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  1. #1
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    Smile Burnt Orange Cadet and Mars Red Sidekick

    I've had an ID for about 10 years now, with various brain cells for various Mac laptops. My current 2016 TouchBar MBP really didn't fit well inside it, so I decided it was time for a bag upgrade.

    I ordered a Cadet (Burnt Orange/Northwest Sky) with a cache, an absolute strap, a Side Effect (Mars Red/Canyon) [not a "Sidekick" as I wrote in my thread title], a set of zip pulls in case the zip clinking annoys me!, a set of gatekeeper clips so I can try modding my old ID to take the cache, and an extra 8" strap. I had it delivered to a friend in Denver who met up with me in France last week. So I thought I'd post some early comments after a week's use.

    Cadet

    The colour. The burnt orange is slightly not what I expected from all the photos. It is definitely an interesting colour, not dour in any way, not bright and gaudy either. I like it and it is really growing on me! Very autumnal, maybe. My wife says that it is currently a very trendy colour, so I've accidentally become trendy. Yay :-)

    The cache works pretty well. I'm not sure what more you can say about it, except that the memo that you don't have to remove laptops at airport security hasn't reached Lyon Saint Exupéry.

    The carry handles are a welcome improvement on my ID's pretty unpadded handles. They stand up quite stiffly so are easy to grab, and I like the amount of padding.

    I've opened the rear zip to slip it over a rolling suitcase handle, which works fine. It does make the whole affair quite heavy, so I reverted to the absolute strap after a while.

    The little central "phone" pocket on the front is a little tight for my iPhone 7. I guess it might loosen up a bit over time, but honestly I mostly keep my phone in my hand. At a pinch, my passport fits. But I discovered that it is a great little place for storing things like security badges or hotel key cards. That alone stops me from having to check all my (too many) coat pockets for my cards.

    I fill the main compartment with the cache, my Apple PSU and USB-C cables in a padded organizer bag that I bought a while ago for my ID. Our funny plugs here in the UK and France do make this a bit bulky. It attaches nicely with a short strap to an organizer ring, so is really easy to slip in and out and not get lost. I also have a moleskine notebook in the main compartment. I have a USB-C to displayport video cable lurking in the main compartment pocket, and I can slip my Kobo Aura One ereader inside too, which is about the size of the moleskin/an iPad Mini.

    I haven't put much inside the front flap yet apart from my mechanical pencil. I put my UK and Euro wallets and coin purses in there, which took a bit of arranging to balance out.

    Side Effect

    I bought this because a friend was bringing my TB order across from Denver to France so I'd avoid the expensive international shipping and extra customs charges, so "why not" get a Side Effect too! BTW he was really impressed with the build quality so you get an extra sale out of this ;-)

    The colour is nice and deep - you had me at Mars and Red anyway. The finer weave of the material suits it.

    I haven't yet figured out how to use it. It feels slightly like a "man bag" which doesn't bother me too much, but if I attach it to the Cadet via a strap it tucks away and adds a bit of extra organization. I've tried putting my wallets and pills and things inside, which definitely keeps them all nicely together inside the Cadet front flap, but that bulges out the Cadet a little. Trimming down the wallets will definitely help. Fewer pills would help too, but well... The hack on the forums here using some small karabiners/clips to turn it into an in-flight seat pouch looks interesting, so I'll try and hunt something down.

    I might repurpose the Side Effect's hand strap so it becomes my security badge lanyard.

    Absolute strap

    This was one of those things that I wasn't sure was going to be as good as it is. Lovely and squishy on the shoulder, and it really helps carrying the cadet around. It is super comfortable, and I wish it would fit my original ID! (It won't as my ID doesn't have the hooks.)

    Photos to come when I find some spare moments and some good lighting!
    Last edited by cjr; 10-29-2017 at 06:02 AM. Reason: What's a Sidekick??? I meant Side Effect!

  2. #2
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    This is an interesting post - I have a Cadet in my basket, just waiting to complete everything else I need(?) before I buy.
    I previously got the Side Effect which is great for the in-flight seat pocket hack.
    I got my Tyny Tools carabiners on-line from Georgefisher.co.uk. You need the medium size which were £4 plus postage. Best thing ever!
    Cadet(EDC), Large Café Bag, WesternFlyer w. Packing cubes, Side Effect, Small Travel Tray, Clear Organiser Wallet.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jtordoff View Post
    This is an interesting post - I have a Cadet in my basket, just waiting to complete everything else I need(?) before I buy.
    I previously got the Side Effect which is great for the in-flight seat pocket hack.
    I got my Tyny Tools carabiners on-line from Georgefisher.co.uk. You need the medium size which were £4 plus postage. Best thing ever!
    Thanks for the link! The Cadet is a great bag. It is smaller than my old ID but it definitely fits the laptop better and there's enough room to store the essentials. If I stayed somewhere overnight with my ID I'd use a rucksack for my clothes anyway, so moving from ID to Cadet definitely works.

    What colours are you going for?

  4. #4
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    I’m going for Black with NW Sky interior, I recently got a Western Flyer in that combination which isn’t too gaudy!
    The Cadet will replace my Large Café Bag which is a bit small now I have a laptop rather than an iPad, although I have to say it’s a testament to the TB build quality, I’ve had it almost 5 years and it’s been to work with me every day since then. Stilll looks almost like new.
    Cadet(EDC), Large Café Bag, WesternFlyer w. Packing cubes, Side Effect, Small Travel Tray, Clear Organiser Wallet.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jtordoff View Post
    I’m going for Black with NW Sky interior, I recently got a Western Flyer in that combination which isn’t too gaudy!
    The Cadet will replace my Large Café Bag which is a bit small now I have a laptop rather than an iPad, although I have to say it’s a testament to the TB build quality, I’ve had it almost 5 years and it’s been to work with me every day since then. Stilll looks almost like new.
    My Cadet has a Northwest Sky interior too. My ID has a Wasabi interior which is pretty bright, but I think the Northwest Sky is a good colour that's light enough.

    Totally agree about the build quality. My ID's been going fine for 10 years and the only reason I've really had to get a new bag is to fit the new style MBPs.

  6. #6
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    Two photos are now on Instagram:

    Cadet

    Side Effect - it looks a much darker red than this!

  7. #7
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    Here's another Instagram photo of the Side Effect, but with the Tyny Tools medium swivel carabiner clips that have just arrived. The red looks much more accurate this time.

    Side Effect

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