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  1. #1
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    Wow. Shadow Guide 33 First Impressions.

    lt arrived Tuesday. Itís gorgeous. Itís all black. Itís... the Shadow Guide 33!








    Before I say anything, Iím not normally a fan of top-opening bags, nor of big black hole bags. I mean, my favorite bag of all time is the Parental Unit, which has the most pockets of any TB bag! The Shadow Guide is so simple and efficient and beautiful that it has already won me over.

    The top pocket will fit a full Packing Cube Shoulder Bag or an Icon, with some room to spare. If I were traveling with this bag I might keep my EDC bag inside this top pocket.

    Icon in top pocket:




    PCSB in top pocket:


    On the underside of the top pocket there are two flat zippered pockets with an o-ring inside, for a map or tickets or other documents. There is also a grab handle under the top pocket to make it easier to get things in and out of the main compartment.





    I like to have special pockets for important things and I like these pockets a lot. A Small Ghost Whale Pouch fits comfortably.



    A Passport Pouch is a little too big but could still fit if you fold the fabric around the Passport.


    The zipper pulls! They are more like zipper pulls Iíve seen elsewhere, with a one-piece textured pull on a thin cord loop. I really like the way these feel in the hand and if they are available separately I will for sure add them to my next order.




    The laptop compartment is big and very easy to access.




    You could also put a normal size wooden cutting board in there, if youíre traveling (I would be more likely to do this than carry a laptop Wow. Shadow Guide 33 First Impressions.).




    The main compartment is massive.


    If you wanted to add a little organization to the main pocket you could add a Side Effect to the two O-Rings with double carabiners. Itís so big that my bike helmet fits in with ease.

    (I donít have a motorcycle or BMX helmet so I am not sure about those)

    I am surprised this is 33L because it feels bigger. Here it is next to my A30. Keep in mind the top pocket comfortably fits a full 4.5L PCSB or an 7.5L Icon.






    This bag holds a ton! In the precious pic it is packed with four full Packing Cube Shoulder Bags, a Spiff Kit and a Clear Quarter Packing Cube in the main compartment. I could have jammed in a bit more.




    I can envision a few scenarios for this bag:

    1. A travel scenario with clothing packing cubes and shoes at the bottom, toiletries on top, and EDC and electronics in the top pocket.

    2. A day hike and picnic scenario with a large picnic blanket in a stuff sack at the bottom (LLBean waterproof fleece blanket if youíre interested) and a large cool bag on top with provisions. Essentials and first aid in the top pocket.

    3. A school/university/work bag where youíre carrying oversized folios, large books and folders, and a laptop. A Brain Bag can handle the normal sized stuff but if you have some truly odd bulky items or you keep trying to find a Smart Alec on eBay, this your bag.

    4. Building on #3, maybe some sports equipment? If you need some versatility to go from work to the gym and you need to carry a helmet or boxing gloves, this would probably work well. Maybe even roller skates if theyíre in a bag to keep the dirt out of your SG!


    Possible negatives:
    -Anyone choosing this bag should just make sure that their packing style works here. Itís a massive vertical black hole. You need to have a sharp packing strategy and make the most of the top o-rings and/or subdivide the interior space with packing cubes or another bag-in-bag approach.
    -The 1.5Ē waist strap attachments are interesting to me. I have a 1Ē attachment padded hip belt that I use for my S25/S30 but that wonít fit on here so Iíll be using the included webbing waist strap instead. I am curious to see how much of a difference the padding makes. I suspect my clothing will determine that.
    -This is a big bag and as such, the shoulder straps arenít a great fit on me, particularly compared to my S25, and the bag is a bit too big fit-wise. I am 5í7Ē but my back and shoulders are quite narrow. Given the choice I typically prefer a more spacious bag for travel over one that fits my small back, so I would probably choose this bag again, but I am so curious to see what the smaller SG will hold.

    Concluding thoughts:
    I think this bag would be great candidate for people who just want One Bag. It is gorgeous. Looks-wise it could be a daily bag or a travel bag. It holds a laptop. It is incredibly capacious for travel or bulky stuff like sports equipment. Itís versatile. Itís a bit of a chameleon.

    If youíd like to know ďdoes X fit in itĒ please ask and Iíll do my best. I donít have any of TBís briefcase-type bags but I do have a ruler so Iím sure I can figure it out Wow. Shadow Guide 33 First Impressions.
    Last edited by Cristina; 10-23-2020 at 03:20 AM. Reason: Typo. Always a typo!

  2. #2
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    Thank you for these photos and your impressions! It does look like a beautiful, understated bag.

