Side profile of Synik 22 in Burnt Orange Front of Synik 22 in Burnt Orange Side profile of Synik 22 in Burnt Orange with NW Sky Halcyon interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Mars Red Front of Synik 22 in Mars Red Side profile of Synik 22 in Mars Red with NW Sky Halcyon interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Nebulous Gray Front of Synik 22 in Nebulous Gray Side profile of Synik 22 in Nebulous Gray with Dawn interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Nebulous Gray with Wasabi Halcyon interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Nebulous Gray with Island Halcyon interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Nebulous Gray with Iberian Halcyon interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Nebulous Gray with Solar Halcyon interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Ursa Front of Synik 22 in Ursa Side profile of Synik 22 in Ursa with NW Sky Halcyon interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Aubergine Front of Synik 22 in Aubergine Side profile of Synik 22 in Aubergine with NW Sky Halcyon interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Black Front of Synik 22 in Black Side profile of Synik 22 in Black with Island interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Black with Island Halcyon interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Black with NW Sky Halcyon interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Black with Cloud interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Black with Coyote interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Black with Coyote Halcyon interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Deep Blue Front of Synik 22 in Deep Blue Side profile of Synik 22 in Navy with Coyote interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Navy with Iberian Halcyon interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Navy with Coyote Halcyon interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Navy with Solar Halcyon interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Constellation Front of Synik 22 in Constellation Side profile of Synik 22 in Constellation with NW Sky Halcyon interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Coyote Front of Synik 22 in Coyote Side profile of Synik 22 in Coyote with NW Sky Halcyon interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Wilderness Front of Synik 22 in Wilderness Side profile of Synik 22 in Wilderness with NW Sky Halcyon interior Side in Black Halcyon Front in Black Halcyon Side in Black Halcyon with NW Sky interior Side in Black Halcyon with Taiga interior Side in Black Halcyon with Solaris interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Taiga (olive green with dark grey grid) 400 Halcyon Front in Taiga (olive green with dark grey grid) 400 Halcyon Side in Taiga (olive green with grey grid) 400 Halcyon with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Night Walk (blue-grey with dark grey grid) 400 Halcyon Front in Night Walk (blue-grey with dark grey grid) 400 Halcyon Side in Night Walk (blue-grey with grey grid) 400 Halcyon with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Original (black with white grid) 400 Halcyon Front in Original (black with white grid) 400 Halcyon Side in Original (black with white grid) 400 Halcyon with Island (bright blue with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior Side in Navy Parapack Front in Navy Parapack Side in Navy Parapack with Steel Parapack interior Side in Navy Parapack with Cloud interior Side in Black Parapack Front in Black Parapack Side in Black Parapack with Steel Parapack interior Side in Black Parapack with Cloud interior
Side profile of Synik 22 in Burnt Orange Front of Synik 22 in Burnt Orange Side profile of Synik 22 in Burnt Orange with NW Sky Halcyon interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Mars Red Front of Synik 22 in Mars Red Side profile of Synik 22 in Mars Red with NW Sky Halcyon interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Nebulous Gray Front of Synik 22 in Nebulous Gray Side profile of Synik 22 in Nebulous Gray with Dawn interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Nebulous Gray with Wasabi Halcyon interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Nebulous Gray with Island Halcyon interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Nebulous Gray with Iberian Halcyon interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Nebulous Gray with Solar Halcyon interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Ursa Front of Synik 22 in Ursa Side profile of Synik 22 in Ursa with NW Sky Halcyon interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Aubergine Front of Synik 22 in Aubergine Side profile of Synik 22 in Aubergine with NW Sky Halcyon interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Black Front of Synik 22 in Black Side profile of Synik 22 in Black with Island interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Black with Island Halcyon interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Black with NW Sky Halcyon interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Black with Cloud interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Black with Coyote interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Black with Coyote Halcyon interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Deep Blue Front of Synik 22 in Deep Blue Side profile of Synik 22 in Navy with Coyote interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Navy with Iberian Halcyon interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Navy with Coyote Halcyon interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Navy with Solar Halcyon interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Constellation Front of Synik 22 in Constellation Side profile of Synik 22 in Constellation with NW Sky Halcyon interior. Side profile of Synik 22 in Coyote Front of Synik 22 in Coyote Side profile of Synik 22 in Coyote with NW Sky Halcyon interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Wilderness Front of Synik 22 in Wilderness Side profile of Synik 22 in Wilderness with NW Sky Halcyon interior Side in Black Halcyon Front in Black Halcyon Side in Black Halcyon with NW Sky interior Side in Black Halcyon with Taiga interior Side in Black Halcyon with Solaris interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Taiga (olive green with dark grey grid) 400 Halcyon Front in Taiga (olive green with dark grey grid) 400 Halcyon Side in Taiga (olive green with grey grid) 400 Halcyon with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Night Walk (blue-grey with dark grey grid) 400 Halcyon Front in Night Walk (blue-grey with dark grey grid) 400 Halcyon Side in Night Walk (blue-grey with grey grid) 400 Halcyon with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior Side profile of Synik 22 in Original (black with white grid) 400 Halcyon Front in Original (black with white grid) 400 Halcyon Side in Original (black with white grid) 400 Halcyon with Island (bright blue with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior Side in Navy Parapack Front in Navy Parapack Side in Navy Parapack with Steel Parapack interior Side in Navy Parapack with Cloud interior Side in Black Parapack Front in Black Parapack Side in Black Parapack with Steel Parapack interior Side in Black Parapack with Cloud interior Laptop going into Synik 22 laptop pocket Pens in front side pocket travel utensils in front side pocket Water bottle in water bottle pocket Clamshell opening with tie down straps  Main compartment tie-down straps in use Laptop going in through internal access to laptop pocket Synik 22 on roller luggage handle Close up of top of Synik 22 on roller luggage handle Person wearing Synik 22 at a park Person wearing Synik 22 outside of a coffee shop Person wearing Synik 22 and walking down the street Person accessing front pockets of Synik 22 Two people walking a dog at the beach wearing Synik 22s Person accessing front pockets of Synik 22 Close up of shoulder strap with sternum strap fastened Person removing laptop from laptop side compartment Person with a Synik 22 on their rolling luggage handle person putting laptop into side laptop pocket person wearing Synik 22 on one shoulder close up of shoulder strap person boarding a plane wearing a Synik 22 Synik 22 stowed under airline seat Synik 22 with a typical load-out (laptop, water bottle, toiletries kit, glasses, camera, backup battery, jacket, phone, pens, charging cords,etc.) person packing a Synik 22 person packing the main compartment person clipping a pouch to an internal o-ring person using water bottle pocket person using internal tie-down straps person using laptop pocket Loadout video video instruction for removing/inserting the Synik 22 frame sheet
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Synik 22

