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Smart Alec for petites and a color question

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    Smart Alec for petites and a color question

    Hi guys!
    I wanted to know if anyone who was 5’4” or shorter who owns a SA, if it feels too big? I was trying to decide between a BB and SA but was leaning towards the SA. I have an infant and a toddler so I wanted something spacious but with organization (which is why I decided against the shadow guide). I like how the Smart Alec is modular to accommodate various needs depending on the trip but do worry about carry it around on my small frame.

    I was also debating between Deep Blue and Wilderness for the Smart Alec. I have a pick up truck in deep blue and I absolutely love the color. It has a sheen in real life that I didn’t pick up in pictures. I was wondering if Wilderness has the same?

    #2
    I'm just at 5'4" and I prefer a backpack that is 20" vertical or less (straps to base) based on my actual torso length.
    So the SG33 (straps are lower than overall height), SG23, Luminary 15&12, Brain Bag, Synapse19 & Synik22, and Smart Alec all fit my torso comfortably. The Synapse 25/Synik 30 are a bit too tall to feel comfortable to me to carry long term, but plenty of shorter folks are fine with them.

    The BB is a short, wide, and potentially very deep bag vs the SA. I find them both comfortable, but a fully loaded BB is basically as big as I am, lol
    Still carries well tho!
    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


      #3
      I think the Wilderness might even have more of a sheen than Deep Blue. They are both nice colors. You may also want to consider the interior colorways as part of your decision-making process.

      As for height, I'm 5'2" and the Smart Alec was ok for me. But I sort of remember that the top handle used to sometimes bump against the back of my head in a weird way. Nevertheless, I intend to buy one again, as that wasn't a huge deal, and overall I found it a comfortable pack to wear.
      ----
      All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
      Edmund Burke

      Comment


        #4
        I'm < 5 feet and the Smart Alec works for me (enough so that I have more than one, lol ). I have used it as my carry-on; as a bag for hauling workout gear (martial arts uniform and wooden practice weapons, all rather bulky); and as a duffle bag of sorts for road trips. (Also somewhere on these forums is a post I did for someone asking if a portable breast pump would fit in an SA!)

        I'm happy with how the SA fits on my torso - this is a key consideration for me and I have returned a bag (the Luminary 15) because I didn't like how it sat on my lower back - too long. For reference, other TB packs that work well for me are the Luminary 12, Synapse 19, and Synik 22. The one thing that can get unwieldy with the SA is that it can actually get too big for me! It's barrel-shaped and especially if you add the LMP it can get very deep, front-to-back. If I stuff it full, it can definitely overwhelm me. I once had to check it even though it fit in the sizer, because I guess the security person felt it was too big a load for a carry-on. So that's something to bear in mind if you're like me and tend to stuff to capacity. (My baby gear days were pre-discovery of TB, but I recall starting out with a backpack that was SA-sized, and migrating to a cross-body bag that was around Maker's Bag-size.) I'd probably think about a Synapse 19 (because exterior pockets) or a Luminary (smaller profile) if I were hauling kids' gear these days.

        One bonus is that the SA is one bag that other family members are willing to carry - both my husband and son have used the SA, either as their carry-on or a weekender bag (sleepovers or road trips). Bodes well for the after-life of the SA, when you are past the kids' pack mule stage!

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks everyone for the advice and sharing your experiences with the SA!

          bchaplin I was considering the interior colorways (which made the decision even harder!)...I love when the interior is a loud and bright color! I wish they had made Aubergine with wasabi interior or the Deep Blue with Solaris but I know there's been supply chain issues. I really like the Sangria and Cobalt Cerylon but not a fan of Ursa or Grey for exterior. I do like the Taiga interior but just have been hesitant about Wilderness since I haven't seen it in real life and I'm afraid I'll get it and not like it but since this is a pre-order I might not be able to exchange for another color I would like. I might just risk it though and order it in Wilderness!

          haraya I was thinking of moving to the Synapse 19 or Synik 22 once the kids get a little older and I don't need to carry around bottles, formula, snacks, juice boxes, water bottle, random toys, changes of clothing, diapers etc etc ...I'm just a human pack animal for my kids right now lol. I do tend to pack my bags to capacity so I was worried the SA would get overwhelming for my frame but I think the same thing would happen with a BB or any other backpack I choose just because I have so much stuff. I'm glad that you mentioned the Luminary 15 and how it was too long for you ...I always debated about it but it did look too long for me and you cemented it for me .. I will definitely grab the Luminary 12 if TB ever reissues it. I bought the Paradigm in Aubergine as a Christmas present to myself to use as my purse but I think the Luminary 12 would be nice to add to my collection. I'm just more of a backpack person at this point than a crossbody because I don't like things swinging around when I'm running around after the kids.

