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Small commuter bag?

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    Small commuter bag?


    I'm looking for a small bag (ideally backpack) for a long commute on public transport (with a few transfers each way) that could hold the following:

    - Medium lunch box
    - SIGG bottle
    - fruit
    - Glasses case
    - iPhone charger
    - Pen/Paper pad
    - Tissue packet
    - Other random stuff
    - Couple of snack bars
    - Keys

    I'd also like it to have good back padding so that I don't feel anything prodding in my back if I'm stood up against a wall.

    Can anyone advise which bag would suit me best?



    welcome to the forum!

    what you're describing should fit very nicely into the smart alec backpack. though, if the lunch box is small enough (what are the dimensions?), the synapse backpack may fit your needs.

    both of these backpacks have a wonderfully padded back and padded backpack straps that makes each of them a joy to carry.


      I can fit the L.L. Bean insulated mini tote/lunch bag in the Synapse -- it fits perfectly in the bottom of the main compartment & goes about halfway up in size. It still leaves room for a few mass market paperbacks on top, in terms of the space left.



        Thanks for your replies.
        These both seem very appealing, and I'm actually wondering if the size is suitable. Would there be a lot of room left over in them (if they had all my previously mentioned items)? Could I also wear one with a big winter coat? Would I be able to fit an iPad/Magazine/MacBook in as well?

        Also, what are the advantages/disadvantages of both? I'm leaning towards the Synapse as it's smaller ...

        I've read in another post that a "small backpack" is being designed. Any news?

        Also, what colour would "ultraviolet" be exactly?



          Originally posted by commuter View Post
          Also, what colour would "ultraviolet" be exactly?
          It's a rich purple with white cross-hatching: http://www.tombihn.com/blog/node/1652
          Smart Alec, Cadet (11/i), Little Swift, Field Journal Notebook, Organizer Pouches, Organizer Wallet, Yarn Stuff Sacks, Key Straps, Snake Charmer, Zipper Pulls, Strapeez


            I went through this recently and ordered a buzz and a smart alec (the synapse was on backorder or I might have ordered it too for comparison). At the risk of slightly exaggerating, I'd caution you that the smart alec is ginormous. The pictures don't seem to do it justice--I could probably put a week's worth of clothes in it. You would have way more space than you need (and things would probably rattle around a little).

            I actually think a buzz would give you enough space (it too seems to be larger than the pictures led me to believe). I just checked and even though it is a slimmer profile than the backpacks it will still hold a lunch sac filled with tupperware. I tend to fill mine with books and papers-- one day I had about a ream's worth of papers, a 500 page hardback, and a bottle of tequila-- all in the main pocket. The slimmer profile and the front cell phone pocket are also handy for commuting on public transportation, and it has an outside pocket for a water bottle (as long as it's not too big) and a built in padded area where you could put an ipad/laptop (although I didn't run my lunchbag test with my laptop in the bag).

            I ended up returning the smart alec but the buzz works great for me, so you might consider it (or you might consider doing what I did and ordering more than one bag if you don't mind paying for return shipping).

            P.S. based on current weather I can confirm there are no problems wearing the buzz with a big winter coat.


              Originally posted by Doh View Post
              ...and a bottle of tequila...
              Was that to make it easier to read all the papers?
              Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.


                Hi, commuter. The Synapse should do fine for everything you've listed. I agree with Doh: The Buzz would do, too, and the Smart Alec is larger than it looks. Coats are not a problem, as the various straps are adjustable.



                  Thanks for the replies.

                  OK, the Smart Alec is out do to the size issue.
                  I looked at the Buzz but am unsure due to it being a "sling" as that wouldn't be as stable or secure on my back as a backpack. Am I correct in believing this?


                    You know how we have packing lists for bags? Well what do you have in
                    Originally posted by Doh View Post
                    a lunch sac filled with tupperware. (???)
                    A sack? It sounds enormous! A round of sandwiches a couple of bits of fruit and maybe a cereal bar would do me, and you can tell from my User Name, I'm no light weight!

                    aka. Fat (but feeling slimmer by the minute) Crip


                      Commuter, the Buzz is as stable as a backpack. It, too, has adjustable straps.


                        The buzz seems to be designed to be (or at least to work well) worn somewhat snug, so it is very stable (and the quick release buckle means it's still fairly easy to get on and off even when it's snug). Or you can wear it a little looser and have some ability to slide it around to get something out of the front pocket, but accessing the bag while wearing it is a little awkward (at least as compared to a slingshot bag).

                        P.S. Eric-- I just meant something like this (http://www.containerstore.com/shop/k...s&sku=10052363) not like this (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/KNIT/TB0608).


                          Hi, Doh. What's a slingshot bag?

                          I wear the Buzz pretty tight and have no trouble swinging it around.


                            Before Tom even talked about doing a camera insert/bag I bought a Lowepro Slingshot which is really designed to swing around for access (and some people even use it as a camera rest while shooting I think).

                            I can get to the outer pocket of the Buzz (assuming I don't have earphones plugged into something in the cellphone pocket!) but for me it's a little awkward/uncomfortable (and also the outside pocket for a thermos/waterbottle/umbrella is on the opposite/bottom side of the bag when you swing it around so I find that's a little difficult to get to as well). YMMV
                            Last edited by Doh; 01-25-2011, 12:47 PM.


                              Thanks, Doh. I just went to the Lowe site, and I see what you mean. At http://products.lowepro.com/product/...-AW,2191,4.htm, the last image shows the bag slung around to the front for access to a top-opening compartment (also shown in image 3).