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Thread: Synapse 25 for a uni student?

  1. #1
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    Synapse 25 for a uni student?

    I have 18 months left before I finish uni, and I desperately need a new bag. I'm leaning towards the Synapse 25, but I'm not sure if it'll fit all my stuff. I'm having difficulty gauging size just looking at pictures.

    Most days I carry:
    • a largish laptop (Lenovo E440) + a brick of a charger
    • a notebook
    • a student diary
    • pencil case
    • lunch (usually a large insulated container from klean kanteen, a few cylindrical snack tubes, occasionally an insulated bottle - all awkward shapes)
    • water bottle (I have a 40oz klean kanteen that I'd like to use, but it falls out of my current bag)
    • knitting project + paraphernalia (scissors, stitch markers, etc. usually kept in another pencil case)
    • usual handbag junk (glasses, phone, wallet, ipod, keys, tissues, makeup bag, medication)
    • depending on the day I may also have a textbook and a 7" tablet (nexus 7)


    My current bag is 30L, but it's not amazingly designed. I think the smaller bag could work nicely if it was well organised. I definitely want a cache for my laptop, a key strap, a couple of knitting tool pouches and a yarn sack. Is there anything else that could help me keep everything organised? Will all my stuff even fit? And is it worth getting a cache for my tablet even if I don't bring it every day? Shipping to Australia is expensive, so I want to make sure I get things right for my order.

  2. #2
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    I think it depends on the size of your lunch containers. I use a Rubbermaid lunchblox salad kit, or a ziplock 5x5 square, and they did not fit in the S25 with my other stuff and the waterbottle. It was due to how the S25 gets more narrow at the top, with the MacBook in the cache, and the water bottle, there's not much room left at the top. I tried putting the wider lunch stuff on the bottom, but could never get it to fit with everything else I carry.

    I returned my S25, but maybe others can help if you post more specific sizes...

  3. #3
    Registered User blackbird's Avatar
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    Hi Heatherzilla - it sounds like you could go with either the Synapse 25 or perhaps even a Smart Alec, which I think would hold everything on your list and then some. I have the S25, and it holds a lot, including a 15-inch computer, a camera, some books, regular purse stuff, a water bottle, and snacks.

    Or, if you prefer something with even more organizational capabilities, what about the Western Flyer?
    Collections:
    EDC for Work: SA (with cache) + CP (with workout gear) + SE
    EDC for Play: SA + SE/CP + SE
    Travel: SA + SE + CP
    Organisation: Large + Medium YSS, Small + Medium DOP, 3DCO, 3DMO, Small WFPC, TT, Q-Kit!
    Favorite TB colors: black dyneema, forest + conifer, wasabi, iberian, olive, burnt orange
    On my wish list: Large WFPC, Snake Charmer, DLBP, Q-Kits + LS (for my crafty sister)

  4. #4
    Registered User adalangdon's Avatar
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    If you have odd-shaped stuff, I'd recommend the Smart Alec with one or two modular pockets. I use the S25 for school most of the time, but switch out to the SA when I expect to do some shopping. IMHO it is the best multi-scenario "true" backpack by TB, along with the Brain Bag. The downside to the SA is that it's currently sold out and the additional pockets will add up to a pretty penny (180 + 40 + 40 = FAINT!). Plus, some people find the jar-like design a little strange.

    I'm quite sure the SA with an upper modular pocket will be able to hold your stuff, but I don't know about the S25. I find that it's best suited to holding flat and regularly-shaped stuff... but the expert packers on this forum may have a different opinion! With me, the space in the S25 just evaporates.

  5. #5
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    I believe I have a similar EDC carry for work and it does fill up my S25 and there is still some room but not for anything too bulky. The only item that might be problematic from your list, IMHO, would be the extra textbook - depending on the size and thickness.

    For me, as my EDC, I carry:
    Lenovo 15.6 laptop in a Brain Cell (thicker than a TB Cache sleeve)
    2 or three file folders with papers ~0.5-1" thick total
    Lunch - 2 containers - 1 3.5cup and 1 1.5cup Glasslock containers
    Mug - 20oz Contigo Stainless Steel insulated mug or Life Factory bottle
    Speaker - Bluetooth Bose Soundlink Mini (~2" x 2.5" x 7")
    Smartphone - Samsung Note 2
    iPod and earbuds
    Electronics accessories - in Tom Bihn Side Effect or Lead's Pocket
    Umbrella - Davek Traveller (about 9" long)
    Various EDC - Flashlight, pocket knife, wrench tool, screwdriver, pens, gum, passcard, etc
    Keys
    First Aid Kit - small and flat

    Here is a picture of my S25 on my back containing all of the above (picture taken last winter - hence the coat):

    Name:  S25_Side_on_me.jpg
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    Here is a visual of what is in my Synapse 25 (Lunch Bag is inside and you cannot see it):

    Name:  S25_Opened Up.jpg
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    Hope this helps

    Cheers!
    Last edited by tpnl; 08-19-2014 at 11:11 PM.
    Zephyr/SA/BB/Co-Pilot (Black/Black/Steel), S25/WF/TS/A45/Pilot/Cadet (Black/Iberian), DLBP (French Blue), Ego (Black/Black/Steel with Indigo Stripe), CPF (Black/Indigo/Steel), EB (Black/Steel/Steel), Vertical & Horizontal Brain Cells, Vertical and Horizontal FS, Camera I/O, PCBP/PCSB/TT (400d Nordic), SE (Black/Iberian), Lead's Pocket (Black), Tall YSS (Iberian)

  6. #6
    Registered User Moose's Avatar
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    Tpnl, may I suggest you add some key straps?