          Thanks again everyone for your input! I definitely am going to order the SA tomorrow....just need to decide the color! decisions decisions....

          Comment


            #6
            I’m pretty much exactly five feet tall, and the Paradigm and Synapse 19 fit best. (I haven’t tried the Paragon or the Syniks.) I was pretty “meh” about the Luminary, I sold my 15 because it fit but the tall, narrow shape just never worked for what I carry. The Synapse 25 absolutely does not fit, it is just much too large. But I looooooooove my Smart Alec, even though it is as big or bigger than the S25.

            I refer to the Smart Alec as my “huggy bag” because of the way it fits and seems to just wrap around my back and shoulders. Even thought I don’t use it as often because I just don’t carry that much “stuff” with me most places anymore, it is still my favorite bag and can be pried from my cold, dead hands. I will be ordering a second one in the re-release because my Goldilocks color is finally available and I haven’t been able to find one on the used market. (And I am one that is very, very glad that Aubergine is coming without the dratted Wasabi interior, which is one of my least favorite colors ever! 😂)
            Rambling On. . . . .

            Comment


              #7
              https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-adv...sting-fit.html

              I've shared this link before...it's how to measure your torso

              Over time I've realized that I don't like when a bag is too tall for my torso, so I measured and now keep my packs at 20" or below based on my torso height vs my overall height or the capacity of the bag. That's why I feel ok with a 36L Brain Bag but the taller Synapse 25/Synik 30 (they share the same vertical) are a touch too tall for me.

              For those of you that didn't like the height of the Luminary 15, it is indeed taller than the S19/SN22 etc. (ETA but shorter than BB, SA)

              The Shadow Guides, both sizes, are 20" or shorter from where the straps sit to the base of the bag...the vertical height in the specs includes the upper pocket that rides above the straps.
              Last edited by G42; 04-30-2022, 01:19 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


                #8
                I'm 5'3" and have a longer torso than most petites. I bought the SA because so many shorter folk here on the forum said it fit better than other bags in the size range. I concur; it's just a more comfortable carry than my S25 with the same load out. I think Meglet hit the nail on the head when she described the SA as "huggy."

                The S25 may look huge on me, but it carries more comfortably than my S19 ever did. I may be a petite outlier re: the S25 though.
                Long live Burnt Orange! Zest! 152!

                EDC: Side Kick, Everday Cubelet, DL PCSB (planner pouch); Travel: Smart Alec + Side Kick, Small Yeoman Duffel

                Comment


                  #9
                  Ah, G42, that link is very helpful and I missed the last time you posted it. I have a short torso even for my “petite” height, which is why the bags with the shorter heights fit me better.
                  Rambling On. . . . .

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Sounds like you're already sold on the Smart Alec, but since you mention having an infant and a toddler, I'll add that the Smart Alec was my absolute favorite bag to carry when my daughter was between 1-3 or so. The spacious main compartment is perfect for fitting in a baby carrier and/or a travel potty, in addition to all the regular things. I also like that you can cinch up the exterior cording to make the bag a little slimmer when not stuffed full. In case you want to add more to your order, the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag that held our diapering essentials fits perfectly inside with the zipper up so you can still access things without removing it, and the Everyday Cubelet works well in an exterior pocket.

                    I love when others' questions about bags inspire me to revisit items in my collection that haven't gotten much use lately. I actually came to the forums today for comments about the Paramour that I was very excited about until I realized the dimensions are probably way too big for me. So I think I'll skip the Paramour pre-order, pull out my beloved Smart Alec, empty it of its role as holder of random stuff on recent trips, and have it ready for the next outing where my current almost-everyday-carry Paradigm is too small.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Leo View Post
                      Thanks everyone for the advice and sharing your experiences with the SA!

                      haraya I was thinking of moving to the Synapse 19 or Synik 22 once the kids get a little older and I don't need to carry around bottles, formula, snacks, juice boxes, water bottle, random toys, changes of clothing, diapers etc etc ...I'm just a human pack animal for my kids right now lol. I do tend to pack my bags to capacity so I was worried the SA would get overwhelming for my frame but I think the same thing would happen with a BB or any other backpack I choose just because I have so much stuff. I'm glad that you mentioned the Luminary 15 and how it was too long for you ...I always debated about it but it did look too long for me and you cemented it for me .. I will definitely grab the Luminary 12 if TB ever reissues it. I bought the Paradigm in Aubergine as a Christmas present to myself to use as my purse but I think the Luminary 12 would be nice to add to my collection. I'm just more of a backpack person at this point than a crossbody because I don't like things swinging around when I'm running around after the kids.

