“When I reviewed the Synapse 19, I wrote, “As long as you tend to travel light, and you’ve got a 13-inch (or smaller) laptop, this is a superb, and superbly versatile, bag.” With the Synapse 25, those caveats no longer apply: It’s just a superb, versatile bag. The Synapse 19 is still my everyday bag, because I like to travel light and its smaller size forces me to do so. But I have to admit that I’m envious of the Synapse 25. It’s a little bit more of everything that’s great about the 19, and the Cache/rails system is fantastic. The 25 is one of the most versatile bags I’ve seen, and though it’s not inexpensive, my experience with its smaller sibling—four years of heavy use and still going strong—suggests that you’re getting what you pay for.”
“So many different places claim to have ”the best” of something. The best french fries. The best customer service. The best wine. Of course “the best” can really depend on personal preference and everyone may not agree. All that aside, I feel confident in proclaiming this to be the best carry-on bag and hopefully many of you will agree if you have one or buy one. ”
New forum member jwiegley recently posted a remarkably thorough review of the Smart Alec, attesting to the quality of the backpack’s construction and the surprising comfort of the straps. They write:
“My first thoughts on opening the box were that this is certainly a well-made product. My second thought was that the back straps seemed a little skimpy compared to other bags I’ve used. However, usage, and education about seam-stitching and bar tacks, has completely reversed me on that second thought. Simply put, these are the best back straps I’ve encountered, and the most comfortable that I’ve used on any bag. In fact, they are not just comfortable: my back actually feels better with the pack on than off! I’m not sure how that works exactly, but I look forward to putting it on each day. It has come to be one of my favorite things about the bag, which I would not have expected from the beginning.”
“Finally got around to my first ever TB video. It went a little long because, like others on the forum, I’m a nerd when it comes to describing my gadgets.”
“The retro styling is cool, it has great modular organization with the addition of the side pockets and non-proprietary diamond lash points, and in general it’s great to have choices depending on different carry requirements.”
Read the full review at LoadedPocketz.
The Man’s Man
“The Guide’s Pack is a high quality backpack that looks great and can hold a lot of gear. The structure of the bag is made to align itself with the natural spinal shape. The bag is customizable and can be restructured according to the user’s preference.”
“There is a lot of beautiful architecture to the Guide’s Pack and the Lead’s Pockets, giving yourself time to allow it to wash over yourself as you sort thru and absorb it. (I ordered an olive Guides Pack and 3 Leads Pockets) It’s like moving into a large home..”
Trailhiker’s Guide’s Pack threads:
Initial impressions after just receiving my Guides Pack!
Lead’s Pocket Comparison Photos
Guides Pack out in the wild
“I received my Tom Bihn Tri-Star bag about 3 weeks ago and wanted to share my initial impressions of it. What really surprised me was how substantial it was, when you pick it up you know it’s something special. I also ordered some packing cubes and the absolute strap.
I haven’t used it yet, I’m heading to Thailand in about a week and I plan on putting the Tristar through its paces. I chose Steel and Iberian, it’s a beautiful gray that’s not too light or too dark with a nice sheen. I could take it on a weekend trip wearing jeans and a t-shirt or carry it on a business trip wearing a suit and it would look appropriate for either occasion.
The Tristar’s 1050d exterior feels super tough, I think the only way to damage it would be to take a sharp blade to it or throw it off a mountain top. The interior dyneema is light but tough. The construction is impeccable, you can tell a lot of care went into the crafting of the bag.”
“I just had a chance to try out the new Knitting Tool Pouches. They come in 4 sizes. Sizes 1, 2 and 3 are like short, medium, and long rectangular cases with reinforcements inside at both ends. The Size 4 is a 5.5” x 5.5” square that is perfect for interchangeable cables and stops.”
“One of the upsides of business travel is getting the chance to visit a lot of different places and see new things. But one of the big downsides is that you often have to decide what to take, not only to do your job, but also to stay sane while traveling.
Here are a few options for those who plan to travel with an Android device as a companion.”
And amongst Sean’s recommendations is the…
“I’ve had a few Tom Bihn bags now, and they’re incredibly sturdy – they’re designed to last through years of heavy use without coming apart. The Synapse 25 is a checkpoint-friendly backpack with five water-resistant pockets along the front that can handle everything from keys and camera to a one-litre water bottle. Inside, you can add the foam-padded Cache with Rails accessory to add easy slide-out access to a notebook computer or a larger Android tablet. Add the small Snake Charmer pocketed pouch to store your power cords and cables, to keep them from getting tangled up inside the backpack. Even with this gear inside (and a bit more besides) there’s still room left over for a change of clothes, making it a perfect choice for a day trip…or for cycling/commuting to work (there’s even a little built-in strap designed for a bike light accessory).”
Her Packing List has a great post about how to choose the right luggage. Suitcases vs. backpacks, wheels vs. not, check vs. carry-on, and more is discussed, including what you think you might need vs. what you actually need:
“As tasks at hand get bigger, the space available on your desk seems to become smaller. When your workload is outgrowing your desk, there are a few ways to expand usable space. Just look up, down or sideways and think out of the box.”
Up? Apartment Therapy offers that: “There’s no reason ceiling-mounted storage, traditionally used in a garage, can’t be installed inside.”
Down? Many options, including our Horizontal Freudian Slip: “Buy a ready-made desk caddy that mounts or hangs off the side of the desk, like this one from Utretcht, this inexpensive option from Bed, Bath & Beyond, or the Freudian Slip from Tom Bihn (meant as a briefcase insert, but works great as a desk caddy, pictured above).”