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  1. #1
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    Question Side Kick in a Maker's Bag to Make a Painless Big-Bag/Small-Bag Switch?

    Hello all. I'm brand new here. I've been haunting the site and forums for several days now, trying to figure out what bag to buy to replace my current EDC, a Haiku vertical messenger-bag-style purse that I bought on clearance at REI almost 2 years ago (Seattle brand, not sure how well-known it is). I've never loved it. The styling is okay and it's built well - it has a zipper-top, which I like - but it has little organization inside and everything I carry tends to fall to the bottom or get buried so that I can't find it easily. The Small Cafe Bag is about the same size, BUT I'm afraid I might have the same problem, unless I add the Freudian Slip and some pouches (a legitimate possibility).

    I also really like the Side Kick, and I think, as shallow as it is and with as many pockets, it might just about meet my needs perfectly. Here's my dillema: The Side Kick is perfect for my needs alone, but I also sometimes need to carry items (snacks/diapers/extra clothing/odd toys and gadgets) for my three kids, ages 1, 3, and 6 (I say "sometimes" because I don't drag all those items into the grocery store with us, for example - a few snacks or a diaper will fit in my purse). I'm also quite taken with the Maker's Bag, but there's NO WAY I need to carry a bag that big all the time. However, I think it would be awesome (theoretically) to have a larger bag in which to transport kid stuff, sometimes a laptop, books/notes for my part-time graduate studies that I could actually put my smaller EDC bag with wallet, phone, keys INSIDE, grab and go. It's a beautiful dream, and I know many people on these forums use a nested-bag design, but will this work well with the Side Kick and the Maker's Bag? I've seen some posters suggest the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag, but if I don't have organization in my inner-bag, I know it will become a jumble of unmanageable stuff before a month is out.

    Do the more experienced bag-users here think that this would be a workable combination? Would you do something else? Maybe Side Kick plus Medium Cafe? Thanks in advance. I'm definitely suffering from indecision paralysis at this point.

  2. #2
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    I don't have direct experience with the Maker's Bag, but I can say the Side Kick should be perfect for what you're describing. I love that I can fit my usual purse stuff (that I could usually squeeze into a Side Effect) and add the essentials I need for a few hours with my 2 year old (if a larger bag isn't too far away) like a diaper and small pack of wipes (the large interior pocket fits them perfectly), a few snacks, and even a small toy or book.

    The bags I've put my SK in are the Swift, Smart Alec, and Synapse 19. I don't think the Medium Cafe Bag gives enough additional space to be worth nesting the SK inside of, though I have done it with the Side Effect when that used to be my EDC. I'd guess that the SK would work well inside the Maker's Bag, but hopefully someone else can confirm.


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  3. #3
    Forum Member RDR3's Avatar
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    I've used a SK inside a MB and it works very well as an EDC in a bigger grab and go bag. There's not much space left if you put it inside the MCB. If you like more built in organization, the PU and SK systems works beautifully, especially if you're carrying extra items for 3 kids. I no longer have the MB since I switched to the PU. I'll take pictures later this afternoon with the SK in a MCB and PU. What size laptop do you have? That might be the limiting factor for the PU.

  4. #4
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    Does the MB have loops for a cache? I'm thinking the OP could use the 'keystrap through the cache loops' hack to better secure the SK...
    Last edited by Traveltech; 09-03-2017 at 08:59 AM.

  5. #5
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    Yes, this is a fantastic combo. In particular, larger bags that have a horizontal orientation and enough extra space to make carrying a bag within a bag worthwhile will pair well with the Side Kick. I use the Makers Bag and SK as a commuting bag. I keep the shoulder strap for the SK tucked into its side pocket and attach it when needed, so it doesn't get tangled up with the other things in the MB.
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

  6. #6
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    That is the exact combo I often use for work trips, and it works like a dream. The SK is a great break out or standalone bag with my essentials, but the MB can easily accommodate a light sweater or jacket, work materials, and water. I love the spacious open center of the MB so that I can fit less wieldy items, even as I stash things I need immediate access to in the elasticized pouches along the inside of the bag.
    "Do one thing every day that scares you." - Eleanor Roosevelt
    "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." -Ferris Bueller

  7. #7
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    Thank you for the replies! I have a 13" MacBook Air currently.

