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  1. #1
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    Help Me Fix My Problem So I Can Love the Synapse

    Upon initial viewing of the Synapse--both on this website and through Maverick's great videos--I really want to love this bag.

    However, like many of you, I think how can I utilize it for my needs.

    It seems to have everything I need, and more, except for one problem. Some of the areas I travel to are rampant with pickpockets. Brazen and bold, they will strike in broad daylight and in crowds.

    And that's where I have the problem. If there is no way to secure the zippers shut on a bag, either with a lock, or carabiner, or even a paper clip, these thieves will try their best to get into it.

    The top pocket is fine....I can find a way to latch the zippers close. But every other zipper only has one pull.

    Any suggestions on what I can do so I can utilize the other pockets?

    (BTW--here are my early plans...I'm going to put my ipod and blackberry in a Side Effect and put the Side Effect, attached with a 16" key strap into the bottom of the main section. If I have to carry my netbook with me it will also go into the main compartment.)

    The second part is a question for Darcy or Katy or Maverick since they are the only ones to have a Synapse. Will an empty Synapse fit into the center section of a Tri-star and still allow me to pack the front and back sections? (I can't tell how crushable it is by the photos.)

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Sounds like you're planning on using the Synapse as primarily a travel daypack.

    That said...

    1) I'm of the mindset that the more noticeably protected something is, the more valuable it appears - that is to say, locks and such only keep honest people honest... and more locks attract the dishonest ones, who will probably try to slash through the bag rather than fiddle with zipper pulls.

    2) If you're traveling, your important items - money, passport, etc. should be in a security pouch worn under your clothes anyway. What items of value are you planning to place in the smaller pockets of the Synapse?

    3) If you really wanted to, it looks like you could use zip-ties (or cable-ties are another name for them) to secure the zippers of three of the pockets - the two on the top front, and one on the side - to each other. You could also slide the zippers for the main pocket to the side, and secure the other side pocket to those zippers. You'd just have to cut the tie each time you wanted to get into one of those pockets, and put a fresh one on afterwards. This method may put unwanted stress on the zippers though.

    Your plan for your iPod and BlackBerry sounds fine.
    Last edited by Just; 10-19-2009 at 04:44 AM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by fbrown627 View Post
    The second part is a question for Darcy or Katy or Maverick since they are the only ones to have a Synapse. Will an empty Synapse fit into the center section of a Tri-star and still allow me to pack the front and back sections? (I can't tell how crushable it is by the photos.)

    Thanks.
    hi fbrown627,

    the 1000d cordura version of the synapse goes pretty flat. you can definitely pack it in the middle compartment of the tri-star. my initial thought would be that the dyneema version of the synapse would allow you to flatten it even more. however, as darcy mentioned, the double layer of dyneema in the dyneema synapse (steel outside/solar inside) results in it not being that much more flattenable than the 1000d cordura synapse.

  4. #4
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    Interesting thought. Maverick's solution sounds great for when you're flying, but not so much while you're moving through the streets.

    I admit I hadn't thought about how easy it would be for someone to simply unzip a pocket and snag stuff (perhaps while walking). Of course thieves could always just their way through the fabric if you're not around... but for pick pockets, what I usually do when traveling in 'dicey' areas is to carry the back pack with my right arm through the left strap. This is quite comfortable (especially with a smallish bag like the synapse) and keeps the bag comfortably under your right arm. Carrying it this way, it can also be swung around in front of you, which allows you greater control when moving through crowds, and gives you greater access to the contents of the bag when you need it. In this way, the synapse would function more like a shoulder bag.

    I wonder if others do this. I've found it a great way to carry my bag while traveling on the subways of new york for example. Seems practical and comfortable to me, but I rarely see others doing it (it may have a certain 'geek' factor, you'll have to be the judge).

    Chris

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just View Post
    1) I'm of the mindset that the more noticeably protected something is, the more valuable it appears - that is to say, locks and such only keep honest people honest... and more locks attract the dishonest ones, who will probably try to slash through the bag rather than fiddle with zipper pulls.
    I think that's an excellent point.
    Current Carry: Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  6. #6
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maverick View Post
    the 1000d cordura version of the synapse goes pretty flat. you can definitely pack it in the middle compartment of the tri-star. my initial thought would be that the dyneema version of the synapse would allow you to flatten it even more. however, as darcy mentioned, the double layer of dyneema in the dyneema synapse (steel outside/solar inside) results in it not being that much more flattenable than the 1000d cordura synapse.
    maverick is right on. The Cordura and Dyneema/nylon versions of the Synapse will pack pretty much the same. Just remember to never bend, roll, or otherwise crease the back foam. If you are using the Synapse as a travel bag, I would recommend using the Dyneema/nylon version - it's just that much lighter weight.
    Current Carry: Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  7. #7
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    I guess my best bet is to put anything of value in the main compartment and use the others for items that are easily replaced: pens, pencils, notepads, umbrella, etc. Some things could be put in a TB pouch and clipped to an o-ring. (The main compartment's zipper pulls could be held together by a very small screw type carabiner that would be hard to see unless you get very close )

    I also wear a moneybelt with my passport, money and credit cards but need something safe for my electronics.

