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Thread: Synapse 19 Dyneema as a PCBP?

  1. #1
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    Synapse 19 Dyneema as a PCBP?

    My long-term goal is to expand my current Tom Bihn luggage (see my forum-signature) to include travel luggage: most likely an Aeronaut, well-outfitted with pouches, sacks, and other travel accessories. It will take me a while to build up the money as other expenses in the last few years needed my attention.

    I was wondering how many people in this forum, in lieu of a regular Packing Cube Backpack, instead packed a small Dyneema regular backpack, most likely a Synapse 19, into their Aeronaut for an air- or road-trip in order to have a backpack as an Every-Day Carry (EDC) bag while on-the-trip. Has anyone tried this? Does it work, or does the Synapse take up too much space inside the Aeronaut? Can the Synapse itself be used as a kind of improvised packing cube to save space? If so, how well does this work?

    Just exploring all the options...
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    Synapse 19 Dyneema as a PCBP?

    I've never done this, so it's all conjecture, but the shape of the S19 seems, to me, not the best fit for the rather squarish main interior compartment of the Aeronaut. Add in the S19's straps, and I think a lot of the space would go to waste. Since most US airlines allow a bag+personal item, I think the S19 looks small enough that you could just carry it separately from the Aeronaut.

    To my mind, the Packing Cube Backpack serves the exact function you are looking for. Unless you require more structure than it provides, it's a very good option for a light EDC bag in situ.

    One bag that works well for pack-then-carry is the Cafe Bag. It's squarish, has a cavernous interior, and its strap tucks away unobtrusively. As per your other thread, the Co-Pilot or Pilot could also work. If I was using this set up and I was flying, I'd want my in-flight stuff in the CB/CP/P so that I could stick the Aeronaut in the overhead bin.

    ETA: this may not be feasible for you, but I think it's good if possible to buy a major piece and work it into your repertoire, and then get another. This method allows you to see how the new item interacts with the pieces you already own and experiment. Plus you don't have as much pressure to create, ex nihilo, the Perfect System and can start enjoying new TB stuff earlier.


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    Last edited by Badger; 01-10-2014 at 06:45 PM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for getting posting that vert thorough, very thoughtful reply, Badger.

    For me, the "rollaboard" and other heavy suitcases and duffels I've used are a major pain in da butt, if you know what I mean. I've had cheap, foreign-made bags rip and zippers break and roller-wheels go bad in mid-trip. This is what brought me to seek out Tom Bihn. I heard about Bihn through MacWorld magazine's reviews of briefcases, if I remember correctly. So if I go ahead with this and get an Aeronaut, I'm just exploring the possible to see what I could get with it. I am very strongly leaning in the direction of getting an Aeronaut anyway, so this will mean packing cubes and a bunch of other accessories. I'm just thinking of incorporating a Synapse into the purchase because I may find other non-travel uses for it.

    Your observations on the Synapse are noted. I would appreciate it very much if you could illuminate something for me: if the Synapse's straps would mess things up and take space in the Aeronaut, how do the Packing Cube Backpack's straps avoid doing the same?
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

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    This is pretty much exactly what I did on my trip to Ireland/Norway last fall. Or, at least how I started out.

    On my outbound flights to Ireland, I checked a rolling carry-on sized bag, and my Aeronaut held the things that I wanted to keep with me on the plane. Once on board the "big plane" across the Atlantic, my S19 came out of the main compartment of my Aeronaut and stayed with me at my seat. When we landed in Dublin, I re-combined the pair until we got to our hotel.

    After about a week in Ireland, I'd accumulated enough extra stuff that it was a serious pain in the neck to continue to Tetris my S19 into my Aeronaut, so I was three-bagging it. If it was a short walk from the bus/train station to our B&B (we didn't rent a car), my S19 was on my back, my Aeronaut was balanced atop my rolling checked bag. If it was a longer walk, the S19 sat atop my rolling bag and my Aeronaut was worn like a backpack.

    The only time this plan sucked was during our two connections at Heathrow traveling from Ireland to Norway and back. Heathrow SUCKS and you're walking miles for connections. Because the S19 can only be a backpack, I carried it as such, and carried my Aeronaut with an Absolute Strap. It worked, but it wasn't fun. The good news was that on the way back to Dublin, they were pulling TONS of people to gate-check one of their two carry-on items from Heathrow to Dublin. I didn't even get a suspicious glance with my S19/Aeronaut combo.

    Badger is correct, in that if you do put the S19 into the main compartment of the Aeronaut, you're creating a lot of difficult-to-use space. I found the S19 to be an ideal EDC on my trip. It was my first stab at traveling lighter and I learned a lot. I'll do better next time. The beauty of TB is that pretty much every piece is customizable to exactly the way that will work best for you. I learned a ton about how the best ways to use my Aeronaut while hauling it around Ireland and Norway, and it's become my go-to travel bag since that big trip. I'd also say that once my S19 was in "EDC Mode," I would have really hated having to downgrade it back into packing cube mode. So your plan would work if you're traveling to one place and your non-EDC stuff can stay put. We did seven cities in 14 days in Ireland, then both Bergen and Trondheim in Norway. Three weeks never spending more than two nights in the same bed. Frequent EDC-to-packing-cube switches would have been maddening.
    Synapse 19 (Indigo/Solar) * Brain Bag (Indigo) * Imago (Navy/Cork/Wasabi) * Aeronaut (Navy/Wasabi) * Large Shop Bag (Nordic) * Small Shop Bag (Ultraviolet) * Side Effect (Navy/Iberian)

  5. #5
    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    Your observations on the Synapse are noted. I would appreciate it very much if you could illuminate something for me: if the Synapse's straps would mess things up and take space in the Aeronaut, how do the Packing Cube Backpack's straps avoid doing the same?
    The Synapse has molded, reinforced straps whereas the PCBP does not; the straps are simply made of webbing. Thus, they pack much more compactly when in cube mode. The PCBP also lacks a reinforced back, so it's got a much lower profile in general. Once again referring to another one of your threads, while the PCBP has some o-rings and can certainly be packed with cubes and pouches, I'm not sure it's structured enough to handle, say, a Side Effect rig as has been displayed with the S25.

    In other words, the Synapse is a dedicated backpack and the PCBP is a lightweight hybrid. FWIW, I can carry my Tri-Star PCBP for moderately long distances when it's loaded with about 8-10 pounds. The Synapse can carry a heavier load for longer with more comfort because of the padded straps, sternum strap, waist belt and padded back.



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  6. #6
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    ^ Thanks for making that easy to understand. I appreciate it.
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  7. #7
    Registered User kkintea's Avatar
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    I agree with the comments so far: (1) it's difficult to carry both the S19 and the Aeronaut at once and (2) the S19 will take up undue space if packed inside the Aeronaut. I would go for the Aeronaut first -- you can't imagine what a terrific bag this is until you're used it. You could also throw in a large shop bag. It packs great into any compartment in the Aeronaut and can be quickly pulled out for travel accumulation. It holds far more than the average person thinks (I impressed a grocery clerk earlier; a common occurrence when out with the shop bag), it fits under the airplane seat, and is generally an understated travel workhorse. Unlike the packing backpack, you have two ways to carry it: over the shoulder or by the handles. It would also be used more easily over a roller bag, since it sits on top with a lower profile compared to a backpack.


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