                      Thanks again everyone for your input! I definitely am going to order the SA tomorrow....just need to decide the color! decisions decisions....
                      ummm... never say never! I decided to give the L15 one more try - mostly because it's Alphaviolet and they don't make the L12 any more! (I *would* have considered the SA in AV, but I'm pretty sure I'm waaay past my quota of SA, haha) The L15 is half an inch longer than the Synik22 and Synapse 19 - both of which fit me - and it's a full two inches *shorter* than the SA. I only plan to use it when I need to take my laptop somewhere in town, which is not that often. We'll see if the L15 gets to stay!

                      Meanwhile, enjoy your Smart Alec - you may find you have willing takers when you are ready to downsize! My son used the SA as his school bag, and then baseball bag for a while - it cheerfully engulfs a batting helmet, bat, and glove, no problem! Maybe even a water bottle, or you can attach the water bottle on the outside (LMP or hook it onto a Gatekeeper strap or the top grab handle).

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by bchaplin View Post
                        I think the Wilderness might even have more of a sheen than Deep Blue. They are both nice colors. You may also want to consider the interior colorways as part of your decision-making process.

                        As for height, I'm 5'2" and the Smart Alec was ok for me. But I sort of remember that the top handle used to sometimes bump against the back of my head in a weird way. Nevertheless, I intend to buy one again, as that wasn't a huge deal, and overall I found it a comfortable pack to wear.
                        If Aubergine/Wasabi was in the mix, I would have had to grab one, even tho I don’t need one!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Wanderlust77 View Post

                          If Aubergine/Wasabi was in the mix, I would have had to grab one, even tho I don’t need one!
                          Without a doubt, my favourite colour combination too.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by BigBadD View Post

                            Without a doubt, my favourite colour combination too.
                            My co-worker & her husband have older smart alecs - hers in aubergine/wasabi & his in coordinating verde/ultraviolet. I am jealous of both their color combos! lol (However, being able to see/touch hers in person made me decide to order one after debating whether to get one.)
                            Last edited by wormie; 04-30-2022, 12:02 PM.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I'm enjoying the love / strongly love-less debate over Aubergine/Wasabi! I was super lucky to pick up a new-without-tags Smart Alec in Aubergine/Wasabi at what I would consider a steal of a price (lucky me!).

                              I'm also 5'4", and it seems to fit just perfectly. This SA also came with the Upper and Lower module pockets, so even extra giddy!. It arrived yesterday, and I have a few initial thoughts:

                              1. The SA seems like a great bag for my intended purposes: a) smaller backpack for travel than my T45. b) a school bag for my daughter when she starts highschool (add a BB FS, and a few other little bits and pieces and will be perfect) c) option b will only happen if I decide to share. tbd.

                              2. Obvious high quality, but no surprise there. This one has the old apparently 'stiffer' zippers than the new release, but they zip just fine to me.

                              3. BUT SERIOUSLY how are you supposed to easily manage all the gatekeeper clippy things for the UMP and LMP???? I must be doing something wrong because there is no way to get a grip on these things! I took the pockets off, and that involved removing 14 clips! Maybe they're just difficult to manage because they're new and stiff. But undoing the metal part, trying to squeeze the plastic with strong webbing loops and super sturdy bags (darn you TB for making these things robust) blocking any grip on these things, is not the most fun I've had today. I'll get used to it I'm sure, and I love the pockets (conceptually), so worth the broken nails and light swearing.

                              4. More thoughts on the UMP and LMP: I foresee using them for my daughters as waist-packs (UMP) and cross-body bags (LMP) with some creative clipping of hip-straps to the aforementioned Gatekeeper clips' webbing loops. Will be a nice option for when I take them on single-bag/backpack travels. Little one can't stand wearing a backpack, she's always hot = waist-pack. Older one will like the look of a purse = cross-body bag.

                              5. Seems like a nice addition to my fleet: T45 in Steel/Wasabi, OSCA in Burnt Orange/Tidal.

                              Comment

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