A Smart Alec in Steel (grey) 1050 Ballistic. A Smart Alec in Steel (grey) 1050 Ballistic with a Wasabi (green with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A Smart Alec in Steel (grey) 1050 Ballistic with an Iberian (red with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A Smart Alec in Burnt Orange 1050 Ballistic. A Smart Alec in Burnt Orange 1050 Ballistic with a Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A Smart Alec in Burnt Orange 1050 Ballistic with a Steel (dark grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A Smart Alec in Verde (green) 1050 Ballistic. A Smart Alec in Verde (green) 1050 Ballistic with an Ultraviolet (purple with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A Smart Alec in Coyote (brown) 1050 Ballistic. A Smart Alec in Coyote (brown) 1050 Ballistic with a Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A Smart Alec in Coyote (brown) 1050 Ballistic with a Steel (dark grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A Smart Alec in Aubergine (dark purple) 1050 Ballistic. A Smart Alec in Aubergine (dark purple) 1050 Ballistic with a Wasabi (green with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A Smart Alec in Black 1050 Ballistic. A Smart Alec in Black 1050 Ballistic with a Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A Smart Alec in Black 1050 Ballistic with a Steel (dark grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A Smart Alec in Black 1050 Ballistic with an Iberian (red with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A Smart Alec in Navy (dark blue) 1050 Ballistic. A Smart Alec in Navy (dark blue) 1050 Ballistic with an Iberian (red with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A Smart Alec in Nordic (blue with grey grid) 400 Halcyon. A Smart Alec in Nordic (blue with grey grid) 400 Halcyon with a Wasabi (green with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A Smart Alec in Nordic (blue with grey grid) 400 Halcyon with a Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A Smart Alec in Black (black with grey grid) 400 Halcyon. A Smart Alec in Black (black with grey grid) 400 Halcyon with a Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A Smart Alec in Black (black with grey grid) 400 Halcyon with an Island (blue with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A Smart Alec in Black (black with grey grid) 400 Halcyon with an Iberian (red with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A Smart Alec in Original (black with white grid) 400 Halcyon. A Smart Alec in Original (black with white grid) 400 Halcyon with an Ultraviolet (purple with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A Smart Alec in Original (black with white grid) 400 Halcyon with a Wasabi (green with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior.
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Smart Alec

$190.00

Clean lines and serious organization.

26 liters (1600 cu. in.)

We've retired the Smart Alec to make way for new designs. Stay tuned for what we come up with next!
A winter jacket attached to the front with the bungee of the Smart Alec. A drink in the side pocket of the Smart Alec. A reverse shot of the Smart Alec showing the backpack straps, sternum strap, and gatekeeper hip belt. The side pocket of the Smart Alec showing keys, a pocket book, and some pens held inside the side pocket. A close shot of the main zipper on the Smart Alec. A close shot of the mesh back of the Smart Alec. A close shot of the sternum strap and hydration clip of the Smart Alec. A reverse shot of a person wearing the Smart Alec. A profile shot of a person wearing the Smart Alec. A person wearing the Smart Alec with the sternum strap buckled. A person wearing a Smart Alec. A person wearing a Smart Alec at a waterfall. A person wearing a Smart Alec on a trail. A person ice hiking with a Smart Alec. A person hiking in the snow with a Smart Alec.

Description

Take it around the world, on a hike, or to the office: its top-loading design and optional modular organization helps you tailor this pack to your needs.

The Smart Alec is a modular backpack system: customize it to carry your gear with a variety of interior and exterior organizational pockets.

13 webbing loops on the front of the Smart Alec and an included removable black bungee make it easy to secure a rain jacket, umbrella, yoga mat, or bike helmet to the front of the bag.

Designed to attach to the webbing loops are the optional Upper Modular PocketLower Modular Pocket, and 1" Gate Keeper Straps. Each adds extra carrying capacity and custom organization to the Smart Alec.

The Upper Modular 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 so you can attach keys or pouches or what-have-you. The Lower Modular 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. 1" Gate Keeper Straps 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 trees, 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 for accommodating up to five 1″ Gate Keeper Straps. Wondering how many you need? Tom uses two 1″ Gate Keeper Straps to secure his snowshoes to the front of a Smart Alec. For more detailed information on each of these three accessories, visit the Smart Alec and Accessories page.

