Synapse 25 in Black Parapack/wasabi
Some photos of my new Synapse.
As background: I take a lot of short trips. I've found that a large backpack, along with a purse or Co-Pilot, works well for me. I have a Smart Alec and have used it about four times so far. Don't get me wrong, the Smart Alec is a great bag. But I find it is awkward to take things in and out of it, particularly when I'm holding the backpack (like, when I'm in the aisle of the train trying to re-pack my things, and there is no place to set it down) -- there's something about the top-loading shape that doesn't work well for me.
And I am very fond of my 19 inch Synapse, which I often use to go back and forth to work. So despite being 5'2", technically below the recommended height for the larger 25 inch Synapse, I decided to try it out as a travel bag. I really like having a variety of outside pockets, and I prefer the overall shape of the Synapses, which seem to me to be streamlined if they aren't packed too full.
If it works out for me, I'll probably end up selling the Smart Alec.
I bought the black Parapack version, mostly because it was the only Parapack color offered with a wasabi interior. It's a nice combination, though I won't be 100% sure about the black until I start using it. My biggest fear is that it will pick up stains and scuffs that drive me crazy. However, I like the solid color, and it is nice to have something understated that I can use on a business trip as well as for vacations.
Here is the bag with three stuff sacks I'll use with it. Two size 1's and one size 2. The black has a very nice sheen.
I was delighted to see that the small flat pouch has an O-ring now. On my older-style Synapse 19 that is missing, and I had to doctor it with a safety pin, hidden under the lip. I keep my train pass in this pocket (in a pocket pouch).
A view of the contrasting wasabi interior. It's kind of hard to get the shading right. This picture is a little too light.
I'm not thrilled with these pictures, but that's the best I could do in the few minutes of sunlight I had this morning. I will try to take some others that show off the backpack a little more.
More pictures of the Synapse 25, compared to my older '19'
Here are some more photos of the new Synapse 25 in black Parapack/wasabi and my older '19' (purchased earlier this year) in steel Dyneema/wasabi.
This is what the pack looks like on me. Empty, it is practically flat, but I stuffed it with some clothes to give a more realistic picture of how it will wear. It's definitely large for a 5'2" woman's frame, but I think it is still ok. I would carry a small collapsible day-pack if I go somewhere that involves hiking or sightseeing, whereas someone taller might use the Synapse 25 as a daypack.
The older Synapse 19 was purchased before some of the more recent improvements. As pointed out before, I use a safety pin where the new one has an O-ring in the front small pocket. (I wonder if the Tom Bihn team would sell me an O-ring with a tag that I could sew in myself...?) The Synapse 25 also has a slot for the Guardian light in front.
However, my older Synapse 19 has one great feature: the "portable culture" tag.
Finally, here are the two packs side by side. The Synapse 25 seems to be completely made of Parapack, whereas the Dyneema Synapse 19 has a strip of cordura on each side. I'm not sure if this has to do with the evolution of the Synapse over time or if this is a difference between the two materials.