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Thread: Perfect bag for high schooler?

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    Perfect bag for high schooler?

    Looking to get my 13 year old a backpack that will last him for all high school. Am thinking of the Brain bag with a Freudian slip - may be carrying a computer later on, and will be carrying text books for sure. Only concerns are that he is not very tall at this time (5' 1" maybe?) and loaded this bag may be too much weight for him (especially with his tendency to leave stuff in the bag forever instead of taking stuff out to file). The more organization a bag can provide the better for him I think. Any thoughts? Thanks so much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anya View Post
    Looking to get my 13 year old a backpack that will last him for all high school. Am thinking of the Brain bag with a Freudian slip - may be carrying a computer later on, and will be carrying text books for sure. Only concerns are that he is not very tall at this time (5' 1" maybe?) and loaded this bag may be too much weight for him (especially with his tendency to leave stuff in the bag forever instead of taking stuff out to file). The more organization a bag can provide the better for him I think. Any thoughts? Thanks so much.
    Take a look at the thread dorayme started, titled Who says short people can't carry big bags?. It has lots of pictures of her (and her kids) carrying all the different size Tom Bihn backpacks, including the Brain Bag. (For reference purposes, dorayme is 5'2" tall.) I can't answer the question about the weight load, since you can stuff the Brain Bag with a LOT of weight. The backpacks with the most organization are the Synapse and the Brain Bag, so you might reasonably consider the Synapse 25 and the Brain Bag for larger carrying capacity. The Synapse 25 won't fit a vertical Freudian Slip (at least, it's not recommended since the top corners would get slightly compressed by the design of the top of the bag.). The vertical Freudian Slip will fit into the Smart Alec, but that bag doesn't have the internal, built-in organization you may be looking for. (It's basically something the user configures).

    HTH to get you started.

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    Registered User Moose's Avatar
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    Oh yeah a BB is way too much at least I think it would be. They can(and I found often do) get really heavy really fast. A Synapse 25 would be my suggestion. You won't fit a slip into it but its got plenty of built on organization. He will grow into it. A Synapse 19 would be perfect for his age and size today I'm guessing.
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    Registered User TavaPeak's Avatar
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    My kids (1 HS, 1 middle school) take massive backpacks to school filled with books and 2 binders each. No room even for lunch. I doubt the S25 would work for my boys, but the Brain Bag might.

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    I don't know about the Synapse 25, but I carry a Synapse 19, and I think it would be too small to carry textbooks along with a computer. My son got a Brain Bag this past Christmas, and he absolutely loves it. He will be using it for college in a few years, but for now it serves as his over night bag, study bag, and all-around travel bag. As we homeschool, he has very little need for a "school backpack" at the moment. He is about 6'2" and about 130 pounds.

    I would be cautious about overloading it, though. It is very easy to do in this capacious bag!

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    Registered User Melissa's Avatar
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    How many text books will he be carrying on a daily basis. Here in Southern California, many schools no longer allow lockers (due to drugs and weapons problems-not at our school, but across the districts in general). If he is going to carry only one or two books and one binder, then the synapse 25 will be fine. If he will have to carry 4-5 textbooks, however, I would recommend a rolling backpack (no matter how "nerdy" they seem to teens). There has also been a lot of discussion among parents in our local area due to the rise in back and shoulder pain and injuries due to the increased weights being carried by teens now since they no longer have the availability of lockers.

    Another consideration is that the Synapse is available in ballistic nylon. The parapack, cordura and dyneema fabrics are durable, but my 2 boys are VERY hard on their backpacks. Being shoved under bus seats, tossed onto sidewalks, heavily packed with hard, rigid items (books), kicked around the cafeteria, DAILY punishment! The ballistic nylon will withstand the abuse longer.