    I have a request somewhat along the lines of "does it fit" (or "does it work"). I have a Freudian Slip for my S19 that I don't end up using for that bag because for me it's TOO much organization, and I find it eats up room from the main cavity. But for this bag, I was thinking I could take a key strap, weave it through the top handle of the FS, and attach each end of the key strap to each of the main cavity O rings so that the FS sort of hangs there, putting smaller items within reach near the top of the bag. (The double-carabiners would also work, but I don't know if they have enough reach.) I suppose I'm wondering what that feels like in practice: would the FS move around too much while walking, or pull at the sides of the bag too much as items are added to weigh it down? I'd appreciate any thoughts you might have about this.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the first impression @Cristina ! This is great :)

    I'd be interested to hear what you and others think over time of how it carries when NOT fully loaded in the main compartment but WITH a full PCSB or Icon (or whatever) fully loaded in the top pocket.

    Also if you have time, please let us know what the measurement is between those shoulder strap attachment points. It looks on your photo (and as you implied) to be much wider than the Synapse range. I'd also love to know what the vertical height is from the shoulder strap attachment point to the base of the bag, since it seems that the top pocket extends vertically above the attachment points...?

    Thanks!
    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...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by k_p View Post
    Thank you for these photos and your impressions! It does look like a beautiful, understated bag.

    I have a request somewhat along the lines of "does it fit" (or "does it work"). I have a Freudian Slip for my S19 that I don't end up using for that bag because for me it's TOO much organization, and I find it eats up room from the main cavity. But for this bag, I was thinking I could take a key strap, weave it through the top handle of the FS, and attach each end of the key strap to each of the main cavity O rings so that the FS sort of hangs there, putting smaller items within reach near the top of the bag. (The double-carabiners would also work, but I don't know if they have enough reach.) I suppose I'm wondering what that feels like in practice: would the FS move around too much while walking, or pull at the sides of the bag too much as items are added to weigh it down? I'd appreciate any thoughts you might have about this.
    Great question! I only have an S25 Freudian Slip but I think my answer will be the same after having played around with it just now.

    I think it could work quite well to put your FS in the bag, but instead of hanging the FS off of both o-rings, I would tether it to just one and then lift it out to access it. (Or as I have just seen, tether it to the drawstring like @bartleby ) The reason Iím recommending this is that once there is anything else inside the bag, the FS will be harder to get to through the top-only opening. A 16Ē key strap provides enough slack/travel to let you pull the FS out most of if not the whole way. And if you want to grab your pen/phone/notebook/whatever out of the FS by feel, youíll still be able to do that if itís tethered to one instead of two. I just donít think the small additional height afforded by that setup is worth the fact that you then cannot list the FS up very much to use the bottom pockets.

    FWIW, I donít feel the FS swims around too much in there, itís plenty wide enough.

    This is how far I can pull my FS up on a 16Ē keystrap:



    Here is the height difference between an S25&S19 FS approximated with an S19 (I turned the top over so you can use the lining as a height guide):




    I hope this helps!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by G42 View Post
    Thanks for the first impression @Cristina ! This is great :)

    I'd be interested to hear what you and others think over time of how it carries when NOT fully loaded in the main compartment but WITH a full PCSB or Icon (or whatever) fully loaded in the top pocket.

    Also if you have time, please let us know what the measurement is between those shoulder strap attachment points. It looks on your photo (and as you implied) to be much wider than the Synapse range. I'd also love to know what the vertical height is from the shoulder strap attachment point to the base of the bag, since it seems that the top pocket extends vertically above the attachment points...?

    Thanks!
    Thanks! Wow. Shadow Guide 33 First Impressions.

    So, I donít have a great answer for you. Yet.

    I laid my Synik 30 next to the SG33 and the shoulder strap attachment points are about the same, and thatís also true for the back length of the bag.

    But it feels different to carry.

    Not sure why: the SG is wider, it has all that padding, it was maybe heavier because I crammed it full, maybe I need to adjust the frame curve, it could be any or all of these. I will have a play around with it and see what I find out, comparing the SG33 to an S25 and S30.

    I do think that primarily the situation is that I have a small back but I often need big bags. Iím a little too short for this bag as well as too narrow: when the waist strap rests comfortably on top of my hips, the shoulder straps are suddenly suspended three inches above my shoulder (I am 5í7Ē!) Iíd love a big bag for a small back, but I long ago abandoned the best-fitting bag maker I know (adjustable length back panels, great hip belts, and womenís packs) because I couldnít stand their (bag) organization or aesthetic. Wow. Shadow Guide 33 First Impressions.

  6. #6
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    @Cristina , this is a great help -- thank you! It's good to know the FS system works/has variations.

    I'm going to spend the weekend considering at your and @bartleby 's photos. I was certain the 33 would be the right size for me (I've been looking for something to carry my work laptop while also helping with after work grocery runs), but perhaps the 23 would be a better fit for EDC.

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