I received my order for a Navy parapack / solar S19. The decision to go with the 19 vs. 25 was based on the reviews here and elsewhere, my 5' 11" size, and the relatively "medium" amount of stuff I carry daily. I think I made the wrong choice.
The needed role of the bag is for daily office carry, weekend hikes or urban family excursions. Basically an all-purpose general deposit area for the needs of a family, but mainly a daily carry companion; clothes, (rain jacket, beanie, scarf, gloves in winter) lunch (big), medical kit, water, mp3+headphones, chargers, flashlight, sewing kit, pens and paper, kerchief, calculator, sunglasses and cases, eyeglasses and case, wallet, knife, multi-tool, lip balm, firearm, holster, spare magazine, and keys. Plus leave a bit of room for unknowns like folders, books or a chromebook / MacBook air sized computer. Usually the firearm is concealed on my person, but not always.
All of the above fits just fine, if a bit cramped. The rub is this; the bag is too small for me when loaded up. No problem, just return it and order the S25 right...?
So before I spend $200 on a backpack ($10 to ship the S19 back plus $180 for the S25 shipped plus the non-refundable original S19 shipping cost of $10) or $40 to ship and return both, I wanted to ask specifics about the S25 sizing....
Is the only sizing difference between the two found in the main and lower pockets? The 2 side and 2 upper/front pockets appear to be dimensionally the same...Can anyone chime in to answer this?
Are the straps the same length (the padded part)? This is the most important question.
I found the S19 straps to be almost fully extended when wearing loaded full, in order to comfortable on my back. The shape of the strap at the end length placed the load outward of the ideal spot on my shoulders due to the curve of the strap at the ends. If the straps are tightened down, the location of the straps are better (ideal I'd say) but due to the length of the bag, it rides uncomfortably high on my back.
The difference in S19 and S25 size as it matters in fit, appears to be in the length and width increases which would (in theory) allow more ideal placement of the strap load closer to the middle part of the strap vs. the end of the strap (at least on the S19), which leads me to believe that the S25 would fit better only if the strap is longer.
So, after seeing the huge quality difference in materials and workmanship with a Tom Bihn product, and weighing the cost involved, I can justify purchasing a S25, but not if it doesn't fit me. In that case, I'll spend $40 to try both.
Asking for a little help with the above two questions on sizing...thanks