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  1. #1
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    Question Thanks and Some Advice Please

    Hi everyone,

    I have lurked on the forum for over four years now. I want to thank everyone who has posted, I've found the information so useful. One of the unexpected benefits of the forum and the Tom Bihn site is how therapeutic it has been. There's something so lovely about watching the packing videos and everything fitting into the bags in the right place. Is it just me or do other people find it soothing to watch order created from chaos in times of stress?!

    In Australia right now they're having a debate about marriage equality (I know, we're so dark ages). The impact has been much worse than I anticipated and I'm really struggling (don't worry, I'll be OK I think, it's just a truly awful time). So, I'm thinking a little dreaming might help me cope. Although I've flirted with a lot of different bags in my time reading through reviews and lurking on the forums, my dream bag is The Guide's Pack. Guys, it's THE ONE for me! I know the Synapses have better organisation but the Guide's Pack is just so good looking! I love it with all my heart. I like the flexibility of the main compartment and I love the Lead's pockets.

    Because postage is so expensive to Australia I feel like I've got just one chance to get my order right (when that happy day eventually comes - I'm probably about a year from being able to save up for it *sigh*). I need some retail therapy now though, so, I've been doing a little window shopping and here's what I'm thinking my order should eventually include:

    The Guide's Pack (Blue)
    At least one Lead's Pocket (maybe two *spoiler alert* I'll be asking for help on that decision)
    1 Normal Pocket (if I don't get two Lead's Pockets)
    Two Pairs of Lash Straps
    The Guide's Pack Padded Hip Belt
    First Aid Pouch
    2 8 inch Key Straps in Coyote
    2 16 inch Key Straps in Coyote
    1 Whistle Sternum Strap (Grey)
    1 Coyote Micro Ballistic Organiser Pouch
    1 Mini Mesh Coyote Organiser Pouch
    The Guide's Pack Ice Axe Strap
    Red Skookum Dog Light
    Large Iberian Travel Tray
    Small Iberian Snake Charmer
    Coyote Mini, Small and Medium Ballistic Organiser Pouches

    I also have some questions:

    - Should I get two Lead's Pockets or one Lead's Pocket and one normal pocket?
    - How do I know if I need a left pocket or right pocket if I'm also getting the Lead's Pocket?
    - Would the Founder's Briefcase Wedge be handy to use with The Guide's Pack?
    - Are there any other accessories people think I absolutely have to have? (please keep in mind that although I'd love all of the accessories, it's going to be a bit tricky saving up even for the basics so I have to be judicious in my decisions).

    Here's what I'll be using my Guide's Pack for: Everything!

    I work as a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Clinician and am also studying my Master of Clinical Psychology. I carry a lot of stuff that I use for my work with the kids, e.g. games, puppets etc with me, depending on the clients I'm seeing. I always have a few books. I often have a laptop. I always have a pack of cards or two and some coins and other props I use for magic tricks. I have trained my dog as a therapy dog and he comes to work with the kids (he's AMAZING and they love him!) so I have his coat when he's not using it, some treats, a lead and a foldable water bowl. I generally have a couple of little lunch boxes for snacks and a water bottle and a little thermos. I carry a lightweight jacket and sometimes a jumper.

    I'm going to use the Guide's Pack for hikes on the weekend (when I'm not working and studying and have more time!). I also will use it as a one bag travel bag for short trips away.

    If anyone can provide any help I would be super grateful! If you can't I'm still so grateful to everyone who has contributed to what seems like a pretty awesome community over the years. You've all provided me with hours of enjoyment!

    Thanks again,

    Skips

  2. #2
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    I don't have any answers, I just wanted to say:

    Welcome to the forums!

  3. #3
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    Me too! Welcome, and I agree that visiting the forum is therapeutic during times of stress. Everything neatly organized and contained...
    Luminary 12 with a MCB Freudian Slip, Daylight Backpack, EDC Side Effect or Side Effect, zippered Large and Small Shopbags, Co-Pilot, Travel Tray, Snake Charmer

  4. #4
    Volunteer Moderator Alumni Badger's Avatar
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    Hey Skips,
    welcome!—and I'm glad that the forum has been a place of respite for you. Since I don't own a Guide's Pack I'm not comfortable answering the Lead's vs. other side pocket question, but I do travel a lot with my dog and can offer some suggestions for dog-related accessories. Depending on how big he is, you might consider a travel stuff sack or the Hero's Journey sleeping bag stuff sack. I've found having a specific place to put my dog's stuff is important when we're sharing a bag because in addition to having all his things in one place, my stuff will stay cleaner and less hairy. You might already be considering dedicating an organizer pouch to your dog, but if you haven't, I think it's a good idea to have a place to keep a canine first aid kit, tick key, and any medications.

    If you don't already own a packing cube for clothing, that might be another item to consider. With a top loading pack like the Guide's Pack, having all your clothes in a single cube can make it easier to find things without having to excavate strata of clothing. The Tri-Star Medium cube would be a good size, or any of the small size cubes.

    Hope this helps, and welcome again.

