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Thread: HLT1 [Me Over]

  1. #1
    Forum Member Chicagoan's Avatar
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    HLT1 [Me Over]

    At one point I bought an HLT1 to pair with an SN22, and returned both because I could not get the backpack to work for my lifestyle. I didn’t give the HLT a chance because I only understood it as an organizational accessory to the backpack and not as a stand-alone bag.

    Since that time I began shooting digital photography with my cell phone instead of a camera. But the transition to cell phone photography created a new problem: how do I safely carry a couple screw-on lenses AND store them in an easily accessible spot they won’t fall out of?

    I hated the idea of accessory-specific lens cases I would have to dig out of another bag, or require another bag to attach onto. I bought and returned several. They created more for me to carry or keep track of, and all relied upon another bag.

    Around this time, Tom Bihn restocked their returns and an HLT1 in Coyote 525 became available for sale. I read the description and it said that, paired with a Side Kick’s Gatekeeper shoulder strap, it could function on its own as a small crossbody bag. I had an extra SK strap already (it was after the shoulder strap attachment point redesign but before they decided to lengthen the stock strap), so, I gave the HLT a second chance and bought one.



    This is the bag, believe it or not, fully loaded.



    The front-facing zippered compartment is fairly roomy, and my house, car and work keys fit comfortably inside. I live in an apartment, so I not only have to unlock a couple doors to get up to my unit, but also need my keys in a place I can reach them if my hands are full of bags or boxes. This means the pocket holding my keys has to face front and - between the combined length of the key strap and shoulder strap - be long enough to reach the door lock. There is still a decent amount of room left over with my keys inside, and I am easily able to unlock doors without removing the bag from my body or unclipping the keys from the strap.



    In addition to key storage and access, my second biggest priority in a EDC bag is a place for my wallet that’s equally easy to locate. My Bellroy Zip Pouch is above half the width and almost as tall as the interior. There is still room in front of and behind the wallet for other items (like the Lightning cord). The clamshell-style zipper has a threefold benefit: 1.) you can completely open the bag to quickly find things, 2.) the double zippers allow you to open specific sides of the bag while the others remain shut, and 3.) you can pack the bag full, pull the other half over the contents, and zip it easily shut. It gets a little burrito-shaped if you really pack it full, but even then, it’s still comfortable and balanced to carry.



    Here is everything I carry inside the bag daily, save my phone which was used to take the pictures:

    Counterclockwise, starting at the bottom center of the picture:

    1.) x2 BIC 4-Color Pens
    2.) Bellroy Key Holder, Car and Work Fobs
    3.) Spare Digital Camera Battery
    4.) x2 SD Memory Cards
    5.) USB Flash Drive
    6.) Bellroy Card Pocket
    7.) Apple iPad Mini Charger
    8.) Moment Telephoto Lens
    9.) Moment Wide Lens
    10.) Apple Lightning Cord
    11.) ANKER External Battery
    12.) x2 Tom BIHN Double Swivel Carabiners
    13.) 1 Pair of Spare Contact Lenses, and
    14.) A Side Kick Shoulder Strap, which I should mention as an accessory since it doesn’t come included with the bag.

    Even with all that inside it still has extra room. This is a clamshell style opening bag, so you have to be mindful of that if you intend to wear it as a shoulder or crossbody bag (or even a waist pack), to make sure you never pack it so full the bag can’t be opened without the contents spilling out.

    I should add: the two camera lenses (they grey microfiber pouches from the “pocket dump” pictures) get stored along with the Apple iPad charger in zippered interior black mesh pocket. The mesh pocket sits flush against the back side of the interior (so it always stays upright, unlike the front half of the bag, which can tip downward if you open the clamshell wide enough). This pocket can be zipped shut or left open for easy access.

    I like this bag so much it not only ended the hunt for a camera bag but became my EDC as well.

    Every year - well, every year there isn’t a pandemic - we usually take a family vacation to Walt Disney World. The first couple years I carried a Side Kick, before downsizing to a Travel (now “Everyday”) Cubelet. I imagine the next time we are able to visit, this will also become my new park bag as well - the clamshell will be terrific for getting through those bag check lines quickly and without disrupting the way everything is packed in this bag.

    I always wanted to love the Side Effect and never could because it didn’t have enough built-in organization. What that bag did have right was the horizontal/landscape orientation. It makes the made the contents much easier to access than in a vertically-oriented bag, like the Travel/Everyday Cubelet, that stacks items on top of another instead of next to another.

    The resemblance to the SE is far from accidental, and actually a deliberate improvement. The HLT 1 and 2 were made in response to those using the SE and SK as in-flight organizers or interior bag organizers (hence the inclusion of the double-sided swivel carabiners).

    What I love most is that I took that bag, added an extra strap from the first bag I ever bought from Tom Bihn (a Side Kick) and made a solution for myself by combining the ideas.

    In a way, that’s what they’re all about, and I think we all connect so deeply with these bags because they’re so intricately connected to how we organize and go about our daily lives.

    Suffice it to say, the “HLT1 me over.”


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    Last edited by Chicagoan; 07-02-2020 at 06:16 PM.
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    Current Bags: HLT1 (Coyote 210d), HTL2 (Coyote 210d), EC (Nebulous 525d and Ursa 525d), SK (Black 525d/Island 200d), S19 (Ursa 525d/NWS 200d), L15 (Deep Blue 525d/Coyote 210d, Monster Truck (Coyote 525d and Nebulous 525d), Medium YD (Coyote 1050d), Deluxe Spiff Kit (Coyote 210d) and many small accessory items.