    I looked at the PU, and it's really a gorgeously designed bag. I love all the pockets! I'd be interested to see it with the SK. I'll admit that I was specifically avoiding it because I don't want another diaper bag. When my youngest was born, I had a diaper bag made with custom fabrics by a seller on Etsy. It was beautiful, but it was too floppy for my tastes. I left it at home more than I took it with me. Eventually, the stitching on one of the straps broke, and that was the end of it. So I LOVE the functionality of the PU, but I'm afraid I'm not much of a diaper bag person. Maybe I've just never had a good one. If I had endless money for bags, I might get both the PU and the MB for different situations. . .

    Thank you for the feedback about the Side Kick as well. It seems like a perfect little bag, and I'm glad to hear that it can fit a few kid essentials. bchaplin, it's nice to hear that you've done the SK/MB combo and it works!

  8. #8
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    I'll also note that I've purchased several other large bags and backpacks that I used 2 or 3 times and then gave up on: An Osprey Flap Jill backpack (good for electronics, too narrow to use for kid stuff, things got lost in the bottom), a Handbag of Holding from ThinkGeek (cute and geeky, but virtually useless as either a laptop or kid bag), a Diaper Dude diaper bag (too floppy, not enough interior pockets, not attractive).

    Because of the way my brain works, organization only comes naturally if I have a system in place, thus the appeal of Tom Bihn bags with all their glorious pockets and modular pouches. However, I'm somewhat afraid of spending money on a "big bag" and finding out, yet again, that I'm just not a big bag person. Maybe what I really need is a series of small bags that fill different roles. Argh! Smilie

  9. #9
    Forum Member RDR3's Avatar
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    @illyrianmoon
    SK in a MCB
    Side Kick in a Maker's Bag to Make a Painless Big-Bag/Small-Bag Switch?-image-jpeg
    SE in a MCB (SE is another wonderful EDC if you can fit all your items in there)
    Side Kick in a Maker's Bag to Make a Painless Big-Bag/Small-Bag Switch?-image-jpg
    SK in a PU. If you have the halycon SK and it's not stuffed, it will fit vertically inside the main compartment.
    Side Kick in a Maker's Bag to Make a Painless Big-Bag/Small-Bag Switch?-image-jpg
    SE in a PU main compartment, middle section zipped
    Side Kick in a Maker's Bag to Make a Painless Big-Bag/Small-Bag Switch?-image-jpeg
    SE in the outer middle compartment of the PU
    Side Kick in a Maker's Bag to Make a Painless Big-Bag/Small-Bag Switch?-image-jpg

    I use the PU more as a day bag for me than a diaper bag for boy3 which is quite ironic because I discovered TB 4 years ago looking for a diaper bag Smilie I'll take a look what size my DH's laptop is and take pictures of that and a textbook inside the PU for you this evening.
    I hope you find a combo that works for you Smilie

  10. #10
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    @RDR3, thank you for these wonderful photos! There's nothing like actually SEEING something to give you a sense of how it will work. I sincerely appreciate the time you took to do this. Gorgeous bags too, btw. The PU is kind of amazing.

    Incidentally, I really only like the halcyon as a liner, so this is just how it would be for me (ballistic exterior).

  11. #11
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    Also, is the Absolute Shoulder Strap ideal for cross-body carrying of medium/large bags? It's so easy to keep tweaking and adding things to my cart. I love the Cubelets as well!

  12. #12
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    Here is a shot of my Makers Bag yesterday. It's underpacked, but inside are two books I'd just picked up, a blue Cubelet, and in the back, my black/UV Side Kick, open so that you can see how it helps to organize the small stuff. I love this bag. It seems like the opposite in concept from the Parental Unit (which I've never actually seen in real life), as it is one big space for you to organize as you like.

