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Travel bags, laptop bags, and backpacks. Tom Bihn has been designing and making bags since 1972. The best materials and innovative construction.

Smart Alec Modular Pockets & Straps - Tom Bihn Hiking Packs

We've long been known for the myriad of options we offer to organize and customize the interior of our bags; the Pockets and Straps were developed by Designer and CEO Tom Bihn and Production Engineer Nik to offer you the ability to organize and customize the outside of your bag as well.

1" Gatekeeper Straps:
You can replace the front bungee included with the Smart Alec with these straps (or leave the bungee in place and install the straps over the bungee). Useful for securing large/bulky items to the front or top of the Smart Alec: a yoga mat, snowshoes, raincoat, Christmas tree, or anything else too big or wet to go inside. Available individually or in sets of two or three; the Smart Alec has webbing loops to accommodate up to five 1" Gatekeeper Straps. Wondering how many you need? Tom uses two 1" Gatekeeper Straps to secure his snowshoes to the front of a Smart Alec.

Upper Pocket:
Adds an extra 2+ liters of volume to the Smart Alec. Inside there are four small organizer pouches sized for the things to which you need quick access: smartphone, keys, multitool, flashlight. Two interior O-rings allow you to attach keys or pouches or what have you. It should be noted that in situ the six Gatekeeper attachments make the Upper Pocket look somewhat like the paw of a polydactyl tiger. Just saying.

Lower Pocket:
Adds an extra 3+ liters of volume to the Smart Alec. Fits two 1-liter water bottles, or one water bottle and other stuff, or just a lot of other stuff. Inside are two O-rings and an open-top organizer pocket sized for a wallet.

All three of these modular accessories secure to the front of the Smart Alec via (six for the pockets) Gatekeeper clips: one of the strongest and most secure attachment methods available. Note: for some folks, there might be a slight learning curve in how to open and close Gatekeeper clips, and it does take a moderate amount of dexterity and hand strength. Thanks to maverick, a member of the TOM BIHN Forums, there's a great video on our YouTube channel demonstrating how to open and close Gatekeepers the right (easiest) way: see it here on YouTube or watch below.

Be creative: add an Upper Pocket and three 1" Gatekeeper Straps below it. Or, keep the bungee included with the Smart Alec and add the Lower Pocket on top of it. Whichever way you customize the outside of your Smart Alec, we want to hear about it and see it: send us a review or photo.

Note that each of these three accessories is designed specifically for use with the Smart Alec. That said, some might find the 1" Gatekeeper Straps useful on non-TOM BIHN bags. If you come up with some cool way to use them, just let us know about it.

Note: Tom updated the design of the Smart Alec in October 2012 and added 1" webbing loops to the top of the bag to accommodate the Upper Pocket and additional 1" Gatekeeper Straps. If you purchased your Smart Alec pre-October 2012 and it doesn't have the upper/top 1" webbing loops, you won't be able to attach the Upper Pocket to your bag. You will, however, be able to use the Lower Pocket and the 1" Gatekeeper Straps (secured to the bottom half of the Smart Alec). Some earlier Smart Alecs (pre-2009, more or less) had 5/8" webbing loops; very early Smart Alecs had no webbing loops. None of the new accessories will work with these older bags.


U.S. made high tenacity 1050 denier ballistic nylon — or — ultralight 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop
200 denier Japanese Dyneema®/nylon ripstop fabric organizer-pocket lining
Tough Duraflex® and Nexus buckles
Nylon webbing
#8 YKK Aquaguard® coil zippers on Upper and Lower Pockets


Made in USA
100% finished seams


Upper Pocket Dimensions: 8.7" x 7.3" x 2" / 220 x 185 x 50 mm
Lower Pocket Dimensions: 10.8" x 6.7" x 3" / 275 x 170 x 75 mm
1" Gatekeeper Strap length: 17" / 430 mm
Upper Pocket Weight:
1050d high tenacity ballistic nylon: 5.2 oz / 150 grams
400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop: 4.4 oz / 125 grams
Lower Pocket Weight:
1050d high tenacity ballistic nylon: 5.8 oz / 165 grams
400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop: 4.6 oz / 130 grams
1" Gatekeeper Strap weight: 1 oz / 30 grams
Upper Pocket volume: 150 cubic inches / 2.5 liters (ASTM Standard Measure)
Lower pocket volume: 215 cubic inches / 3.5 liters (ASTM Standard Measure)

Smart Alec Modular Pockets & Straps

$5 - $45
Choose an accessory:

Backorder info


Always Made in U.S.A.

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