Tom Bihn Smart Alec Backpack

U.S. made, 1050 denier high tenacity ballistic nylon and 1000 denier Cordura® exterior
200 denier Dyneema®/nylon ripstop fabric lining
Closed-cell foam back and bottom
EVAZOTE® foam shoulder straps
PORON® foam handle
Tough Duraflex® and Nexus buckles
#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.Specifications:
Dimensions: 18.5″ x 11.75″ x 7.75″ / 470 x 300 x 200 mm
Weight: 1 lb 13 oz / 820 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

Made in USA in the TOM BIHN Seattle factory
100% finished seams
24 reinforcing bar tacks

After reviewing the Synapse Backpack I was eager to check out some other stuff from them. So about three weeks ago I ordered up their Smart Alec backpack. Upon taking it out of the box I was presented with the sleek aesthetics and high quality materials. It is noticeably bigger than the Synapse so I knew it would work out a lot better for my intended use.

The Smart Alec bag is constructed using 1050 denier high tenacity ballistic nylon. Ballistic nylon began its life as the material used in World War II flak jackets for pilots. 1050 Denier Ballistic Nylon is thick, stiff, and tough. It makes an excellent choice for heavy duty gear.

There are 13 webbing loops on the front of the Smart Alec and an included removable reflective bungee make it easy to secure all kinds of stuff. I use it for securing my hooded sweatshirt when I’m not wearing it. They also offer other add-ons for attaching to these loops for more storage compartments. You can view those extra add-ons on their website.

I really like the zipper design on these bags. They use #10 YKK Aquaguard water-repellent zippers on the main compartment and #8 YKK Aquaguard water-repellent zippers on the side pockets. As you can see from the picture above, it seals up perfectly! Plus you can inter-weave the zipper pull strings together to ensure the compartments won’t be easily opened by thieves.

Your first look at what the Wasabi inside looks like. Nice and bright! The left pocket compartment has an ample amount of space for all sorts of gadgets whether it be a digital camera, mp3 player, or in my case a 32oz water bottle. And even with the 32oz water bottle there is still a good bit of room for a few other things.

The right pocket has a bunch of smaller compartments for all sort of things. Right now I have my Leatherman WaveNitecore MT25Kershaw Skyline, and a pen and notepad for jotting down stuff. As you can see there is a good bit of space for more stuff.

A peak into the main compartment. The interior liner is made from a durable ultralight 200 denier Dyneema/nylon ripstop fabric. Available in a slew of colors too. I choose Wasabi and I must say its very vibrant and grabs the eye, I like it.

On the back side of the main compartment panel is two separate pockets for misc items such as phone charger, multi tool, mp3 player etc..

This is a top view of the main compartment. And you can see the lower pocket compartment with a flashlight in it. I had two Cisco Networking text books, a first aid kit, a 32oz water bottle and a rain coat in the main compartment and there was still room for more stuff (3 pictures above).

Here you can see the Annex Clips. Annex Clips are molded plastic parts that allow you to secure things like the Tom Bihn Brain Cell or the Camera I-O to the interior. There are three o-rings for attaching key straps or any other item you’d like to attach.

The back of the Smart Alec is constructed using a 1/4″ padded Dri-Lex Aerospace mesh material. Even with a full load in the bag the padding against your back helps keep this bag very comfortable to wear on short or long excursions.

The shoulder straps are heavily padded to provide comfort along the chest and shoulders when you’ve got a full load. My estimation is there close to about 1/2″ of an inch thick. Tom Bihn also incorporated into this bag a sternum strap with a built in whistle and a waist strap with easy quick disconnects for easy removal.

My final conclusion on the Tom Bihn Smart Alec Backpack: The overall build quality is top notch. There is much more storage space then my Tom Bihn Synapse Backpage which I like a lot. This bag will get a good bit of use from me since it became my designated gym bag. I’m not much for waist straps since I am a bigger guy but I do like that they put quick disconnects for easy removal. And like I’ve mentioned in my Synapse review, these guys are based right here in the good ole’ USA. They may not be the cheapest bags on the market, but I can justify spending a little more money knowing these guys are helping keep jobs right here in the United States.

For more information on the Tom Bihn Smart Alec bag and other bags, please visit their website HERE. If you’re a student looking for a bag between home and class or if you’re looking for a 1 day hiking bag Tom Bihn has quite a few bags that could fit your needs. Definitely give one a try!!

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