Main TOM BIHN website
 
emailus@tombihn.com

COMMUNITY FORUMS

Welcome! We're glad you are here. This is the place to ask for bag advice, help other people out, post reviews, and share photos and videos.

x

First, select your desired search engine:

  • Google Search
  • DuckDuckGo
  • Original Forum Search Engine

User Tag List

Page 2 of 7 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 ... LastLast
Results 16 to 30 of 96
  1. #16
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    2,049
    Mentioned
    10 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    OK, such good answers above. I am going to make a few points that maybe haven't been covered.

    1. I tried the ballistic version of the Smart Alec before settling on the Halcyon. The ballistic SEEMED significantly heavier to me. This might be my brain playing tricks, but it appeared to make a difference in my personal comfort level. Logically, any weight difference should be erased when you fill up the bag, but I decided to stick to Halcyon. The other factor for me was that the ballistic version is made with some cordura parts on the exterior, and as an owner of two furry, meowing beasties, I liked that I could set the Halcyon version on the floor and know that it wouldn't pick up any lint or fur, since it is all Halcyon.

    2. I don't use the Smart Alec as a personal item, but I have taken it as a carry on when I check a suitcase. It fits well under the seat in front of me, unless there are bulky AV boxes or something preventing it. This is important because the overheads get full sometimes. I like staying out of the fray and keeping everything in my seating area when needed.

    3. Since my other frequent travel bag is the Aeronaut 30, I just bought some dedicated A30 cubes. They fit delightfully in the Smart Alec. You probably already saw this post, but just in case, I'm linking to it again. I'm excited to use it on my next trip, because I think it will make everything neater and easier to find. Most importantly, they will let me segregate my clothes from the stuff that I want to remain at the top of the bag.

    4. I don't know if I'd call the Smart Alec "sleek", but it does have a sort of barrel shape which I find easy to deal with. If it's packed in a certain way, it stays pretty cylindrical. I have taken off the bungee cord, like @Juanito mentions, and that improves the appearance IMO. Though if it is under-packed, the bungee can be helpful.

    5. One thing I'd definitely take as an accessory, as mentioned above by @ilkyway, is the Side Effect. I personally keep my passport, cards, money and phone in the SE when I am flying, and most of the time it is on a strap and arranged like a purse, so it's physically on my body rather than in the overhead or under the seat. And of course when going through security the entire SE can be zipped up securely inside the larger bag, so this works well.

    Three photos:

    The Smart Alec in use for a shopping expedition (I was going from work and thought the backpack would be more comfortable to walk with than a bunch of shopping bags. I had a stuffed animal, at least one board game, and a lot of other things inside.)
    Be a Smart Alec: I need more information about the Smart Alec-toys-jpg

    The Smart Alec, showing how it cinches:
    Be a Smart Alec: I need more information about the Smart Alec-cinched-jpg

    A photo of the SA under a seat in a plane. I think it may have been Jet Blue? Anyway, it fit pretty well.
    Be a Smart Alec: I need more information about the Smart Alec-underseat-jpg
    Last edited by bchaplin; 04-29-2016 at 03:44 PM.
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

  2. #17
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    38
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I love my Smart Alec, it's my favorite Tom Bihn Backpack. (I also have an S19 and S25)

    I have used it as my main luggage on many trips and as a sidekick for my A30.

    Sorry, I have no photos, but live in your town so if you'd like to see one in person, let me know!

    Embarrassment

  3. #18
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Share
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    177
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Kippiann View Post
    I love my Smart Alec, it's my favorite Tom Bihn Backpack. (I also have an S19 and S25)

    I have used it as my main luggage on many trips and as a sidekick for my A30.

    Sorry, I have no photos, but live in your town so if you'd like to see one in person, let me know!

    Embarrassment
    I must know more. I will PM you! Thank you!

  4. #19
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Share
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    177
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by bchaplin View Post
    OK, such good answers above. I am going to make a few points that maybe haven't been covered.
    Coming through for me, @bchaplin! Thank you for your messages and now this. You definitely know your way around a Smart Alec!

