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  1. #1
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    Parental Unit - No Kids Involved

    I know there are several EXCELLENT reviews of non-parental uses for the Parental Unit, but I just got mine, and I think I'm already in love, so I wanted to share my first impressions.

    This is my first EDC from TB I have a Swift, but I only use it for knitting stuff.

    When my Aubergine/Wasabi PU arrived, I was so excited it was gorgeous!! Then I had a momentary panic it is so different from all the typical messenger-type bags I have carried for years, and I didn't quite know how to approach it. I also was a bit worried, because the main compartment opening was much smaller than I anticipated I think I was expecting it to be the entire length of the bag, and it is not.

    I took a couple deep breaths, and panic over, I started to shift my EDC items into the PU. It definitely took some rethinking about how I was going to do things. First up, I ditched my old wallet (a big RFID travel wallet that I wasn't particularly happy with anyway). I have a SE on order, and plan to fill that with a COW and some other pouches to replace the wallet I already like this new setup, even without the SE in hand.

    I quickly came to realize that the outer pockets were going to be the real workhorse elements of the bag, and the inner compartment, unlike most traditional bags, will actually be where I put things that I don't need to access as often. I am still playing around with whether I want the pockets inside snapped together, or open. If you need to carry anything large and flat, you can't have them snapped. I also discovered that if I wanted to squeeze in a fleece or jacket, it doesn't quite fit with the snaps attached either. You can, however, have the lower snaps hooked, and fit in a top layer, but still have a little bit of the organization structure of the 4 compartments inside. So I'm playing around with that.

    The other thing I discovered about the inside compartment is that you can squeeze tall items into each end so I have an mini-umbrella in one end, and my water bottle in the other end (my bottle is a bit too tall for the outside pockets). You can also fit smaller flat items into the two sides so I have a book vertically in the one inside divider, along with some folded papers. As I said, I'm still playing around with what all will go in the main compartment, but right now the list is looking like a knitting project, a book, a water bottle, umbrella, some extra folding shopping bags, my pencil pouch, and then some loose odds and ends in the two pockets on either side.

    On the front of the bag (which I define as the logo side), I have my phone and the COW in the little front pocket (although the COW will move to the SE when I get it). In the three pockets, I plan to put my SE in the middle, my keys on the one side, on top of some loose odds and ends (mints, lip gloss, etc.), and a small emergency kit on the other side.

    In the back three pockets, I am putting my iPad mini in the middle, a pouch with all my wires in the one side, and a small organizer pouch with things like stamps, coupons, etc. I have my work id in the zip pocket on that side.

    So that's what I've put in so far, but I still have tons of room everywhere. As I mentioned, depending on how the main compartment is packed, you can fit a top layer in there. If I had a slightly shorter water bottle, it would fit in one of the exterior pockets (and I will probably be getting one that does, so it's easier to get to).

    I plan to continue to experiment with the layout. For example, I think if I want to be able to carry larger flat items, I may need to put in a small clipboard or something to support them, because it doesn't have the structure of a typical flat messenger or briefcase to support the papers. With that layout, I would be much more limited in what I could put in there. Fortunately I don't carry paperwork that often, so I think that won't be a problem.

    I am also going to be traveling soon, and plan to use the PU as my personal item, so I'll be experimenting with a travel organization strategy too.

    I have the Absolute Strap, which is a dream. I have been wearing the bag cross-body, and fairly high on my back, and it's quite comfortable. I can swing it forward when I need to get to things (front pockets being the easiest to access of course), and then swing it back when I'm on the move.

    I like that the bag stands up nicely on its own. I am still a little concerned about the small opening on the main compartment - it feels a little limiting, but so far has not been a problem. I also wish the main compartment had two zipper pulls instead of one.

    I don't have any good pictures yet, but will try and take some and post them here soon.

    Bottom line, I'm thrilled with my purchase, and look forward to many years of use!

  2. #2
    Forum Member marytattoo's Avatar
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    @jagmuse, I'm so happy you love it! I posted about it a few days ago. I loved it too. In my case, however, I decided to return it after having it at home for a few weeks. I LOVE big bags. But since finding TB I've been trying to downsize. I'm not a public transport commuter. I drive everywhere. I used to hang out in coffee shops on a daily basis, and had my life with me. That meant a purse, a vera bradley backpack, a small tote with both water and coffee travel mugs, a small pillow for my back which didn't fit in the backpack, and sometimes a separate knitting bag. So, I had a world at my fingertips.

    Before Bihn I began spending less time at coffee shops because I began spending Tuesdays knitting at the LYS, and Thursdays playing with my now 10-month old great-niece. M-W-F are spent at the gym.

    Now I've cut down to either a SE or SCB inside a larger bag, so far a Swift or DLBP. my travel mugs go into a S3 SS and that can go into either large bag, as can my pillow. I've lightened my load.

    I expect sometime I will repurchase the PU because I LOVE it (but have the same zipper concerns). My travel mugs - stainless steel - do fit in the outer pockets. The coffee is 12 oz, and the water is 16 oz (stays cold even in very hot weather!) My test packing put them catty-corner for balance. If I was still lugging my life every day I would still have it. When my life changes again, it will be bought again (and the Absolute Strap is a dream on the PU).

    Great review. Can't wait for pics!

  3. #3
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    I had a PU for a while, and LOVED the way it looked, but there are two things I would change--the main compartment zipper opening seemed too narrow to me as well. I think it is designed so that you can leave it open and bend over to reach a small child without dumping your bag out! But, it just made it difficult to access that part of the bag in my hands. A double zipper and about 4 more inches of zipper length would have been great. Also, I would like one of the outer pockets to NOT be divided to allow for a larger item to be placed there like a larger paper planner or wallet-like item, or a SE lengthwise. Just my two cents!

  4. #4
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    Yup, I would absolutely agree, luvdabags - I think that's why I see the main compartment as the auxiliary portion of the bag, with the exterior pockets being the main use, for me anyway. Because you can shift the volume around, you can put more in the outside pockets, and less in the middle, so that works - and I do like that everything is in it's own little pocket, so once I get oriented (using the label to make sure I'm facing the right direction!) I can easily find what I'm trying to grab. I do want to play around a bit more and see what I can and cannot fit into the center compartment...

    And I agree that having a single big exterior (or an adjustable exterior) pocket could have its uses too!

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