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Thread: Suggestion for backpack: either Synapse 19 or 25

  1. #1
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    Suggestion for backpack: either Synapse 19 or 25

    Hello,

    I am leaning towards the Synapse 19 backpack for work, but just want to make absolutely sure all my items will fit so I don't have to pay for return shipping.

    I travel and travel extensively. I want to make sure that everything will fit in under the seat in front of me.

    Items I carry with me on a daily basis:

    • Macbook air 13" in a Pad & Quill case (it makes it about an inch wider and longer than an old macbook, but same thickness).
    • Ipad with a Logitech keyboard case.
    • 2 1.5" 3-ring binders
    • a contigo coffee mug
    • a water bottle
    • a small first aid kit: band aids, tylenol, asthma inhaler, some other things approximately 4x6"
    • some file folders


    I really hope everything will fit the 19, but if it absolutely won't I'll get the 25. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

    If it matters, I am 5'7"
    Last edited by HYPEractiv; 10-25-2013 at 06:06 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by HYPEractiv View Post
    Hello,

    I am leaning towards the Synapse 19 backpack for work, but just want to make absolutely sure all my items will fit so I don't have to pay for return shipping.

    I travel and travel extensively. I want to make sure that everything will fit in under the seat in front of me.

    Items I carry with me on a daily basis:

    • Macbook air 13" in a Pad & Quill case (it makes it about an inch wider and longer than an old macbook, but same thickness).
    • Ipad with a Logitech keyboard case.
    • 2 1.5" 3-ring binders
    • a contigo coffee mug
    • a water bottle
    • a small first aid kit: band aids, tylenol, asthma inhaler, some other things approximately 4x6"
    • some file folders


    I really hope everything will fit the 19, but if it absolutely won't I'll get the 25. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

    If it matters, I am 5'7"
    I'm pretty sure you'd be better off with the Synapse 25. The problem item is your two 1.5" 3-ring binders, if you carry them fairly full, and with stiff covers (also, some additional space requirements if you use slant-ring or D-ring designs that widen the binders even slightly). Part of the reason the Synapse backpacks are so comfortable is the ergonomic design, with a slight taper towards the top.

    Your two binders would hit exactly where the width of the bag begins to taper on the Synapse 19.

    Here's what it looks like with two 1.5" D-ring binders inside the Synapse 19, with a MacBook Air in a black cache, and an iPad inside a Platinum cache.
    Name:  ImageUploadedByTapatalk1382753981.386823.jpg
Views: 954
Size:  51.5 KB

    I can zip the main compartment, but only just. You gain a little if you don't use slant-ring binders, but you're still awfully close to the limits if you try to carry two of these. I can carry a lot of papers in the Synapse 19, but I don't usually carry such wide binders, and I also use still use a lot of Levenger file folders that they stopped selling about 6 or 7 years ago.

    The Synapse 19 dimensions are: 16" x 11.4" x 7.9" / 410 x 290 x 200 mm. The Synapse 25 dimensions are: 20" x 13.4" x 9" / 508 x 340 x 230 mm. That extra 1.1" depth and the 9" width gains you a lot in terms of flexibility for your binders, and the length of the main compartment also means that your binders don't hit where the tapered design is starting.

    The reason the Synapse seems to swallow so much is that the different pockets (on the side, bottom, etc.) flex and adjust their shape and capacity according to the contents of your bag. But by putting in a large, solid block of binders that nearly fill the width and depth of the main compartment (when added to the MacBook Air and other contents), you lose that flexibility. I'd bet that I often carry as much in the way of papers as you are trying to carry in my Synapse 19, but I just don't do this using a pair of wide 3-ring binders.

    Maybe badger or other Synapse 19 owners can comment.

    moriond

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by moriond View Post
    I'm pretty sure you'd be better off with the Synapse 25. The problem item is your two 1.5" 3-ring binders, if you carry them fairly full, and with stiff covers (also, some additional space requirements if you use slant-ring or D-ring designs that widen the binders even slightly). Part of the reason the Synapse backpacks are so comfortable is the ergonomic design, with a slight taper towards the top.

    Your two binders would hit exactly where the width of the bag begins to taper on the Synapse 19.

    Here's what it looks like with two 1.5" D-ring binders inside the Synapse 19, with a MacBook Air in a black cache, and an iPad inside a Platinum cache.
    Name:  ImageUploadedByTapatalk1382753981.386823.jpg
Views: 954
Size:  51.5 KB

    I can zip the main compartment, but only just. You gain a little if you don't use slant-ring binders, but you're still awfully close to the limits if you try to carry two of these. I can carry a lot of papers in the Synapse 19, but I don't usually carry such wide binders, and I also use still use a lot of Levenger file folders that they stopped selling about 6 or 7 years ago.