    Quote Originally Posted by bchaplin View Post
    1. I tried the ballistic version of the Smart Alec before settling on the Halcyon. The ballistic SEEMED significantly heavier to me. This might be my brain playing tricks, but it appeared to make a difference in my personal comfort level. Logically, any weight difference should be erased when you fill up the bag, but I decided to stick to Halcyon. The other factor for me was that the ballistic version is made with some cordura parts on the exterior, and as an owner of two furry, meowing beasties, I liked that I could set the Halcyon version on the floor and know that it wouldn't pick up any lint or fur, since it is all Halcyon.
    So I've read several people recommend the dyneema/halcyon because of the weight issue, although the specs tell a different story: that the halcyon is only 3 ounces lighter. Is there something I should know about backpack loads? Does 3 ounces make that kind of difference? I'm inexperienced so I don't know if it is a mental or a physical difference. What do all of you think? Is the weight an issue I should consider?

    Quote Originally Posted by bchaplin View Post
    3. Since my other frequent travel bag is the Aeronaut 30, I just bought some dedicated A30 cubes. They fit delightfully in the Smart Alec. You probably already saw this post, but just in case, I'm linking to it again. I'm excited to use it on my next trip, because I think it will make everything neater and easier to find. Most importantly, they will let me segregate my clothes from the stuff that I want to remain at the top of the bag.
    Yup, I'd seen that--thanks for explaining further!

    Quote Originally Posted by bchaplin View Post
    4. I don't know if I'd call the Smart Alec "sleek", but it does have a sort of barrel shape which I find easy to deal with. If it's packed in a certain way, it stays pretty cylindrical. I have taken off the bungee cord, like @Juanito mentions, and that improves the appearance IMO. Though if it is under-packed, the bungee can be helpful.
    This barrel-like or cylindrical shape thing is kinda exactly the kind of detail I've been trying to grasp. I can't tell if that is a style that will appeal to me but maybe I just need to look at the pics more. Thanks for elucidating this a bit more than previous posts.

    Quote Originally Posted by bchaplin View Post
    The Smart Alec, showing how it cinches:
    Be a Smart Alec: I need more information about the Smart Alec-cinched-jpg
    This is the pic that first got me intrigued by the SA to begin with! There is something I LOVE about how this looks here. Great and helpful photo, @bchaplin.

    Maybe I am almost ready for this leap. People have been making a pretty solid case. I might need to check out @kippiann's since she is local. Have I gone off the deep end with TB forum stuff? I kinda feel like I have!

    Any haters who gotta hate out there? Well, no, not haters, but anyone out there who has been disappointed with the SA or just found that it didn't work for their needs? Would you mind chiming in? I would love that.

    Thanks again, gang.

  5. #20
    Forum Member marytattoo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    1,732
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by doesntmakememadonna View Post
    Coming through for me, @bchaplin! Thank you for your messages and now this. You definitely know your way around a Smart Alec!



    So I've read several people recommend the dyneema/halcyon because of the weight issue, although the specs tell a different story: that the halcyon is only 3 ounces lighter. Is there something I should know about backpack loads? Does 3 ounces make that kind of difference? I'm inexperienced so I don't know if it is a mental or a physical difference. What do all of you think? Is the weight an issue I should consider?


    Yup, I'd seen that--thanks for explaining further!


    This barrel-like or cylindrical shape thing is kinda exactly the kind of detail I've been trying to grasp. I can't tell if that is a style that will appeal to me but maybe I just need to look at the pics more. Thanks for elucidating this a bit more than previous posts.


    This is the pic that first got me intrigued by the SA to begin with! There is something I LOVE about how this looks here. Great and helpful photo, @bchaplin.

    Maybe I am almost ready for this leap. People have been making a pretty solid case. I might need to check out @kippiann's since she is local. Have I gone off the deep end with TB forum stuff? I kinda feel like I have!

    Any haters who gotta hate out there? Well, no, not haters, but anyone out there who has been disappointed with the SA or just found that it didn't work for their needs? Would you mind chiming in? I would love that.

    Thanks again, gang.
    remember too that you CAN return it (not as easily if you're not in the States)

  6. #21
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    1,610
    Mentioned
    16 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    doesntmakememadonna, you made a great point that there doesn't seem to be a great deal of representation (or at least, not recently) on these forums for folks carrying lactation gear! Reminded me that I had a box of spare parts in the back of the closet. (Pump was rehomed a long time ago, as youngest is now in second grade.)

