Which colors did you decide on?
<< On a related note, Eagle Creek makes a clean/dirty packing cube where the clean half is mesh and breathable and the dirty half is water/order sealed-- plus that's washable. Just FYI. >>
Thanks...I checked out the product page, I would be curious to see how well it works. I mean, there's "controls odors" and there's the kind of odor control you and I are talking about. haha
@jess: I got The Black/Black dyneema/wasabi SA, and the Navy/Iberian S25. As for the various pockets and stuff, they are either black or steel. There aren't as many color options as I had initially thought for most of these products. That's fine though.
I did end up purchasing a freudian slip. I'm hoping that I can fit my kindle and/or nexus 7 in the pockets. I know I could have gotten a cache or pocket, actually I also got a medium padded pocket, but I like the idea of the kindle/nexus being fixed in a position, rather than floating around in the cavernous main compartment.
Its alot, ALOT of money for all of this, but I'm excited. I got to the point where I was far too consumed about deciding on a diaper bag. As I've said before, almost any old backpack can fill the diaper bag roll. I'm sold on the idea of using this for far more than diaper duty. I like the TB stuff and fortunately, I can afford it, so I just pulled the trigger. Hopefully I'm happy with it, and I'm really hoping my wife doesn't find out how much I just spent.
Last edited by bbig119; 07-07-2014 at 12:17 PM.
I got the my box of Tom Bihn bags today!!! I've only just started playing around with them, so opinions are still preliminary and I'm just going to keep things short until I have more time to fully evaluate the items I've ordered. I really like the Smart Alec. I like the way it looks and I think it can work wonderfully provided I've got reasonable organization. The Synapse 25 is also great, but more captivated by the SA. One point of concern is the size of the bags. When I put the SA on, I've adjusted the should straps nearly all the way to their maximum length and it almost feels a bit short on my back. At this adjustment length the bottom of the bag sites just above my waistline. The S25 is similar but sits noticeable amount lower-- almost on my waistline. Is this normal and correct fitting?
My Timbuk2 snoop camera insert doesn't fit well in the SA. Its at about the maximum width and because of that, there isn't any room to then place a water bottle in the side pockets since they tend to expand into the bag. Recall that I had already found that it fit the S25 when Jess kindly let me check out and try some of the TB bags that she owns. I'm not sure if this is a big deal or not, but if I decide to keep the SA, I may need to invest in a better fitting camera insert.
Aside from that, I like the cache with rails, Freudian slip and some of the other little pockets I've picked up. I haven't figured out how to make good use of the o-ring attachments in the SA-- its a new concept to me.
All in all, I like the products, and its going to be a difficult decision in terms of what to keep and what I decide to return. Even if the SA fit is fine, I would certainly benefit it if was several inches longer.
Sounds like it's going to be a tough choice. I'm curious to hear what you pick.
So I finally made my decisions and have some semblance of a functioning diaper bag/system, though its evolving and I'm sure it will change more as use it more and figure out the best way to organize and pack. That being said, here's how things currently stand.
I bought an Synapse25 a Smart Alec, and a bunch of accessories and organizational cubes. I've decided to keep the Smart Alec, freudian slip, snake charmer and a few other accessories. Why?
1) Asthetics: I think the SA is a more unique and interesting looking bag than the S25. While the S25 is also an excellent looking bag the first thing my wife said to me when I showed it to her was, "It looks like my Jansport from high school". Though I recognize the differences, I also couldn't help by agree with her. Even if I didn't agree with her, she would remind me about it all the time if I kept the S25.
2) Function: The biggest advantage here for the SA are the loops and bungee on the outside/front of the bag. I'm hoping they will be very useful. The other items are more minor quibbles that could be argued either way, but here's how I see them. As a diaper bag I'm going to be carrying two water bottles, one for me with ice water and a second for my son with ambient temp water(for now anyway). Both side pockets on the SA fit my hydroflasks, but with the S25, only the center pocket fit my hydroflask. The final point that I can think of right now is something I'll call - the change up ability -. The S25 has more built in pockets and organization that make it immediately useful with no additional packing accessories. The issue here is that to change from a full diaper bag to a camera bag to a work bag to a travel bag or some hybrid of the two requires digging through multiple pockets to reorganize. With the SA I can and have organized diaper stuff into packing cubes (where appropriate) and its quick to swap things around.