    The Synapse 19 dimensions are: 16" x 11.4" x 7.9" / 410 x 290 x 200 mm. The Synapse 25 dimensions are: 20" x 13.4" x 9" / 508 x 340 x 230 mm. That extra 1.1" depth and the 9" width gains you a lot in terms of flexibility for your binders, and the length of the main compartment also means that your binders don't hit where the tapered design is starting.

    The reason the Synapse seems to swallow so much is that the different pockets (on the side, bottom, etc.) flex and adjust their shape and capacity according to the contents of your bag. But by putting in a large, solid block of binders that nearly fill the width and depth of the main compartment (when added to the MacBook Air and other contents), you lose that flexibility. I'd bet that I often carry as much in the way of papers as you are trying to carry in my Synapse 19, but I just don't do this using a pair of wide 3-ring binders.

    Maybe badger or other Synapse 19 owners can comment.

    moriond
    WOW!!! That's exactly the kind of post I was hoping for!!!! Thank you for your amazing reply! I'm trying to see if I can do without one of those binders (one is school, which I think i get all done on the ipad, the other is work, which I cannot) because I just noticed that the synapse 25 isn't being sold in black/wasabi (amazing color combination). Also, I'm really trying to be a minimalist, so the less I carry, the happier I'll be. Do you, or anyone else, happen to know if the black/wasabi is just out of stock right now, or is it a color combination that won't be made?

    I really do appreciate your post. Thanks again!

    PS. I have no clue where my original post went. Thanks for quoting it!

  4. #4
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    I have an S19 that I really love, but it is definitely less than idea to carry my 13" MacBook Pro. Add in your binders, and I don't think the S19 is for you. I carry my S19 whenever I can, but as soon as I put my MBP in that bag it severely limits what else I can carry if I still want to zip the bag closed (and not worry about putting a lot of stress on the zipper). Now when I want to carry my laptop, I carry a different bag.

    I think you'd be happier with an S25. I'm contemplating buying an "in between" backpack for when I want to carry my MBP and not go the whole way up to my Brain Bag. I was leaning hard towards the S25, but am now seriously considering the Smart Alec.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by HYPEractiv View Post
    WOW!!! That's exactly the kind of post I was hoping for!!!! Thank you for your amazing reply! I'm trying to see if I can do without one of those binders (one is school, which I think i get all done on the ipad, the other is work, which I cannot) because I just noticed that the synapse 25 isn't being sold in black/wasabi (amazing color combination). Also, I'm really trying to be a minimalist, so the less I carry, the happier I'll be. Do you, or anyone else, happen to know if the black/wasabi is just out of stock right now, or is it a color combination that won't be made?

    I really do appreciate your post. Thanks again!

    PS. I have no clue where my original post went. Thanks for quoting it!
    Black/Wasabi is a classic color combination, so I'm pretty sure you're seeing the fact that this popular selection just sold out in the current batch. Products tend to disappear fast as the holidays approach. I have the Synapse 25 in Steel 400d Dyneema/Wasabi, so I know exactly how much more "wiggle room" you'll get. I do usually use the Synapse 19 as my EDC. That bag dates from the very first batch of Synapses that were made. (I'm 5'4" if it makes a difference, but either bag is an easy carry.)

    Your first few posts as a new forum member are under moderation, but your post should have appeared, since I approved it.

    Quote Originally Posted by DPUTiger View Post
    I have an S19 that I really love, but it is definitely less than idea to carry my 13" MacBook Pro. Add in your binders, and I don't think the S19 is for you. I carry my S19 whenever I can, but as soon as I put my MBP in that bag it severely limits what else I can carry if I still want to zip the bag closed (and not worry about putting a lot of stress on the zipper). Now when I want to carry my laptop, I carry a different bag.

    I think you'd be happier with an S25. I'm contemplating buying an "in between" backpack for when I want to carry my MBP and not go the whole way up to my Brain Bag. I was leaning hard towards the S25, but am now seriously considering the Smart Alec.
    Just wanted to say that it's easier to carry a MacBook Air and other items than a MacBook Pro in the Synapse 19, but I used it with a 13" MacBook Pro for a few years, and still use it in that configuration sometimes. I also have the Smart Alec, and I think the style you prefer depends on whether you want the single large central compartment of the Smart Alec or the additional organization (but less of a "large single space") of the Synapse 25.

  6. #6
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    Our family has both the 25 and 19, and I have to agree that the 25 would be necessary for you want to carry. It looks and carries great even if it's less than half full so I don't really think you're giving up that much.

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    Thank you everyone!

    Based on the recommendations, I decided on a synapse 25. I'm really just for the black/wasabi or navy/wasabi, but it appears they are all sold out.

    Does anyone have any idea when those colors will be back in stock?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by HYPEractiv View Post
    Thank you everyone!

