Synapse 25 = awesome
For those who were fans of my Cache review (it was one sentence long), you will like this one, too and it's even shorter:
Synapse = awesome.
See how easy these reviews are?!
For a little more detail, I've been in a tactical bag mode for a couple years but the idea of having to add all these MOLLE pouches for the functionality I want, and probably sticking out like a guy with tactical training (which I have none of), which is unnecessary. After I picked up my Cache, a Travel Tray and a couple other small odds and ends, I knew I would need a proper Tom Bihn bag one day.
Scored a barely carried Synapse 25 in Olive/Steel on the 2° market and have been using it all week. So far I LOVE it. We'll see how it does on planes as I have two trips coming up in the next two weeks, but I suspect I am going to love it.
It struck me as being smaller than I thought it would be, but as I started putting things into it it seemed to grow and grow and grow! The side and bottom pockets swallow a LOT of stuff and that water bottle pocket is great, too, even though I haven't been using it yet. It does restrict what can be put in the small front pocket a bit, but not terribly.
Anyway, this bag swallows a LOT of stuff without it being a mess and it's comfy to carry, too. I'll report back in after my trips.
Trip #1 with the Synapse this afternoon/night. Going to lovely Sioux Falls, SD. Interesting flight plan... flying straight west from KC to Denver, then back east to Sioux Falls. LOL Turns what should be a 1.5 hour flight into something that will take 7 hours. LOLOLOL
It struck me as being smaller than I thought it would be, but as I started putting things into it it seemed to grow and grow and grow!
Think TARDIS. TB is also the master of class, understatement, form and function.
Are you the same Chiro who was a knifemaker?
My Christmas present is a Synapse 25. Can't wait. Thanks for the info
OK, so an update after a couple weekends of flying with the Synapse 25. I like the organization, that bottom pocket holds a LOT of stuff, and it's pretty comfortable even when loaded with a fair amount of stuff. The bag does have some quirks for me, though, although they aren't deal breakers by any stretch...
1) The water bottle pocket doesn't really intrude on other pockets, per se, but it does limit how much you can put into the little pocket that piggybacks on it, and it does stiffen the front of the back and force some shifting around of stuff to accommodate it or it feels weird because of how it sort of pulls the top of the bag away from the wearer's back.
2) I find myself constantly shifting the load inside the bag because things seem to tend to want to shift in a way that they all kind of slump to the bottom of the bag and seem to wedge in a way that they push back at the bottom and forward at the top. This creates a really weird shape that pushes into the middle of the padding and is super uncomfortable to wear. I have trouble getting anything to stay higher in the bag to distribute the load better, so on one trip I found myself rearranging things constantly to get a comfortable load and it was tough. On that trip I had a Macbook Air 13", a pair of shoes in a shoe bag, and a few other items in the bag, so it's not like it was stuffed full, and I just couldn't get it comfortable. It was so bad that the shoulder straps were being pulled WAY back so much that they were pulled about 4" off my back. If I tried to tighten them or cinch them back in, then the entire bottom 2/3 of the bag would wedge out! It was like I was carrying things sideways in the back instead of straight up and down and it was frustrating because I couldn't find an arrangement that would work and it didn't make any sense to me. LOL
On the second trip I didn't have shoes in the bag and that helped a TON. I also put my laptop in the front (away from my spine) and loaded things differently and that helped a lot, but again, I got that weird wedging effect if I put a water bottle in the bottle pocket, so instead I just carried it in the main part of the bag and it was fine, but that defeats the purpose of the bottle pocket in the first place. Also a sweatshirt I had in there kept bunching up at the bottom and again everything had a tendency to cram to the bottom of the bag, leaving the top empty and creating some comfort issues.
I think I tend to carry more hard stuff than soft stuff in my bag, so if you had it packed with clothes, for example, I don't think any of this would be an issue.
I'm still working on finding the right way to load it for the most comfort and I'll try to snap some pics of what I mean by all this because that will make more sense.
Quality and construction are A+. Organization, A+. I'm giving it a C right now for comfort and ease of use because I've not had this much trouble with any other bag, ever, in terms of carrying pretty much the exact same stuff, but each bag is pretty unique and has their own personality, so I think more work in figuring out how the Synapse likes to carry what I need it to carry will yield a better grade. I also think if you're carrying fewer book/laptop shaped items and more clothing or smaller subloads you wouldn't have most of the issues I'm having, too.
Will report in again after some fiddling and with some photos!