“I was packing up the diaper bag for the day today, and realized that I should bring a battery backup charger for my iPhone, which meant a cable too. And since I was at it why not grab the iPad mini in case an opportunity to use it provides itself. Normally this crap would have just been floating around in the the diaper bag, but then I had a thought. Why not use a Tom Bihn clear organizer pouch to store everything in. Bingo.”
Jess emailed us this review of her Synapse 19:
Dear Customer Service rep at Tom Bihn,
I hope this note finds you well! I just received my first Tom Bihn backpack, the Synapse 19 in black and wasabi, and I am writing to thank you and all of your fellow employees for working for and supporting a company that really knows how to design a bag. I am 28, a woman graduate student at Yale University studying Biochemistry of biofuels. I wear makeup to a polished finish on my face with a labret stud to match, I also care about having the right color-coordinating clothes and cute shoes, but on my left hand I don a calculator watch. Maybe those aren’t the perfect examples, but I appreciate when style and maturity meets efficiency and comfort. Also, you can guess I don’t wear a purse or have a shoulder bag. My daily commute consists of driving, taking the train, followed by city biking and sometimes a shuttle. It is a commute that needs a bag to suit it.
The Synapse 19 is the most ergonomically, well though out designed backpack I have ever seen and worn. I adore the flexibility of all of the well positioned loops that are found in every pocket fast organization, less digging, and I can’t wait to get mini carabineers to hook up coiled power cords or to hang my rock climbing shoes on the outside. The way that the laptop sleeve slides out on its tracks while staying attached is genius. I did not realize it can be used as its own anchor when placed underneath the laptop, letting the empty bag hang conveniently down the side of my lap or small table. The pocket designs are genius as well, the little shallow pouch on the front is perfect for my small wallet and train pass, and the soft-lined pocket in one of the side pouches takes care of my glasses. I love the flexibility of removing and storing extra straps easily for low-key commutes, although they come in super useful when sprinting to catch a train.
All in all, I love my backpack and wanted to thank you.
– Jess, 28, a scientist who commutes to her lab at Yale by car, train and bike.
“Sometimes (well, most of the time, actually), you prefer not to carry a behemoth of a laptop bag, especially if you’re only going to the local café to do a bit of work web surfing. Plus, if you plan on doing something else later and don’t want to leave your computer in your car (bad idea), you want something that travels light and looks good. The Tom Bihn Ristretto 13″ fits Macbook Pro or MacBook Air perfectly. Fully padded for protection, the Ristretto 13 is also lined with soft brushed tricot to bathe your precious machine in softness, and the asymmetric flap that covers the main compartment secures with a one-handed buckle. There’s also a water repellent zipper on the convenient front pouch that holds your phone, wallet, etc.. And lest you think the Ristretto is too compact, there’s also plenty of room for your power cord, sunglasses and other chargers. Never short on versatility, Tom Bihn added three O-rings, one key strap, a shoulder strap and a fully removable waist strap (should you need to get around with your bike or go truly unencumbered). We love what Tom Bihn is doing for travel and transport. Everything they make is done here in the USA and made with some of the best quality we’ve ever seen.”
“Suffice it to say, I travel with a lot of stuff, even for short trips. But the Synapse 25 accepted everythingng that I had and still had plenty of space left for more. Heavy? Sure. But Tom Bihn’s more vertical design of the 25 does an amazing job of stabilizing the weight of the bag, instead of having it feel like you’re going to tip backwards at any given point.”
“While technology makes our lives easier nowadays, there is always the chance that it can be used by individuals that want to take advantage of it and those using it. As of 2006, the U.S. government required all new passports to be outfitted with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips. While these chips store information that allows for better screening of travelers it also opens up the possibility that technology savvy criminals/terrorists can remotely steal your information and use it to their benefit. RFID chips are also in mobile phones and in some credit/debit cards, which means that your financial information is at risk too.
The RFID Blocking Passport Pouch allows the user to rest easy whenever traveling with small items that use RFIDs to store sensitive information. The outer fabric is lightweight tough Dyneema, the world’s strongest fabric, which is 15 times stronger than steel. It is waterproof, heat resistant, UV resistant, and it floats!”
“Tom Bihn’s Synapse 25 backpack taught me an important lesson over the month I spent testing it on numerous road trips. That lesson? Stop buying cheap backpacks. Investing a little extra money right now can save you time packing, unpacking, and getting through airport security in the future. Say hello to the Synapse 25 backpack, the road traveler’s best friend.”
Shawn Blanc interviews Patrick Welker, a freelance graphic and web designer living in Germany, about his setup — everything from office chairs to Macs to water filters — and why he uses what he does to get his work done.
Of his bag — the Ristretto for 11″ MacBook Air — Patrick says:
“When I’m on the road I use a messenger bag to carry my MacBook and iPad. I choose to go with the Ristretto from Tom Bihn despite the high shipping costs and customs tax that are due when importing something from the United States. The bag is equipped with the fantastic Absolute Shoulder Strap and a lot of their nifty pouches and leashes. Ninety percent of the times when I leave the house I travel with my bike, and due to Tom Bihn’s Guardian Dual Function Light I feel a lot safer when riding in the dark.”
Above? Patrick’s health appliances. He explains: “When you live and work all day long within a tight space and share it with another person, my belief is that the room you choose needs to have a feel good atmosphere. Moreover, if it is a home office you have the permission to go nuts. To conclude, for me this means transforming my workspace into a whimsical little world with a touch of kawaii.”
Jodi Ettenberg quit her job in 2008 to travel the world. Five years later, she’s still traveling, and has compiled a list of the top tips, tricks and resources she’s learned in that time. That’s everything from advice on pre-trip planning and insurance to what clothing to take to bags. Jodi’s bag? The Synapse 19. Of it, she says: “I went through a slew of different daypack options over my 5 years of travel but have ended up with a 19L Synapse bag from Tom Bihn. It’s small but holds more than you would think, it is really well built and they even have a safety whistle on the sternum strap. Friends recommended them heartily and I tried them out only in 2012, but I’m very happy with my purchase.”
The Synapse 19 backpack.