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  1. #1
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    Slicing and dicing the Smart Alec internals

    Hi Friends of SA,

    Any creative tips for how you organize your large internal capacity Smart Alec space?

    It's only been 1 week of edc with my new Dyneema SA but I've been struggling a bit with floppy bag/internal organization syndrome.

    My S19 hits the EDC sweet spot, but I just wish it were more modular or had some molle/attachment points for a beavertail, hence the SA.

    While I got the SA mainly for hiking and weekenders for the family, I wanted to test it for heavy edc/grocery days. So far it works great for that with the LSB. Heavy stuff like apples or potatoes go in the main compartment along with the usual EDC stuff, whilst the lighter, or breakable items go in the LSB.

    I also picked up a DLBC inspired by @bchaplin in the marsupial thread: http://forums.tombihn.com/general-ba...tml#post104277

    I think that great combo of DLBC (personal item) plus SA (carry-on item) will cover most short term stays. On the EDC basis, the DLBC can be stowed in the SA, even though the DLBC is light, it's a bit of overkill. I've been also hanging key strapped pouches to supplement the UMP.

    And more recently, @AllDayRuckoff posted this great idea and testing of a molle laden TAD panel attached to the cache loops.

    It would be great if there were TB kit list of which TB bags, sacks, pouches go with X pack.

    Here's what I found so far with the Smart Alec:

    Freudian slip - weight considerations, need an anorexic VFS, good for flat stuff
    Snake charmer - cordage control Smart Alec - Backpack. Modular Pockets. Made in USA. - TOM BIHN
    Eagle Creek large Spectra packing cube
    DLBC - already considered over PCSB thx @bchaplin
    Side effect - when Dyneema available, I pull the trigger :-)
    Molle panel - @AllDayRuckoff TAD Control panel
    Assorted packing cubes/sacks - @moriond TLSS + WF PC http://forums.tombihn.com/questions-...tml#post105944
    Spiff kit - @Ilkyway http://forums.tombihn.com/questions-...tml#post105211

    Any others?

  2. #2
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    Maybe you can share what you usually carry?

    - EDC

    - EDC + groceries (typical shopping list - besides produce, do you carry bottles? Boxes? Grains?)

    - travel

    I use my SA mainly for plane travel. My primary organizing principle is to keep everything tall, so that I can see a top edge when the SA is fully unzipped and I am peering down into it. That means using accessories like:

    - the Aeronaut End Packing Cube (one change of clothes)
    - tall Yarn Stuff Sacks (YSS because the tallest is taller than the Travel SS; one color for entertainment - iPad Mini/book; one for an extra layer - hoodie or long-sleeved shirt); one for kid gear, if I'm traveling with family)
    - a Large Clear Org Pouch for travel documents or a magazine.

    Where possible, I color-code key straps to the accessory they're tethering (Wasabi/Wasabi for snacks, UV/UV for documents, and so on). I think I will try the Freudian Slip in the SA for an upcoming trip, and see if the additional organization makes up for more weight.

    Ilkyway had the great idea of keeping a light on a key strap handy in the SA. I have a Photon Micro Freedom in mine (I have another on my keychain, but it's nice to have a dedicated one close to hand in the bag). I also add split key rings to most of the O-rings in my TB bags - gives me more surface area to tether keystraps to, plus the shiny chrome/larger ring helps me find the tether points inside dark bags, even by feel if I am in, say, a movie theater or garage.

    I tend not to switch up the accessories in my SA, but in my S19 I change my accessories a lot, depending on where I'm going. The beauty of the TB system is that it's very versatile and adaptable - which also makes it tricky to assign a specific set of add-ons to each bag. (For instance, I'm currently using my Smart Alec Upper Modular Pocket inside my S19, as an interior pocket attached to the Cache loops.)

    (There's at least one set of pictures by Darcy showing what she uses as far as packing cubes for the SA, but I didn't see it in my quick flyby mode. Perhaps moriond will chime in with the link! Smilie)

  3. #3
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    You have a good list @ThreeLeaves!

    Off the top of my head, I can suggest:
    Guide's Pack Lead Pocket
    Smart Alec Lower Module Pocket (can hang off the inside Rail loops)

    I also think the FS could add more structure to your dyneema bag and help keep your bag from sagging. I do like the S25 version in the SA as it has a few zippered pockets.
    Using the top flap pockets will help keep the middle from sagging if not full (not 100% sure if this is as effective on Dyneema versions as I have only Ballistic versions.)

