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  1. #46
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    @Amy, your post was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. I am still mulling this decision, but to hear you describe the slow build of your love for your Smart Alec was really helpful and reassuring. You totally get where I'm coming from on this. Thank you!

    Also, it is nifty to have even more links added to this Smart Alec thread! Thanks for that too.

    Still considering. I wore my DLBP to work today and kept my SA boxed up. I will visit him again today after work and see how I'm feeling. Maybe try your trick of having it out to look at for a while....

    Many thanks.

  2. #47
    Forum Member Muni_Jedi's Avatar
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    I've never had a ballistic SA but I do have a Steel Dyneema(Halcyon) one and I love it. It is versatile, handsome and all around one of my favorite bags, in looks, comfort and flexibility of use.

    I'm kinda bummed that I already have one because seeing the Black Halcyon version has me itchy to order. Oh well, I'll wait until they make the BB in Black Halcyon (HINT HINT HINT!!!!!)

  3. #48
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    Sorry to be a continual bother, but if anyone out there has a BLACK Ballistic Smart Alec, preferably with Northwest Sky lining, would you mind posting a pic or two please?

    There aren't any inside/outside pics of that color combo on the website, and (though I can't believe I'd go for a black bag) I am strongly considering comparing my Aubergine one to the Black.

    I can find some Black/Wasabi pics of old-style Smart Alecs, but I'm searching for a Black/NWS current-style photo.

    Also: I was thinking about it last night when I was gazing at my new, in-limbo Smart Alec. I think I am unaccustomed to the new-style zippers on Tom Bihn bags. Both my Original Aeronaut (A45) and S19 have old-style zippers, meaning the ones that have the waterproof seal thing on the outside and sort of disappear into the seams of the bags. And the zippers aren't silver either. And I've used those two bags a lot over the years, and that style is just familiar to me; even when it starts to look cracked and worn, it still "reads" as special and Tom-Bihn-ish to me to have those zippers. So I may also be reacting to the newness of the zippers on the current SA. I'm thinking maybe Black Ballistic or Black Halcyon might appeal to me because of the disappearing aspect.

    Raise your hand if you are getting INCREDIBLY SICK of @doesntmakememadonna talking about the Smart Alec!!! Many apologies. Enough already. I promise to make some decisions soon, or at least keep my waffling thoughts to myself!
    Last edited by doesntmakememadonna; 06-22-2016 at 09:33 AM. Reason: I forgot to say "please" in my request for pics!

  4. #49
    Forum Member Rocks's Avatar
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    Don't keep your thoughts to yourself! They're very useful. If it helps at all, I'm on my third Smart Alec. The first was navy/Iberian. I returned it. The second was Dyneema/wasabi. I liked that one a lot and traded it. Makes no sense, but someone else loves it now. The third I got used, it's steel/Iberian. Definitely not my first choice color or material, but I really missed having a Smart Alec, and I dig it. I like the new style zips because there's no coating to discolor or flake off. Also, if I had to start over, I'd get black or nordic Halcyon for lightness and squishability.

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocks View Post
    Don't keep your thoughts to yourself! They're very useful. If it helps at all, I'm on my third Smart Alec. The first was navy/Iberian. I returned it. The second was Dyneema/wasabi. I liked that one a lot and traded it. Makes no sense, but someone else loves it now. The third I got used, it's steel/Iberian. Definitely not my first choice color or material, but I really missed having a Smart Alec, and I dig it. I like the new style zips because there's no coating to discolor or flake off. Also, if I had to start over, I'd get black or nordic Halcyon for lightness and squishability.
    This actually DOES help a lot, @Rocks! Thank you! It is quite reassuring to know that at least I am in good company with this. So maybe I'll go ahead and order another one to compare. I have never returned anything to TB, but I want to love this. Maybe I'll wait for the Black or Nordic Halcyon. You have been very helpful. Fistbump to you.

  6. #51
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    I used my Smart Alec (Black Ballistic/Wasabi) earlier this week while working (and pumping) in another office, and I thought of this thread! I usually carry work stuff in my Synapse 19 and pump stuff in a separate shoulder bag, but I wanted to have just one bag to lug around throughout the days. It easily swallowed my little 4-bottle cooler, size 3 (I think) Travel Stuff Sack with pump parts (hands-free pumping bra, Symphony tubes, flanges, and connector pieces), laptop, hoodie, Side Effect, water bottle, and snacks. And because it stands up so easily on its own, I didn't have to worry about milk sloshing around.

