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

Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Share
    SF bay area
    Posts
    29
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Question Smart Alec - Will it fit?

    Thanks in advance for your answers.

    Will the Smart Alec fit the following contents?
    • 14"x12"x3" Zipper binder
    • 10"x8"x3" insulated lunch container
    • Three 8.5"x11" wire bound notebooks, or similar sized paper products
    • Gym shorts and t-shirt


    It appears that the Brain Bag might fit, but I prefer ballistic nylon or Dyneema. If I read the product description of Brain Bag right, it is only available with Cordura, which I'd like to avoid.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Forum Member giuliof's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Share
    Italy
    Posts
    80
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I can't take measures right now, but keep in mind that the sides of the ballistic nylon version are made of Cordura so, if you want to avoid that, you should go for the Dyneema version.

  3. #3
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Share
    Toronto, Canada (GMT+5)
    Posts
    1,385
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I did a test pack with items the same size as what you have posted.
    Things fit well in the Smart Alec with a bit of room to spare on the sides.

    The Smart Alec has the most Ballistic Nylon of any TB backpack and, like the Synapses, can be had in Dyneema. However, as @giuliof mentions, the sides are Cordura (the side pockets).

    To clarify on the materials that make up the Brain Bag, the Brain Bag is actually a combination of a Ballistic Nylon Bottom, Cordura Front (the part that you usually see in different colors), back of Dri-Lex Aero-Spacer mesh material and a Parapack interior. So, the Brain Bag is really made up of 3+ materials and is not a full Cordura backpack. See this link for reference:

    The Updated Brain Bag

    BTW - everything in your list fits fine in a Brain Bag too with room left over (about 1/2 of one of the 2 main compartments and all the front pockets) ... and you can fit a kitchen sink Smilie

    I will post a few pictures in a few days to help give you a visual idea of the space usage.

    Hope this helps
    Cheers!
    TB Ballistic Black/Iberian Dyneema backpacks and briefcases for every occasion together with my cherished Nordic and Solar Dyneema!

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Share
    SF bay area
    Posts
    29
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thank you giuliof and tpnl.

    tpnl, I'm touched that you took the trouble to test pack. I appreciate it very much. I'll wait for your pictures before placing the order.

    This will be the everyday school bag for a 5' 0", skinny 7th grader who will probably stretch a few inches vertically and still be a twig over the next year or two. Per specs, the Brain Bag is 2.25" wider than the Smart Alec and almost twice the weight of the Dyneema SA.

    As you have both the Brain Bag and the Smart Alec, may I ask you for another piece of advice? If the contents fit fine in the Dyneema SA, would you think that would the better choice for this intended use?

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Forum Member sujo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Share
    Vancouver, WA
    Posts
    378
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    This may (or may not) be of help. I've never used the Smart Alec but I'm a 4'11" not-skinny adult woman with a Brain Bag. The shoulder straps fall off my shoulders when partially full unless I use the sternum strap. If the bag is completely fully (which I've had it so many times), the straps pull off my shoulders without the sternum strap. The specs show the Smart Alec is 2 inches narrower than the Brain Bag, so that might not be an issue with the Smart Alec.

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Share
    SF bay area
    Posts
    29
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by sujo View Post
    This may (or may not) be of help. I've never used the Smart Alec but I'm a 4'11" not-skinny adult woman with a Brain Bag. The shoulder straps fall off my shoulders when partially full unless I use the sternum strap. If the bag is completely fully (which I've had it so many times), the straps pull off my shoulders without the sternum strap. The specs show the Smart Alec is 2 inches narrower than the Brain Bag, so that might not be an issue with the Smart Alec.
    Thanks, Sujo. Your message was very helpful. The 7th grader isn't going to be wide enough for the Brain Bag. Based on tpnl's pack test, your experience with the width of the brain bag, and my general like for Dyneema, I went ahead and ordered a Smart Alec in Black Dyneema with Wasabi interior. It should be here by Friday. I'll update this thread on how well it works.

    Thanks everyone for taking time to help me.

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Share
    Virginia
    Posts
    904
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I think you are going to love your black dyneema/wasabi Smart Alec! That is the exact model I have, and I have carried everything ranging from heavy groceries to include cat litter to packing for multi-day trips with my SA. The heaviest load I have hauled has been about 20 lbs, but I have found the straps to be extremely comfortable, no matter how full or light the load and I am only a petite 5'3". One recommendation - I really like having the top pouch as an add-on, as it is handy to have the extra organization, so that may be something to consider.

    While everyone has their different preferences about what is important for their needs, I love using the unstructured open main compartment of my Smart Alec as a serious all-purpose load hauler. And when I am doing light trips around town, I prefer my S19 with its very compartmentalized organization. But if I were carrying heavy (note)books and other miscellaneous items, I would reach for my SA. I will be curious to hear your impressions after you receive yours.
    "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

  8. #8
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Share
    Toronto, Canada (GMT+5)
    Posts
    1,385
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    @lefty

    Glad to see you ordered a Dyneema SA. Awesome!!! Here are some of the pictures I took earlier of my test pack for your reference:

    Here is the outside of my Ballistic Nylon SA with the items you have listed inside:

    Smart Alec - Will it fit?-sa-3quarters-jpgSmart Alec - Will it fit?-sa-side-jpg


    Here is how I fit things in the SA and what is inside it:

    Smart Alec - Will it fit?-sa-inside-jpgSmart Alec - Will it fit?-sa-whatsinside-jpg



    Note:
    For you Zipper Binder, I used a Bombay Memory box (which is fashioned after a picture book/binder). It is the same size (14 x 12) except that it is a 1/2" thicker (3.5 vs 3)
    The shorts and T-shirt are for me (5'11" man and in NO way considered to be skinny Wink) so perhaps a bit bigger than for your son. They are in a Black Dyneema PCSB and go on top of the lunch box and fake "zipper binder". You could also "ranger roll" these items to further pack things.

