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Thread: New backpack strap placement on Synapse 19?

  1. #16
    Registered User taminca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NWhikergal View Post
    I am a petite 5'3" and the only way the S19 (recently purchased in parapack) fits me comfortably is if I keep the chest strap tightened. Otherwise the straps are slightly too wide and threaten to slip off my shoulders, though I believe the model I originally tried in the store seemed to fit more narrowly.
    I am 5'3" also and, like you, must keep the chest strap tightened. Until @bchaplin pointed it out by starting this thread, I did not know the shoulder straps on the S19 used to be sewn closer together. (I bought my first S19 in September 2013.) Hmmm...now I am really curious about the fit of those older S19s.
    Last edited by taminca; 04-06-2014 at 09:11 PM.
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  2. #17
    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
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    I'm not super-tiny either. All I know is, up until now, the Synapse 19 fit me like a glove. It was just there, and with the new one, I feel as if I'm struggling to make sure it doesn't fall off my back.
    My older S19 has a separation of about 10/16 of an inch between the straps at the top of the pack; the new one has a separation of 2 inches. That's quite a dramatic difference. Will call TB and discuss what to do. I'm torn because I really like the black parapack.
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  3. #18
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    I'm 5'8" and average build. No way am I petite. I too have to keep the chest strap buckled or the shoulder straps slide off. I haven't had this problem with other backpacks. I still use my S19 a lot because I love the organization, but I do wish I didn't have to use the chest strap.
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  4. #19
    Registered User scribe's Avatar
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    Same here - I'm 5'2" with broad-ish shoulders for my height, and I definitely need to keep the sternum strap fastened for the S19 to feel comfortable. That said, it's probably more comfortable than any other backpack I've owned
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  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bchaplin View Post
    I'm not super-tiny either. All I know is, up until now, the Synapse 19 fit me like a glove. It was just there, and with the new one, I feel as if I'm struggling to make sure it doesn't fall off my back.
    My older S19 has a separation of about 10/16 of an inch between the straps at the top of the pack; the new one has a separation of 2 inches. That's quite a dramatic difference. Will call TB and discuss what to do. I'm torn because I really like the black parapack.
    I will be very curious to hear what you find out from TB!
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  6. #21
    Registered User Peruvian's Avatar
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    Very interesting indeed. I have noticed the Nordic/Solar Synapse 25 that I just received on Friday way more comfortable than the original one I had, but had no idea why (I really wanted this one to work-out, I guess). Perhaps @bltkmt could help me out and snap a picture of the straps placement on his S25 so that I could compare with the new on I have, which is 2.5 inches apart.

    I have had, however, a Steel Dyneema Synapse 19 which was purchased in June 2013 and never had a problem with comfort and the shoulder straps. I still have and use the S19 quite often. Since this thread, I took the time to analyze the placement of the straps on the S19 and they are 2.25in apart (picture below). Again, this bag was purchased in June 2013, so I don't know how long it has been since TB has spread/update the straps.

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  7. #22
    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
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    Yes, @peruvian, it looks like you have the later S19 (wider straps).
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  8. #23
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    This is really interesting. I never realized the importance of how far apart the shoulder straps are at the top mounting point. I did see from the Carryology website a guide to what makes a good backpack.

    What Makes a Good Backpack Strap? | Carryology

    The only reference to the width was for one piece shoulder straps (but the jest of the writeup is that the mounting points are fixed like most backpacks). It states that the straps will slip off if the spacing is too wide - exactly as I am reading in this thread post. For Petite people, the wider mount points for the current S19 and S25 straps makes them more likely to slip off. However, for the Tank shouldered people, there is less chance for slippage (and perhaps better fit for Tank people with shoulder problems).

    Being Tank shouldered myself (I take size 48-50 suits - usual off the rack largest is 46), I like the wider mounting points. But, perhaps there is a case to have two different versions - one for Petite and one for Tank. I get the sense that not many backpack makers cater to the Petite shoulder size. Maybe an adjustable upper mounting point mechanism. Looks like there could also be a niche market for older Portable Culture tagged backpacks with the narrower shoulder strap mounting points.

    That being said, it looks like the solution to use the sternum strap to keep the shoulder straps tighter is a good one and should negate most people's issues with slippage. Also, for new people reading these posts, I hope they do not get the impression that TB backpacks are only good for wide shouldered people. They are fine in all cases that I have found when I ocassionally lend people my backpacks or if my wife (who is more average shouldered) uses the TB backpacks I have. In fact, I find my Smart Alec EDC quite comfortable and helpful in improving my back posture!

    On a interesting side note - reading the above link, it does say why the airmesh style of shoulder strap padding is not as good as the EVA type foam style that TB uses (more proof that TB products take the better design road).

    Cheers!