    Based on the recommendations, I decided on a synapse 25. I'm really just for the black/wasabi or navy/wasabi, but it appears they are all sold out.

    Does anyone have any idea when those colors will be back in stock?
    If I were you, I'd put in an order for a Navy/Solar Synapse 25. That color is currently available, but I don't think it will be in stock for long. If you're considering Navy for the outside of the bag, Solar Dyneema works better with it as an interior color with Navy than Wasabi would, in my opinion, I don't even think they ever offered a Navy/Wasabi combination for the Synapse 25, and Navy/Solar only came in because, after a lot of posts by people who missed this color, and grumped about its disappearance in the forums, they reinstated it at the end of June. That meant that the first Synapse 25 bags to be made in this combination didn't appear until late August. That's also why pictures of this color combination are not up on the product page. Here's a link to a thread that displays a Navy/Solar Synapse 25, but the picture is not high resolution, and I think you'll get a better idea of this color combination if you go to the Welcome Back Solar blog post and look at the Navy/Solar Co-Pilot along with the video.

    You can also call up the Tom Bihn 800 number and ask about availability -- if you're really desperate you can check on whether somebody who ordered this color combination changed their mind and returned a bag, but that's not likely to happen. Because Tom Bihn is a small operation, they gear up to producing different model bags in blocks that are set to match up when their specially ordered fabrics come in. They try to estimate the demand, and plan accordingly, but that's hard to do when they've been issuing new products and fabric/color combinations. My guess is that you won't see the Black/Wasabi combination become available again until at least January for the Synapse 25, but you could try asking Darcy. It's even harder to predict, because they do have some other new products coming up for release in the next few weeks, but because of the batched production mode style they use, in an effort to both meet demand and keep prices down, you shouldn't count on seeing Black/Wasabi as an available Synapse 25 option again soon. This is only my guess, of course. You're currently seeing more color options in the Synapse 19, because they started on a production batch for those bags after a batch of the Synapse 25. I assume that's why the new Black 400d Dyneema/Wasabi combination was available for pre-order in the Synapse 19, but not in the Synapse 25, when the new Black 400d Dyneema was introduced a few weeks ago.

    If you do call the 800 number, you can also check on how many bags are still left in Navy/Solar. That might also help with your decision. Good Luck. I know some other forum members have the Navy/Solar Synapse 25. Maybe they can weigh in?

    moriond
    Last edited by moriond; 10-27-2013 at 05:25 PM. Reason: Fixed typos

  9. #9
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Good advice, as always, from moriond.

    I expect you'll see more colors of Synapse 25 available for backorder around November 12th - 13th..... though colors with Solar lining may or may not be amongst them.
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, 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

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    Thanks! I really like the look of the Navy/Solar, but what initially drew me to Tom Bihn, was the wasabi color (a wasabi interior with a black or navy exterior would coordinate well with some things I already own), which of course all changed once I started reading reviews and seeing the quality of the products.

    moriond mentioned that black/wasabi is a classic color for the 25, and I'm not too terribly in a hurry, so I'll be patient. Is there a wait list I can join?

    Everyone's reply on here has been outstanding. You all have a new fan.




    Quote Originally Posted by moriond View Post
    If I were you, I'd put in an order for a Navy/Solar Synapse 25. That color is currently available, but I don't think it will be in stock for long. If you're considering Navy for the outside of the bag, Solar Dyneema works better with it as an interior color with Navy than Wasabi would, in my opinion, I don't even think they ever offered a Navy/Wasabi combination for the Synapse 25, and Navy/Solar only came in because, after a lot of posts by people who missed this color, and grumped about its disappearance in the forums, they reinstated it at the end of June. That meant that the first Synapse 25 bags to be made in this combination didn't appear until late August. That's also why pictures of this color combination are not up on the product page. Here's a link to a thread that displays a Navy/Solar Synapse 25, but the picture is not high resolution, and I think you'll get a better idea of this color combination if you go to the Welcome Back Solar blog post and look at the Navy/Solar Co-Pilot along with the video.

    You can also call up the Tom Bihn 800 number and ask about availability -- if you're really desperate you can check on whether somebody who ordered this color combination changed their mind and returned a bag, but that's not likely to happen. Because Tom Bihn is a small operation, they gear up to producing different model bags in blocks that are set to match up when their specially ordered fabrics come in. They try to estimate the demand, and plan accordingly, but that's hard to do when they've been issuing new products and fabric/color combinations. My guess is that you won't see the Black/Wasabi combination become available again until at least January for the Synapse 25, but you could try asking Darcy. It's even harder to predict, because they do have some other new products coming up for release in the next few weeks, but because of the batched production mode style they use, in an effort to both meet demand and keep prices down, you shouldn't count on seeing Black/Wasabi as an available Synapse 25 option again soon. This is only my guess, of course. You're currently seeing more color options in the Synapse 19, because they started on a production batch for those bags after a batch of the Synapse 25. I assume that's why the new Black 400d Dyneema/Wasabi combination was available for pre-order in the Synapse 19, but not in the Synapse 25, when the new Black 400d Dyneema was introduced a few weeks ago.