    Here is the link to TB recommended Packing Cube accessories as @haraya mentioned:

    Using Packing Cubes in a Smart Alec

    I am sure @Ilkway can add more ideas. Her picture of putting a TB light strap to help see into the SA as @ haraya mentioned is in your last link.

    Hope this helps

    Cheers!
    Last edited by tpnl; 07-13-2015 at 02:40 PM.
    TB Ballistic Black/Iberian Dyneema backpacks and briefcases for every occasion together with my cherished Nordic and Solar Dyneema!

  4. #4
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    FWIW I keep a Tactical Tailor E&E pouch inside that lower pocket area of the SA. It's not complete yet but it's coming along Smilie
    Current EDC: S25 (BlkHyc)
    Current Closet: BB (Blk/Blk/Blk), SA (Blk/Blk/Iberian), UMP (Blk), TT(Island)
    Owner of All Day Ruckoff

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpnl View Post
    You have a good list @ThreeLeaves!

    Off the top of my head, I can suggest:
    Guide's Pack Lead Pocket
    Smart Alec Lower Module Pocket (can hang off the inside Rail loops)

    I also think the FS could add more structure to your dyneema bag and help keep your bag from sagging. I do like the S25 version in the SA as it has a few zippered pockets.
    Using the top flap pockets will help keep the middle from sagging if not full (not 100% sure if this is as effective on Dyneema versions as I have only Ballistic versions.)

    Here is the link to TB recommended Packing Cube accessories as @haraya mentioned:

    Using Packing Cubes in a Smart Alec

    I am sure @Ilkway can add more ideas. Her picture of putting a TB light strap to help see into the SA as @ haraya mentioned is in your last link.

    Hope this helps

    Cheers!
    I REALLY want to try out a FS in my SA to see what kind of stability it could add. I'm used to packs with a little bit of structure so the whole non-structured thing took me a few days to get used to.
    Current EDC: S25 (BlkHyc)
    Current Closet: BB (Blk/Blk/Blk), SA (Blk/Blk/Iberian), UMP (Blk), TT(Island)
    Owner of All Day Ruckoff

  6. #6
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    Hi, @ThreeLeaves: I just noticed the part of your post where you bought a Daylight Briefcase to fit into your Smart Alec. I'm tickled that someone took advice based on one of my photos! I hope you like the DLBC. I don't use mine a lot, but find it indispensable for certain travel situations, particularly having a stealth briefcase that I can pull out and use when I need to look semi-professional. Certainly it pairs well with the Smart Alec in that respect, because it doesn't take up that much space or weight. I would not bring it along, though, if I thought I didn't have use for it on a particular trip -- i.e., for leisure travel, I might prefer something else.

    Because the DLBC fits vertically, it is not a good place to put something that you'll need ready access to, of course, and I find that it is best to take off the strap and tuck it inside the DLBC so it doesn't get tangled up with other items inside the Smart Alec. On my last trip, I put my laptop inside it, but then it was a bit of a struggle to pull it back out for security, and later when I wanted to use it during flight. It might have been better to use the DLBC as a temporary packing cube for the changes of clothes I took, and leave the laptop tucked against the back of the backpack instead.

    This thread has been fantastic. I love the ideas about how to pack the SA, including using the tall stuff sacks, which I had not thought of. The truth is that I've posted a lot about packing this particular bag, and asked questions, because it has always been a bit of a puzzle to me. However, the more I use it, the more I like it. I'm 5'2" and despite it being large, it is very comfortable to wear. Mine is all dyneema, and as long as I use cubes to contain my things and give it some structure, I think it holds its shape pretty well. I use the bungee cords to cinch it up and that seems to help.
    Last edited by bchaplin; 07-13-2015 at 04:36 PM.
    ----
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  7. #7
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    @bchaplin I really like how the DLBC fits in the SA. I don't have one but I can see it being very useful for business trips and the like... and I might have to pick one up before my next trip!
    Current EDC: S25 (BlkHyc)
    Current Closet: BB (Blk/Blk/Blk), SA (Blk/Blk/Iberian), UMP (Blk), TT(Island)
    Owner of All Day Ruckoff