    I know you said you weren't worried that the SA would hold all you needed it to hold, but maybe these will help someone down the road decide what TB bag to tote their pump in. Smilie (And at least it reminded me, I should clear out the closet!)

    Warning: pictures taken at night with flash, so they aren't going to win any beauty prizes but hopefully give a clue as to what can fit where...

    First off, some random pieces (I'm sure these don't match your model, but I imagine the general shape is the same Stick Out Tongue):



    The lonely bag of parts at the bottom of the SA. That's a quart Ziploc bag. It doesn't even cover half the floor of the bag, there's room to put more next to it (see next picture):



    All the spare parts that were in the box (that long metallic stick in the bottom foreground is a 15" ruler, to attempt to provide some scale):



    Just the quart bag again, this time in the UMP (lots of room to spare, you could probably get a full 3DCOC in on top of the horns and still easily close the zipper):



    (a few more in the post to follow)
    Last edited by haraya; 04-29-2016 at 10:05 PM.

  7. #22
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    1,610
    Mentioned
    16 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Continued...

    Same UMP, zipped closed with horns inside (I know, it just looks like a UMP Smilie):



    Horns in the side pocket:



    Horns in side pocket, zipped closed:



    (For this picture I stuffed the SA with a fleece blanket (twin size).)

    Hope those help someone!

  8. #23
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    4,223
    Mentioned
    11 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Haraya, those are unfair outside beauty shots of the Smart Alec, clear, steady, nice pictures.


    I never wanted one before but... with the new Nordic Halcyon, all bets are off!

    I am thinking of using it as an alternate EDC for the times I need to carry very bulky items: big books, clothes, electronic accessories from shopping expedition, all over town, on public transport.
    Or to transport farmer's market items like a "Market Backpack", Accessories like Stuff Sacks (Yarn and Travel) playing the role of the Market Tote inner organization and the two external pockets helping as well.

    Both of these roles are taken by the Large Shop Bag, which is wonderful and much lighter weight, but, doesn't protect anything from a downpour.

    I used a Brain Bag for travel but never though of the Smart Alec that way, because, its wide base, make it impossible to look streamlined. I least that is what I thought, until I saw the picture above.

    I think it would be ideal for you as you could place the bottle/lunch bag in the bottom, the toodler's toys in a 3D Cube and the pumping apparatus, including the washable bag, in a Large Travel Stuff Sack.

  9. #24
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    1,610
    Mentioned
    16 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    *blows big kiss towards backpack*

    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    Haraya, those are unfair outside beauty shots of the Smart Alec, clear, steady, nice pictures
    I wonder if TB will offer a two-tone all-Halcyon SA?? Think of how svelte it would look with a Nordic center panel and black Halcyon sides!!

    I do use my SA for wet days. Bonus is that I can put a wet umbrella in a side pocket and isolate it from what's in the main compartment. (Alternately, for my really bulky - albeit not super-heavy - martial arts gear, I sometimes use my A30 as a gym bag. But I think the SA's top-loading feature is probably better for going shopping.)

    I never wanted one before but... with the new Nordic Halcyon, all bets are off!

    I am thinking of using it as an alternate EDC for the times I need to carry very bulky items: big books, clothes, electronic accessories from shopping expedition, all over town, on public transport. [...]

    Both of these roles are taken by the Large Shop Bag, which is wonderful and much lighter weight, but, doesn't protect anything from a downpour.

  10. #25
    Forum Member adalangdon's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    1,718
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by doesntmakememadonna View Post
    4. What's up with the side pockets? Wouldn't small "bit and bobs" work in there just like in the S19 and S25?
    It would, but the problem is that the external pockets are large and few (well... two) in the SA. This means that you can throw random stuff inside but you'll have to dig for it. Personally, that is frustrating. It's easy to find stuff in the Synapse pockets because the pockets are small and shallow. But these are long and big, and so are less conducive to finding things quickly.

    What I really like about the Synapses is that the organisation is always just right for the volume, be it the 19 or 25. My main issue with the SA is that when you need more external organisation, it means you have to get more space as well, when sometimes all you may want is another pocket without adding on 1 litre of space (speaking from personal experience here). But given your carrying needs, getting the upper mod pocket may make sense. But that's going to be another $45, which will take you up to $235. (Man, I cannot believe how much prices have gone up since 2014...)
    Last edited by adalangdon; 04-30-2016 at 03:26 AM.