    My other use on the trip was as my carry-on bag while flying home solo with my 13-month-old. It worked well, though I wish the side pockets were easier to use when the bag is stuffed (like they are on the Synapse). Now I'm starting to consider a Halcyon Smart Alec, which would have more give. So you're not alone in the waffling (and I've had my SA for 2.5 years).

    If you're interested in pictures of my SA, let me know what sorts of shots you're interested in. Unfortunately it's not the preferred lining color, and it has the old style zipper configuration so it may be of limited use (I actually prefer the new type).

  7. #52
    Forum Member imagineez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doesntmakememadonna View Post
    This actually DOES help a lot, @Rocks! Thank you! It is quite reassuring to know that at least I am in good company with this. So maybe I'll go ahead and order another one to compare. I have never returned anything to TB, but I want to love this. Maybe I'll wait for the Black or Nordic Halcyon. You have been very helpful. Fistbump to you.
    That sounds like a great idea, ordering another one to compare! The return process is quite easy with Tom Bihn.

    BTW, it has taken me a couple or so years to finally figure out that my complete satisfaction with my Tom Bihn orders is worth the $10 shipping to send a bag or two or three back (after comparing and contrasting and trying out). It's been a lot cheaper for me to do it this way rather than buying and selling bags over time and finding the best one through this long and expensive trial and error process.

    Good luck!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #53
    Forum Member adalangdon's Avatar
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    Be a Smart Alec: I need more information about the Smart Alec

    Quote Originally Posted by doesntmakememadonna View Post
    Sorry to be a continual bother, but if anyone out there has a BLACK Ballistic Smart Alec, preferably with Northwest Sky lining, would you mind posting a pic or two please?

    There aren't any inside/outside pics of that color combo on the website, and (though I can't believe I'd go for a black bag) I am strongly considering comparing my Aubergine one to the Black.

    I can find some Black/Wasabi pics of old-style Smart Alecs, but I'm searching for a Black/NWS current-style photo.

    Also: I was thinking about it last night when I was gazing at my new, in-limbo Smart Alec. I think I am unaccustomed to the new-style zippers on Tom Bihn bags. Both my Original Aeronaut (A45) and S19 have old-style zippers, meaning the ones that have the waterproof seal thing on the outside and sort of disappear into the seams of the bags. And the zippers aren't silver either. And I've used those two bags a lot over the years, and that style is just familiar to me; even when it starts to look cracked and worn, it still "reads" as special and Tom-Bihn-ish to me to have those zippers. So I may also be reacting to the newness of the zippers on the current SA. I'm thinking maybe Black Ballistic or Black Halcyon might appeal to me because of the disappearing aspect.

    Raise your hand if you are getting INCREDIBLY SICK of @doesntmakememadonna talking about the Smart Alec!!! Many apologies. Enough already. I promise to make some decisions soon, or at least keep my waffling thoughts to myself!
    I'm going to approach this from a different angle. Totally understand where you're coming from when you say that you need to love this $$$$ bag. But it seems to me that you're not totally sure about what exactly you're uncomfortable with. I'd definitely spend some time with the Aubergine SA, identify what's lacking, and then decide if that would be solved with another version of the SA. Since you're in Houston is there someone nearby with a halcyon SA that you can borrow for test driving?

    PS I'll be honest and say that I'm not OMGMADLYINLOVE!!! with the SA or even the S19 or S25. That level of enthusiasm is reserved for other TB bags like the PU, FJN and the Sprout. But I still use them all the time because, having used many other bags, I think they're the best in class, no doubt about it.

    BTW, my SAs are my go-to bags for lugging research materials around. I do prefer the ballistic version because it stands up and just feels more solid/luggage-like (plus mine is red, and I quite like red), but when I have to stuff my bag the dyneema one comes out.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by adalangdon; 06-22-2016 at 10:21 PM.

  9. #54
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doesntmakememadonna View Post
    Sorry to be a continual bother, but if anyone out there has a BLACK Ballistic Smart Alec, preferably with Northwest Sky lining, would you mind posting a pic or two please?
    We just snapped one today! It'll be added to the website tomorrow, but in the meantime...

    Be a Smart Alec: I need more information about the Smart Alec-smart-alec-1050d-ballistic-nylon-black-northwest-sky-halcyon-200d-jpg
    Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

    Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.

  10. #55
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    @Darcy - y'all should have called the Smart Alec the "Leviathan". That shot looks like a monstrous whale shark to me. I dig it. ;-D

  11. #56
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    Keep the observations coming! I think the SA is going to be my next bag, so I appreciate being privy to your experience. I played with one at the showroom in May, and think it will be a great bag for me, but it's always good to hear what real life users have to say.

