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  1. #1
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    Side Kick (as a Man Bag)?

    Hello, everyone!

    A few weeks ago, I posted about ordering my Side Kick as a man bag in the TB Anticipation Syndrome forum. After a few holidays and about two weeks, I have now spent enough time with my SK to determine its strengths! Prior to beginning the review, I ordered an Absolute Strap that I thought would have worked with the SK, but it did not. However, I will use the Absolute Strap for a future purchase (a Pilot or Western Flyer), so all hope is not lost! Now, onto my review:

    Strengths of SK


    1) Functionality:

    The SK is perfect for my EDC needs. It is large enough to hold the following items with room to spare!

    Front Pocket/Front Pocket Picture:
    1) 8" Kindle Fire (in a blue case).
    2) 5" x 7" grey/black notepad (the black item in the Front Pocket picture).
    3) A portable dog hair/lint remover (very useful for when my Pekingese sheds hair).
    4) Sunglasses! A second pair of glasses (laptop ones or normal, reader glasses can also fit).
    5) Two USB cables (a type B and a type C).
    5) A spare pocket, which went unused in the Front Pocket picture, but it can hold either a 4,000 mAh or a 20,000 mAh solar battery charger.

    Back Pocket/Back Pocket Picture:
    1) Keys (via the O-ring).
    2) 6.4" phone, either horizontally or vertically
    3) Wallet

    Again, if I needed additional, smaller items, such as headphones or even the Tom Bihn sticker to fit within the pockets of the Front Pocket those items could fit there easily (that was redundant, sorry)!

    2) Maneuverability:

    Given how the SK is almost the same length horizontally and vertically, I find it easy to walk around and not have it feel burdensome, flimsy, or heavy. The Kindle provides internal structure so that the rest of the SK's shape doesn't fold into itself. Additionally, with my phone in the Back Pocket, structure is also provided to ensure that the bag does not sink inward. I am certain that the Ballistic Nylon version of the bag is inherently more rigid than the Halcyon, so that may inadvertently be useful in its ease in maneuverability as well.

    The SK Shoulder Strap was not the one that I had originally hoped or intended to use, but after about two weeks of ownership, I have had a change of heart. Given that it isn't as large as the Absolute Strap, placing it on and off for carrying the SK is far more convenient. Plus, a bag of this size (and weight more importantly) may not be the ideal one for the Absolute Strap, so I understand how and why the redesign was implemented.

    3) Durability:

    I cannot complete an overview or review of a bag and not mention the durability. As of now, I've not had a single dent or scratch, but I had a minor stain. It occurred when I went to a nearby laundromat and some soap spilled onto the SK. At first, I panicked, but then I applied some dishwashing liquid and water and a few minutes later the imperfection was removed. While I know that every bag cannot remain imperfection-free forever, I will be a bit more cautious as I use the SK in the months and years to come.

    4) (Unexpected) Practicality:

    Thus far, there have been three occasions in which, without the SK, I would have been wholly unable to do what I had attempted to do (due to not having enough hands, patience, or pockets). When and where they occurred and how the SK lived up to its name, follows below:

    i) Appointment - Earlier this week, I went out with my mom prior to the sun rising for a short appointment. Luckily, everything went well, but the problem (and the SK's solution) occurred when my mom's phone's battery began to discharge. Luckily, I bought my solar charger, which had been fully charged the day before, and it served its purpose. A similar situation happened later in the week.

    ii) Coffee Shop - I ordered more than enough coffee and food for one person to carry at a coffee shop. So much so, that a cupholder and a box were involved, with just myself carrying everything out to my mom, who was waiting in her car. While I panicked because of potentially needing assistance (not only for carrying two coffees and accompanying items but also for exiting the coffee shop), I simply placed my card and receipt in my SK's Back Pocket, moved the SK around so that it was on my right side, stacked the cupholder containing the coffees on top of the box that was part of my order, and used my left foot to force the door open to exit. Yes, it was a multi-step process, but it was facilitated by the SK's usefulness.

    iii) Laundromat - I cashed out a $20 into all quarters. Eighty. Quarters. So, I moved my phone which had been in the front pocket at the time to the middle portion of the Front Pocket, and placed the 80 quarters into an empty side pocket (the empty one in the Front Pocket Picture).

    5) Summary:

    As you all can potentially deduce, I am an extremely happy Tom Bihn customer. I was first interested in the Tom Biihn products years ago (thanks to the A30, A45, TS, and WF) and the company's values, of course. However, my strategy to start small and purchase larger bags (the TS/WF) seems to be the ideal choice for me, especially because of the interoperability. I will post more updates, in the "Where did your TB bag go lately?" forum, and here if there's enough interest!

    Thank you all for your information, politeness, and warm welcome,

    Christopher
    Attached Images Attached Images Side Kick (as a Man Bag)?-sk-back-pocket-jpg  Side Kick (as a Man Bag)?-sk-front-pocket-jpg 

  2. #2
    Forum Member goblin's Avatar
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    I like your thorough review and glad you like it. The color you chose is very nice!

  3. #3
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    Well done. I've carried a bag of one kind or another since junior high school so, lemme see, about 50 years. Lots of leathers, nylons, ballistics, most with a vertical orientation. Landed on the small Cafť bag many years ago and stopped looking for other manbags. Also have a medium Cafť for overseas travel.

  4. #4
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    Nice review. I also use the SK as a man bag particularly when travelling and I also think it fits the bill perfectly. Size is very useful and it looks cool (to me!). I have no issues with the strap, even when itís full Iím not carrying that much inside. I find it very easy to swing the bag around to the front temporarily if Iím walking somewhere which feels slightly unsafe. So I actually prefer the strap it comes with in any case.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Forum Member Perseffect's Avatar
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    Great ideas here. I always travel with an SK for in flight bits and pieces but wondered about using it at my destination.

