch Key Strap that I run through the webbing loops that are intended to clip in the Cache. I never tried the TB Cache System so I am glad I found an alternative use (kudos to the Forums!).


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    The Smart Alec carries very comfortably although mine is not equipped with the Edgless Shoulder Straps that the re-issue will have. I took a couple of shots showing me (6 ft, 158 lbs / 183 cm, 72 kg) carrying the empty and the full bag.

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    If you have any questions please let me know!








    ...spread joy in your neighbourhood (and not Corona!)
    current bags: Smart Alec, Guide's Pack, Guide's Edition S25, Luminary 15, Daylight Backpack, Aeronaut 45, Tri-Star, Road Buddy 36, Daylight Briefcase, Small Yeoman Duffel, bits and pieces

    #2
    Fantastic photos and explanations, thank you!

    I did not try the Shadow Guide when they were released -- in fact, I don't think I've seen them in person, because the lack of a top zipper unnerved me a bit, though I don't know if my reservation about that is justified.

    I traveled with a Smart Alec for quite a while as my personal item, and am pretty sure I'll buy a new one next week. When I used to travel more frequently, it saved me on one international trip when my luggage was lost, and all I had at my destination was the SA. I was very glad I'd packed the basics in there! I could theoretically do this with the Paragon, and I appreciate its slimmer profile, but the SA along with the modular pockets has more capacity.

    One of my issues with the SA was in fact the zipper being hard to open on the go, so I also hope that the Raquet Coil ones will be easier.
    Last edited by bchaplin; 04-24-2022, 04:37 PM.
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for the photos bartleby !
      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


        #4
        Thank you so much for all the great information and photos!

        My old SA, which I foolishly sold, was black Halcyon. Trying to decide what to get this time to replace it. What are folks thinking as between 525 and 1050 for this bag?

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by snod911 View Post
          What are folks thinking as between 525 and 1050 for this bag?
          That's a difficult question. My opinion is: it's mainly a matter of taste. As far as I know from the TB folks (and my experience goes): both materials will stand the test of time and rough handling equally well (find details here: https://www.tombihn.com/pages/materials). Some folks report that the 525 seems a little bit more susceptible to scratches but I can't really tell. In terms of look and feel I clearly prefer the 525 as it's finer and softer than the 1050. If you prefer a more sturdy appearance than 1050 is better suited.
          ...spread joy in your neighbourhood (and not Corona!)
          current bags: Smart Alec, Guide's Pack, Guide's Edition S25, Luminary 15, Daylight Backpack, Aeronaut 45, Tri-Star, Road Buddy 36, Daylight Briefcase, Small Yeoman Duffel, bits and pieces

          Comment


            #6
            bartleby Thanks. A really helpful photos and review. I only became a Tom Bihn owner after the SA was retired, so up until now I have not considered it, but it certainly looks to be another classic TB design and a potentially very useable bag.

            I also like using Freudian Slips in many TB bags. What size fits the SA, was it a special size (also retired) or same size as for another TB bag?

            Updated to answer my own question. I see it us the same Freudian Slip as for the Brain Bag.
            Last edited by BigBadD; 04-25-2022, 07:54 AM.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by BigBadD View Post
              bartlebyUpdated to answer my own question. I see it us the same Freudian Slip as for the Brain Bag.
              Hi BigBadD, yes there is a designated Freudian Slip for the Smart Alec and the Brain Bag. However, if you happen to already have one for the Synapse 25 / Synik 30 you can also use that one.
              ...spread joy in your neighbourhood (and not Corona!)
              current bags: Smart Alec, Guide's Pack, Guide's Edition S25, Luminary 15, Daylight Backpack, Aeronaut 45, Tri-Star, Road Buddy 36, Daylight Briefcase, Small Yeoman Duffel, bits and pieces

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks for the photos! I have Paragon and it is surprisingly spacious. The Smart Alec is definitely big (or not?)

                Comment


                  #9
                  Welcome to the Forums sn6eq

                  How big each bag looks/feels is subjective, but to put it in perspective, I'm a 5'4" female and have the Paragon, S19/SN22, SG23, the 26L Smart Alec, and the 36L Brain Bag. (And others)
                  The BB looks big on me because it is a big bag in width and depth, especially if full, but it still fits me vertically and feels comfortable.
                  The Smart Alec to me looks smaller (because it is) than the BB and generally looks/feels similar in carry to the two Shadow Guide packs (but not huge compared to the Paragon). They're all more cylindrical volumes, vs the rectangular Paragon, with most of that volume being an efficient top loading column, a small amount of pocket space and little volume that isn't useable.
                  To digress, it just occurred to me that a good analogy might be how apartments and houses are laid out.... You could have equivalent square footage, but if space is chopped up into small rooms with connecting halls, it will feel smaller than a more open layout with no wasted hallways; just like with organization in the bags, there's pros and cons to each style.
                  Last edited by G42; 04-27-2022, 08:42 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


                    #10
                    Originally posted by sn6eq View Post
                    Thanks for the photos! I have Paragon and it is surprisingly spacious. The Smart Alec is definitely big (or not?)
                    Welcome to the forums, @sn63eq. The Smart Alec is definitely big. There's an old thread from 2013 that taminca wrote titled
                    First Trip with the Smart Alec as a Camera Bag whose pictures may give you some idea of the carrying capacity of the Smart Alec. In actual fact, she said that rigging the tripod to be carried that way with the SMART ALEC GATEKEEPER STRAP (one of the accessories they brought back that I haven't seen mentioned here) was not that easy to do and undo. Other accessories such as the Guardian Light (at the base) are no longer sold at Tom Bihn, but the non mil-spec version can be ordered on line from Amazon
                    Originally posted by moriond View Post



                    Wasabi Travel Tray from @Darcy’s picture in Travel Tray goes camping
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                    She used a Guardian Light (now retired, but you can still find these, e.g Adventure Lights Guardian Hunting Series Dog Collar Light, Red or Adventure Lights Guardian Hunting Series Dog Collar Light, White from Amazon)

                    HTH

                    moriond

                    ETA: taminca herself is about the same height as G42 and myself (just under 5'4"). The Smart Alec was very popular among people in this height range of under 5'4" who still wanted to carry a fair amount.


                    Last edited by moriond; 04-27-2022, 09:08 PM.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by moriond View Post

                      In actual fact, she said that rigging the tripod to be carried that way with the SMART ALEC GATEKEEPER STRAP (one of the accessories they brought back that I haven't seen mentioned here) was not that easy to do and undo.
                      moriond you're absolutely right, I didn't mention the Gatekeeper Straps! In fact, I don't use them a lot. However, from time to time they come in quite handy. I agree that they might be better suited to carry bulky but light stuff (a tripod is rather heavy, mine at least). Thus, I made a little video showing how to mount the Gatekeeper Straps and using them for carrying a mat. As they're rather cheap I would recommend everybody ordering a Smart Alec not to forget these!

                       
                      ...spread joy in your neighbourhood (and not Corona!)
                      current bags: Smart Alec, Guide's Pack, Guide's Edition S25, Luminary 15, Daylight Backpack, Aeronaut 45, Tri-Star, Road Buddy 36, Daylight Briefcase, Small Yeoman Duffel, bits and pieces

                      Comment

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