    I agree with @NWhikergirl that a UMP would go good for organization together with the zippered pockets in the top of the flap (love those pockets) - especially since the side pockets are not usable to hold any thick items (space taken up by the Binder). Note the side pockets can still hold thin items (pens, etc).

    FYI - I also tried your items in an S25 and it all fit in the main compartment - barely and does stretch the zippers. However, because my fake "Zipper Binder" is a bit thicker and hard wood, I think it might actually work for you as the Zipper Binder is thinner and compressible compared to my fake one - and would not stretch the zippers as in my test pack. The S25 comes in Black Dyneema as well.

    Hope this helps

    Cheers!
    Last edited by tpnl; 04-02-2015 at 10:50 AM.
    TB Ballistic Black/Iberian Dyneema backpacks and briefcases for every occasion together with my cherished Nordic and Solar Dyneema!

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Share
    SF bay area
    Posts
    29
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Well, the black Dyneema / wasabi Smart Alec came in today and it turned out to be just right to fit everything I had listed. Plus, it has space left for a few small items like the Rubik's Cube, juggling balls / paperback he likes to carry.

    I have no idea why my son wants to carry to so much to school, but for all that he carries, this Smart Alec appears to be a great fit. It is a bit tall for his 5 ft height, but not awkwardly disproportionate. At the rate he has been growing in the last 2-3 months, I don't think it will be long before the bag height is just normal for his body. The bag width is fine. The Brain Bag would have been too wide for him.

    I'll shoot some pictures and post them this weekend. It may be useful for others.

    Thanks again to everyone for helping me.

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Share
    SF bay area
    Posts
    29
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I took some pictures to show how everything worked out. Hopefully, it will help others with similar needs.

    Contents to fit in the bag
    Smart Alec - Will it fit?-bag-contents-jpg


    Contents of the zipper folder
    Smart Alec - Will it fit?-folder-contents-jpg


    Zipper folder stuffed
    Smart Alec - Will it fit?-folder-stuffed-jpg


    Bag with zipper folder
    Smart Alec - Will it fit?-bag-folder-jpg


    Plus notebooks and lunch
    Smart Alec - Will it fit?-bag-folder-notebooks-lunch-jpg


    Plus gym clothes in a pouch
    Smart Alec - Will it fit?-bag-fnl-gym-clothes-jpg


    With everything
    Smart Alec - Will it fit?-bag-everything-jpg


    Outside, when fully packed
    Smart Alec - Will it fit?-bag-full-outside-1-jpg


    One more outside shot when fully packed
    Smart Alec - Will it fit?-bag-full-outside-2-jpg


    On the back of the 5'0", seventh grader
    Smart Alec - Will it fit?-worn-jpg
    Last edited by lefty; 04-04-2015 at 03:33 PM.

  11. #11
    Forum Member marytattoo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    1,732
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Wow! I do understand wanting to carry one's life around!

  12. #12
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Share
    SF bay area
    Posts
    29
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by marytattoo View Post
    Wow! I do understand wanting to carry one's life around!
    :-) And I forgot to mention that he rides his bike to school every day! The last time we drove him to school was more than two years ago when he had to carry some science project that couldn't be carried on the bike.

    We have tried all we can to convince him to carry less, but he won't! We finally broke down and bought him this bag. He really likes this bag. He says it feels very comfortable. So he is unlikely to carry less now. Oh well...
    Last edited by lefty; 04-04-2015 at 03:44 PM.

  13. #13
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    11
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Huge SA fan here. Glad he's liking it, he'll probably have the coolest pack going. As others have said, the top Upper Modular Pocket is nearly a must-have for SAs ( I do both the UMP and LMP in Black Dyneema on my Black/Steel SA).

    And if he's riding a bike....Glow Wire! Safety First.

  14. #14
    Volunteer Moderator Alumni Ilkyway's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Share
    GMT +1 Germany, North
    Posts
    2,942
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    lefty nearly missed your wonderful pictures. Love how you show it all in detail with that beautiful picture of the pack and the boy. I so much like, when threads have a happy "ending", the bag fits the task and even looking good doing it.

    Tpnl that UV parapack looks so stunning on your SA!

    Ilkyway
    “Ankh-Morpork people considered that spelling was a sort of optional extra. They believed in it in the same way they believed in punctuation; it didn't matter where you put it so long as it was there.”

    By Sir Terence David John Pratchett from The Truth

  15. #15
    Forum Member nimikor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Share
    Orange County, CA, USA
    Posts
    215
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Looks heavy. But if you are going to go all in - go with the best! The SA will serve him well.
    DLBC, WF, S19, Pilot, DLBP, PCSB, A30, SA plus other misc goodies.
    “Not all those who wander are lost.” - Bilbo Baggins (J.R.R. Tolkien 1892-1973)

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
  •