Results 1 to 9 of 9
Like Tree1Likes
  • 1 Post By Nolo

Thread: Keep Smart Alec or return it for a Synapse 25?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    11

    Question Keep Smart Alec or return it for a Synapse 25?

    Hi, all!

    While my collection of Tom Bihn products has grown fast and furiously, this is my first time posting. I just received a Smart Alec yesterday to use as my walking to school/work bag. It normally needs to carry some combination of papers, the Field Journal Notebook, my lunch (preferably flat in the bag), books, a pair of shoes, a kit, a 13in MBA, plus all the normal stuff (wallet, phone, etc.). No surprise, all that stuff fits comfortably in the bag.

    The question is really about the fit of the bag. The bottom corners of the bag are pointy and have to potential to be uncomfortable. So my first question is whether you think those corners will soften with time. (I'm short so the bottom of the bag hits, well, my bottom.) I hadn't focused on the bottom of the bag when I was (obsessively) checking out pictures, videos, forum posts, etc. Now that the bag is here I checked out the Synapse 25 and noticed for the first time that the bottom of the bag is more rounded. So I guess my second question is whether the Synapse would fit all the stuff listed above and whether the bag would be too long. (My hunch is all the stuff would fit since the SA and Synapse 25 are more or less the same size - the question is whether my lunch bag could be flat in the bag; think of a container about 5.5 in square).

    FYI - I'm already considering ordering the Synapse 25 so I can do an in-home comparison. And, to anticipate a question and/or suggestion, I already have the Synapse 19 (see earlier comment re: collection growing fast and furiously) and, so far, I've found it to be a bit too small to fit everything easily.

    Thanks for any insights!

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    53
    I don't think you'll have trouble fitting everything... I took a cereal bowl with a 6" diameter and was able to set it in the bottom of the bag. Since the bottom of the bag isn't really flat, it doesn't tend to want to stay that way, however. I'm not entirely clear what your lunch bag looks like though.

  3. #3
    Volunteer Moderator
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    2,269
    I have both bags, and I think this comes down to personal preference for your carrying style. The Smart Alec has more capacity, and its large central compartment suits a style where you can stuff in items of any size. This can be an asset if you want to take this as a one-bag carry-on solution, since it also fits conveniently under an airline seat. However, for an EDC, my preference is for the Synapse. I have both the Synapse 19 and the Synapse 25, mainly for the comfort and the degree of organization. Both of these bags are comfortable carries, but I like the lower profile of the Synapse 25 (when the bag is not fully loaded, compared to the Smart Alec), and the balance provided by the slightly tapered design. My general EDC is the Synapse 19, because I generally don't need the extra capacity of the Synapse 25, but I've recently been carrying the Synapse 25 (in Steel 400d Dyneema+Wasabi). Either bag should handle your load. And I'm not sure what height you mean by "short", but for the record I'm 5'3" tall.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    11
    Thanks for the comments!

    @mike - I'm sorry I wasn't clear about the lunch bag - my normal lunch fits in a 5.5 in square container that then goes in a lunch bag w/a napkin, etc. So, the test w/a 6in bowl tells me the bag would fit just fine. After your comment I tried a different configuration in my synapse 19 and found that the lunch bag would fit flat in the bag.

    @moriond - in my world your 5'3 1/2" is tall! (For the record, I'm 5'0''.) My concern is that the Synapse 25 will sit too low on my back. I may try using the Synapse 19 for now and then when I'm in Seattle in October I'll make a pilgrimage/visit to the store to check out the different options in person.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    102
    I have a Synapse 19 and a Smart Alec. I don't have a Synapse 25, but I think it is fair to say that the design of the bottoms of both Synapses are similar. I also prefer to have my lunch sit flat at the bottom of my bag. It won't do that in my Synapse, but it will in my Smart Alec, because the bottom of the SA is flat. I'm 5'4", and so far for my needs, I feel that the SA works well. Doesn't hurt to buy the Synapse 25 and do a side-by-side comparison at home, though.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    MI, USA
    Posts
    35
    I'm no help because I only have a Synapse 19 as well, but I wanted to concur with the comment that it's really rather small. I'm 4'10" and the Synapse 19 fits me in terms of how it sits on my frame, but it won't fit more than two of the things I used to need for school (binders and textbooks, specifically). I'm interested in the replies here because I've wanted a Smart Alec for a long time, but I've been holding off on buying one because I have a very large Northface backpack with super comfortable padded straps that has lasted me almost 10 years and is still going strong.
    Medium Cafe Bag (black/wasabi), Synapse 19 (black/steel), Small Cafe Bag (cocoa/wasabi), Field Journal Notebook (black) <3

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    11
    Thanks for all the comments! I decided to try loading everything into the Synapse 19 differently to see if I could get it all to fit the way I want. It's tight but doable for now. I'm still debating ordering the Synapse 25 to try both at home, especially since I'm going to be in Seattle in October so I'll probably make a pilgrimage to the store to (finally) check everything out in person. =) (I'm not sure if I have the patience to wait two months...)

    For reference, I'm 5'0'' and, for me, I think the SA is too long. According to the website, the Synapse 25 is longer but the curved bottom may be more comfortable.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    19
    I purchased both a Synapse 25 and a Smart Alec to compare them. I found the Synapse to wear "longer" than the SA and I prefer the open concept of the design. I ended up only keeping the Smart Alec because I can combine it with the WF packing cubes to travel with and then switch over and use a Vertical Brain Cell and Freudian Slip when I am not traveling. I also find it to be the perfect day pack when hiking, etc. it is like three bags in one for me.
    Last edited by SaddleSC; 08-26-2013 at 10:30 AM.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    11
    Just a quick update - my impatience won out so I ordered a Synapse 25 (steel dyneema/wasabi dyneema). Cavernous would be an apt description of the bag! But the good news is that it fits me and all my stuff better so the SA will be going back. Thanks for all the comments!
    dorayme likes this.


Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0