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  1. #1
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    Organization & a Ramble - Suggestions? Side Kick?

    I’m trying to figure out how to best utilize my next Tom Bihn purchase without breaking the bank or buying something for only a single use.

    Currently I have… Medium Caf Bag, Pilot, Copilot, and Side Effect as the actual bags (edit - and a Synapse 19!). Also have two Ghost Whales (Forum Gifts ’18 and ’19), a clear organizer wallet, two Q-kits, a stuff sack, and a pocket pouch.

    Medium Caf Bag was my first purchase and it spent a few years as my go-to bag for tourism, for keeping my reading materials in one place in the car, etc. I still sometimes use it but mostly it’s been replaced by my Patagonia Atom Sling (8L) or just keeping my notebook/nook ‘loose’ in the car.

    The Pilot and Copilot I love dearly and will never let go. I wish my Pilot was 1050D like my Copilot, however, so at some point I might try to make a trade there if the colors are right. The Side Effect fits into the back/interior pockets of these bags and gets used for random things when I travel with it – from a container for receipts, to a place to keep pens/pencils, to a clutch at a wedding.

    But what I’m looking for now is a more efficient way of carrying (1) all my cables/electronics and (2) my reading materials when I’m traveling light via onebag philosophy (in which case I only take my Deuter Groden 32L – no personal item, only this onebag).

    I don’t always take everything shown below, but the MAX I’d be carrying is…
    1. Phone charger (wall)
    2. 2x USB cords
    3. Phone powerbank/battery
    4. Extra phone (if in China)
    5. Camera charger (actual camera has it’s own case)
    6. EITHER a Nook Glowlight OR an iPad Mini (never both)
    7. A5 notebook (often with spiral binding)
    8. 2x pens
    9. Few pieces of random paper/notes/whatever


    Option 1 -- Right now I’m leaning towards getting the Side Kick, as it appears that all of that might actually fit in one of them. I checked and I am fairly sure the Side Kick itself will fit into the lid-pocket of my Deuter (main bag), where I’d have easy access to pull it out. I will double check this later, but even if it won’t it can go into the main compartment.

    What other bags/pouches fit into the pockets on the interior of the Side Kick? What sizes, etc.? Because I love how TB pouches clip onto O-rings for things like that.

    Option 2 – I get a small Snake Charmer for all the electronics and either a Ghost Whale A5 OR a Medium Double Organizer pouch for the paper stuff (leaving the Nook/iPad in it’s own container).

    The Ghost A5 or the Medium Double Organizer would have the notebook, random papers, and the pen.

    I’m concerned I’ll rip/tear the mesh on the Snake Charmer.
    I’m concerned that the Snake Charmer will be even less waterproof than the Side Kick. I don’t plan to get these things wet, but at some point they will get wet. I don’t go out of my way to be rough on my bags but I don’t make serious effort to be gentle either.
    I’m not sure I have enough electronics to actually use the Snake Charmer, and I’m not sure I’d use it for anything else (like I do the Side Effect).

    Option 3 -- Use my old MCB for the Nook/iPad/Notebook and my old Side Effect to organizer all the cables. The MCB isn't as well suited to being packing (while holding things) into another bag and I will probably not use it as a secondary bag during these trips (which would make it more viable). In this case I can turn the Side Effect into an electronics bag, and fit all of the above electrons (sans the Nook or iPad) into that.

    Option 4
    -- ???

    Thoughts? I really just want to talk this out I guess!

    Thanks!
    Last edited by BowTrek; 04-04-2020 at 09:10 PM.

  2. #2
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    I read your list of bags and thought: you're missing the Side Kick and the Daylight Briefcase. Those are both good options to look at.
    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...

  3. #3
    Forum Member sturbridge's Avatar
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    For your cables and chargers, you might want to consider a 3d organizing cube. It comes in plastic, mesh and fabric versions. I find its easier to pack than a snake charmer, unless you have a lot of cables (and it
    sounds like you don't). I like this one for travel, as I also use it as a mini purse/evening bag (I have 2 in parapack).
    Proud owner of: Pop Tote in cloud, Aeronaut 30 in steel/iberian, Travel Cubelet in Dawn, Travel Cubelet in Nebulous Grey , SE in steel parapack, SSB in black halcyon, Truck in Nebulous Gray, Co-Pilot in Black Halcyon/Iberian,Pickup Truck in Mars Red Small Zipped shop bag in black, Small Zipped shop bag in Dawn numerous pouches, 3D cubes, Q kits and straps, Cubelets and Ghost Whales!