  8. #8
    Forum Member Moose's Avatar
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    Please forgive my ignorance, what is a beaver tail please?
    Thanks,
    Moose
    List exceeds allowed characters. So I'll just say I'm plum and kiwi loving FOT!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    Please forgive my ignorance, what is a beaver tail please?
    Thanks,
    Moose
    A beaver tail is something on the back of a pack that allows you to hold in a jacket or something. On the SA the weave is considered the beaver tail. The first time I heard the term beaver tail it was associated with the TAD packs. Here's a link to a picture of it: http://www.itstactical.com/wp-conten...ack-edc-23.jpg
    Current EDC: S25 (BlkHyc)
    Current Closet: BB (Blk/Blk/Blk), SA (Blk/Blk/Iberian), UMP (Blk), TT(Island)
    Owner of All Day Ruckoff

  10. #10
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    throw every thing in a buncha cubes and call it a day :-)

    Thank you all for sharing your ideas and suggestions :-)

    I will refer back to this thread to prime my wishlist ;-)

    What a coincidence, today was heavy EDC so i schelepped the DLBC to serve as organizer along with a large packing cube + Eagle Creek spectra. @bchaplin, you read my mind about storing the simple strap into the DLBC. It's one of those items where, "do i pack, or not?" DLBC is in the same weight class as FS so i think i just may supplement with a WF PC that @tpnl and @haraya mentioned. But yes, thank you and all the SA fans. Good influence.

    @haraya thanks for the tip about the photon light; i have an old 15 yr version that is still running strong! I may pick up your more recent version for lighter internal lighting. As for packing, I feel like goldilocks trying to pick the best volume pack. This morning I was running late trying to switch all the stuff from the S19 into the SA because my lunch cubes didn't fit the overstuffed S19. I think my usual EDC is minimal but I indulge some days with big headphones or a jacket that I don't want to wear on. If the S19 had a beaver tail or UMP like the SA, I think that would be the sweet spot for my usual EDC. Or just use my SA ;-)

    Personally after brief use with the SA, I think design wise the S19 or S26 is laid out better for me as the compartments really cut having to think what goes where and act separately from the main compartment, side pockets don't intrude main space. IMHO, the Synapses seem more evolved, thought out.

    @Moose a beavertail is a pack attachment that functions like the bungee or optional gatekeeper straps of the SA to hold external items in place. You can stuff wet or oversized gear between the beaver tail and pack. It's made of the bag's pack cloth or lighter material and attached at the bottom on the fixed end and the other free end clams down on your gear. They were popular with old Dana Design packs. Unfortunately not many pack manufacturers sell it as a separate add on :-(( as it is really handy for wet or awkward stuff!! Even Mystery Ranch, the company from the Dana Design founder does not make them anymore. @AllDayRuckoff made a great post about the TAD version http://forums.tombihn.com/photos-vid...a-tad-cp1.html but since the SA has no attachment points, you can only use the beaver tail internally. The SA bungee is not doing it for me, pretty much just for a small vest like the photos. I even bought extra straps but that too seems too cumbersome. I found this net like beaver tail called a mininet and have it on order for the S19 and maybe SA Tribe One Outdoors I'll update when tested.

  11. #11
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    a beavertail is a pack attachment that functions like the bungee or optional gatekeeper straps of the SA to hold external items in place.
    Interesting!! I have not seen this type of attachment before. Do you have a beavertail for another pack? Perhaps you could jury-rig it to the SA - maybe attach a gatekeeper strap to the lowest slots, and then use carabiners to anchor the beavertail to the gatekeeper?

    Perhaps if I had something bulky and wet that I wanted to attach to the SA, I'd bring along a Shop Bag (large or small, depending on need) and use the bungee or gatekeepers to hold it on the outside of the pack. With a key strap or two for extra insurance. :-)

  12. #12
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    I forgot to mention 2 other volumes I just discovered even after 1 week with the SA:
    I don't think these were intentional but kinda useful anyway.

    A Hidden open upside "pocket" - in the SA flap which i now use for my light windbreaker, on the S19 the windbreaker would go in the bottom pocket.
    UMP open hidden pocket - underneath the pen holders - i stuffed my wallet in there and almost missed the bus forgetting it was there :-)

  13. #13
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    @haraya I think the TB knitters need to come up with a TB pack cozy pattern. Maybe in a stretchy brioche rib stitch to hold pack items in place :-)

  14. #14
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    Why not?? Smilie You could even customize your colors! Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by ThreeLeaves View Post
    @haraya I think the TB knitters need to come up with a TB pack cozy pattern. Maybe in a stretchy brioche rib stitch to hold pack items in place :-)

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