$290.00

It's the one you've been waiting for: suspended laptop compartment that fits most 13" laptops, rolling luggage pass-through, super comfortable shoulder straps, and full clamshell opening.

22 liters (1340 cu. in.)

Burnt Orange 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Burnt Orange 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Mars Red 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Mars Red 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Nebulous Grey 525 Ballistic/Island 200 Halcyon
Nebulous Grey 525 Ballistic/Island 200 Halcyon
Ursa 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Ursa 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Black 525 Ballistic/Coyote 200 Halcyon
Black 525 Ballistic/Coyote 200 Halcyon
Black 525 Ballistic/Island 200 Halcyon
Black 525 Ballistic/Island 200 Halcyon
Black 525 Ballistic/Island 210 Ballistic
Black 525 Ballistic/Island 210 Ballistic
Deep Blue 525 Ballistic/Coyote 200 Halcyon
Deep Blue 525 Ballistic/Coyote 200 Halcyon
Aubergine 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Aubergine 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Constellation 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Constellation 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Wilderness 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Wilderness 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Black 400 Halcyon/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Black 400 Halcyon/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Taiga 400 Halcyon/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Taiga 400 Halcyon/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Navy 420 Parapack/Cloud 210 Ballistic
Navy 420 Parapack/Cloud 210 Ballistic
Nebulous Grey 525 Ballistic/Solaris 200 Halcyon
Nebulous Grey 525 Ballistic/Solaris 200 Halcyon
Black 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Black 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Black 400 Halcyon/Taiga 200 Halcyon
Black 400 Halcyon/Taiga 200 Halcyon
Night Walk 400 Halcyon/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Night Walk 400 Halcyon/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Original 400 Halcyon/Island 200 Halcyon
Original 400 Halcyon/Island 200 Halcyon
Laptop going into Synik 22 laptop pocket Pens in front side pocket travel utensils in front side pocket Water bottle in water bottle pocket Clamshell opening with tie down straps  Main compartment tie-down straps in use Laptop going in through internal access to laptop pocket Synik 22 on roller luggage handle Close up of top of Synik 22 on roller luggage handle Person wearing Synik 22 at a park Person wearing Synik 22 outside of a coffee shop Person wearing Synik 22 and walking down the street Person accessing front pockets of Synik 22 Two people walking a dog at the beach wearing Synik 22s Person accessing front pockets of Synik 22 Close up of shoulder strap with sternum strap fastened Person removing laptop from laptop side compartment Person with a Synik 22 on their rolling luggage handle person putting laptop into side laptop pocket person wearing Synik 22 on one shoulder close up of shoulder strap person boarding a plane wearing a Synik 22 Synik 22 stowed under airline seat Synik 22 with a typical load-out (laptop, water bottle, toiletries kit, glasses, camera, backup battery, jacket, phone, pens, charging cords,etc.) person packing a Synik 22 person packing the main compartment person clipping a pouch to an internal o-ring person using water bottle pocket person using internal tie-down straps person using laptop pocket

TLDR

The Synik — two sizes: 22 (you are here) or 30 liters — is a variation of the original Synapse 19 / 25 and it was designed by Nik in collaboration with Tom. It includes many of the features some of you have been asking for; we added some additional features as well.

What’s different in the Synik:

  • Full clamshell AKA panel zipper opening
  • Removable internal tie-down straps
  • Two-point access suspended laptop compartment
  • Our new Edgeless EV50 1/2” shoulder straps
  • Fully integrated yet removable internal frame with aluminum half-stay
  • Rolling luggage handle pass-through
  • Updated grab handle
  • Label moved to lower right corner
  • A padded bottom, and a couple more o-rings.

