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  1. #31
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by threeteez 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.
    I have the larger cooler and a travel tray, but I can certainly test pack that for you when I get home.
    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

  2. #32
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
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    Okay, here is the travel tray with the big cooler. Note that the travel tray has a slightly smaller diameter:

    And here it is inside the smart alec:

    Overhead view:


    That cooler fits a couple of sizes of round glass Pyrex bowls, so that is what I typically use for lunch, especially since Pyrex can go in the microwave and it cleans easily. The cooler is very simple (top bucket lid slides over bottom bucket) but it really keeps stuff cold. It is not leak proof, so I suggest putting a gallon ziploc in the cooler as a liner:
    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

  3. #33
    Forum Member threeteez's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the photos, Amy! From the website dimensions about the width, I thought the small cooler would fit inside the Travel Tray. My current freezer pack is working okay in the TT, but this looked like it may have been a better way to keep things cold.

    I guess I can just use the cooler without the TT (eureka moment!) in the Sprout so think I'll go ahead and order an Escape pod. I use round Pyrex too-I carry frozen berries to have with Greek yogurt. Thank you again!

  4. #34
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
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    Welcome. The escape pod does a great job of insulation. You can also buy a tyvek cinch sack that it fits in.
    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

  5. #35
    Forum Member brendabethman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doesntmakememadonna View Post
    I am also interested in using this bag as a personal item on a flight along with an Aeronaut, which I am more doubtful about (and I've read posts about this too! Most recently, @brendabethman's question midway through this thread but other threads as well).
    An update on this particular issue -- I just test packed both my A45 and A30 to see how they work with the Smart Alec. The A30 (if you don't mind carrying it cross-body or on the shoulder) was fine, but I would definitely not recommend using the SA with the A45 because that was pretty uncomfortable (the A45 when fully packed gets pretty heavy so works best in backpack mode IMO). For the record, here's my packing list:

    Bathing suit/towel
    Leggings (2; 1 regular, 1 Capri)
    Pants (1)
    Skirts (2)
    Grey bliss wrap
    T-shirts (2; black & purple)
    Tunics (2; purple, grey w/ b/w stripes)
    Dresses (2)
    Scarves/shawls
    Underwear
    Slip shorts
    Camis
    Socks
    Footless tights (1)
    PJs
    Shoes
    Toiletries
    Blow dryer
    Hairbrush
    Jewelry
    Coffee bag
    Shop bag(s)
    DLBP (Olive)
    MCB (Olive)
    Space bags
    LP glasses
    LP socks
    LP books

    (LP are my husband's initials -- I am bringing a few items over to him). In the A45, I was able to pack everything on this list except for the books and travel tray. I also was able to fit the SA (as I would pack it on the way over if I went with the A45). The A30 couldn't hold everything, so I had to put the toiletries, blow dryer, hairbrush, jewelry, coffee bag, and books in the SA, but there was still plenty of room left over to bring back souvenirs, especially if I use both of the modular pockets.

  6. #36
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    I don't have much time to respond now (trying to get the girls to take naps is proving more and more difficult instead of less and less!), but I wanted to quickly reply to so many of you who have helped by posting--both about the Smart Alec specifically but also about breastpumping and lactation!!! I feel very supported by this forum, and I really am starting to feel a.... kinship, I guess is the word. Thank you! I'm loving all this information. I'll check in again later!

    If anyone has more to add (what works and what doesn't with the SA, including halcyon vs. ballistic/cordura, please post!

    Thank you thank you!

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by doesntmakememadonna View Post
    trying to get the girls to take naps is proving more and more difficult instead of less and less!
    Oh that brings back memories! Now, that my kids are almost teens, I can look back on that sort of thing with the golden glow of fondness.

    My middle child signified that nap time was no longer of interest to her by taking off her full nappy and smearing the contents everywhere - face, body, cot, walls, teddies... I had thought, since she was so quiet, that she had fallen asleep. Now of course it is a funny story we tease her about but I remember just standing and staring in dumbstruck surprise when I went to check on her and she was standing there smiling at me with glee!

  8. #38
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    Again, so many thanks for everyone's contributions to this thread. I am probably going to spring for my Smart Alec next week, when other bills are paid.

    SPECIAL THANKS go to @haraya. I mean, where else could I ask a question and actually have someone arrange and photograph breastpump flanges/horns in Ziploc bags by her bag?? I ask, and the answer is: ONLY ON THE TB FORUMS! Thank you so much. That is exactly what I was trying to imagine.

    One question I have for any of you who have the Upper Modular Pocket: what color is the lining? For some reason that product page is uncharacteristically sparse w/r/t pics or information, so I don't know what the insides of the UMP looks like.

    Thank you again. You guys rock.

  9. #39
    Forum Member brendabethman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doesntmakememadonna View Post
    Again, so many thanks for everyone's contributions to this thread. I am probably going to spring for my Smart Alec next week, when other bills are paid.