  12. #57
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    I love my SA. It's a great bag. I have a Steel/Wasabi Dyneema S25 as well, but it hasn't left it's resting spot since I got my SA back in April. My SA is Steel/Iberian, but I do admit the Black Halcyon and Nordic Halcyon colored SAs are very tempting. I don't think I can justify buying a new SA only a few months later just for a new color/material though. :-)

    I've also had my eye on the Guide's Pack. ;-D

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by teresapoet View Post
    I used my Smart Alec (Black Ballistic/Wasabi) earlier this week while working (and pumping) in another office, and I thought of this thread! I usually carry work stuff in my Synapse 19 and pump stuff in a separate shoulder bag, but I wanted to have just one bag to lug around throughout the days. It easily swallowed my little 4-bottle cooler, size 3 (I think) Travel Stuff Sack with pump parts (hands-free pumping bra, Symphony tubes, flanges, and connector pieces), laptop, hoodie, Side Effect, water bottle, and snacks. And because it stands up so easily on its own, I didn't have to worry about milk sloshing around.
    Wow! So cool, @teresapoet! We're on the same wavelength! Congrats on pumping and here's a secret handshake of the milk-makers! Very exciting to hear about another pumping mama. A huge shout out to you! Thanks so much for sharing. Really.

    Quote Originally Posted by teresapoet View Post
    My other use on the trip was as my carry-on bag while flying home solo with my 13-month-old. It worked well, though I wish the side pockets were easier to use when the bag is stuffed (like they are on the Synapse). Now I'm starting to consider a Halcyon Smart Alec, which would have more give. So you're not alone in the waffling (and I've had my SA for 2.5 years).
    Aha, so you're still on the fence even after 2.5 years. That actually helps to know too. My plan is to use it as a personal item on several long flights with my 3 yr old and 7 month old, and I see what you mean about the pockets. But I imagine the top-loading feature will be a nice plus for under-seat reachability.

  14. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by imagineez View Post
    That sounds like a great idea, ordering another one to compare! The return process is quite easy with Tom Bihn.

    BTW, it has taken me a couple or so years to finally figure out that my complete satisfaction with my Tom Bihn orders is worth the $10 shipping to send a bag or two or three back (after comparing and contrasting and trying out). It's been a lot cheaper for me to do it this way rather than buying and selling bags over time and finding the best one through this long and expensive trial and error process.

    Good luck!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thanks, @imagineez! Yep, I believe I need a day or two to come up with the $$$ but then I'm going to get another one to compare. Thanks for the encouragement.

  15. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by adalangdon View Post
    I'm going to approach this from a different angle. Totally understand where you're coming from when you say that you need to love this $$$$ bag. But it seems to me that you're not totally sure about what exactly you're uncomfortable with. I'd definitely spend some time with the Aubergine SA, identify what's lacking, and then decide if that would be solved with another version of the SA. Since you're in Houston is there someone nearby with a halcyon SA that you can borrow for test driving?
    Yeah, I totally see what you're saying here. I think this is really sound advice, and I appreciate that. I will have more time to hang out with the Aubergine SA over the weekend, and I'll take some time to think it through. You are a Wise One for recommending this and for encouraging me to sloooooow down and not act too hastily. I'm in San Antonio, not Houston, and I actually already have someone in town coming to see my Ballistic version in person! But if anyone in San Antonio has a Dyneema one for me to look at, I'll be totally into it.

    Also, when you said this about your enthusiasm levels–––

    Quote Originally Posted by adalangdon View Post
    PS I'll be honest and say that I'm not OMGMADLYINLOVE!!! with the SA or even the S19 or S25. That level of enthusiasm is reserved for other TB bags like the PU, FJN and the Sprout. But I still use them all the time because, having used many other bags, I think they're the best in class, no doubt about it.

    BTW, my SAs are my go-to bags for lugging research materials around. I do prefer the ballistic version because it stands up and just feels more solid/luggage-like (plus mine is red, and I quite like red), but when I have to stuff my bag the dyneema one comes out.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    –––I felt really comforted. Not just about this very decision, but just about your candidness. Sometimes on the forums I feel like I and others may tend toward hyperbole, and that's really fun. So maybe I was just thinking that I should feel OMGYESYESYESYES when it is ok not to! I do really love my S19 and I feel joy when using it, but maybe I can develop a different relationship with the SA. We are still talking about BAGS, not people, right?? (insert emoticon here)

    Thanks, @adalangdon. This was helpful and valuable for the discussion.
    Last edited by doesntmakememadonna; 06-23-2016 at 09:58 AM.

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