  5. #5
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    Hi @Skips,

    I also don't have the Guide's Pack (although I do have the Lead's Pocket, and some of the accessories like the lash straps and ice axe straps), but my understanding about the difference between the Lead's Pocket and the Right or Left Pocket, comes from the pictures in the LoadedPocketz review of the Guide's Pack. Basically, the Lead's Pocket offers more organization, and unzips on all three sides so that it opens clamshell fashion:



    While the right and left side pockets don't have the extra organization pockets, but also don't fully unzip, so that it's easy to access, say, a Nalgene bottle:



    So, if you choose to use a right or left pocket, you'd choose the side on which you want to access your Nalgene bottle, so that the top of the pocket unzips in the correct fashion for the position of the pocket. And, I believe that @Tralihiker did end up getting two Lead's Pockets for his first Guide's Pack (and, actually more than that, since he used the Lead's Pocket separately for items like artist's supplies in his other bags and backpacks), but I think that it's a question of whether you'd also find it convenient to have a side pocket that does not unzip all the way -- possibly for some items that you want to easily access where having a "bottom" to the unzipped pocket is useful. For example, if you were carrying a small stuff sack, it's possible to attach it to an O-ring in the Lead's Pocket, but you might also want to have a pouch or organizer cube just sit in the bottom of a Right or Left Pocket.

    Please go through and read the original review article and the text discussion about the pockets and features. And, since you also mentioned "I often have a laptop", you should probably include a Cache and use something like this hack for carrying a laptop in the Guide's Pack.

    There are lots of pictures in @Trailhiker's many posts in the forum about the Guide's Pack, and he had a specific thread about the Lead's Pocket to show its size and fit in other Tom Bihn bags. I hope that he, and other forum members who have the Guide's Pack, might comment on your questions.

    I've provided direct links to the LoadedPocketz review pages, because I've noticed that in many of the earlier posts, there are so many redirects (according to earlier default conventions for treating external links), that they don't work to get you to the desired location.

    Finally, just a minor comment on the Coyote mesh organizer pouches. You've probably noted that the larger sizes (Small and Medium) of the Coyote mesh pouches are only offered under the Skookum Dog label, while the smaller sizes are under the Tom Bihn accessories. I slightly prefer the Mini Coyote Mesh organizer pouch under the Tom Bihn accessories to the Skookum Dog one that is the same price for this size -- just because the Tom Bihn label sticks out less on this small size (narrow strip below the zipper as opposed to squarer tab on the left edge).

    HTH

    moriond

    ETA: I also thought of the Yeoman Duffel Packing Cubes that @MatthewR mentioned in the next post, but was not sure of the internal organization you might be using. There aren't a lot of pictures on the product page, so I'll point you to The New Yeoman Duffel Aether Packing Cubes thread, which has some pictures of these packing cubes. The large YD packing cube is just slightly longer than a 13" Retina MacBook Pro (pre-2017 model) on a side.
    Last edited by moriond; 09-24-2017 at 03:01 PM.

  6. #6
    TB Crew (we work here) MatthewR's Avatar
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    Hi Skips, welcome to the forum! I, too, am glad this place has been a respite for you. Here's my go at answering your questions:

    Should I get two Lead's Pockets or one Lead's Pocket and one normal pocket?
    I think a normal pocket would be a good place to keep snacks and/or a water bottle for easy accessibility so if that was your thought then I'd go with the normal pocket. If you're looking more for extra organization for smaller stuff that you want more accessible and you don't think that one Lead's Pocket is going to cut it, then perhaps go for two.

    How do I know if I need a left pocket or right pocket if I'm also getting the Lead's Pocket?
    This one is really player's choice: I personally prefer the Lead's Pocket under my right/dominant hand because it's easier for my dominant hand to get at all the pockets in the open clamshell without having to take the bag or pocket off and thus would get the Left Pocket and the Lead's Pocket, but YMMV.

    Would the Founder's Briefcase Wedge be handy to use with The Guide's Pack?
    Somebody more creative than I may find a good use for the Founder's Briefcase Wedge with the Guide's Pack but I personally couldn't find a really good one. There's nowhere to clip the Annex clips to on the inside of the bag, and the only good place to hook them to I found on the outside was the straps that clip the bag closed itself and even then you're throwing your wedge on the ground every time you open the bag.

    Are there any other accessories people think I absolutely have to have? (please keep in mind that although I'd love all of the accessories, it's going to be a bit tricky saving up even for the basics so I have to be judicious in my decisions).

    I think that packing cubes, like Badger talked about, are a great idea. I personally have really taken a shine to the Yeoman packing cubes because of the set of handles on them, so I'd probably suggest either the Medium or Large Yeoman Packing Cubes personally because you can set them handle-side up in your bag and just pull them out with the handles and have a self-contained little pack of gear with handles. Travel Stuff Sacks are pretty nice too as a self-contained place to put articles of clothing you want separate more accessible than in a packing cube (like jackets and jumpers). The Large Travel Tray you're considering is pretty similar to a Size 3 Travel Stuff Sack and will probably work well to carry your jumper or jacket if it's not otherwise engaged.