  4. #4
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    I'm interested in this discussion because I haven't given enough thought to traveling with the tech stuff and related bits and pieces. I want something to hold the bits and pieces. Will follow this with interest! I have a Co-Pilot and a Medium Cafe Bag. On a real trip, I take the Co-pilot and stuff both a Macbook Air and a 9.7 inch iPad into it. The Med Cafe Bag is for everyday carry or real short trips.

  5. #5
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    @sturbridge - thanks for the cube rec. I know you recommended the 3DOC but looking at the various cube options led me to the everyday cubelet, which looks like it might work. I did want something with some internal organization (I think?) so now I have both of these to consider. And oh my goodness look at the color selection for either one!

  6. #6
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    In looking at my cables and plugs that I need when traveling for iPhone, Macbook Air, and iPad Air, I think I can get by with the Cubelet, so I might give that a try. Official dimensions are 5.1" x 5.1" x 2.2".

  7. #7
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    Having owned most of the suggestions mentioned so far and having tried them all out as electronic carrying cases, I'll share what I've learned in case it's helpful to anyone.

    My first attempt was a Small Snake Charmer. After all, it's designed as a cord and electronic doodads case, right? It does work for that purpose just fine and I do like having the dual sides. One was my "stuff I need frequently" side and the other was the "don't need very often but nice to know it's there" side. My main issues with this option were the lack of any organization inside the dual pockets; smaller items would find their way buried at the bottom or it would sometimes be difficult to sort through what was in there to find the thing I needed. Also, even though it's the "Small" Snake Charmer, it's rather large and because it does fit so much stuff I felt compelled to have a lot of stuff in it, even if more than half of it was stuff I didn't need all that often. Regarding the mesh: I don't see it ripping anytime soon unless there was some sort of freak accident involving a knife or something, but if getting it wet is a concern then yeah, the mesh is probably a no-go.

    Next in line was the 3D Organizer Cube (all fabric halcyon) and Everyday Cubelet ne Travel Cubelet. I'll lump these together since my issues with each were pretty much the same. Namely no organization on the inside. It just felt harder than it needed to be to get things in and out when I needed them. However, I did rock the Cubelet for quite a while as my main "electronic bare essentials" pouch. You know how charging cords and the like have kind of a natural circular curve to them? Well it turns out the Cubelet is like the *perfect* size for the natural circles that cords like to go in. I'd keep my phone charging cord, my computer charging cord, and a random USB cord inside of there all wound up. Then in the open space inside of the cord circles my computer's charging brick fit perfectly. Occasionally the cords would get wrapped weird and be hard to get in or out, but for the most part this worked well and I liked knowing that as long as I had that little Cubelet I'd have anything I'd absolutely need to keep my laptop or phone going.

    Then Tom Bihn went and announced the Handy Little Thing, and I thought "It's glorious. It's magnificent. It is everything I've ever wanted out of an electronics pouch. I must have one." I managed to snag one through the second run of them, a size 2, and when it arrived I was super excited to fill it out with all my electronic bits and bobs. However, something about it just didn't feel right. Others have mentioned the awkwardness of the elastic and non-elastic loops in the HLT, and I'd have to agree. I imagined my variety of cords all lined up in there like little soldiers, but it's too difficult to work them in and out of those loops and they honestly didn't feel all that secure when they were in there. I love all the different pockets in the HLT, but again, it just didn't feel right. Thankfully my HLT found a home as my "bike bag" and fits all my various bike tools much better than the electronics stuff. Plus I absolutely love how the HLT fits when wearing as a fanny pack.

    During my HLT crisis, I decided to try out my Side Effect as an electronics bag, which for some reason had never occurred to me to try before. Probably because I got my Side Effect right around the same time we got a dog, and it instantly became the dog-walking-fanny-pack-of-fun. Well, guess what pup? I love you but you don't need all that space just for poop bags and treats. Into the 3DOC you go! Once I emptied out the Side Effect and started putting my electronics stuff in it, a calm washed over me. This porridge was just right. What I love about the SE is the blend of wide open space and organization. The pockets in the SE are perfect for holding various cords and what not and keeping it neat and out of the way for easy access. But the main compartment is just a big rectangular space that is perfect for a battery pack for my phone, the power brick for my laptop, a small travel power strip I like to have on me (so often older hotels have a lack of usable power outlets, this one turns one outlet into 3 plus 2 USB ports. Highly recommended!). They all just kind of stack up in the main compartment like Tetris. I keep the SE tethered into the front lower pocket of my Synik 30 using two 8-inch Key Straps attached to the O-Rings, so it easily can flip in and flip out of that pocket but never get lost.