The Synik 22 fits laptops up to the size of the 13” MacBook Pro (but not the older non-Retina Air) or the Dell XPS 13; the Synik 30 can fit laptops up to 15” like the MacBook Pro Retina Touchbar or Microsoft Surface Book 2 15". It’s no biggie in practice, but note you’ll need to do a two-point turn to fit the bigger laptops in the exterior side access to the laptop compartment (not necessary if using the internal laptop compartment access).

We gave you just about all of the fabric options we could for this pre-order: exteriors of 525d HT ballistic, 420d HT Parapack, and 400d Halcyon, and interiors of 210d HT ballistic, 420d HT Parapack, and 200d Halcyon. We may offer a Guide’s Edition Synik in the future; sign up here if you’re interested in that.

Full Description

The original Synapse 19 debuted in 2009; Tom originally designed the Synapse to serve as a day-hiking backpack, but you guys saw its potential beyond and began using it as an EDC pack and as a minimalist travel backpack. Over the years, you asked us to make a slightly larger version, and we did: the Synapse 25 debuted in 2013. Then you asked us to offer an internal frame for the Synapses: done (in 2018).

You’ve also asked us for other features and sizes over the years: maybe a 22 liter Synapse, or a 30 liter version, and what if it had a full clamshell zipper opening? How about a dedicated laptop compartment? A luggage handle pass-through on the back panel? Done, done, and done: meet the Synik.

We’ve pre-answered as many questions as we could think of over in the Synik 22 / Synik 30 FAQ. 

As always, you’re welcome to reach out to us to ask anything and everything: emailus@tombihn.com

Now, here's what's unique to the synik...

Front Exterior Organizational Pockets

With the Synapse, Tom set out to design a bag with intuitive organization — organization that even the less-organized amongst us would use and appreciate, even without thinking about it.

And it’s an abundant amount of organization: the exterior of the bag has five exterior pockets. The pockets are designed and patterned in such a way that they don’t steal space from each other and they look good (not too caved in, not too bulgy) whether full or empty.

The water bottle pocket is intentionally in the center of the bag and is integrated into the design of the other pockets; the former ensures what’s likely to be one of the heavier objects in your bag is balanced in the middle — resulting in a more comfortable carrying experience — and the latter maintains a clean, straight-forward exterior aesthetic.

One thing did change with these pockets, and it already changed with the original Synapse 19 and 25: in early 2019, Tom and Nik came up with a way to construct the Synapse that avoided the creation of two small gaps inside the bottom corners that previously existed for construction purposes. Those gaps didn't cause a problem, but occasionally folks would call to ask why they were there. This was impetus for us to figure out a "solution" -- the problem wasn't with the design or construction, but that we made something that caused a fair number of people to spend a little time out of their day asking "Why?" It took us a little while, but we found that solution

Interior Banded Open-Top Pocket

Ever-useful, this one stayed exactly as is. Speaking of: above that open-top pocket are two O-rings to which you can attach the totally optional Handy Little Thing (HLT) Pouch: a clamshell organizer pouch with four zippered pockets, plenty of interior elastic and webbing loops (to retain cords and tools), and some clever ways to carry it. You can clip it to your Synik or other bag, to the seat pocket on the airplane, or hook your hand and thumb through it and use it as a write-in notebook holder or work-out-of tool pouch. It can be worn as an impromptu waist pack, sling bag, or cross-body bag

Same Durable Materials + Expert Construction

No bag lasts forever, but choosing the best and most durable materials and taking care not to abuse it (no washing machine or dryer!) can help a quality bag serve most people well (with maybe a repair or two) for up to 10-20 years.

This bag requires significant skill to sew and construct; it’s not just any sewing factory who can pull this off and do it well, it’s ours, and it’s because of the talent of our crew. It helps that both Tom and Nik do their own pattern work and sew the first prototypes; they’re less likely to ask Lisa and Fong (our Sewing Supervisors) for the crazy or impossible when it comes to manufacturing. That said, Lisa and Fong are the experts when it comes to making sure Tom and Nik’s designs can be made in an ongoing practical fashion.

Included Removable Sternum Strap + Waist Strap

As with all of our major backpacks, we include adjustable and removable sternum and waist straps with leave-no-trace hardware: if you don't like or don't use your waist or sternum strap, remove them and leave (almost) nothing behind. There's also an optional 1" Padded Hip Belt.Worth noting: we slightly lowered the waist strap attachment point on the Synik so that it better fits a wider range of heights (and tall folks in particular.

Full Clamshell Zipper Opening

The main compartment of the Synik can zip fully-open — clamshell or panel-loader style. That means the main compartment zipper (it’s a beefy #10 YKK Aquaguard) zips all the way down and around the bottom edges of the bag.

We made two minor yet worthy-of-mention updates to the design because of the clamshell opening: first, we included a set of two removable tie-down straps in the main compartment. So, you know, you can strap down clothes or even a Packing Cube without it falling out if you fully unzip the main compartment and open the bag clamshell-style. Second, we added padding to the bottom of the Synik to protect the zipper sliders and chain on the bottom of the bag; that’s a serious potential wear point and, while we’re always glad to repair bags to keep them in service for longer, it’d be rather silly to avoid an opportunity to prevent the need for repair in the first place.