I was bummed to find out that my small timbuk2 snoop insert wouldn't fit well in the SA (it did fit find in the S25). Today I picked up a crumpler haven in large. I needed this because my camera and primary lens are large/tall (canon 70d + EOS 17-55 lens), and many of the other competitors weren't big enough. Its a very high quality bag and the padding is better than most of the others I looked into (I think the snoop insert has better padding). The large is $60, so its really quite expensive for what it is, but I couldn't find anything that did the job as well that I like. The offering from mountainsmith is taller and has firm padding, but I didn't like the way the bag sealed with a large fold and clips. The Ape insert is much cheaper than the crumper, but also has less padding and in my specific case none of their bags were tall enough for my camera/lens. I also considered the XS snoop insert, but it was too short as well-- though I do recommend it as a high quality, well padded camera insert. So I've got the crumper, and it works fine. I can fit my camera w/ lens mounted with space for another item (lens or speedlight). I haven't played with the numerous outside pockets, but they have stretch elastic and look like they may be able to hold extra memory cards, batteries, and items like that. Its a good bag, I think its the right one for my needs. Loaded, it fits easily in the SA, but there its more snug than I expected on the sides when I've got water bottles in the side pockets that expand into the main compartment. There is also a reasonable amount additional space front to bag and of course extra space vertically-- either above or below the crumpler depending where its placed.
I got to use my SA as a diaper bag this past weekend, and I think it worked great. I ended up buying packing cubes from ebags and use them and the snake charmer for organization-- separating extra clothes, diapers/changing stuff, and feeding/toys from each other. I can pack it light for a half-day/full day trip or add extra stuff to handle overnight or longer. As I mentioned above, having the cubes makes it super quick to swap my SA around for different uses and enables me to easy to turn my timbuk2 messenger into a diaper bag if I ever desire or need to do so.
Finally, thanks for all of your help-- especially @jess who took the time on a day off to show me the brain bag and the S25. I'm happy with my setup and I'll certainly be back here looking when I need travel luggage items, which is likely sooner than I care to admit.
Yay! I'm glad you found your perfect combo. It sounds like the SA is going to be a great bag for all your many needs.
@bbig119, glad that SA work for you.
I have yet to own a SA yet, waiting for a suitable color option like yours as currently not available. I prefer a bright lining interior. Anyway, I am not in a hurry to get one.
I do find SA quite versatile but haven't really thought it could be as multi-purpose as a diaper bag.
Nevertheless, awesome to hear that it work out for you. And, thanks you for your time to share here.
Actually, I just order myself a Pilot and I intend it to be dual-purpose - also a diaper/baby bag (though not now, next year, hopefully) and a travel messenger bag.
Hopefully, it will work out for me especially the baby part.
Solar: A45 Navy, CP Steeld, SA Black, TT, YSS/Tall, OP/S, PP Navy
Steel: Pilot Steel 400d, UMP Steel 400d
Olive: SC, DOP/M, COP/M
BC V S1, H M2, PCSB Nordic, TT Iberian, Risretto Cocoa/Cayenne
Buy List Wouldn't mind : Solar Like New
~Live Long & Prosper by Vulcan
good luck with the forthcoming child. Two small bits advice.
1. In specific regards to a future diaper bag, but also generally useful: be prepared for #2 explosions that get all over EVERYTHING. I have a disposable adsorbent pad for these instances, and you'll need a change of clothes for baby plus something to put the soiled clothes in. Your baby will drop one of these at the most inconvenient/embarrassing moments. I'd almost suggest bringing a hazmat suit too, but that won't fit in an SA or similarly sized bag.
2. I have no idea what your thoughts/plans are for baby shower/gifts and the necessary registry that is associated with all that, but when it came time to build one for us, I let my wife do most of it and places like Amazon and Babies-R-Us have recommended items that I would have thought were important or necessary. Aside from a few items such as the stroller and nursery furniture I didn't pay much attention to specific items. In retropect, now as I'm using these things on a daily basis and come across the competition there are some items I wish I had spent a bit of time researching and making an informed decision on rather than going with a general recommendation. Things like the brand of bottles-- it ends up as a system so it becomes difficult to change once you buy in, the soiled diaper pail, and drying rack are just a few examples.