After what felt like torture waiting for the UPS man to come, I finally took ownership of my conifer/steel Synapse and my Cache for the MacBook Air:
My thoughts on the Cache are going in an article for TUAW, the tech/Apple blog I freelance for, so I'm restricting the post to just the Synapse. I tucked my MacBook Air into the Cache and it's very happy in its new home.
The first thing I thought was that the bag was so small -- like me. It also holds a lot -- like me. ^_^
The last backpack I used with any great consistency was an InCase backpack, an earlier model of this one. I never thought that bag was all that big, but it dwarfs the Synapse. It reminds me more of the Jansport bag I used throughout high school and college.
"Oh, I hope I didn't make a mistake," I worried as I stood up the Synapse and grabbed this picture.
I can't get over the gorgeous conifer. These photos are untouched and taken in natural sunlight.
So, the best thing to do was start loading up the bag since as soon as I conducted an interview, I needed to head out. I popped the Cache in the main compartment, toggling whether or not to put it in the pouch or not before deciding against it. Into the main compartment as well went my Kindle, power brick for the MacBook Air, an olive small cordura organizer pouch with various personal sundries, and a folded pair of jeans to change into after I exercised. I also grabbed my normal lunch bag (L.L. Bean tote I picked up in Maine five years ago) and popped it into the Synapse's main compartment and was thrilled to see that it fit in addition to everything else. This means that I can condense the three bags I was carrying for work -- linen/olive Small Cafe Bag, the lunch tote and an exercise bag -- down to just one. I took the lunch bag out since I didn't need it today.
In the front side pockets, I put my small clear organizer wallet on the side with the pen/pencil pouches and used the included key strap on the other pouch for my work ID so I stop forgetting it everywhere I go. I popped my iPhone in the ultrasuede pocket, but it was an extremely tight fit with the Otterbox case I used. After a couple times getting it in and out though, it was much easier.
In the water bottle pouch, I stuck a BPA-free reusable water bottle from Wegmans. I forget what size it is, but nicely fit in the pouch. In the other small pocket next to it, I stuck my headphones since I'm not quite sure where my mini organizer pouch disappeared to. The pocket along the very bottom remained empty at first. After I was done exercising, I put my exercise shorts down there, and they fit just perfectly. If I kept my bundle thin, I could easily keep my exercise clothes there every day, but will most likely pack those in the main compartment, as well as a yarn stuff sack with a knitting project should I want to leave my Swift at home.
The only thing I couldn't figure out where to put was my small handheld Canon. I finally popped it into the small organizer pouch in the main compartment. I'm going to need to get another mini for it.
With all of this in there, the bag doesn't bulk out at all, nor is it heavy. It's perfectly made for my height (hovering between 5'4 and 5'5) and did I mention the conifer is just beautiful? It traveled extremely well and was easy to wear both one-shouldered and with both straps on. You can tell Tom took into account that people would wear just one strap at times, because it was extremely comfortable when I hoisted it on just my right shoulder.
I used the bag throughout the night and was completely sold on it by the end. It was easy to get into the front side pouches when needed and took up far less bulk than my coat (can it please be spring?). I removed the waist straps for now, but will use them during airport hikes.
I think this is the perfect bag for me at this point, just like the Ristretto for iPad was the perfect bag when I had an iPad. I had been torn between the Synapse and the Imago, and looking at the dimensions, they look to take up roughly the same footprint.
My next purchases are going to be a sorely needed 3D clear organizer cube, a couple more organizer pouches and a packing cube (either Western Flyer or Aeronaut) for packing a change of clothes in the Synapse. I think I'm ready for an Aeronaut as well, but we're in the expensive process of immigrating my husband to the U.S. from the U.K., and our spare money is going toward that at the moment. But, given the sad shape of our suitcases, I might need an Aeronaut before I go see him this summer anyhow.
I'll definitely take any more pictures that are wanted.