What’s cool about a clamshell zipper opening? Mainly, you can pack your bag like a suitcase. As in, place it on your bed/table/floor and fully zip it open to arrange everything you’ll be packing. That visual access can make it easier to step back and assess/contemplate what you’re packing and whether you’ve forgotten an item or can pare down the packing list entirely. You get to choose exactly how far to open your bag — you can zip open just the top, or mid-way, or lower, or fully open. And the #10 YKK Aquaguard zipper we use on the Synik prevents the zipper from continuing to open on its own: the waterproof material on the interior of the zipper provides just enough resistance to prevent that. So, you really get to decide how far your bag opens (or doesn’t).

And what’s less than cool? If you don’t secure the stuff in the main compartment, it can fall out when you fully unzip the bag. This, we think, makes clamshell bags less suitable as a hiking pack (you don't want all of your gear splaying out on a narrow trail or tumbling down a scree slope!) See our original Synapse 19 and 25 for the original non-clamshell version of the Synik.

New Edgeless EV50 1/2" Shoulder Strap

Conformity is overrated — except, perhaps, when it comes to shoulder straps. The edgelessness of this new strap allows it to more softly conform to your shoulder; we find that this increases comfort. Yet the straps aren’t too soft: the 1/2” thick foam means the strap is robust enough to carry a heavy load.

Our new Edgeless EV50 1/2" Shoulder Strap is quite similar to the strap of our Luminary backpack — it differs in that it’s thicker and the contour is adjusted to be more proportionate to a larger backpack.

A new shoulder strap design is a big deal, and we spent a lot of time testing these (and having various people test them for us and provide feedback). While it’s impossible to make a strap (or bag, or world, or whatever) that everyone will unanimously love, our hope is here that we’ve made a strap a lot of people will find pretty darn comfortable.

Two-Point Access Suspended Laptop Compartment

The Synik features a built-in laptop compartment with minimal padding (less bulk, less weight, less of a bummer it’s there when you don’t carry a laptop).

The compartment is suspended off the bottom of the bag, and that means your laptop is suspended off the bottom of the bag, too. That suspension is much more effective if you use the Synik internal frame: a soft, frameless bag offers nothing from which to suspend the laptop. Worth noting: the bottom of the Synik is padded, so there's that extra peace of mind as well.

The Synik 22 fits laptops up to the size of the 13” MacBook Pro (but not the older MacBook Air); the Synik 30 can fit laptops up to 15” like the MacBook Pro Retina Touchbar or Microsoft Surface Book 2 15".

You can stow (or remove) your laptop from the dedicated laptop compartment of the Synik from two access points: the first is a zippered compartment within the main compartment of the Synik. The second is a zippered exterior side access on the left side of the bag (like the Luminary backpack.) It’s no biggie in practice, but note you’ll need to do a two-point turn to fit the bigger laptops in the exterior side access to the laptop compartment (not necessary if using the internal laptop compartment access).

We wanted to offer you two access points to stow/remove your laptop because it gives you more options. Picture yourself on the airplane with the Synik under the seat in front of you: in this context, using the internal laptop compartment access will allow you to remove your laptop from the bag without pulling the bag all the way out from under the seat. Now, picture yourself at work where you just want to quickly get access to your laptop; this is when you’d unzip the side access to the laptop compartment.

You may be wondering why the internal laptop compartment access closes with a zipper: it’s on the inside after all, so why not leave it open-top? Let’s say you’ve left the main compartment of the bag zipped open and the laptop compartment is open-top; if you put your laptop in the bag through the side access point, you could conceivably push it all the way through and out of the top of the main compartment. The zipper in the internal laptop compartment is a speed bump to remind you not to do that. If you’re not worried about doing that, just leave the laptop compartment zipper unzipped, and it’ll effectively be an open-top laptop compartment.

P.S.: Both the zipper and the slider are plastic and are unlikely to scratch your laptop. Note that the main compartment has a metal zipper that could scratch your laptop, so easy with that one.

Fully Integrated Yet Removable Internal Frame w/ Aluminum Half-Stay

For the Synapse, we came up with a clever way to attach an internal frame to a bag that wasn’t originally designed to accommodate an optional internal frame.

With the Synik, that functionality is seamlessly built-in. Its removable internal frame slides in and out of the back panel through an opening at the top of the panel; you won’t see the frame itself unless you’re adding it or removing it. Some may initially wonder about the opening at the top in which the frame inserts — we did too and thoroughly tested this part of the design and could find no material concern.

The Synik Internal Frame is made of die-cut .055” thick High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), with a nylon webbing sleeve sewn down the center that encases a 8-1/4" / 210mm tall and 1/2” / 13mm wide 6061 aluminum stay. Most of our bags have featured a 1” wide aluminum stay; we made a frame with a 1/2” stay to see if it added the same stability but with 1/2 the weight savings. And guess what: it did.

We considered making the internal frame of the Synik optional (as it is with the Synapse) but ultimately decided to include it for various reasons, namely:

While our original hope was that the existing Synapse internal frame could be used with the Synik (so those of you with a Synapse frame wouldn't need to buy a Synik frame) it didn't really work out that way in practice. While you can make the Synapse internal frame work in the Synik, it's a bit kludgy and feels more like a "hack" than something intentional.

The internal frame of the Synik assists in ensuring a laptop stowed in the laptop compartment is suspended off the bottom of the bag and ensures there's a firm barrier between the laptop and a rolling luggage handle that's inserted through the luggage pass-through slot.

