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  1. #1
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    Cache Sleeve Alternatives for Synapse 25

    Hi All,

    I recently purchased a Synapse 25 - Dyneema Steel exterior, Wasabi interior - which I love. :-)

    However, I'm trying to figure out internal management a bit. In particular, how to carry both my 15" MacBook Pro Retina and my iPad Air. I'm currently using a sleeve that I purchased for my laptop before I got my bag. It works okay, but it lacks any hooks to attach to the interior loops in my bag, and thus tends to move around in my pack a little more than I'd like making it not quite as comfortable to carry on my back. I've just been slipping my iPad Air into the main compartment pouch, which has a similar problem to the laptop, but it's not as annoying since it weighs so little.

    Here is what I'd really like in a sleeve:

    - Capable of being attached to the loops in the Synapse 25
    - Capable of holding both 15" MacBook Pro Retina and iPad Air, preferably each in a separate compartment.
    - Velcro or Zipper for secure storage
    - Easily removed from pack so that I can transport my MBP Retina and iPad Air without my pack but still have some decent protection.
    - Vertical Orientation to better conform to the shape of the bag

    Has anyone come across any sleeves that meet some or all of the criteria above? Heck, has anyone managed to used a sleeve other than the Cache that works decently with the built in loops in the Synapse 25?

    Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    Hello
    I do not have a Synapse 25 (I have a Brain Bag, Smart Alec and Aeronaut) or a 15” MBP (I have a similarly sized 15.6” PC) or an iPad - but I have done a lot of research on vertical oriented Sleeve Cases for a” Bag in a Bag” type configuration. As Tom Bihn does not make that type of bag for a 15" MBP or larger, I have had to look to other areas – hint hint … large Ristretto please – I would buy it in a second!

    Off the top of my head, there are 3 that come to mind to hold your 15" MBP and iPad and protect it as much as a cache (or more).

    MacCase Flight Jacket - 15" version - just 1/4" taller than the 4Z cache and should fit and has good protection. This is my preferred Sleeve Case when I want to go light and professional but still carry a lot of essentials and I put it in my BB or SA backpack (or any other bag) to pull out when needed. The vintage leather is fantastic. The down side is it is expensive - look around for deals. There is a non-leather version that is better priced. I found a place in New York that sells Photo and Video stuff and has a good price for the leather version.

    Waterfield Sleeve Case - 15" MBP version - choose vertical orientation, leather bottom, shoulder clips and a flap and you have one fine looking sleeve case that will hold your iPad in the back pocket. Get the Piggyback to hold accessories and clip it to one of the O-rings on your Tom Bihn bag when not using with the Sleeve Case. Waterfield bags are also made in the USA and the Ballistic Nylon is 1050d like Tom Bihn.

    Booq PowerSleeve - 15" - discontinued but you see them on eBay - get the first version if you want slim and uncomplicated. I used this before I found the MacCase and it is perfect. It is designed to be used alone or in
    a backpacks.

    For the above Sleeve Cases, except for the leather MacCase, you could sew in what is needed to make the Synapse 25 loops work though I personally would not worry about doing that. Clipping any of these Sleeve Cases to the loops should be ok to do with the Tom Bihn Clips or Key Straps.

    Another one to look at is the Zeroshock III case. I say this because it has a large zippered section in front of the main laptop compartment that may be large enough for an iPad. I have not tested it but it looks like it could fit. You can find these cases for sale on eBay and they are excellent protection.
    Others that may be too big to fit in a Synapse 25 but worth a look are:

    Watefield Vertigo - Large – This is the substitute for the large Ristretto I am still hoping Tom Bihn will make some day. It is a good Bag in a Bag (it should just fit in your Synapse 25) - but you still need a sleeve. It has room for a lot and looks sharp with the leather insert. Waterfield bags are also made in the USA and the Ballistic Nylon is 1050d like Tom Bihn. It is my EDC vertical bag and I put in in my Aeronaut, BB, SA and Checkpoint Flyer as an extra bag to carry for sight seeing, etc.

    PKG Stuff – vertical orientation but may be bit too big but inexpensive

    Brenthaven Edge II before 2008 - discontinued - basically protects like an aluminum case but it is not vertically oriented, may be too big. You can actually leave you laptop in it and work out of it.

    Lacie Cozy – molded 1680d Ballistic Nylon but horizontal orientation and may be too big

    Spire Boot or Dart – may work but hard to find

    Other vertical oriented messenger sleeve cases / bags I found and tried are from STM, Cocoon and Higher Ground.

    I hope this at least gives you some ideas of where to start looking.

    Cheers!

  3. #3
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    Nov 2013
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    Wow, great post. Thanks for all of the information. I've looked at many of these options, although not the discontinued ones. In fact I already have a vertical WaterField sleeve for my MBPr, unfortunately without the d-rings. Although, to be honest, I don't really like to use the exterior pocket for the iPad, it feels a bit too scratchy for my tastes. :-) I think it was meant more for things like papers.

    The one that really stood out to me that I had not seen was the MacCase Flight Jacket. Wow. In terms of size, pockets, d-rings, it really seems to be *exactly* what I'm looking for. Everything except for the fact that it's made out of leather. I'd prefer more of a nylon material, although I guess I could look past that. The price tag of $200 seems a bit steep as well. What bothers me the most about it, and perhaps this sounds silly, but... what's with that weird looking logo/design on the front? Also, the big bold word "MacCase" on the back looks sort of silly. :-)

    Seen anything else out there like the MacCase Flight Jacket? It really does look like the perfect sleeve/bag within a bag sort of product. Vertical in orientation, dedicated pockets for laptop and iPad, slim, and it even has a half flap, rather than a full which would make it annoying to open up while keeping it in the bag. Why must life be so hard? #FirstWorldProblems. :-)

    Thanks again for all the great info!

  4. #4
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    Okay, I think, at least functionally, I've found the perfect bag for my above mentioned needs. It's called the:

    ThinkTank My 2nd Brain 15 MacBook Pro Case

    They have different sizes for other laptops and tablets as well. Ideally I would have gotten this sort of bag from a company like Tom Bihn or Waterfield, because I think they use way nicer materials, and have a better design aesthetic, but I think this will do! It will even add some nifty organization to my Synapse 25 which it's currently lacking. :-)

    Thanks again folks! If anyone is interested I'll chime back in once I get it to let y'all know how it's working for me.

  5. #5
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    Looks interesting - and with a similar naming convention - Brain Cell / My 2nd Brain! Let us know how it is working.

    I hope it has more padding than one of their similar products - the Artificial Intelligence. I looked at the Think Tank AI a while back and found it had very little padding and no piping in the edges to help with edge/corner protection.

    Cheers


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