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Thread: S25 vs SA

  1. #1
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    S25 vs SA

    Hey all. Iím lucky enough to have both a SA in ballistic and an S25 in halcolyn. Iím currently finding that when I need a larger bag (normally use S19 as an EDC) I more often than not find the SA a better bag. Does anyone else find this?

    The SA tends to hold things more easily and still give me the quick access I need (although admit could be better). I can pop to supermarket and fill up with groceries - something which would be rubbish with the S25 in comparison. I can strap things to the outside. Itís is comfortable to wear.

    I find the S25 a bit awkward for these things. It has great orgnanisation on the front of the pack but that makes the main pack very slim and not practical for most situations.

    With a laptop, unless completely packed I find it slips down the bag and finishes up at an angle which means it is awkward to carry and takes up space. This might be solved by a framsheet / or because of halcolyn.

    Does anyone else find this? And if so, why does the S25 always come up as ultimate backpack for lightweight travel? What do you mainly use your S25 for and what materials do you find best?
    Last edited by Robw; 08-15-2018 at 01:50 AM.

  2. #2
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    I honestly don't know if my views can help you but as a fellow Londoner, let me see if I can.

    I have had an S19 for 4 years. It has been awesome. However, it got over stuffed a lot. In the morning it would be fine, but by the time I came home, I'd say 30% of the time it would get stuffed if say I stopped for groceries. Living in London, I use public transportation and don't have a car. In the tube, it matters.

    I sold my S19 and bought a 25 and I just received it yesterday. The first thing I noticed was that it was much heavier. But I also noticed what you do, that stuff goes to the bottom pretty easily. I will be using the front pocket in the main compartment for my laptop on days I have to carry it though.

    That being said, I still like it. I recently also got a DLBP. And I think I may make that my EDC because it's just easier to carry.

    I do think that the S25 would be amazing if I had a few days or week of travelling to do or something. It fits stuff VERY WELL. and easy to find. because of the organisation. I don't have an SA but I would imagine you'd really have to know where everything is because it doesn't have the same number of pockets. If you ask me where my umbrella is, it's at the bottom pocket of my S25. If you ask where my wallet is, it's on the side pocket. If I had an SA i'd say "hold on, let me see" and I'd go digging for it.

    I think I've just noted a bunch of observations instead of answering. Hope this helps though.

  3. #3
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    I have had S19, S25 & SA, and still have the SA which I love. For me the SA is more versatile, easy and very comfortable to carry, with good-enough-for-me large, zipped pockets on the front as well as the zipped pocket under the lid. There is always the further option of adding an Upper or Lower Module for even more organisation but I rarely use that.

    Inside the SA, the webbing loops and O-rings provide enough options for more organisation, eg. cache etc

    Outside the shock cord / or straps give me easy access to a rain jacket etc

    Unlike the majority, I think, I find that so many outside zipped pockets on the S19 & S25 is more of a hindrance than a help, but maybe if I was only using them as EDC etc that would be different.

    For smaller loads I use a DLBP or another even smaller pack that pre-dates my TB purchases.

    Personally, I find it harder to decide which of my bigger TB bags to use when travelling further afield - so many choices, all with their own advantages & features! Sigh! I do have rather a lot of TB bags! Smilie
    Last edited by KAB; 08-15-2018 at 06:02 AM.

  4. #4
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    As with some of the other comments, I like the organization of the S19 for EDC items for work, etc. The S25 is the same set up, just bigger, but I've always tried & returned them because it's too tall for my torso.
    The SA is a gaping maw that can hold a lot of stuff and fits me... it does require extra organization however if you have small stuff and/or don't want to be digging around. Keep in mind that the more organization you add, the heavier it gets...

    What you're basically observing is that what you want to carry and the packing style you prefer is what drives perception of the utility of a bag... I think that's why the posts showing pics of what people actually carry and in what pockets/pouches/etc. are so popular... if we carry similar items but in a completely different way, it can give ideas of alternate pack styles, etc.
    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...