  11. #26
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Share
    Dallas, Texas
    Posts
    516
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have written a few more extensive posts about my experiences with the Smart Alec, which you have probably read, so I will address just a couple of things here.

    It has really nice lines and arcs to its shape... I can see why so many people like the look of it. But the side pockets, when packed full along with the main compartment, bulge out and can give the bag a wide appearance which reminds me of a pudgy little gnome with saddlebags. I vastly prefer the narrow-hipped athleticism of the bag when it isn't stretched to its widest capacity, and in fact, have felt embarrassed for my SA when it is bursting at the seams with overstuffed side pockets. (That is exactly how I look in yoga pants.)

    I don't own the upper modular pocket, because although I can see how useful it would be, I don't want my bag to look like it is wearing a tam-o-shanter. I just do not like the aesthetics of a bag attached to the top. (important note: I have never seen an UMP in person so I have formed that bias entirely from photos. Also, I cannot vouch for my ability to actually discern good fashion.)

    I think the Smart Alec, more than any bag I have, changes appearance based on what it carries. It can look really sleek as you saw from the photos you referenced, or it can look obese if overstuffed. I have not noticed the "grumpy face" of the understuffed bag. That could be that I tend to carry it pretty full, but I also think that the single tone of the original black halcyon makes that effect less noticeable.

    I love the wide padded base of the bag. It lets it stand upright and lets you rest horizontal things on the bottom. Coolers work great in it. I use this one: Escape Pod Cooler | Simple Outdoor Solutions | SimpleOutdoorStore

    Bottom line is that I think this bag would work great for your current haulage needs, and be flexible enough to serve you and your growing family for many years. It is a truly fantastic bag and excels in the areas of comfort and capacity.

    (Btw, congrats on your new baby. I have a newborn grandson and my poor daughter in law is going through the hell of pumping. Check out this article:
    Why We Need a Better Breast Pump)
    Last edited by Amy; 04-30-2016 at 07:03 AM.
    Donít make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, donít hesitate to make it beautiful. ó Shaker Philosophy

  12. #27
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    8
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Amy View Post
    . Check out this article:
    Why We Need a Better Breast Pump)
    Very interesting read! I've dealt with pumping and working for two babies already, and completely agree that we need better technology! It's great that a few companies are making progress.

  13. #28
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    1,610
    Mentioned
    16 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Amy, I think you win the prize for best new description of the Smart Alec!! Haha!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Amy View Post
    ... can give the bag a wide appearance which reminds me of a pudgy little gnome with saddlebags. I vastly prefer the narrow-hipped athleticism of the bag when it isn't stretched to its widest capacity, and in fact, have felt embarrassed for my SA when it is bursting at the seams with overstuffed side pockets. [...]

    I don't want my bag to look like it is wearing a tam-o-shanter.
    That was a hilarious and sad article. So frustrating that so little progress has been made. I used to joke that if Steve Jobs had been a lactating mother, by now breast pumps would be stylish, wireless devices the size of a deck of cards, that everyone wore on the outside of their clothes as a status symbol. Stick Out Tongue

    Check out this article:
    Why We Need a Better Breast Pump)
    Last edited by haraya; 04-30-2016 at 09:13 AM.

  14. #29
    Forum Member threeteez's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    385
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Amy View Post
    Amy, thanks for the link. Do you happen to have the small SOS cooler and a Travel Tray to test pack for me? It seems like the sizing would fit and would be a brilliant TT hack.

    I currently carry a thin square freezer pack on the bottom of a TT under my food, but would love to have the entire TT area more insulated. I put my TT (zest), a Contigo bottle, and utensils in my Sprout (Navy/wasabi)...such a happy combination of organization and cuteness.

  15. #30
    Forum Member marytattoo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    1,732
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I want to make a case for the UMP - nice to have just in case. you don't need to use it often but it's a good option when you need more storage. can also be used as internal organization but then attached outside the SA when more inside room is needed. FWIW.

Page 2 of 7 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 ... LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •