In my year+ of stalking these forums I've seen no question asked more often than "19 vs 25?" I too debated this far too long and have finally decided on what will work best for me.
Quick history - I was first introduced to TB about a year ago with the purchase of a CoPilot to serve as a faithful carry-on bag during a recent rush of work travel. I struggle daily with being a minimalist (or just extremely efficient with my gear) and being prepared for anything. The quality of the CP only made me long for an EDC bag replacement and as a child-at-heart the backpack style of the Synapse was the only choice for me.
Thus the battle so many of you are familiar with... The S19 will hold my daily carry 90% of the time, and if anything would force me to pare down a few non-essentials. But the S25 has room for a lunch box, jacket, or a few things picked up from the store on any given day. I waffled back and forth for 3 months reading and watching every review I could get my hands on.
Finally I bit the bullet and ordered a S19 and not-so-patiently waited the week for it to arrive; I cannot conceive how anyone outside the States contains themselves as they wait multiple weeks. I could definitely make it work but I was forced to leave out a few things, and it just felt too small. So, I ordered a S25 and waited another week. What a difference. I knew immediately this was the right bag for me and alas, the S19 is on its way back to Seattle.
In hopes of helping others with this debate, I tried to document my analysis (read: over-analysis) for the greater good. I’m 6’0” with a 34” inseam (pretty much the “average” male as far as I can tell) and 195lbs; sorry for the tucked-in shirt muffin-top action going on in the photos – but I wanted to give an accurate depiction of how the bags fit (honesty in the name of science!)
Without further ado, the contenders: S25 on the left, S19 on the right, both completely empty.
Professional yellow line to show where the 19 ends and the 25 begins. If only both bags weren't the same color it would've been more obvious.
My first step was organizing all my gear. Luckily for me and TB’s bottom line =) there are a plethora of great products for just this.
- Black Large Double Organizer Pouch to corral my loose papers, whatever magazine I’m working through currently and a small Circa notebook which houses all my non-digital thoughts
- Steel Fabric Organizer Cube with my electronic goods: tablet stand, cables, backup battery, etc…
- Cache 4Z for my work laptop (full disclosure this does not go home with me nightly, but it does on work trips so I wanted to account for it in the analysis)
- Custom case for my Galaxy Note 12.2 tablet (my main computing device whenever I’m away from my home pc or work laptop)
- Red Travel Stuff Sack #1 with First Aid Kit and meds
- Steel TSS1 with misc things: glasses, lint brush, chapstick, shopping bag
- Black Q-Kit with my portable Amp and headphones (which I LOVE and have a detailed photo of in the QKit thread)
- Steel TSS2 with a rain jacket (much prefer this to an umbrella as my office is often freezing so I can just wear the jacket)