January 24, 2020

2020 Guide's Edition Pre-Order

A person wearing an Ursa Guide Edition 30 in a snowy woods.

Man wearing the Guide's Edition Synik 30 in Ursa brown while hiking in the snowy woods in the late afternoon sun.

Above: the Guide's Edition Synik 30 in Ursa.

In the 2020 Guide's Edition Pre-Order, we're offering the Guide's Edition Synik 22 and Guide's Edition Synik 30 for the first time — along with the classic Guide's Edition Synapse 25  in new 525d ballistic colors Coyote, Ursa, Wilderness, and Constellation.

The Guide's Edition packs are limited edition versions of the Synik and Synapse in Coyote trim with a few additional features, such as functional accessory strap holders and an ice axe loop. While their true home may be the woods or the mountains, they can easily inhabit the urban landscape out of necessity.... just like we do.

Pre-order opens Thursday 01/30 at 7:00am Pacific Time.

Pre-order closes Thursday 02/06.

You can sign up on the Guide's Edition Synik 22Guide's Edition Synik 30 or the Guide's Edition Synapse 25 page to be notified via email the moment pre-order opens. 

Note: our newly invented Strap Keepers will be available for order in Coyote around mid-late February; we'll send a heads-up email to everyone who has pre-ordered a Guide's Edition when that happens. Thanks to our in-house pre-order system, you can easily add items to your open pre-order and choose either to have them shipped separately or to have them held until your pre-order ships.

And in other news, those of you who appreciate Coyote may want to note that we're currently making various bags in our new Coyote 200d Halcyon (we'll send a heads-up about which of those bags is available when we email you about the Strap Keepers.)

Read on below for our Guide's Edition Synapse and Synik Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) — you may also want to read the original Synik FAQ

Once this pre-order closes, will you offer the Guide's Edition Synapse and Syniks again?

Maybe, maybe not. At this point in time, with our limited production capacity and with the number of new designs that Tom and Nik are working on, we can't make any promises.

At the very least, we don't anticipate offering another Guide's Edition pre-order this year.

Below: a photo totally unrelared to the above question, but it has our dog Ichiro in it so we thought we'd include it.

Man with his dog on rocks overlooking the ocean. Wearing a Guide's Edition Synapse 25 in Black.

What can I strap to the bag / carry on the outside of the Guide’s Edition?

To the top accessory strap holder (with the optional Ice Axe Strap) and through the ice axe loop below, you could secure an ice axe or tripod.

To the bottom two accessory strap holders and with the optional lash straps, you could secure foldable hiking poles, an ultralight folding chair, icy gaiters or a wet raincoat, foam roller or smelly workout clothes to the bottom of the pack.

Below: a tripod strapped to the Guide's Edition Synik 30.

A travel tripod for a DSLR strapped to the outside of the Guide's Edition Synik 30 using the optional Ice Axe loop.

Do all three Guide’s Editions — Guide’s Edition Synik 22, Guide’s Edition Synik 30, Guide’s Edition Synapse 25 — have the same accessory strap holders aka attachment points and ice axe loop?

Yes, they do.

Below: a close-up of one of the accessory strap holders on the Guide's Edition Synik 22.

Close-up of the accessory strap holder on a Guide's Edition Synik 22.

Do all three Guide’s Editions have the new Edgeless shoulder straps?

Yes, they do. Glad you guys like these as much as we do.

Below: the most comfortable straps we've worn, if we may say so ourselves.

Man grabbing the Edgeless strap of a Synik 22; showing how thick and comfortable they are.

Can I use the same backpack for day hiking and commuting in the city to work and back?

You bet. Advantages of doing so include: you’ve got one main pack instead of two and, in a way, you can take your adventures on the trail back with you to the city.

We think the classic look of the Guide’s Editions fit in well on the trail or in urban environment, so no worries there.

And while the Guide’s Edition Syniks do have laptop compartments, they aren’t so bulky as it be bothersome on the trail.