    SPECIAL THANKS go to @haraya. I mean, where else could I ask a question and actually have someone arrange and photograph breastpump flanges/horns in Ziploc bags by her bag?? I ask, and the answer is: ONLY ON THE TB FORUMS! Thank you so much. That is exactly what I was trying to imagine.

    One question I have for any of you who have the Upper Modular Pocket: what color is the lining? For some reason that product page is uncharacteristically sparse w/r/t pics or information, so I don't know what the insides of the UMP looks like.

    Thank you again. You guys rock.
    My black UMP is lined with steel Halcyon. I believe all the colors have the same lining, which I suppose will be changing over to NW Sky.

  10. #40
    Forum Member Squirrel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doesntmakememadonna View Post
    One question I have for any of you who have the Upper Modular Pocket: what color is the lining? For some reason that product page is uncharacteristically sparse w/r/t pics or information, so I don't know what the insides of the UMP looks like.
    I found this (older) thread with a couple of pictures of the inside of the UMP: My Smart Alec There you can see what @brendabethman already mentioned: Steel Dyneema/Halcyon for the Ballsitic version as well as for the Dyneema/Halcyon version (see last post in that thread).

  11. #41
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    Thanks, @brendabethman and @Squirrel! I had seen some older pics with the steel lining in the black, but wasn't sure if that was the (current) lining across the board. It is strange that that detail isn't mentioned on the product page. Thank you for reminding everyone of that great review too, @Squirrel--that's one that I have found to be very helpful.
    Last edited by doesntmakememadonna; 05-07-2016 at 02:02 PM.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by brendabethman View Post
    My black UMP is lined with steel Halcyon. I believe all the colors have the same lining, which I suppose will be changing over to NW Sky.
    Steel Halcyon also inside my black UMP; but note that the entire interior isn't really lined with Halcyon. Only the bottom has the Halcyon and it both lines the bottom and forms the four organizer pockets.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amy View Post
    Welcome. The escape pod does a great job of insulation. You can also buy a tyvek cinch sack that it fits in.
    I just bought both sizes with sacks as a birthday gift for my husband (shhh).

  14. #44
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    My Aubergine/Wasabi Smart Alec arrived today. It is beautiful.

    I haven't had much time to look at it, as dinner and bedtime for little ones came so quickly after I got home (doesn't it always?). I am bouncing my youngest to sleep now while my husband is giving the older one a bath.

    So no pics yet. But just a couple VERY QUICK first impressions, in no particular order:

    1. It is big. Very big and cavernous. You all told me so, but I had to see it for myself.

    2. It will readily gobble up my current EDC things, which include all my things for pumping breastmilk at work as well as my lunch. It's a lot of things and I doubt it'll be half-full. I have been using my Indigo S19 (my first TB bag, and thus ever-beloved) plus carrying a small cooler or my new Original Halcyon/NWS DLBP and carrying a cooler. I wanted something that could carry everything I need and the SA more than suffices.

    3. It is stiff. The material feels stiff and the zippers are very stiff and more rugged than I had anticipated.

    4. There is a small inside pocket in the main compartment that I must've read about but never registered. The inside, as aforementioned, is humungous and cavernous, but it also has lots of lining and that small pocket and seems like there is a lot going on in there at first glance. I can see why others have put a Guardian Light in there. I thought it was overkill when I saw some of you do that. It is decidedly not overkill. I stand corrected.

    5. I love Aubergine (my barely used Tristar is Aubergine) but now that I know Nordic and Black Halcyon are forthcoming options, my heart is uncertain. I have not removed the tags. I ALWAYS remove the tags, even when I have regretted it (I wouldn't have removed the tags on my French Blue DLBC had I thought more about it before doing so). Soooooo, maybe I don't love the color on the SA?

    6. My enormous phablet--the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which I really enjoy--actually does fit in the pocket that has a space for a phone. Nice job.

    7. That's a LOT of Wasabi on the inside.

    8. I like how it can stand up on its own. That's cool, sleek, and useful.

    9. When I tighten the bungee cord to minimize the volume, it looks kinda funny. I sort of like how it looks, but my husband glanced at it over his shoulder from the changing table as I was walking around with the bag on my back like that, and he was like, "what did you do to your bag? It looks weird now."

    10. It seems like it is going to be VERY VERY COMFORTABLE to wear. The bag seems to fit me better than my S19. I don't have an S25 but I've tried someone else's on. The SA seems to fit me quite well, though I would need to load it to really see. I'm 6 feet tall, slim-ish build, carrying around about 20 pounds postpartum weight (I'm about 175 pounds now). It is a nice fit and conforms to my back well. That is cool.

    11. I don't know if I can wait for the Halcyon bags to come out. And I don't even know if I'll like the bag in that material! And I don't even know if it will last forever the way that the ballistic bag feels like it will. In Ballistic, the SA feels like LUGGAGE. It seems indestructible and strong and stiff and like it handle my life and much much more. Will the Halcyon feel like that? Probably not, but is that ok?