  2. #2
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    Great review @Chicagoan and bonus points for the pun!
    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
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    @Chicagoan ,

    I also like the fact that your recent post (#2181, a few hours earlier than your review) in the Where did your TB bag go lately thread, shows you wearing the HLT 1 in the review, crossbody style. (I note that this picture has also become your avatar, but since it’s a little small to see the details, I’ll insert your previously posted picture of you wearing the Coyote HLT 1 here:
    HLT1 [Me Over]-70788250-c22f-4cdf-b8f3-cbb393a28dd1-jpeg

    Great review.

    moriond

  4. #4
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    @moriond ; I didn’t even think to add the “action” shot of the bag in use. Thank you for adding that - I’m sure it helps folks figure out how it lays and looks proportionally compared to a person. Much appreciate the compliment! I’ve been reading these forums for years and figured it was about time to pay it forward. This isn’t the most comprehensive review, but mostly I wanted to position the bag in a new light for those who might just see it as an organizational accessory.


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    Current Bags: HLT1 (Coyote 210d), HTL2 (Coyote 210d), EC (Nebulous 525d and Ursa 525d), SK (Black 525d/Island 200d), S19 (Ursa 525d/NWS 200d), L15 (Deep Blue 525d/Coyote 210d, Monster Truck (Coyote 525d and Nebulous 525d), Medium YD (Coyote 1050d), Deluxe Spiff Kit (Coyote 210d) and many small accessory items.

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    Such a great review!! Thank you HLT1 [Me Over]


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  6. #6
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    HLT1 [Me Over]

    Edit: I actually bought a Side Kick in 525 Coyote because, for a long time, that was my favorite bag in my favorite color. Emphasis on “was.”

    I unpacked my HLT1 at home to test pack the SK and discovered I REALLY appreciate a clamshell opening on a crossbody bag. It was a game changer when Tom Bihn gave the Synapses a clamshell opening and created the Syniks, but I would argue it is as much of a revelation to give one of their crossbody/shoulder bags a clamshell opening. It means I can access the contents from the side as well as the top, never making the bag inconveniently deep. It’s very easy to pack and unpack quickly, as well as take inventory of the contents in a single glance (it also helps the back side interior pocket is made from mesh you can see through).

    The SK was great because it had top-side access, and could remain unzipped without dumping the contents, but also be zipped back up for security or weatherproofing. However, the security of deep pockets made it difficult to quickly dig out my cell phone camera lenses. Smaller items, like camera batteries and SD cards for were even more difficult to remove from the deep pockets. This is important! Not having quick access to items like these means losing the opportunity for a shot.

    It wasn’t mentioned in my original review but the two right and left zippered pockets on the back side of the front panel are perfect for really small items. One pocket I use to store the double-sided swivel carabiners that came with the bag (I’ll use them to clip my camera strap to the shoulder strap on my backpack) and the other pocket fits 2 SD cards, a camera battery, and a flash drive.

    I’ve also found the narrow shoulder strap attachment points on the HLT1 (which lay flat against the back side, opposed to the right and left sides of the bag) make it very easy to take a jacket off (or put one on) by slipping the shoulder strap over your shoulder and just letting it hang off your neck - you never have to take the bag off or put it down.

    While it does look and weigh about the same as an enthusiastically-made Chipotle burrito when fully packed, it has quickly become my favorite EDC and camera bag.

    The Side Kick - much to my own amazement - was shipped back yesterday, and the khaki colored burrito I didn’t understand at first has not only become my EDC, but favorite bag, period, from the entire Tom Bihn product line.


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    Last edited by Chicagoan; 07-07-2020 at 08:08 AM.
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    Current Bags: HLT1 (Coyote 210d), HTL2 (Coyote 210d), EC (Nebulous 525d and Ursa 525d), SK (Black 525d/Island 200d), S19 (Ursa 525d/NWS 200d), L15 (Deep Blue 525d/Coyote 210d, Monster Truck (Coyote 525d and Nebulous 525d), Medium YD (Coyote 1050d), Deluxe Spiff Kit (Coyote 210d) and many small accessory items.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicagoan View Post

    While it does look and weigh about the same as an enthusiastically-made Chipotle burrito when fully packed, it has quickly become my favorite EDC and camera bag.

    The Side Kick - much to my own amazement - was shipped back yesterday, and the khaki colored burrito I didn’t understand at first has not only become my EDC, but favorite bag, period, from the entire Tom Bihn product line.
    @Chicagoan , your poetry has made my day :)
    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...

  8. #8
    Forum Member Chicagoan's Avatar
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    @G42 ; “Poetry” is what happens when you write reviews on an empty stomach.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Follow me on Instagram!

    @outside_chicago

    @wright_in_the_midwest

    Current Bags: HLT1 (Coyote 210d), HTL2 (Coyote 210d), EC (Nebulous 525d and Ursa 525d), SK (Black 525d/Island 200d), S19 (Ursa 525d/NWS 200d), L15 (Deep Blue 525d/Coyote 210d, Monster Truck (Coyote 525d and Nebulous 525d), Medium YD (Coyote 1050d), Deluxe Spiff Kit (Coyote 210d) and many small accessory items.

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