The streamlined main compartment of the Smart Alec opens wide, providing easy access to your gear, and zips with a #10 YKK Aquaguard® water-repellent zipper. 

In the main compartment on the back panel are two unobtrusive webbing loops (that we call "rail loops") to which you can secure the optional Cache (available in sizes specifically for every Apple laptop and iPad). When you add the Cache, the Smart Alec becomes a "checkpoint-friendly" laptop backpack. Here's how it works: on the back (or bottom, depending how you look at it) of the Cache are two parallel "rails" of 1" wide lightweight nylon webbing which extend from the top to the bottom. Included (and already attached for your convenience) when the Cache is ordered with the Smart Alec are two Gatekeeper Rail Clips: unclip the side that isn't clipped to the Cache, slip it through the webbing loops in the Smart Alec middle compartment, and flip it shut. Slip the Cache inside the Smart Alec, and pull it back out: you'll see that the Gatekeeper Rail Clips ride the rails of the Cache, allowing you to remove your laptop from the Smart Alec entirely while it is still encased in the protective Cache. Doing this at the airport security checkpoint means the X-ray machines (and TSA personnel) will have a clear, unobstructed view of your laptop — allowing you to keep your laptop in the Cache and the whole affair securely held together as one unit. (We think that's much better than having to remove your laptop and dump it in one of those buckets.) Many of us will appreciate this functionality on a daily basis as well: the rail system can be a convenient and quick way to remove one's laptop from the bag. 

Inside the main compartment, you'll also find three medium-size organizer pockets: one near the bottom of the bag, and two at the top of the bag that zip shut so that, when you open the main compartment, the small stuff in those pockets won't fall out.

The main compartment has one O-ring with an included 8" Key Strap attached, ready and waiting to help you keep track of your keys. And, of course, you can clip Yarn Stuff Sacks to the O-rings.

If you need more pockets and organization for your gear, or if you carry a lot of papers or folders, you may want to consider our Vertical Freudian Slip insert. The Vertical Freudian Slip fits well inside the main compartment of the Smart Alec and has four slots for files and folders on one side; organizer pockets for cables, small electronics, business cards, pens, and more are on the other side. Best of all, you can pull the Freudian Slip out of the Smart Alec and hang it on a doorknob or near your desk, giving yourself easy access to your accessories while keeping them organized.

The Snake Charmer, a two-sided organizational pouch with mesh panels, is also an optional accessory.

The top back of the Smart Alec has a comfortable, PORON® foam padded grab handle. While you wouldn't want to use the handle as a main carrying method for the Smart Alec, the comfort of the handle makes hoisting a fully loaded Smart Alec an easier task.

The Smart Alec has two long pockets on either side of the bag that zip with #8 YKK Aquaguard® water-repellent zippers. We think it's important to do whatever we can to keep the elements out of your bag and we figure you'd agree. One of the side pockets has an expanding water bottle pocket that can fit water bottles up to 1-1/2 liters. The water bottle pocket has an eyelet at the bottom that will allow liquid inside the water bottle pocket to drain (just in case). The other side pocket has two pen slots and a pocket sized for a wallet or iPhone. This side pocket can also hold other items such as a book, power supply, ereader, or other small accessories. Each of these pockets has one O-ring.

The exterior of the Smart Alec is made of our custom, U.S. made, 1050 denier, high tenacity ballistic nylon fabric and 1000 denier Cordura® nylon, and the interior is lined with our ultralight 200 denier Halcyon/nylon ripstop fabric, custom produced for us in Japan. The back is made of Dri-Lex® Aero-Spacer® mesh and is padded with 1/4", high quality, closed-cell foam.

The comfortable shoulder straps on the Smart Alec are made from 3/8" (10 mm) padding that offers serious comfort without bulk. While the Smart Alec is not built to be a mountaineering pack and we don't suggest you use it as one, we regularly take it for day hikes. We even went to the extreme of testing the comfort of the shoulder straps by carrying a fully loaded Smart Alec on an 18-mile day hike in Olympic National Park. The verdict? The shoulder straps left our shoulders feeling fine (how our feet felt is another story).