That said, because the Synik frame is removable, you can, you know, remove it if you'd rather use the bag without a frame.

Want to learn more about the pros and cons of using an internal frame? See the blog post about internal frames.

Rolling Luggage Handle Pass-Through

Some of us use rolling luggage: maybe because we need to pack more formal attire for a work trip, or because it’s more comfortable for us to carry some, but not all, of the weight of our luggage. You guys have been asking us for a backpack with a luggage handle pass-through for quite a while, and you’re probably wondering why we didn’t do this sooner. The answer is: we took our time because we wanted to come up with a solution that worked better than the quick-answer of an elastic strap sewn on to the back of a backpack.

While we wanted to come up with a solution that worked better in function and practice, we didn’t want that solution to add bulk or weight to the bag. It occurred to Nik that there was already an opening at the bottom of the back panel through which the internal frame could be inserted or removed — so what if he added an opening at the top of the back panel? He made a prototype, we tested it, and it worked: the internal frame remained securely in place (popped into its corners on the inside of the bag) and the bag was able to slide over the handle of rolling luggage with the handle popping out of the top opening.

Note the following:

We recommend making sure that the internal frame is closest to the bag itself and the handle of your rolling luggage is on the outside of the frame. This ensures that there’s a barrier between the laptop compartment and the luggage handle.

There are, of course, different sizes of rolling luggage with different handle lengths and widths. If you’d like to place your Synik 22 over the handle of your rolling luggage, that handle will need to be at least 400mm / 15.75" in length and at most 160 mm / 6.25" wide. For the Synik 30, the handle will need to be at least 470 mm / 18.5" length and at most 185 mm / 7.25" wide.

More Substantial (But Not Too) Grab Handle

Does the new handle look familiar? It’s the beloved side grab handle from our Tri-Star travel bag. The depth added to the shell of the Synik gave us the real estate needed to add a more substantial grab handle. Emphasis here on grab, not so much on carry: it’s our position that because the Synik is meant to be carried as a backpack — and a streamlined looking pack at that — the addition of a thick or heavily padded handle would be overkill.

Label Moved To Lower Right Corner

This was mostly a change made for our production and shipping/warehouse crew. While our bags are tagged and coded, the ability to visually recognize and identify a bag quickly can improve efficiency and reduce errors. Moving the label to the bottom right corner helps us differentiate the Synik 22 from the Synapse 19 and the Synik 30 from the Synapse 25, and we liked the looks of the label here too.

Front Exterior Organizational Pockets

With the Synapse, Tom set out to design a bag with intuitive organization — organization that even the less-organized amongst us would use and appreciate, even without thinking about it.

And it’s an abundant amount of organization: the exterior of the bag has five exterior pockets. The pockets are designed and patterned in such a way that they don’t steal space from each other and they look good (not too caved in, not too bulgy) whether full or empty.

The water bottle pocket is intentionally in the center of the bag and is integrated into the design of the other pockets; the former ensures what’s likely to be one of the heavier objects in your bag is balanced in the middle — resulting in a more comfortable carrying experience — and the latter maintains a clean, straight-forward exterior aesthetic.

One thing did change with these pockets, and it already changed with the original Synapse 19 and 25: in early 2019, Tom and Nik came up with a way to construct the Synapse that avoided the creation of two small gaps inside the bottom corners that previously existed for construction purposes. Those gaps didn't cause a problem, but occasionally folks would call to ask why they were there. This was impetus for us to figure out a "solution" -- the problem wasn't with the design or construction, but that we made something that caused a fair number of people to spend a little time out of their day asking "Why?" It took us a little while, but we found that solution

Interior Banded Open-Top Pocket

Ever-useful, this one stayed exactly as is. Speaking of: above that open-top pocket are two O-rings to which you can attach the totally optional Handy Little Thing (HLT) Pouch: a clamshell organizer pouch with four zippered pockets, plenty of interior elastic and webbing loops (to retain cords and tools), and some clever ways to carry it. You can clip it to your Synik or other bag, to the seat pocket on the airplane, or hook your hand and thumb through it and use it as a write-in notebook holder or work-out-of tool pouch. It can be worn as an impromptu waist pack, sling bag, or cross-body bag

Same Durable Materials + Expert Construction

No bag lasts forever, but choosing the best and most durable materials and taking care not to abuse it (no washing machine or dryer!) can help a quality bag serve most people well (with maybe a repair or two) for up to 10-20 years.

This bag requires significant skill to sew and construct; it’s not just any sewing factory who can pull this off and do it well, it’s ours, and it’s because of the talent of our crew. It helps that both Tom and Nik do their own pattern work and sew the first prototypes; they’re less likely to ask Lisa and Fong (our Sewing Supervisors) for the crazy or impossible when it comes to manufacturing. That said, Lisa and Fong are the experts when it comes to making sure Tom and Nik’s designs can be made in an ongoing practical fashion.

Included Removable Sternum Strap + Waist Strap

As with all of our major backpacks, we include adjustable and removable sternum and waist straps with leave-no-trace hardware: if you don't like or don't use your waist or sternum strap, remove them and leave (almost) nothing behind. There's also an optional 1" Padded Hip Belt.Worth noting: we slightly lowered the waist strap attachment point on the Synik so that it better fits a wider range of heights (and tall folks in particular.

Now, here's what's unique to the Synik...