    For your needs, wanting to add an iPad Mini or a Nook into the mix, I feel a Side Kick would be perfect. Just enough organization, just enough cavernous storage for blocky items, and a height to accommodate a little tablet or notebook. I myself just got a Side Kick after wanting one for a few years and it's just a fantastic little bag.

    Anyway, sorry for the huge wall of text, these things happen when we're all stuck inside like this :P Let us know what you end up going with (or what you've already went with). Take care!

  8. #8
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    Boardumb: great report! Thanks very much. I did order the Cubelet but as we all know, nothing is shipping right now. I'm lusting after a SideKick, too, and have a certain color in production on the "notify" list.

  9. #9
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    Consider also the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag. The A5 notebook is what gives me pause about the Side Kick working for you, as it will fit, but will limit how much stuff can go in the internal pockets and how many other organizers will fit. It's also useful in general packing, so that's good too. And the cubelet would fit inside it for sure. Good luck!

  10. #10
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    Hi there. Does the side effect fit in the bottom pocket of the synik 22? Thanks Smilie

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinnie View Post
    Hi there. Does the side effect fit in the bottom pocket of the synik 22? Thanks Smilie
    While I can't answer directly, my Halycon Side Effect fits into my Synapse 19, as long as the SE isn't stuffed. I could see this being more difficult with a ballistic SE but since the S22 is a bit bigger you may be fine.
    Synapse 19 (Burnt orange/Steel) | Side Kick (Deep blue/Wasabi) | Side Effect (Nordic/Wasabi) | Travel Cubelet (Burnt orange/Northwest sky)

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinnie View Post
    Hi there. Does the side effect fit in the bottom pocket of the synik 22? Thanks Smilie
    The Side Kick doesn't fit in the bottom pocket of the Synik 22 but I like to use mine in the main compartment for organization.

  13. #13
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    @Boardumb – thanks for your insight! I’m glad especially of your small Snake Charmer review, because the lack of organization within the pockets is exactly what I was concerned about myself.

    Now, you mention that the Everyday Cubelet has ‘no’ organization on the inside, but looking here (https://www.tombihn.com/collections/...31671397908543) it looks like the cubelet does have some organization? I had originally dismissed it because I thought it had none, but it appears to have a pocket on the inside… though it’s just one, so I agree with you in spirit that I’d like more. I hadn’t thought of using it for my laptop charger though, so if I ever end up with one that’s a solid use idea.

    I’d considered the HLT but given my use scenarios I figured I’d rather have a pocket or zipper on the outside rather than the attachment points… but like you I was tempted by the organization on the inside. I’ve used the elastic before to secure things and I don’t mind it, though I can get impatient with it (and often just toss things into it instead of storing properly when I’m in a hurry).

    And I LOVED your huge wall of text! It’s exactly what I wanted to hear to help me out. I’m glad the Side Effect worked so nicely for you (I’ve loved mine) and I think you’re right – the Side Kick is what I need.

    And thanks to everyone else posting also. @luvdabags in particular for the A5 insight. I’m not planning to use too many other organizers (just a few of the mini ones for single cables or coins) but it’s good to know that I need to keep in mind how it would fit if I added a little notebook.

    Thanks again everyone! Got my eye on that Ursa/Coyote SK in production…

  14. #14
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    LOVE the Ursa. Sounds like a great choice, @BowTrek

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BowTrek View Post
    Now, you mention that the Everyday Cubelet has ‘no’ organization on the inside, but looking here (https://www.tombihn.com/collections/...31671397908543) it looks like the cubelet does have some organization? I had originally dismissed it because I thought it had none, but it appears to have a pocket on the inside… though it’s just one, so I agree with you in spirit that I’d like more. I hadn’t thought of using it for my laptop charger though, so if I ever end up with one that’s a solid use idea.
    Omg major D'OH. I can't believe I did this but I was confusing the regular old Cubelet and the Everyday/Travel Cubelet. Everything I talked about is in regards to the square, smaller, no internal organization regular Cubelet. I'm so sorry for the confusion!

    I do actually have an Everyday/Travel Cubelet, and you're correct it does have internal pockets on one side. I actually love the thing as a small cross body bag, but found it often not large enough for what I need to carry, and in fact that's what led to me finally buying the Side Kick. If I could go back in time I would have just bought a Side Kick instead of the Travel Cubelet, as I don't really have a need for BOTH (though I'm sure I will come up with something, I always do) so I'd say if anyone was trying to decide between the two just go for the Side Kick unless you have a specific need for the smaller size of the Travel Cubelet.

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