The Smart Alec also comes with removable sternum and waist straps, just in case you do take it on a hike, urban or otherwise. If you do decide to remove the sternum and/or waist straps, you'll be pleased to find they leave no hardware behind.

Materials

U.S. high tenacity 1050 denier ballistic nylon — or — ultralight 400d Halcyon/420d nylon ripstop
200 denier Halcyon/nylon ripstop fabric lining
1000d Cordura® side panels
Closed-cell foam back and bottom
EVAZOTE® foam shoulder straps
PORON® foam handle
Duraflex®, Nexus, and Woojin buckles and related components
#10 YKK Aquaguard® coil zipper on main compartment
#8 YKK Aquaguard® coil zippers on pockets
Dri-Lex® Aero-Spacer® mesh padded with 1/4", high quality, closed-cell foam.

Specs

Sewn in USA with globally sourced materials 100% finished seams 24 reinforcing bar tacks

Dimensions: 18.5" x 11.75" x 7.75" / 470 x 300 x 200 mm
Weight:
1050d high tenacity ballistic nylon: 1 lb 15 oz / 865 grams
400d Halcyon®/420d nylon ripstop: 1 lb 12 oz / 785 grams
Volume: 1600 cubic inches / 26 liters (ASTM Standard Measure)
Removable 1" / 25 mm waist strap included
.375" / 10 mm padded and contoured shoulder straps with .75" / 20 mm removable sternum strap
Total O-rings: 5 (3 in top zippered pocket; 1 in left side pocket; 1 in right side pocket)

Sewn in Seattle

Our bags are designed and sewn right here in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

That allows us to be control freaks in the best way possible; we have direct control and oversight of the quality of our materials, our products, and the jobs and working environment that we help create. It also offers us a unique spontaneity: when we have an idea for a new product or accessory, we can design it, figure out how to build it, add it to our website and be ready to ship it out our front door all within just a few weeks. How cool is that?

Intrigued? You can find out more about the unusual way we do business on our Company Philosophy page.

THE BIHN Guarantee

Everything you buy from us here at TOM BIHN is satisfaction guaranteed. We’ve been in business for over 30 years and we stand behind what we make.

If something goes wrong and it's our fault, we'll fix it for free. Repairs due to normal wear and tear or due to other things that are not our fault will be performed, when possible, at a reasonable charge right here in our Seattle factory where your bag was made. Defects in materials or workmanship are uncommon and almost always evident while the product is still new. Keep in mind that bags and packs are often subject to extreme wear in everyday use: do not expect them to last forever. Only true love lasts forever! You can expect a TOM BIHN product to give years and years of hard service.

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average rating 5.0 out of 5
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100% of reviewers would recommend this product to a friend
Review posted
Reviewed by Mel
Rated 5 out of 5

My everyday bag

This has been my everyday bag for a few years now. Too bad it's been discontinued. I wanted the red/black color but by the time I decided to go with a Tom Bihn backpack the Smart Alec had been discontinued and the red was gone. The gray/black one that got was still a great choice and it's red on the inside, so I liked that. It's a great condition, with a little slight bit of wear, but nothing is torn or broken and the shoulder pads are still firm and haven't lost their shape hardly at all. I ordered the cache as a laptop pouch and the slideout feature is very effective but its padding keeps my laptop in almost perfect shape after over 3 years. It has two side compartments on the outside, one has slots for pens and pencils that I use, and I keep batteries and erasers and sometimes a multi-tool there. The other side is an open space that I keep a water bottle normally. On the outside sometimes I'll put a rain jacket there just in case when I'm at work. It has come in handy. On the inside, there are two pockets in a zipped compartment at the top, where I normally have an external SSD or memory card. There is another pouch below there that I'll keep slightly bigger items. As for flaws, I could see how some people might like a bigger opening at the top. Or maybe a pack that zips from the bottom to the other side and can be opened in half. Other people my like multiple slotted compartments for books folders and laptops. This bag has one big inside compartment with pockets.

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