    If you do call the 800 number, you can also check on how many bags are still left in Navy/Solar. That might also help with your decision. Good Luck. I know some other forum members have the Navy/Solar Synapse 25. Maybe they can weigh in?

    moriond

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    Quick Update

    I just wanted to give a quick update. On the spur of the moment, I ended up selling my Tumi. I now found myself without a bag for work (well... a really old, college-looking backpack). I really wanted to wait for the black/wasabi, but watching/reading all these reviews got the best of me and decided to purchase the Synapse 25 in navy/solar (a really great color combo in itself, just not what I was looking for). Literally minutes after pressing the submit button, I get an email from Beau from customer support (I had forgot that I sent an email over the weekend asking when black/wasabi would be in stock). Beau notified me that, after some digging, there was ONE synapse 25 in black/wasabi left and that he would reserve it for me if I wanted... of course I accepted.

    I really appreciate Beau going out of the way to look to see if any black/wasabis were available, and for holding it for me. I'm sure that color combo could easily sell in the storefront, and I would have been very happy with the Navy/Solar... but getting the color combination that initially drew me to Tom Bihn was really icing on the cake. It seems that genuine customer service isn't dead.

    Kind Regards


    Quote Originally Posted by HYPEractiv View Post
    Thanks! I really like the look of the Navy/Solar, but what initially drew me to Tom Bihn, was the wasabi color (a wasabi interior with a black or navy exterior would coordinate well with some things I already own), which of course all changed once I started reading reviews and seeing the quality of the products.

    moriond mentioned that black/wasabi is a classic color for the 25, and I'm not too terribly in a hurry, so I'll be patient. Is there a wait list I can join?

    Everyone's reply on here has been outstanding. You all have a new fan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HYPEractiv View Post
    I just wanted to give a quick update. On the spur of the moment, I ended up selling my Tumi. I now found myself without a bag for work (well... a really old, college-looking backpack). I really wanted to wait for the black/wasabi, but watching/reading all these reviews got the best of me and decided to purchase the Synapse 25 in navy/solar (a really great color combo in itself, just not what I was looking for). Literally minutes after pressing the submit button, I get an email from Beau from customer support (I had forgot that I sent an email over the weekend asking when black/wasabi would be in stock). Beau notified me that, after some digging, there was ONE synapse 25 in black/wasabi left and that he would reserve it for me if I wanted... of course I accepted.

    I really appreciate Beau going out of the way to look to see if any black/wasabis were available, and for holding it for me. I'm sure that color combo could easily sell in the storefront, and I would have been very happy with the Navy/Solar... but getting the color combination that initially drew me to Tom Bihn was really icing on the cake. It seems that genuine customer service isn't dead.

    Kind Regards
    Wow! I'm really glad to hear that. The folks at Tom Bihn really do follow these forums, too, so they know how much interest a customer has Ina particular product by reading their posts. I didn't think this was likely, because the Black/Wasabi combination has been sold out for a while in the Synapse 25. Usually, there may be some more success in finding a discontinued color, if you ask, and they happen to have a store model,still available in stock. The other thing that sometimes works if there's something you really want that hasn't been available is to post what you want in the forums, and other members will look out for the combination coming on sale elsewhere (eBay, Craig's List, Ravelry, etc.). Sometimes someone deciding to return an item for another color or bag combination will post back to say that they will be sending the bag back, and alert you.

    I'm really happy that you'll be getting the bag that you want, without having to wait for the color combination to come back in stock. Let us know how you like it when it arrives. I'd get a cache for the MacBook Air with the bag. We can also make lots of accessory suggestions, if you like *grin*. Congrats on scoring a great bag.

    moriond

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    Everyone,

    We've just added a number of new colors for backorder/pre-order on the Synapse 25 page, including: Black Dyneema/Iberian, Black Dyneema/Wasabi, and Navy/Iberian....
    moriond likes this.
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, 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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    Everyone,

    We've just added a number of new colors for backorder/pre-order on the Synapse 25 page, including: Black Dyneema/Iberian, Black Dyneema/Wasabi, and Navy/Iberian....
    Black Dyneema/Iberian I've been waiting for that color combo! Hopefully by the time my wallet is ready it will still be available.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    Black Dyneema/Iberian
    It seems my constant and fervent prayers to St. Brieuc1 have been answered! Pre-ordered!

    1Patron saint of purse-makers
    moriond, tCook and RDR3 like this.


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