Now, here's what's unique to the Synik...

Full Clamshell Zipper Opening

The main compartment of the Synik can zip fully-open — clamshell or panel-loader style. That means the main compartment zipper (it’s a beefy #10 YKK Aquaguard) zips all the way down and around the bottom edges of the bag.

We made two minor yet worthy-of-mention updates to the design because of the clamshell opening: first, we included a set of two removable tie-down straps in the main compartment. So, you know, you can strap down clothes or even a Packing Cube without it falling out if you fully unzip the main compartment and open the bag clamshell-style. Second, we added padding to the bottom of the Synik to protect the zipper sliders and chain on the bottom of the bag; that’s a serious potential wear point and, while we’re always glad to repair bags to keep them in service for longer, it’d be rather silly to avoid an opportunity to prevent the need for repair in the first place.

What’s cool about a clamshell zipper opening? Mainly, you can pack your bag like a suitcase. As in, place it on your bed/table/floor and fully zip it open to arrange everything you’ll be packing. That visual access can make it easier to step back and assess/contemplate what you’re packing and whether you’ve forgotten an item or can pare down the packing list entirely. You get to choose exactly how far to open your bag — you can zip open just the top, or mid-way, or lower, or fully open. And the #10 YKK Aquaguard zipper we use on the Synik prevents the zipper from continuing to open on its own: the waterproof material on the interior of the zipper provides just enough resistance to prevent that. So, you really get to decide how far your bag opens (or doesn’t).

And what’s less than cool? If you don’t secure the stuff in the main compartment, it can fall out when you fully unzip the bag. This, we think, makes clamshell bags less suitable as a hiking pack (you don't want all of your gear splaying out on a narrow trail or tumbling down a scree slope!) See our original Synapse 19 and 25 for the original non-clamshell version of the Synik.

New Edgeless EV50 1/2" Shoulder Strap

Conformity is overrated — except, perhaps, when it comes to shoulder straps. The edgelessness of this new strap allows it to more softly conform to your shoulder; we find that this increases comfort. Yet the straps aren’t too soft: the 1/2” thick foam means the strap is robust enough to carry a heavy load.

Our new Edgeless EV50 1/2" Shoulder Strap is quite similar to the strap of our Luminary backpack — it differs in that it’s thicker and the contour is adjusted to be more proportionate to a larger backpack.

A new shoulder strap design is a big deal, and we spent a lot of time testing these (and having various people test them for us and provide feedback). While it’s impossible to make a strap (or bag, or world, or whatever) that everyone will unanimously love, our hope is here that we’ve made a strap a lot of people will find pretty darn comfortable.

Two-Point Access Suspended Laptop Compartment

The Synik features a built-in laptop compartment with minimal padding (less bulk, less weight, less of a bummer it’s there when you don’t carry a laptop).

The compartment is suspended off the bottom of the bag, and that means your laptop is suspended off the bottom of the bag, too. That suspension is much more effective if you use the Synik internal frame: a soft, frameless bag offers nothing from which to suspend the laptop. Worth noting: the bottom of the Synik is padded, so there's that extra peace of mind as well.

The Synik 22 fits laptops up to the size of the 13” MacBook Pro (but not the older MacBook Air); the Synik 30 can fit laptops up to 15” like the MacBook Pro Retina Touchbar or Microsoft Surface Book 2 15".

You can stow (or remove) your laptop from the dedicated laptop compartment of the Synik from two access points: the first is a zippered compartment within the main compartment of the Synik. The second is a zippered exterior side access on the left side of the bag (like the Luminary backpack.) It’s no biggie in practice, but note you’ll need to do a two-point turn to fit the bigger laptops in the exterior side access to the laptop compartment (not necessary if using the internal laptop compartment access).

We wanted to offer you two access points to stow/remove your laptop because it gives you more options. Picture yourself on the airplane with the Synik under the seat in front of you: in this context, using the internal laptop compartment access will allow you to remove your laptop from the bag without pulling the bag all the way out from under the seat. Now, picture yourself at work where you just want to quickly get access to your laptop; this is when you’d unzip the side access to the laptop compartment.

You may be wondering why the internal laptop compartment access closes with a zipper: it’s on the inside after all, so why not leave it open-top? Let’s say you’ve left the main compartment of the bag zipped open and the laptop compartment is open-top; if you put your laptop in the bag through the side access point, you could conceivably push it all the way through and out of the top of the main compartment. The zipper in the internal laptop compartment is a speed bump to remind you not to do that. If you’re not worried about doing that, just leave the laptop compartment zipper unzipped, and it’ll effectively be an open-top laptop compartment.

P.S.: Both the zipper and the slider are plastic and are unlikely to scratch your laptop. Note that the main compartment has a metal zipper that could scratch your laptop, so easy with that one.

Fully Integrated Yet Removable Internal Frame w/ Aluminum Half-Stay

For the Synapse, we came up with a clever way to attach an internal frame to a bag that wasn’t originally designed to accommodate an optional internal frame.

With the Synik, that functionality is seamlessly built-in. Its removable internal frame slides in and out of the back panel through an opening at the top of the panel; you won’t see the frame itself unless you’re adding it or removing it. Some may initially wonder about the opening at the top in which the frame inserts — we did too and thoroughly tested this part of the design and could find no material concern.

