First off a little bit about myself:
-Born and raised in New York City, part-timing to get back to school, turning 24 in the summer(1990 baby Leo!)
-I hike here and there, take public transportation very often, walk EVERYWHERE(staircase included)
I simply don't drive.
-I am pretty short(imho) 5'6 and pretty skinny, nothing major to note of my body type, absolutely average body length on legs, arms, torso.
-I also tend to get sick for like half the year...winter colds, spring allergies. (reason to mention will be somewhere here)
To start off, the bag came a full month earlier than expected(the backorder thing so was SUPER happy :D)
Thankfully, ordered the S19 before price change, BUT it will not hinder my decision on buying more bags from here in the future.
Reason for review, I know this is probably one of the most reviewed bags out there but I wanted to point out somethings for potential buyers who are still debating on how the bag actually is. I specifically mentioned my body type because I had trouble deciding on the S25 and S19 because 5'6 is exactly the height recommended for both. Also, because this is a heavily reviewed bag and probably one of the bags most new buyers look into.
At first glance, I wasn't too happy. the bag looked so small from my expectations. But soon I realized that i was wearing my old backpack sagging this whole time. on my 5'6 height, I am told the bag looks very fit and matches my style of clothing since i wear slim fit or fitted clothing. I also have to note that the bag came just in time for an event I was attending because none of my bags were water resistant nor proof. I had to dress formally and put the bag in wet weather right away without giving it the "new product treatment" (you know.. when you are careful about placing it on floors, hug it when you go outside until the day comes you throw it everywhere.. my poor smartphone... xD)
The side compartments are the BEST features about this whole bag. They are essentially pockets: Weather in NYC changes so drastically that I can't tell sometimes if i need a jacket or not. I have major, MAJOR problems in the summer or warm weathers when I don't have my jacket to hold my wallet/phone/keys/tissue(allergies/colds)/medicine(even eyedrops)/lip balm. This side compartment alone lets me hug my bag in subways while having one strap on my shoulder. If you live in NYC and take public transportation, let me tell you it's very important to keep track of all your things(pickpockets, standing during rush hour and super packed with people on top of you). The side compartment came with a key strap and I don't have to take my whole bag off to open/lock my door. I HAVE to add that this side bag fits my coffee container/canteen that is sorta short(will try to provide pictures in later posts)
The middle compartments are a new experience. my old bag's best feature is in fact the side net that holds water bottles. I still miss it in a way but not in anyway dissatisfied with the S19's compartment. Unlike other TheNorthFace bags and some hiking bags I had, my old backpack had very good side nets and I worried how the S19 would adjust. fits bottled water, sodas, 2 20oz bottles. very solid and keeping it in the middle does help balance. There is a second middle compartment right below the zipper of the water compartment. This one fits most wallets and a 3x3inch post-it. Solid extra compartment but nothing too heavily reliable to put a lot of things into because it stays on top of the water compartment's upper area.
Now onto the bottom compartment: AMAZINGGG!!! I have a bunch of backpacks that never made use of it at all because everything would put weight on it or interfere with the main compartment but the design of the S19 allows you to keep this area completely separate. I have to point out IT CANNOT fit most toiletry bags that come from beauty packages and shaving product packages etc. You would almost HAVE to get something in between those common toiletry bags and a pencil case. But you know what fits? a 20oz bottled drink. I noticed a lot of people(online) buy the Tom Bihn organizer and place chargers and other electronics, but since i didn't purchase anything of that sort yet i can't tell you much about that. There were a few instances where I had my coffee canteen in the side compartment, 1 liter bottle in my middle and purchased a 20oz drink outside and placed it in the bottom witch was so clutch since i was playing basketball all day long and wanted a lot of liquids with me. Also have to note how clutch it was when i placed a deckbox for trading cards for two decks into it SO perfectly! (for those who are Trading Card game players)
Main compartment is actually disappointing... It does fit sizable, legal sized(8.5(2.5?)x14inch) files. and width is solid but the depth? it's less than expected. I'd say maybe 3 large texbooks at max(really depends on the book size). Laptop 13inches regular WILL fit with ease though, but not sure if i can add a textbook or two. More like a jacket with is flexible can make it with the laptop and a softshell workbook. There is a pouch inside attached to the side where all the other compartments are, not to the backside. I can comfortable place my Moleskine large(for them, large is 8.5 and 5inch) book or a wide planner, even my Trading Card album of 160 cards,[Ultra-Pro binder]. The length of the main compartment absolutely makes up for it though, after placing your books and binder, etc. you can actually place those big toiletry bags or Tom Bihn's Cube Organizers(assuming from online videos and it's smaller than the toiletry bags i have so it's an educated guess?) with no problem at all.
Overall, the bag is an absolute positive for me. I don't know for sure even now if S25 is something i absolutely need but not on my mind anymore. The Dyneema is all over inside and so beautiful to look at when you open your bag. it looks durable as well which will have my consider it on the outside for my future bags for sure. The overall distribution with the side, middle and bottom compartment is genius and can't go back to wearing my old bags at all. I run around all over NYC and for me the Synapse 19 is my partner in crime!
Now on to saving for my next bag: Aeronaut '45'
P.S: I am in the process of moving so will post pictures to prove or simplify what I am talking about in the future so stay tuned, potential buyers!