    If, however, you son likes to skateboard, then the Smart Alec will be the better choice. Your son will be able to strap the board to the backpack. Again, get the ballistic nylon. The grip tape on skate boards is very coarse and can damage other fabrics.
    Last edited by Melissa; 02-24-2014 at 05:55 PM.
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    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melissa View Post

    Another consideration is that the Synapse is available in ballistic nylon.
    Of the backpacks, only the Smart Alec is available in 1050d Ballistic. The Synapses come in Parapack and Dyneema.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Thanks Moriond - pictures really do help (I thought I read almost every blog here - obviously I have missed a few!). Even if I don't get one for my son, I may be tempted for myself!

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    TavaPeak - you are probably right. I think that he will end up needing more space than the S25. Thanks also to Melissa for her comments - we do have lockers but my son will probably lug the whole shebang around anyway. Roller bag did not work for him - he wore it on his back always. But, I will definitely go with the longer lasting parapack (thanks Badger) versus the dyneema. I think the brain bag for him (maybe I will get a synapse 25 as well and 'lend' it to him until he outgrows it!)...

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    Oops forget to thank you too Mausermama - the ensuring he does not overload it will be my job I guess. But, I agree it will be a great bag that will grow with him.

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    My 14 yo son is 6'1" and in 9th grade. They don't use lockers at his high school and he uses a Brain Bag and loves it. It was one of the roomiest backpacks that I could find and indeed he (thankfully) hasn't maxed it out. He carries several big, thick textbooks in addition to binders and PE clothes and the BB swallows it easily.

    My 13 yo son is 5'1" ish and in 7th grade. He is extremely rough on everything I purchased an older version, second hand Smart Alec for him (partly because I wasn't sure that he wouldn't find a way to trash it!). He doesn't need to carry around as many textbooks with him as his older brother and he hasn't come close to maxing out the SA's capacity.

    I'm very pleased to note that both backpacks are holding up extremely well thus far.

    I think it's likely that the BB will carry son #1 through high school and college. I'm not sure that the SA will have quite enough capacity for son #2 once he gets to hs, but we'll see. Because I have eight children, someone can always use the SA if I get son #2 his own BB. My thought right now is that at some point in hs, each of the kids would receive a BB.

    Our home has a S19 and S25 floating around as well and while the S25 might work for middle school and hs, I think your better bet is a SA or BB-- partly because kids are usually carrying more than just books to school- PE clothes or sports uniforms, various weirdly shaped school projects, lunch, instruments, etc etc. and the SA and BB have more flexibility in handling oddly shaped loads.

    Anyway, you might consider ordering a SA and BB and loading them up at home to see how they feel on your son and how they handle his load.

    HTH!

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    Registered User kkintea's Avatar
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    I have to admit, this 'no lockers' thing is so disheartening! What a quintessential part of my memories of grade school. Do they also have to carry around their coats and lunches all day?!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kkintea View Post
    I have to admit, this 'no lockers' thing is so disheartening! What a quintessential part of my memories of grade school. Do they also have to carry around their coats and lunches all day?!
    Yep, they do! Which is why my high schooler refused- despite it being -5 air temp- to wear a coat to school! (I do drop the school kids off and pick them up so it should be noted that he wasn't out at a bus stop for 10 minutes without a coat, but still!).

    In our high school, they do technically have lockers, the issue isn't weapons, etc. However, it's a very old building that has been added on to in a bit of a hodge podge and so there's no way to get to one's locker between classes...so all of the kids pack mule it....

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    Registered User Melissa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badger View Post
    Of the backpacks, only the Smart Alec is available in 1050d Ballistic. The Synapses come in Parapack and Dyneema.
    Woops! I stand corrected! My youngest son has a navy/solar backpack Synapse 25 purchased last year. It is at college with him, so I can't tell if it is cordura or ballistic. He bikes to class when it's not snowing, so having the attachment point for the safety light was a LARGE contributing factor in selecting the S25 for him.

    Oldest son is a skateboarder and videographer for extreme sports competitions. Am looking into upgrading him to brain bag in July for his birthday. He is the hardest on his bags. I do wish the brain bag came in ballistic. Did it ever in the past?
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