The Synik Internal Frame is made of die-cut .055” thick High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), with a nylon webbing sleeve sewn down the center that encases a 8-1/4" / 210mm tall and 1/2” / 13mm wide 6061 aluminum stay. Most of our bags have featured a 1” wide aluminum stay; we made a frame with a 1/2” stay to see if it added the same stability but with 1/2 the weight savings. And guess what: it did.

We considered making the internal frame of the Synik optional (as it is with the Synapse) but ultimately decided to include it for various reasons, namely:

While our original hope was that the existing Synapse internal frame could be used with the Synik (so those of you with a Synapse frame wouldn't need to buy a Synik frame) it didn't really work out that way in practice. While you can make the Synapse internal frame work in the Synik, it's a bit kludgy and feels more like a "hack" than something intentional.

The internal frame of the Synik assists in ensuring a laptop stowed in the laptop compartment is suspended off the bottom of the bag and ensures there's a firm barrier between the laptop and a rolling luggage handle that's inserted through the luggage pass-through slot.

That said, because the Synik frame is removable, you can, you know, remove it if you'd rather use the bag without a frame.

Want to learn more about the pros and cons of using an internal frame? See the blog post about internal frames.

Rolling Luggage Handle Pass-Through

Some of us use rolling luggage: maybe because we need to pack more formal attire for a work trip, or because it’s more comfortable for us to carry some, but not all, of the weight of our luggage. You guys have been asking us for a backpack with a luggage handle pass-through for quite a while, and you’re probably wondering why we didn’t do this sooner. The answer is: we took our time because we wanted to come up with a solution that worked better than the quick-answer of an elastic strap sewn on to the back of a backpack.

While we wanted to come up with a solution that worked better in function and practice, we didn’t want that solution to add bulk or weight to the bag. It occurred to Nik that there was already an opening at the bottom of the back panel through which the internal frame could be inserted or removed — so what if he added an opening at the top of the back panel? He made a prototype, we tested it, and it worked: the internal frame remained securely in place (popped into its corners on the inside of the bag) and the bag was able to slide over the handle of rolling luggage with the handle popping out of the top opening.

Note the following:

We recommend making sure that the internal frame is closest to the bag itself and the handle of your rolling luggage is on the outside of the frame. This ensures that there’s a barrier between the laptop compartment and the luggage handle.

There are, of course, different sizes of rolling luggage with different handle lengths and widths. If you’d like to place your Synik 22 over the handle of your rolling luggage, that handle will need to be at least 400mm / 15.75" in length and at most 160 mm / 6.25" wide. For the Synik 30, the handle will need to be at least 470 mm / 18.5" length and at most 185 mm / 7.25" wide.

More Substantial (But Not Too) Grab Handle

Does the new handle look familiar? It’s the beloved side grab handle from our Tri-Star travel bag. The depth added to the shell of the Synik gave us the real estate needed to add a more substantial grab handle. Emphasis here on grab, not so much on carry: it’s our position that because the Synik is meant to be carried as a backpack — and a streamlined looking pack at that — the addition of a thick or heavily padded handle would be overkill.

Label Moved To Lower Right Corner

This was mostly a change made for our production and shipping/warehouse crew. While our bags are tagged and coded, the ability to visually recognize and identify a bag quickly can improve efficiency and reduce errors. Moving the label to the bottom right corner helps us differentiate the Synik 22 from the Synapse 19 and the Synik 30 from the Synapse 25, and we liked the looks of the label here too.

Upper Back

Spacer Mesh

Back

Closed-cell foam

Straps

Edgeless EV50 1/2” / 12mm shoulder straps (EVAZOTE® OEKO-TEX® foam)

Components

Duraflex®, Nexus, and Woojin buckles and related components

Aquaguard Zipper Bags:

1x #10 YKK Aquaguard® water-repellent zipper with metal slider
6 #8 Aquaguard® water-repellent zippers with metal sliders
1x #5 Coil Zipper with plastic slider

Colors:
Taiga 400 Halcyon/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon

Raquet-Coil Zipper Bags:

1x #10 YKK Aquaguard® water-repellent zipper with metal slider
6 #8 Racquet-Coil water-repellent zippers with metal sliders
1x #5 Coil Zipper with plastic slider

Colors:
Beaver Camo 1000 Cordura/Coyote 210 Ballistic
Olive 1000 Cordura/Coyote 210 Ballistic
Nebulous Grey 525 Ballistic/Island 200 Halcyon
Nebulous Grey 525 Ballistic/Solaris 200 Halcyon
Ursa 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Ursa 525 Ballistic/Acuity 200 Halcyon
Black 525 Ballistic/Coyote 200 Halcyon
Black 525 Ballistic/Island 200 Halcyon
Black 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Mars Red 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Aubergine 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Burnt Orange 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Black 400 Halcyon/Taiga 200 Halcyon
Black 400 Halcyon/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Black 400 Halcyon/Solaris 200 Halcyon
Navy 420 Parapack/Cloud 210 Ballistic

Specs

Sewn in USA with globally sourced materials 100% finished seams

Weight

400d Halcyon/420d nylon ripstop exterior: 2 lb 7.9 oz / 1130 grams
525d Ballistic/200d Halcyon Lining: 2 lb 9.6 oz / 1180 grams
525d Ballistic/210d Ballistic Lining: 2 lb 10 oz / 1190 grams
420d Classic Parapack: 2 lb 10.2 oz / 1195 grams