    P.S. I agree with bchaplin - bring back the Portable Culture Patch!
    Last edited by tpnl; 04-07-2014 at 02:06 PM.
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  9. #24
    Registered User yohopee's Avatar
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    @tpnl good, good post. Bang On where you mention that TB bags are not made for a specific type of person. I do use the sternum strap if I have a heavy load or when I go hiking. If I hame a moderate or light load, I do not use the strap.

    *waving to a fellow Torontonian*
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  10. #25
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    Now I know why my Synapse 19 steel dyneema/wasabi received in July 2013 still has its tags on!

    I bought it for the attachment point for a bike light. When it first arrived, I tried it on, the straps kept falling off my narrow shoulders. okay if I buckled the chest strap. I don't like chest straps, I have been taking them off my TB bags.

    I bought the steel dyneema Synapse to replace my nordic/steel dyneema Synapse (it has the portable culture tag).

    But because the steel dyneema did not wear "just right," it has been sitting in its TB box with its tags still hanging on it while the nordic has been going on weekend adventures.

    Compared the 2 just now - indeed the top of the straps on the steel dyneema Synapse are spaced wider apart.

    I was planning on putting an order for the black cordura/iberian, but I think I will put that plan on hold.

    I agree with the comment that perhaps it is time for TB to offer 2 versions of the Synapse 19.

    I stand 4'6", stretched out, most of it in my legs for a woman of my height. The Synapse 19 is the ONLY backpack off the rack that I could wear in comfort.

    I hope TB keeps producing it for short people like me.

    While I am rolling, I hope TB makes a short version of the Brain Bag - max 16 inches like the Symapse 19. I think there is a huge market among parents with elementary students.

    A few years ago, I bought a dozen Synapse 19 for my nieces and nephews to use as school bags. They did not use them because their schools required them to pack binders which did not fit in the Synapse along with the other stuff they carried in their book bags.

    I then bought a dozen Brain Bags. They did not get used as school bags because of the weight. They did and still get used as travel bags (I introduced my nieces and nephews to the freedom of 1 bag travel whether travelling by air on in a car).

    My nephews and nieces are now moving to middle and high school - their Synapses are coming out of storage to be used as school bags.

    A brain bag as short as the Synapse 19 would have worked perfect as school bags for my nieces and nephews from Grade 1 to Grade 5, and all throughout middle and high school and likely through college.
    Last edited by Walker; 04-07-2014 at 04:08 PM.

  11. #26
    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
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    Well, I did speak to someone at Tom Bihn. It does seem that (as we all figured out), about a year ago the straps were changed on the Synapse 19 to be wider.

    I love the company and their products, but I'm disappointed that this wasn't communicated to its long-standing customers. To me, such a dramatic alteration in the fit of the bag is more important than the other changes, such as the addition of the cache on rails, extra O-ring, etc., which were well-described. I should be able to have some confidence that if I order a bag I already own, with the same name, it should basically be the same bag, with the same fit. I tried to explain this to the person I talked to. I'm not 100% sure I was clear enough about it.

    Still not decided about keeping the new Synapse.
    Last edited by bchaplin; 04-07-2014 at 04:14 PM.
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  12. #27
    Registered User Peruvian's Avatar
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    Agree 100% with bchaplin. This was a major alteration to the design of the bag which definitely merits a special line on the description section. Not only that, but since last year there have been many people on the forum complaining about straps not fitting correctly (specially on the S25) and not a word from the TB crew regarding the design change.

    I also love their products, but this was not good. At the end I guess I lucked out because the design change fits me better, but not everyone is on the same boat.

  13. #28
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    Dear forum members,

    Just a thought for those who are not finding a good fit with the backpack straps placed further apart at the top - what if you tighten the backpack straps? I think the result will be that the backpack sits a little higher on your back, which you may find is not only a better fit, but also allows you to better carry the weight in your bag.

    With kind regards,
    -m
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  14. #29
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    Excellent suggestion, Maverick! I cannot speak for the other height challenged or less hearty folks, but even with the shoulder straps tightened, the fit is wide on my shoulders and feels as if it will slip off if I do not wear the chest strap to overcompensate for the wide(r) strap placement. As an avid backpacker, I have experimented with various adjustments, but the chest strap adjusted snugly is the only way the shoulder straps stay seated securely on me, though I completely appreciate the way the pack hugs my back when the shoulder straps are forced into a more narrow configuration. I really, really love the S19's size and organization, so I have been willing to modify my normal lightweight backpack style to proudly sport a chest strap. But if I could trade my newer version of S19 for a previous version with narrower straps, I would definitely prefer that fit!
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  15. #30
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    Very interesting thread! Thanks to those who shared pictures and information. My 8 and 10 year olds each carry a new version of the S19. We haven't had issues with shoulder slippage, though I did have to tighten the straps quite a bit to fit their little kid frames.
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