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    I started with an S19, added an S25, and after a couple of uses I replaced the S25 with a Smart Alec. The S19 is my "day trip" bag for a day at the office (via car travel) or day trips to the city and so on. But the SA is my bag when I needed to do daily commutes (via walking or bus) or for overnight trips or anything which needs a bit more space than the S19. Like you, I found that the SA was much more comfortable to carry and easier to load than the S25. The S25 always felt like I was walking around turtle-shaped, the SA has never had that issue and just feels useful.
    Rambling On. . . . .

  6. #6
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    I have both and I use them regularly and frequently!

    I use the SA almost every day for commuting to work with my bike. I use a Freudian Slip to carry my MacBook Air with its accessories, some paper stuff, pencils, etc. I also have a UMP installed that I love for carrying useful things such as snacks, additional cables, batteries, my multitool, paper tissues, etc. The side pockets carry my waterbottle, wallet and phone. That leaves me with enough space in the main compartment to throw in my workout clothes or groceries or other bulky stuff. The SA really swallos a lot.

    I consider the S25 as the SA's more slender and neat cousin. It has become my favorite travel companion (to accompany the A45 or the Tri-Star as I am (not yet?) a minimalist traveller). I also use a Freudian Slip here (some might call this organizational overkill) for the same purposes as above. I also installed the 3DOC-hack because I missed a small inside pocket for my wallet and passport. I love the additional pockets that I can access from the outside for all the things I need while travelling: sunglasses, noise-cancelling headphones, earplugs, snacks, water, etc. The main compartment has still enough space then for some clothes a cap or hat, my camera, a book...

    Thus, although both bags have almost the same capacity, the SA is more suitable for bulkier things and has a more sturdy appearance while the S25 is a handsome organizational talent that is more suited for flat packing stuff (e.g. a WF packing cube). I love them both!
    ...spread joy in your neighbourhood (and not Corona!) Smilie Rainbow Cheers
    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

  7. #7
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    I have multiple S19, and multiple SA. No S25. I think itís because I use the S19 for EDC or in-flight needs, so the multiple pockets make it easy to find what I need. But for bigger loads, I am generally transporting the contents point-to-point and not accessing them frequently. So the flexibility of that big SA compartment is more useful. (There are accessories if more organization is needed for the SA, but in practice I donít use them all that much.)

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    I have both the S25 and SA and have used both extensively. I do like the organization native to the S25 but end up with all my stuff in the front section. Prior to the frame sheet, I found the S25 got egg shaped when filled and it became uncomfortable to carry. I am currently using a SA as an EDC, which I had not tried before, and I love it. I have been using the SA for travel for some time. It is more comfortable to carry for me. If I had to choose one, the SA would win hands down.

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    Thanks guys. Iím surprised there are not more defenders of the s25 here...especially as the SA has been discontinued in its favour. Donít get me wrong, I still like the s25. But for travel I just donít think it is great. But people like chase reeves rave about it. Perhaps a FS, framesheet will do the trick. Perhaps Iím trying to travel with the wrong things - not packing cubes of clothes but more suited to smaller items. Who knows. Both will be kept and I will keep trying to get the s25 to work more for me

  10. #10
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    KAB, I agree with all your points. My Smart Alec was my first major Tom Bihn purchase and it's still my favorite bag.

  11. #11
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    I am about to do a three night trip with my S25 (and my Parental Unit which is EDC).

    I love the S25 and never wanted a Smart Alec because I love lots of pockets, especially external ones. I wish the S25 main pocket were a tiny bit deeper, and I wish the straps weren't so uncomfortable (less of an issue w frame sheet and belt), but layout-wise it works much better for me than a cavernous space.

    I am packing all clothes for me and my two kids in it. I find the PCSBs to be a great size for the S25, and the Deluxe Spiff Kit fits perfectly in the chin pocket. I put my chargers in a 3DOC in a side pocket, and the other side pocket and water bottle pocket contain our water bottles.

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