Not to beat a dead horse here, but I'd put in another vote for the 25. I love my 19 but it can be a squeeze sometimes, even with only a few books. Certainly if you're using textbooks, I think that you'd appreciate the room.
My 19, by the way, thinks of itself as very butch. Not that I've had any deep gender-identity conversations with it. Lately.
Keep in mind that Tom originally designed the Synapse to be a light-in-weight day hiking pack or an urban pack for carrying modern light/thin laptops and devices. It's not really designed to, nor would we recommend that you, carry multiple heavy books or textbooks in the bag.... the shape/contour of the bag doesn't, in our opinion, lend itself to that. Instead, we'd recommend the Brain Bag or Smart Alec -- both specifically designed to allow one to carry several textbooks plus other stuff. If you're set on the Synapse, however, we'd recommend the Cordura version over the 400d Dyneema/nylon if you're going to use it to carry a heavy book or two. If you're going to be carrying a lot of heavy stuff anyway, the weight difference between the 400d Dyneema/nylon and the Cordura isn't as significant, and the Cordura version is more abrasion-resistant.
Hopefully my S25 in dyneema holds up then. I've been using it as a work bag and usually have my heavy work provided laptop, heavy folder with paperwork some basic tools and other EDC in it. Had it for a month so far no signs of wear. A little heavy sometimes but I find that the sternum straps helps out a lot when it is.
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Tom actually really likes using the Synapse 19 when he goes on hikes. Doesn't look too small on him, and he's 6'0".
Originally Posted by blackfungi