Review – Tom Bihn Side Kick

I found out about this brand too late! I think its a super great company that make really good quality bags! So when I learned about this company, I was very anxious to own one. So I decided to purchase one of the smaller bag (an cross body known as Side Kick). This bag is similar to a Muji bag that I have purchased 3-4 years ago. As much as I love nice looking cross body aka “fashionable” cross body in fabulous vegan leather , I think nylon bags are much functional when you are travelling. They are lightweight, decent, low profile (especially when you are in an not-so-safe city) and always full of compartments that you can use. Functional is way important than being fashionable. My Muji bag has been an awesome side kick for a long time. But recently I noticed an unremovable white stain on the bag. Furthermore, the bag do not have compartments that I really need. Hence, I purchased this to replace my muji bags and other cheaper cross body bags that I owned.

I spend a couple of days deciding on the colours.  70% of my life I spend on buying black bags. But do I want another black bag again? I mean its going a bag that I would use for a very long time! So…I must make careful decision. I finally came to a decision while riding the train back. I decided to get a Black Halcyon (aka black checkered nylon). Checkered pattern was never my kind of thing. But I thought plain black is too boring! I am however craving for a purple bag (I kinda like darker shade purple secretly as it was the official colour switch for my previous company. Due to the influences, I have been getting things of that colour occasionally.) or burnt orange. Burnt orange look so cool and unique!

It took a day for them to ship and only one day to reach a forwarder I am using being in the next state. BUT the forwarder took super long to process the shipment to me. I shall not go into that. I waited for about 10 days plus to get the package.

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So the first day it came, I couldn’t bring it with me for the next day as I need to carry library books! But I was determined to carry it asap. I have forgotten to bring back my notebook and planner from work on that day I decided to start using the bag. So I was a bit worried if my bag would fit them. At 5.20pm (I end work at 5.30pm officially!), I decided to start packing. Since my SK couldn’t fit in my lunch boxes, I have to carry a lunch tote. So I figure out I could squeeze in some stuffs if I couldn’t fit them in! At the same time, I try to arrange the pouches in order to make use of the awesome o-rings that they have.

Of course, they amazingly fit in! And there is more space for more things… Some compartments are still empty…

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Here’s what I have in my beloved Side Kick:
A slim umbrella – I am most pleased about this. I cannot go anywhere without an umbrella. Most people mentioned about fitting in an bottle. But I have not read about umbrella. I probably put in an water bottle if I am traveling. But if I am commuting, umbrella is more important. 
Tissue – Again, I cannot go anywhere without a tissue pack or two.
Card access – Hufflepuff lanyard 🙂
Pouch for transport card, keys & coins – I modified this and was pleased that the key straps that I have purchased from Tom Bihn can be strapped into the zip of the pouch. I was so glad that I purchased an 8 inch strap as it make tapping of cards much easier!
Tom Bihn Ballistic organiser (mini) – I uses this as an wallet. It works so well as its much larger than most coin pouch. Notes can be easily slot in and out. I am thinking of getting another piece next time to carry my other necessities. And of course I strapped to the one of the o-ring with the default key strap given. It is again so useful as I do not have to search for my wallet again!!
Notebook – I uses an fauxdori currently. It is from Taobao, China. As much as I like Midori, I would never buy their traveller’s notebook being its made of real leather.  But I uses the authentic refills from Modori. 
2017 Planner from Moleskine
Pens – My all-time favourite Sarasa Clip Pen & a Snoopy pen from ASOS. And I absolutely love the Pen compartments!! 
Power bank
iPod Nano
iPhone 6S (Not pictured)

I really wanted to cover it with pins and badges for personalisation. But I read about not being covered by warranty etc. But I thought who cares! I would just get another to replace. But I realise a button may not fit in that well as the front compartment is quite bulky. But I decided to attach an keychain to personalise. Another alternative is probably to attach it onto the strap instead since the strap is detachable.

Obviously, I am super pleased with the bag! Although its much more expensive than my Muji bag (3 times!), but I know this bag would last for a long time!

1. There is so much compartments! I love compartments as they really helps in organisation!
2. O-rings. So much love for this function. It make life easier. I can easily tap my card & I can easily find my pouch.
3. Size. The size is amazing! It can fits in all the essential yet it is not crazy big. I anticipated using this for my next holiday trip.

What I do not quite like:
1. I wasn’t a fan of the strap originally. It is more thin than my Muji bag. It is less comfortable. But after 2-3 days, I gotten used to the strap.
2. There is not much padding. I put my planner (hardcover) at the back and it feels uncomfortable due to the lack of padding support. But its really not an big issue. Adding in padding probably make the bag more bulky. An alternative is to place something soft – e.g. a lightweight scarf as “padding” at the back.

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