    How do you find the shoulder strap. Itís thinner than Iím used to. Just curious your thoughts. Thanks.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Aeronaut 45 (Navy/NWS), A30 (Black/Island), Tristar (Steel/Island), Western Flyer (Steel/Island), Pilot (Steel/Island), Synapse 25 (Mars Red/NWS), Synapse 19 (Black/Island) & (Burnt Orange/Steel), Ristretto 11 (Navy/Steel), Small Cafe Bag (Navy/Steel) & (Mars Red/Dawn), Daylight Briefcase (Cloud/Dawn), Side Kick (Mars Red/Dawn), Travel Cubelet (Mars Red)

  6. #6
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    I’m using a Sidekick for the same purpose and really like it - downsizing from a CoPilot (no longer need to have a laptop with me). The one thing I wish the Sidekick had is a handle. I don’t always want to use the shoulder strap and would prefer to carry with a handle.

  7. #7
    Forum Member bltkmt's Avatar
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    Does anyone use a wrist strap to carry the SK? I use one to carry my SE, and am curious if the SK might be too heavy for one.
    --------------------------------

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bltkmt View Post
    Does anyone use a wrist strap to carry the SK? I use one to carry my SE, and am curious if the SK might be too heavy for one.
    I don't think it's a good match. I put both the shoulder strap and a wrist strap on mine when I got it, to see how I'd like them, and I either use the shoulder strap or hold it in my hand.

  9. #9
    Forum Member NYCWriter's Avatar
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    Christopher!

    Loved your review, and agree 100%. (We also have the same taste; got my SK in the nebulous grey too! Goes with everything.)

    What I've found interesting, however, is that I find myself using it primarily only when I'm in Pittsburgh, and not usually when I'm home in New York City.

    Here in New York, when I'm out-and-about and reliant upon public transport/taxis and my own two legs, I have to carry everything that I may need over the course of my commute and daily travels, and this always involves reading materials: whatever book I'm reading at the moment, at least one or two of my current magazines, and of course my headphones (absolutely essential for subway survival). By the time I fill my SK with my necessities, there's really no room for reading material or the headphones.

    However, in Pittsburgh (actually the suburbs) I'm driving everywhere. Since the book and magazines are primarily for public transit, I find no need to carry reading material. Ditto the headphones.

    When I do use my SK in New York, it's usually for warm-weather physical outings (walking through Central Park, exploring Brooklyn, etc.) where any bag larger than the SK would be impractical.
    Last edited by NYCWriter; 01-12-2020 at 12:46 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perseffect View Post
    How do you find the shoulder strap. Itís thinner than Iím used to. Just curious your thoughts. Thanks.
    I used the thin strap for the SK on a trip to Europe last summer. Very comfortable, no problems at all. I cinched it up so it held the SK close to my back.



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  11. #11
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    I use my SideKick as my everyday bag as well, and love it.

    When I'm commuting it lives inside my PopTote, where I put my work supplies - laptop, cords, iPad, bike battery and lunch plus books or whatever. But when I'm out and about at the university, or doing errands, I have just the SK. It holds: a home-made pocket pouch which has all my cards, clipped into an o-ring; my endless supply of keys on a long keystrap in the outer pocket; a folded up nylon shopping bag in a case, my A5 bullet journal, my iPhone, a pencil, and usually my iPad pencil (so I know exactly where it is). Plenty of room to stash extra cords, adapters, headphones, glasses, pencils, Kindle, mini iPad or whatnot when I need to take them as well.

    I love those extra loops near the strap as well and would definitely consider it as a waist bag under certain circumstances although it's a bit large for that. But good to have options if I want or need to lash it to other things.

  12. #12
    Forum Member GrussGott's Avatar
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    sorry if this is a repeat question, but anybody know if the new sidekicks have the same attach points as the new PCSBs? i.e., no longer on the side but now on the top? Thanks!

    Are the new side kick strap attach points like this now?
    Last edited by GrussGott; 01-27-2020 at 10:17 PM.

  13. #13
    Forum Member b1gsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrussGott View Post
    sorry if this is a repeat question, but anybody know if the new sidekicks have the same attach points as the new PCSBs? i.e., no longer on the side but now on the top? Thanks!

    Are the new side kick strap attach points like this now?
    As far as I know they have the attachement points on the side, they just changed from the clips for the swivel hooks to a strap with single gatekeeper clips.

  14. #14
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    Those of you who own or have owned a Side Kick, will typical U.S. checkbooks, which measure around 6.5 x 3 inches, fit in any of the pockets of the Side Kick...if so, which pockets? I almost never write a check anymore when I'm out, but I like to have one with me "just in case".

    Thanks.....

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Go Navy View Post
    Those of you who own or have owned a Side Kick, will typical U.S. checkbooks, which measure around 6.5 x 3 inches, fit in any of the pockets of the Side Kick...if so, which pockets? I almost never write a check anymore when I'm out, but I like to have one with me "just in case".

    Thanks.....
    They fit in the outside pocket, the main inside compartment, the two vertical inside sidewall pockets, and the main inside pocket that is the full width of the bag. They do not fit in the two smaller vertical pockets next to the pen/pencil slots that are sewn into the main inside pocket.

    So, almost everywhere :)

    Sorry, can't do picks right now - but if you need them, I can try later.
    Last edited by G42; 03-26-2020 at 02:26 PM. Reason: clarifications
    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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