    Pickpockets are opportunists. They look for easy marks. If a backpack zipper's are secure, they aren't going to waste their time. If they aren't, as the videos I'm posting below will show, they will do their best to get in. Slashing is also a problem but they tend to go after expensive looking bags reagardless of the zippers being locked or not.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq7h4...eature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vz_65...eature=related

    What I could do is use the Synapse for daily use/one-day trips and most domestic trip, and take my Pacsafe bag on international trips where I'm more concerned about pickpockets and slashers.

    The Dyneema seems iinteresting only I'm not thrilled with the checked pattern. How much lighter is it? Which is thicker?

    The reason I asked whether the Synapse would fit into the Tri-Star is because on travel days I like to have only one bag to think about, not two.

  8. #8
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    I have the same concern and am planning to put anything valuable or important (e.g., ID and checkbook) in the bag—I'm just uneasy not knowing what's going on behind me. I have read advice, including elsewhere in the forum here, to avoid drawing attention to yourself. This includes eschewing colors in favor of black and cutting off external brand labels when the bag is new (sorry, Darcy et al.).

  9. #9
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    I have been following this thread; this is one of the reasons I did not go with the Synapse since I use public transit a lot. I got the Smart alec--where the zippers are in the rear and facing my back.....and I can keep things inside..and the side pockets can have nothing of value. I also do find that in general by hooking things to O-rings--there is less chance of things getting cut away since it is harder to cut through them. So I find myself increasingly relying on those handy O-rings....and daisy chaining them if needed with key straps to make it harder to get to. When I have been pickpocketed, generally they just slash thru the bottom or the side--and not un-zip!--so in that sense, it really does not matter whether zippers can be locked or not....since they are not likely to unlock anyhow!

  10. #10
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    I agree with Shiva. I dropped my money belt in exchange for my small cafe bag and thus far it's been fine on my UK trip. I've got my wallet hooked onto an O-ring and the way I carry it - across my chest - prevents it from someone snatching it off my shoulder. Plus, I carry it in front rather than to the side or back.
    Meg
    -----
    Proud owner of a conifer/steel Synapse, indigo/black Swift, a linen/olive Small Cafe Bag, a couple of yarn stuff sacks, a clear organizer wallet and various organizer pouches

  11. #11
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    Shiva: "When I have been pickpocketed, generally they just . . ." Wow, that sounds like a lot of pickpocketing! May I ask how many times you've been pickpocketed, and how many times it was by slashing? And where was this (so I can avoid it or at least be on my guard)? Thanks.

  12. #12
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    Thanks to everyone who responded. I think have a solution that will work....drum roll please.....I'm going to .......get a large cafe bag instead. It will fit everything I need except my packing folder and I'll find a different way to take a change of clothes. (Since 9/11, even on one day trips, I take a change of clothes and basic toiletries--just in case)

    I'm also getting a side effect that will be attached to an o-ring via a long key strap. It will sit at the bottom of the LCB. Inside will be my ipod and blackberry and possibly my portable charger. I'll also attach some other items via TB pouches also connected to 0-rings.

    While I like the Pacsafe bag, it really is a pain to get anything...and...no "o" rings. It's amazing how easy it is to get fond of them.

    And all will fit in the center section of my Tri-Star to make me a true one-bag person on travel days.

    Now to pick colors..well....I'm a guy who likes to blend in while traveling....not as conspicuous....so I'll be dull...Black/steel cafe bag and black side effect--just in case the side effect has to come out and be worn.

    I'm in my 50's and I just can bring myself to wear some of those colors. (Although the Linen does look nice.)
    Last edited by Frank II; 10-19-2009 at 08:59 PM.

  13. #13
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    On pickpocketing:
    if you can believe it, I got picked most in Europe: once in Italy (rome); once in Amsterdam; and once in, of all places, Helsinki! So there you have it. Luckily, lost nothing of huge value--mostly money! I used to carry passport and other stuff in a waist belt that I wore inside of my pants or jeans, but those are increasingly a pain to wear as I get older and more cranky LOL!
    they cut thru with razors I guess. But I was also carrying just your average nylon packs--I think it wd be harder to slash thru ballistic or cordura.


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