****I have owned the bag for a whopping 5 hrs and 22 mins so far. So this is more of a first impression than a review.****
I have bought a few bags from Tom Bihn for well over a decade. All of them, including this Synapse, have three main characteristics.
- Thoughtful design
- Good materials and high quality of manufacturing
- Feel good to hold, operate, and carry
The thicker nylon + Dyneema material feels very light, but sturdy. I wouldn't dare giving it to my 10-year old son to drag it on blacktop, but for rough use by a responsible adult, the material appears sturdy. The other thing I like about the material is the lack of bulk. This material works with you as you pull the zippers, making it easier to operate than bags, such as my Aeronaut, made with heavier materials. I like that in a daily use backpack.
The pockets are immensely practical. There are well designed zippered compartments for almost every item I carry – Water bottle, keys, cell phone, business cards, wallet, and even 3 pens (pencil, pen, and Sharpie in my case). I put my sleeved 11" Macbook Air and iPad, a cable / power accessory pouch, and a light jacket in the main compartment. They all fit well with some room to spare. Nice job!
Clothes, shoes, phones, and other products that you use all the time must feel right when you use them. An everyday backpack falls in that category. I don't want my backpack to feel cheap when I see or touch it. I don't want to feel frustrated because the zipper doesn't slide smoothly. I don't want seemingly useless compartments, straps, and clasps in my backpack that I don't know what to do with. Most backpacks I have tried just don't feel right. The Synapse does.
I wish it didn't cost as much.