    Side Kick in a Maker's Bag to Make a Painless Big-Bag/Small-Bag Switch?-makersbag-jpg

    For either bag, I'd recommend starting with the shoulder strap that it ships with, but if after using it you want an alternative, try the Absolute Strap's little sibling. That's what I have now for all my medium-size bags (just one; it can be switched around as needed).

    With the MB, one accessory to consider is the Freudian Slip that is sized for it. It gives it a little more rigidity. However, it also makes it heavier. I alternate between using it and leaving it home to avoid the extra weight. (It is not in the picture above.) Another option is the Freudian Slip that fits the Medium Cafe Bag; it also fits in the MB and is slightly smaller.
    ----
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bchaplin View Post
    Here is a shot of my Makers Bag yesterday. It's underpacked, but inside are two books I'd just picked up, a blue Cubelet, and in the back, my black/UV Side Kick, open so that you can see how it helps to organize the small stuff. I love this bag. It seems like the opposite in concept from the Parental Unit (which I've never actually seen in real life), as it is one big space for you to organize as you like.

    With the MB, one accessory to consider is the Freudian Slip that is sized for it. It gives it a little more rigidity. However, it also makes it heavier. I alternate between using it and leaving it home to avoid the extra weight. (It is not in the picture above.) Another option is the Freudian Slip that fits the Medium Cafe Bag; it also fits in the MB and is slightly smaller.
    Nice picture. Thanks! It looks like the MB is 'compressed' in this image. When underfilled, does the MB have a slimmer profile? I love the concept but worry it'd be too boxy for my EDC. Second question - could you suspend the SK from the o rings to make that bag more of the organizational unit? Similar to how one attached the SE to a S19.

  14. #14
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveltech View Post
    Nice picture. Thanks! It looks like the MB is 'compressed' in this image. When underfilled, does the MB have a slimmer profile? I love the concept but worry it'd be too boxy for my EDC. Second question - could you suspend the SK from the o rings to make that bag more of the organizational unit? Similar to how one attached the SE to a S19.
    I don't think the MB changes appreciably in depth whether full or half-empty, at least the ballistic one that I have. Here is the bag full:

    Side Kick in a Maker's Bag to Make a Painless Big-Bag/Small-Bag Switch?-mb_full-jpg

    and with almost nothing inside:

    Side Kick in a Maker's Bag to Make a Painless Big-Bag/Small-Bag Switch?-mb_empty-jpg

    If anything, it looks better, once picked up and suspended by the shoulder strap, if it is full (or if the Freudian Slip is inside), because it keeps its shape. Basically, this bag is a medium-sized rectangle and as far as I can tell, it pretty much always looks like that.

    The Co-Pilot and Pilot are slimmer, as is the Medium Cafe Bag. However, none of them, including the MB, feel too unwieldy to me. They are all good commuting bags. I like that the MB is flexible enough to fit my sweater, random shopping items, or full-size sheets of paper. However, it is large enough so that I usually switch it out to something smaller on the weekends. As another example, I think it would make a good travel bag for flights, but I wouldn't use it for daily touring (I'd take something smaller, or use the bag-with-a-bag method to extract what I need for the day)
    ----
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    Edmund Burke

  15. #15
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    @bchaplin, thank you so much for the pic of the SK in the MB. It was the feather-push I needed to decide that this is my combo. Smilie I like the lines of messenger bags, and this one is even more boxy (in a good way) because of the piping. I also appreciate seeing the Cubelet in the MB. I can't resist a modular pocket that can also be a tiny bag. I'm stopping myself from adding 2 or more of them to my cart.

    Also, thanks for the feedback on the strap. I'll try the included strap first. I'm undecided about the Freudian Slip, and I notice that the MB slip is out of stock so I may use that as an excuse to wait and see how I like it without.

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