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Thread: If you could have one Tom Bihn Backpack? Slimming down my bag inventory

  1. #1
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    If you could have one Tom Bihn Backpack? Slimming down my bag inventory

    Ive decided the time has come to narrow my bag focus.

    I am slimming down my inventory to a Large Cafe bag, an Aeronaut (will be a new purchase after finding I didnt like the hip belt on the MEI Voyaguer I aquired recently) and a backpack.

    I am up in the air on the backpack between a Synapse 25 and a Smart Alec.

    I currently have a black balistic Smart Alec and a Synapse 19. The Smart Alec is a versitile bag but a little heavy with all that extra material compared to dyneema. The Synapse 19 is a great layout, but far too small for my uses so it is on its way out regardless.

    The responsible part of me says to stick with my current Smart Alec. The greedy part of me wants a Synpase 25 in Dyneema, or even the new Black Dyneema Smart Alec. I would need the bag to be a general use backpack to go on the occasional hike, take to the park with a blanket to watch a concert and to hold my gadgets as a personal bag for travel. The Smart Alec handles all this, but really lacks the organization of the Synapse when it comes to every day carry.

    If you could only have one Tom Bihn Backpack, which one would you go with?

  2. #2
    Registered User Rocks's Avatar
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    I'm almost exactly the opposite of you! I have both size Synapses, but have to wonder if a Smart Alec would be a better travel bag for me. That said, I love both my Synapses. I love the organization and the profile. I have a Dyneema Synapse 25, and will be able to report in 2 weeks if it's a good one bag for travel. Because, gulp, I'm hours away from flying to Italy with the Synapse 25 as my only bag. --With a Packing Cube Backpack to check on my way home if I buy stuff.

  3. #3
    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    I love my S25 and have used it for travel with an additional small EDC like the PCSB. The S 25 easily manages a week's worth of clothing packed carefully, so a blanket and hiking would no problem unless also camping. That said, unlike others in this forum, I can and do always refrain from also carrying a laptop.


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    Synapse 25 Steel D/Wasabi, Side Effects: Black/Wasabi, Steel D/Wasabi; PCSBs in UV, wasabi, and steel; Large Shop Bags: 2 Nordic, 2 Solar; 2 sm. Shop Bag UV; CoPilot Black D/Wasabi; black D/wasabi Pilot; 3 Travel Trays; 3 Clear 1/4 packing cubes;
    wallets; number padded pouches and clear organizer pouches, key straps, double carabiners galore, and soon to be the mother of an aubergine/UV SE AND an Aeronaut Junior!!!!!!!!! (Darcy says soon.)

  4. #4
    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    I guess I'd say the uses for the pack that you list are "sometimes" uses, not really everyday uses. Is your SA your current EDC backpack, and what do you normally bring with you? If you've got lots of papers, small effects, and the like, I could see the S25 being very handy. If you're bringing a lunch, gym clothes, a jacket, etc., then the more unstructured layout of the SA might be best, and you can add more organizational features by using pouches, cubes, and perhaps a Freudian Slip.

    NB: the Dyneema SA weighs only three ounces less than the Ballistic/Cordura version, and the Dyneema S25 is only four ounces less, so don't expect any huge weight savings if you spring for the Dyneema version. I think the difference between Dyneema and Ballistic is discernible with the Aeronaut, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Badger View Post
    I guess I'd say the uses for the pack that you list are "sometimes" uses, not really everyday uses. Is your SA your current EDC backpack, and what do you normally bring with you? If you've got lots of papers, small effects, and the like, I could see the S25 being very handy. If you're bringing a lunch, gym clothes, a jacket, etc., then the more unstructured layout of the SA might be best, and you can add more organizational features by using pouches, cubes, and perhaps a Freudian Slip.

    NB: the Dyneema SA weighs only three ounces less than the Ballistic/Cordura version, and the Dyneema S25 is only four ounces less, so don't expect any huge weight savings if you spring for the Dyneema version. I think the difference between Dyneema and Ballistic is discernible with the Aeronaut, though.
    The Smart Alec isnt exactly every day carry, but more like my every weekend carry. For every day, I take a BumBackPack Industries backpack for work to hold my laptop and notebook. I commute by car, so I dont really need a large travel contingent in my bag.

    Thanks for the info on the weight differences. That pretty much removes buying a new SA from my list of choices, despite how awesome that new black dyneema SA looks.

  6. #6
    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    I really hate to be an enabler, but I suppose you could use your SA for now and see if the S25 comes out in Black Dyneema. Then you could get that and a Cache with Rails and say goodbye to the SA and the BBP bag as well, with the rationale of sending two out by bringing one in.

  7. #7
    Registered User Tizi's Avatar
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    I have both the Synapse 19 and 25. Been debating the Smart Alec. As of right now, if I had to choose, I would go with the 19 for me. I use it every day and is my favorite (black dyneema/wasabi).
    Black/Steel TS, Black/Steel Aeronaut, Black/Black/Steel Brain Bag, Black/Steel Co-Pilot, Black/Steel Synapse 19, Black Dyneema/Wasabi Synapse 19, Black/Steel Cadet 11, Black/Steel Imago, Black Dyneema/Wasabi MCB, Navy/Cayenne and Black/Solar SCB, Black/Wasabi and Navy/Iberian SE and many pouches in various sizes. Tom Bihnaholic.

  8. #8
    Registered User Moose's Avatar
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    If I could only have one backpack it would, without question, be a 25. I love mine for every day use and travel.
    SE in olive, plum S19, SE, pouches and Field Journal. uv S19, Shop Bag, Yarn Sack and organizer Pouches. Synapse25 in steel/uv. Medium Cafe Bag, Western Flyer, SE, Swift & Kit in black. Absolute Strap, steel Kit and small dyneema Pouch, wrist straps, kiwi Swift, Citizen Canine & Kit. Abergine Tri Star, Kit and SE. Wasibi & uv Organizer Cube Pouches, July 4th pouch, December 2011 & 2012 Mystery Gift, 2013 parapack mystery gift and last but not least I'm proud FOT.

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    I've had the Smart Aleck, Synapse 19 and Synapse 25. I love my Syn 25 and won't part with it. It's great bag with an excellent layout. The Smart Aleck is great if you need a large compartment but I parted with my Smart Aleck in favor of the Syn 25. I have never regretted the decision. Good Luck

  10. #10
    Registered User ArnieJB's Avatar
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    Why not keep two backpacks? I have a Smart Alec that I use exclusively for travel as my carry on. I have an upper modular pouch on it and it works great for airline travel as the top opening is perfect for getting to your things while stowed under the seat in front of you. I am getting a Synapse 19 this Christmas for the purpose of everyday carry of my things back and forth to work. Having the two different ones gives you the flexibility for anything you will need a backpack for.


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