    Or maybe I want to try the currently available all black ballistic with the NWS interior lining?

    Oh man. I'm so confused again.

    It is a gorgeous piece of handiwork. Like, I think it seems like an incredible, wonderful, even masterful piece of baggage. It is beautiful and seems so strong.

    But do I love it in these colors? Maybe? Maybe not?

    Those are my impressions as I sit in a dark room thinking about my bag out there in the living room, sitting in its box.

    Any advice? Anything I should consider? For the money and the sheer emotional energy this has occupied, I need this to be AMAZING AND WOWZA AND WOOOOO-HOOOOO! Right now I'm just feeling happy and excited but not all-caps.

    Maybe I'm just tired.

    Ideas, advice, impressions of Halcyon vs Ballistic for the SA, comfort are all welcome. I will post an actual review in the correct section, but right now, I'm still in my "questions about bags" phase.

    Thank you. Apologies for the insane ramble. G'night friends!
    Last edited by doesntmakememadonna; 06-20-2016 at 07:06 PM. Reason: Phone keyboard autocorrect made it practically unintelligible!

  15. #45
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
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    Hey there, @doestnmakememadonna, (I am up and jet lagged):

    I agree with all those first impressions about the bag's size and rugged feel. They are the same ones I had about my original halcyon Smart Alec when I first got it off eBay. I have never seen a ballistic one, but the halcyon version still feels sturdy to me. Then again, the other luggage pieces I have (A30, Copilot) are original halcyon as well, so I sort of knew what to expect before I got the Smart Alec. I suspect that when placed alongside the Ballistic version, it won't feel nearly as rugged to you. But I don't have the feeling that this material is fragile. It's floppy but not fragile.

    For me, it wasn't exactly love at first sight with the Smart Alec either (I wrote a couple of posts somewhere about my first impressions, which I'll try to add to this post if I can find them), but this bag really grew on me. Like your husband, I too think the SA looks a bit funny when the bungie cords are cinched up, so I generally keep them loose, even when my bag is only partially full. That fat-lady-in-a-tight-corset effect is somewhat minimized, I suspect, with the original halcyon fabric, since it's all a single color. With a single color bag, you don't really notice the seam lines that form that middle strip, so it looks like one continuous piece. I do like the look of the ballistic bags with the colored strip down the center. It's slimming.

    I ordered the Smart Alec strictly for its utility-- to accommodate some of the bulkier things I sometimes carry (cooler, chairs, yoga mat, big awkward things, etc.)-- and not for its looks, as it was always my least favorite looking bag. It exceeded my expectations on the utility front, and now I have grown to love the bag, and even see its beauty which I couldn't appreciate before. It's definitely the most comfortable bag I have.

    The lining color of this bag (mine is wasabi too) is very evident, as you've noticed. Fortunately I like wasabi and it's a color that goes well with most other colors (everything except other greens) and also is bright enough to make items visible inside the deep cavern of the SA. So I'm not bothered by the expanse of color on the inside. I prefer the UV interior of my A30, but the wasabi interior is actually more practical because it is brighter.

    You might need to bring that Smart Alec out of its box and set it down next to you, let it buy you a drink, and get to know it better before making a final decision. When I was warming to mine, I set it across from me on the couch while I worked, so I could look up at it from time to time and try to form a relationship. I was still feeling cool about it when I loaded it up and took it out for its first picnic, at which point I started admiring all the things I ordered it for in the first place: big, sturdy flat base that keeps it upright, huge capacity, exceptional comfort. It took me a while to accept the 2 large side pockets when I really wanted Synapse-style gusseted pockets, but now I appreciate their minimalism.

    If you already love what's great about the Smart Alec, and your issue is just color/fabric choices, then I think you ought to give yourself a few days or a week to load it up, carry it around with the tags still on , and try to think of it as "your bag" and then see how you feel. I personally love aubergine. An aubergine side effect was my gateway bag. The ballistic does feel indestructible in a way the thinner halcyon never will. Also, the halcyon is a whole lot floppier which could potentially annoy you. My original halcyon Smart Alec droops quite a bit when it's empty or lightly packed. Since a big draw of the Smart Alec is its ability to stand upright and grab stuff out of the top, I think the sturdy ballistic might be the better choice.

    Can't wait to hear more of your impressions of this bag and to know what you decide. I love that there are other people out there as obsessive about bags as I am.

    EDIT:
    Okay, I found a couple of my long posts about smart alec impressions:

    https://forums.tombihn.com/general-b...ht=#post123579

    https://forums.tombihn.com/photos-vi...ht=#post117111

    https://forums.tombihn.com/photos-vi...ht=#post117100

    https://forums.tombihn.com/questions...ht=#post116770
    Last edited by Amy; 06-21-2016 at 02:06 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

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