Side-by-Side Power Packer: First Impressions

A streamlined cable and gadget organizer

The Side by Side Power Packer was funded on Kickstarter last year and is now available for purchase. I encourage you to check out the product walkthrough on Side by Side’s website or the Kickstarter page. I am going to go through how I am using it and my initial thoughts.

For the past few years I have been using one of the smaller Eagle Creek padded packing cubes (which they no longer make…). The padded packing cubes are fantastic and have modular velcro dividers. I use two of the larger sizes for my camera gear. But, for my cables and chargers I needed an intermediate size and there was no way to layer the contents in an organized fashion. They also weren’t designed for cord management. As soon as I saw the Power Packer it looked like the solution I needed. No more digging through a pouch or remembering where in my pack I put my laptop charger because I couldn’t fit it with everything else.

The materials, construction and stiching seem solid so far. The stretch fabric on the two outside facing compartments is the only area of concern. I am interested to see how it holds up over time and if it becomes strechted out and loose. These stretch panels are key to the design though as they allow for expansion and storage of irregualr shaped objects without making the overall size of the pouch large and bulky.

One side unzips 3/4 of the way and allows easy storage of larger items. Think laptop chargers, batteries, and portable drives. The lower zipper opens up clamshell style. The upper panel has a large piece of elastic webbing that spans the length allowing you to store long thin objects; a thin portable drive for instance. I am currently not using this space. On top of this are two vertical pieces of webbing for cables. On the top side of the internal flap are four smaller webbing loops for cables. On the underside of the flap are a few small pockets for SD cards or USB drives on the left and a zippered pouch for small odds and ends on the right. The bottom compartment of the pouch has three looser webbing straps for larger cables or in my case a power brick and USB charger. This area will also expand outward due to the stretch fabric.

So far, it holds pretty much everything I need. The only minor complaint is that it could use a little more depth in the main clamshell compartment. I have fairly flat items nor am I using every compartment and things are snug when zipping it up.

While the all metal zipper pulls do have a nice clean design… metal zipper pulls are a no-go. Nobody wants a noisy bag. Simple accesory cord or gutted 550 cord with some heat shrink tubing is the standard go-to. For smaller items like this short pulls with lanyard knots also works well.

Generally I will use thicker heat shrink tubing with an adhesive liner as it holds up better, but this was all I had on hand at the moment.