Man wearing the Synik 30 in Ursa brown in front of a wall of street art in the city.

What makes the Guide’s Edition better suited to hiking?

Well, to be honest, we think you can day hike with any of our backpacks — considering, of course, the volume of each and what gear you need to be able to carry. We’re personally partial to hiking with Coyote trim bags because they just feel more appropriate to the outdoors where black gear can stand out…. Coyote trim bags just look better the more dirt they have on them.

In addition, there are a few key features that some may find particularly useful:

Ice axe loop so you can carry an ice axe for high-country, early-season mountaineering. Can also be used to strap a tripod to the outside of the backpack.

Accessory Strap holders. These are placed and reinforced so they’re functional (as opposed to just for aesthetic purposes) just like back in the 70’s when day hiking and backpacking packs originally featured them. You can strap a jacket etc. to them.

Woman in the snow wearing the Guide's Edition Synapse in Mars Red; using a Snowpeak stove to make some hot coffee.

What are the required features in a backpack used for day hiking?

Two straps and… that you like carrying it. That means you might prefer taking your original Synapse day hiking, or your Guide’s Edition, or your Osprey or Patagonia daypack — as long as the pack is comfortable and well-made (read: it won’t fail on you) what matters far more is what you pack *in* your backpack (pack the 10 essentials and consider taking extra for those you meet on the trail who didn’t.)

This is mostly a matter of using your own discernment. You need the gear that works for you, whether that’s your grandmother’s hiking pack, the Synik or Synapse, or the new daypack on display at your local outdoors shop.

And then there's weight: some follow various degrees of the ultralight philosophy, and some don’t mind carrying a few extra ounces (especially for us day hikers, this can mean you get that much more of a workout — Darcy often carries a thermos of tea in addition to water while hiking in part because of this.) Again, it's a matter of discernment and what works best for you: the "right" answer here is the one that works for you, and to know that answer may require some experimentation and trial and error. 

We say this as avid hikers who have, over the years, learned what we can pack and carry for a more joyous hike. We’ve seen it all, nearly carried it all ourselves, and that’s why we say, beyond some common sense basics to protect yourself (and those who might risk their lives trying to help you if you have a mishap in the mountains) ask yourself what’ll work best for you.

Oh, one other important note: we carried the original Synik on many day hikes (long and short, ranging from 2 miles to 12 miles) to test out the Edgeless shoulder straps and its waist belt/optional padded hip belt attachment points (we eventually lowered them). We generally prefer using packs without a full clamshell opening for hiking because it's not unusual for us to find ourselves stopped on a narrow part of a trail to open our packs to access one item or another (and we don't want our other stuff falling out of the wide clamshell opening!) That said, because the Synik has Aquaguard zippers, its clamshell won’t, in our experience, fully open by itself — so, we can unzip its main compartment half way and it’ll stay that way. That's all to say: in practice, we had no issue with the clamshell opening on our hikes.

Woman wearing the Guide's Edition Synapse 25 while winter mountaineering and hiking.

Hey! I want a padded hip belt for my Guide’s Edition Synik or Synapse. Is there one?

Indeed there is -- see our 1" Padded Hip Belt. That's the same Padded Hip Belt that works with the Synapse, so if you've already got one of those, no need to buy another.

And you probably already know this, but just in case you don't: the Guide’s Edition Synapse and Syniks come with a 1" webbing hip belt.

Note that we lowered the waist/hip belt attachment points on the Synik so that the waist or hip belt will fit people of a variety of heights even better.

You may be asking, "Why isn't the padded hip belt included?" Our answer is: Based on our experience and observation, not everyone wants to use a padded hip belt. So, we decided to make it optional.

More of our thoughts on padded hip belts:
A Brief History of Padded Hip Belts
How to best utilize a padded hip belt

Man wearing the padded hip belt of the Guide's Edition Synapse 25.


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We're the TOM BIHN crew: we design bags, make bags, ship bags, and answer questions about bags. Oh, and we collaborate on blog posts, too.