    Seriously, I'd like to understand your second photo. Is it a S25 hanging wight laptop, Freudian Slip, water bottle pocket folded over and from there down to the hanging g stuff I can't tell what I'm looking at. What is that larger bag at the bottom? The Leads Pocket, maybe.
    Thank you,
    Moose
    List exceeds allowed characters. So I'll just say I'm plum and kiwi loving FOT!

  7. #7
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    I agree, hard to tell what's what. So you keep the lunch bag on the bottom? Are the glasslocks vertical?

  8. #8
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    @moose – good guess on the Lead’s Pocket – you are correct. It is funny you mention the key straps – I originally took this picture to show that the O-Ring / Key Strap system allows you to pull everything out of the backpack without having to worry about losing things as they are all still attached. This solves one of the problems with backpacks – that you need keep track of things as you take things out to find things at the bottom. IMHO, with the O-Rings, you can will not lose anything and it allows you to pack more vertically so do not have to dig down to get things in the first place. In fact, with the S25, you could also "hang" a Side Effect off the second set of Rail loops using double carrabiners or a TB key Strap threaded through the loops and reattached to the Side Effect - I think I saw a picture of someone doing this on the forum.

    @carl0 – Yes, I keep my lunch at the bottom of the main compartment and the glasslock containers are vertically oriented.

    From the second picture, here is what is what is shown in the S25 (the first picture is all the stuff below packed up):

    Main Compartment
    15.6” laptop
    TB Vertical Brain Cell - size 2S (big) protecting my laptop
    2 File folders
    TB Vertical Freudian Slip (not needed always but good to hold things “vertically” for better packing)
    Bose Soundlink mini Bluetooth Speaker
    2 Glasslock lunch containers - 3.5cup and 1.5cup (not shown but at the bottom of the bag)
    TB Smart Alec Lower Modular Pocket used as a Lunch bag (added TB keystrap to be a handle)

    Bottle Compartment
    22oz Life Factory Bottle – Carbon Hex (Gray) with flip cap (you can only see the top)
    TB Tall Yarn Stuff Sack – Iberian – covering Life Factory Bottle to contain any bottle sweating

    Front top Compartment
    Business Cards
    Earphones in a blue silicone case
    iPod Nano – 4th Gen
    Gum
    Tape Measure (compact version) on carabiner attached to O-Ring
    Jade fish ornament on black string attached to O-Ring

    Left Pocket
    Davek Traveller Umbrella
    Fenix LD15 117 lumen AA pocket light attached to TB 8” Keystrap
    Pens in the built in pockets for them
    TB Micro Pouch with most used small electronics adapters (e.g. Micro USB adapter)

    Right Pocket
    Compact Zoom Camera in Black Hardcase attached to TB 8” Keystrap
    Acme Small soft Camera case that holds my emergency “tools” (wrench, pocket knife, Fire Starter tool, etc) attached to TB 8” Keystrap
    Samsung Note 2 phone (not shown but in the Ultrasuide-lined inner pocket) – ya – that big smartphone fits!
    Keys on a TB 16" Keystrap (16" so I can just pull it out and use it to open my door without having to fully remove the backpack)

    Bottom Pocket
    TB Lead’s Pocket – Black with all my main Electronics accessories (e.g power brick, solar battery) attached to an O-Ring via a TB 8" Keystrap
    First Aid Kit (red) attached to an O-Ring via a TB 8" Keystrap
    Guardian Light (under bottom Pocket)

    With all this I still have room at the top of the main compartment for a medium sized fairly thick book and of course there is still some stretch room on the pockets. Also, the Freudian Slip is not necessarily needed and not using it adds about another ” or so depth of space.

    In the main compartment, I usually put the long items vertically so I can access them easily. I orient my Bluetooth Speak and TB Lower Module Pocket vertically (the GlassLock containers are vertically oriented inside the SA-LMP - I can do this because the covers lock and seal in the food preventing leaks). There is then still room to add another bottle or umbrella or even the Lead’s Pocket if I need to move things around and retask how I use the front pockets.

    Hope this helps make sense of my second picture. Thanks for the interest!

    Cheers!
    Last edited by tpnl; 08-20-2014 at 05:03 PM.
    carl0 likes this.
    Zephyr/SA/BB/Co-Pilot (Black/Black/Steel), S25/WF/TS/A45/Pilot/Cadet (Black/Iberian), DLBP (French Blue), Ego (Black/Black/Steel with Indigo Stripe), CPF (Black/Indigo/Steel), EB (Black/Steel/Steel), Vertical & Horizontal Brain Cells, Vertical and Horizontal FS, Camera I/O, PCBP/PCSB/TT (400d Nordic), SE (Black/Iberian), Lead's Pocket (Black), Tall YSS (Iberian)

  9. #9
    Registered User Moose's Avatar
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    I hang a 3D Organizer Cube at the top of my S25 with a key strap sometimes a clear one. I put up some photos ages ago. I tried a SE but it was too heavy for what I needed. I only have cordura SEs though. Maybe a dyneema one would work better.

    Thanks for the explaination too.
    List exceeds allowed characters. So I'll just say I'm plum and kiwi loving FOT!

  10. #10
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    Wow, everyone here is so helpful. Thanks for the pictures. After seeing how much you can fit in a S25 I definitely think it's the bag for me. I love how much stuff you can attach to the o-rings.


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