    You may consider the Cache if you don't have another padded case for your laptop as the Guide's Pack doesn't have a padded spot for a laptop built in but it doesn't clip to the bag like it would in other bags we make.

  7. #7
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    I use the Guides pack as my one bag for traveling. I use two packing cube shoulder bags as cubes and a packing folder as well. Right now I am using the two side pockets without a leads picket because I find it easier to just dump stuff into those side pockets. I am looking to experiment with the leads pocket attached to the straps on the front.

  8. #8
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    Wow everyone, thank you so much! I really, really appreciate all your words of welcome and advice! moriond and Badger, I have read so many of your posts over the years that I was actually a little starstruck when I received your responses . Thanks for the link to the amazing post you wrote about the Yeoman Packing Cubes moriond, I hadn't read it yet and I feel like I am much better informed about (and coveting!) them now. Thank you too Badger, I'm embarrassed to admit this, it seems like such an obvious thing now you've said it but I hadn't thought about a separate little bag for my dog. I'll definitely take your advice on that and look at a travel stuff sack for him. Thanks also Badger, MatthewR and fdiaz64 for the suggestion of the packing cubes for my clothes. MatthewR, I really appreciate your advice on the pockets - I think I'm going to do exactly what you do and get a Lead's Pocket and a left pocket. Also, I hadn't even considered them before, but based on your suggestion and moriond's post I think the Yeoman Packing Cubes sound kind of perfect.

    I've been looking at all of the bags again and I'm also thinking of maybe getting the Daylight Briefcase to throw in the Guide's Pack and use when I have a heap of stuff and I quickly want to get work stuff out, or, if I'm travelling to use as a bag to cruise around town. I generally prefer backpacks but I think the briefcase might work a little better. I'm not sure though, so many options!!!!

    Thanks so much again everyone, you're all super lovely and helpful :-)

  9. #9
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    Hi and welcome, Skips. The Guide's Pack is a great looking bag! I really want one but can't justify the cost since I wouldn't use it every day like you will for work. I actually hung the post-card picture of the Guide's Pack that TB sent out with orders a while ago in my cubicle at work

    I understand about wanting to get your order right the first time .... so one thing I thought was that you might want to get key straps in more than just Coyote color. Maybe some Iberian ones and/or solid red since you have a color scheme going. It can be difficult to tell what's what if you have all the same key strap colors. If I know my keys are on the purple strap, I can grab them easily.

    Personally I don't find the organizer pouches all that useful. They're so flat, none of my stuff fits in there great. Cards and coins would probably fit well in the small size though. The micro one is SO TINY, I couldn't imagine any use for it although I'm sure people find uses! I prefer a Q-Kit pouch. I also really like the Clear Quarter Packing Cube, that could be nice for your dog's stuff. I like that you can see what's inside quickly and it has the double sides/separation.

    Packing cubes are a good idea for separating stuff. How about a Packing Cube Backpack to use as a cube, and that you could use to cruise around town?

  10. #10
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    Thanks so much sarah_atx! I love your point about the key straps, I hadn't thought of that and I can see how it would make life so much easier. It's exactly those types of tips I'm after! I have thought about a Packing Cube Backpack, and it's definitely still on my list. So hard to narrow my wishlist down, I just want all of the things!!!!

    Thanks again, I appreciate you taking the time to reply :-)

  11. #11
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    When I first bought my TB stuff, the key straps were all black and my various pouches and packing cubes were all the same color and matched the interior of my bag. Big mistake. It looked nice, but I couldn't find anything. I had to open every packing cube to find what I wanted. I had to fish out every keystrap to find my keys or the pouch I put my meds in.

    So then I ordered keystraps in different colors, and packing cubes and pouches in off the wall bright colors, all different. Visually I don't like it, but oh man does it make it easier to find all my stuff. I can zero in on exactly what I need because I know which color keystrap or which color packing cube or pouch I put that thing in that I'm trying to find.

  12. #12
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    Thank you for letting me know your tale of colour woe BWeaves! I wanted to be all Matchy McMatchy and have all my colours coordinated but I can see how what you say is right, it would make things much more difficult to find. I'm not sure as I'm as adventurous as you and ready to rainbow my keystraps and packing cubes, but I'll definitely look at mixing it up with at least a two different colours ;-)

    I appreciate your advice, thank you!

  13. #13
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    I haven't gone completely rainbow. But if my packing cubes are the same color, I try to tether them with different colored key straps. If the bags are different colors, they can have the black key straps that come with every TB bag. Keys get their own color or keystrap. It really does help. And they don't have to be rainbow colors. You can go black, blue and coyote for a more subdued effect.

    For the same color of packing cube, even just a little bit of yarn on the zipper pull in a different color helps tell them apart.

  14. #14
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    Thank you, I appreciate the help :-)

  15. #15
    Forum Member terayon's Avatar
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    I have used coloured hair elastics wrapped around the clipped-to-the-o-ring end of black key straps to distinguish them. I can also tell them apart by feel this way.

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