Smart Alec in Black/Steel/Steel.
1) Tom nuanced the shape of the front of the Smart Alec. It's a little bit slimmer at the top, which means it zips easier, and the front holds its shape better, even if the bag is empty.
2) More loops were added to the front top of the bag, making a total of 13. This means there's more places and ways to use the included reflective front bungee (remember: you can also remove it entirely if you don't want to use it) to secure a rain jacket, umbrella, yoga mat, or bike helmet to the front of the bag. In the near future, we'll be offering accessory straps and modular pockets that attach to the front via these loops. Ride your motorcycle or bike or walk at night with your Smart Alec? Add a 5' / 1.5m Glowire kit which you can weave through these new loops. Scott, our Shipping Lead, has been testing both the modular pocket and the Glowire kit on days he commutes to and from work on his bike, and both are working out great.
3) Tom replaced the 1000d Cordura bottom of the Smart Alec with our 1050d high tenacity ballistic nylon: it's just as durable, but less abrasive and less likely to attract lint and dog/cat hair.
Last but not least: the 1000d Cordura back has been replaced with a Breathable Drylex Aerospacer 3D mesh back panel. Tom uses his Smart Alec as a dayhiking pack and one thing he always wanted to add was a breathable mesh back panel.
These design changes were made in this latest batch of Smart Alecs, so all Smart Alecs available for order now have the design updates. Note: Black/Black/Steel has already sold out and is available for backorder with an expected shipping date of late February 2013. Other colors may also soon sell out.
Note: these improvements do add materials and labor costs to the Smart Alec. On Monday of next week, we will increase the price of the Smart Alec from $150 to $160. We know some of you have been waiting to order the Smart Alec until it was back in-stock and wanted to give you a heads-up so that you could order before we increased the price.