Frame Sheet: 5.1 oz / 145 grams

Included

1x 8-inch Black Webbing Snaphook/Snaphook Key Strap
1x Black Zipper Pulls w/ Plastic Ends (8-Pack)
1x Sternum Strap Assembly
1x Gatekeeper Waist Strap
1x Internal Frame w/ Aluminum Half-Stay
1 pair Tie-Down Straps

Total O-Rings

10 (1 in the water bottle pocket, 1 in the small middle pocket, 1 in the left pocket, 1 in the right pocket, 2 in the bottom pocket, 4 in the main compartment)

Dimensions

11.4" (w) x 16.0" (h) x 7.1" - 9.4" (d) / 290 (w) x 410 (h) x 180 - 240 (d) mm

Volume

1340 cubic inches / 22 liters (ASTM Standard Measure)

Straps

.5" / 13 mm padded and contoured backpack straps with .75" / 20 mm removable sternum strap with removable 1" / 25 mm waist strap included

Laptop Compartment

Maximum: 12.35” x 8.65” x 0.75” / 314mm x 220mm x 19mm

Choosing an Exterior Fabric

You like choices and we like to give you choices! That's why the Synik 22 is typically available* in three different exterior fabrics. Our Materials Glossary explains each fabric in great detail, but here are some quick facts that may help you decide which to choose. And we're always here if you have questions: emailus@tombihn.com

400d Halcyon

Weave:
plain weave with 1/4” / 6mm ripstop
Fibers:
400 denier type 6 filament nylon (base fabric); 420 denier ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene ripstop grid
Coating:
light urethane
Made in:
Japan

Choose this fabric if

  • You want a lighter weight alternative to traditional nylon fabrics that has remarkable tear strength and good abrasion resistance.
  • You're looking for a fabric with a modern, "technical" appearance.
  • You have pets: 400d Halcyon doesn't collect pet hair, reducing your monthly lint roller costs.

525d High Tenacity Ballistic Nylon

Weave:
2x2 “ballistic” weave
Fibers:
525 denier type 6,6 (high tenacity) filament nylon, twisted
Coating:
heavy urethane
Made in:
South Korea with Canadian yarn

Choose this fabric if

  • You want your bag to be soft and supple yet tough as nails.
  • You want a fabric that's stately enough to be at home at work, the mountains, or a nice hotel.
  • You don't want your bag to collect pet hair or abrade your clothing.

420d HT Nylon Classic Parapack

Weave:
1x1 plain weave
Fibers:
420 denier type 6,6 (high tenacity) filament nylon
Coating:
heavy urethane
Made in:
U.S.A with U.S.A yarns

Choose this fabric if

  • You want your bag’s fabric to have a soft, smooth hand yet be quite durable and have an interesting backstory.
  • You want a fabric that's stately enough to be at home at work, the mountains, or a nice hotel.
  • You don't want your bag to collect pet hair or abrade your clothing.
*There may be times when one of the exterior fabrics mentioned here isn't available. Even with our best efforts, the demand for our bags occasionally outpaces our production capabilities: at times, some products, color combinations, or fabrics might be temporarily unavailable or "In Production." See the In Production color combinations as a guide to what our factory crew is making and what will be available next.

Sewn in Seattle

Our bags are designed and sewn right here in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

That allows us to be control freaks in the best way possible; we have direct control and oversight of the quality of our materials, our products, and the jobs and working environment that we help create. It also offers us a unique spontaneity: when we have an idea for a new product or accessory, we can design it, figure out how to build it, add it to our website and be ready to ship it out our front door all within just a few weeks. How cool is that?

Intrigued? You can find out more about the unusual way we do business on our Company Philosophy page.

THE BIHN Guarantee

Everything you buy from us here at TOM BIHN is satisfaction guaranteed. We’ve been in business for over 30 years and we stand behind what we make.

If something goes wrong and it's our fault, we'll fix it for free. Repairs due to normal wear and tear or due to other things that are not our fault will be performed, when possible, at a reasonable charge right here in our Seattle factory where your bag was made. Defects in materials or workmanship are uncommon and almost always evident while the product is still new. Keep in mind that bags and packs are often subject to extreme wear in everyday use: do not expect them to last forever. Only true love lasts forever! You can expect a TOM BIHN product to give years and years of hard service.

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Rated 4.7 out of 5
Based on 18 reviews
average rating 4.7 out of 5
Based on 18 reviews
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100% of reviewers would recommend this product to a friend
Quality
Rated 5 out of 5
Review posted
Reviewed by Craig S.
Verified Buyer
Bought For
Myself
Product Standouts
  • Thoughtful Design
  • Comfortable
  • High Quality Craftsmanship
  • Compact
  • Versatile
Rated 5 out of 5

Excellent EDC and minimalist travel bag

I purchased a Synik22 with the goal to have an even more minimalist one-bag travel option than my RedOxx MiniBoss and AirBoss before that. Having now done one- and three-day air travel, a four-day drive/fly trip, and a seven day road trip I can say the Synik22 is extremely well matched to traveling light and quick. The organization provided by the water bottle, right/left, and bottom compartments works great to put just the items needed within quick and easy reach, while the clamshell main compartment easily fits a change or two of clothes and my favorite travel hat. The weight distribution is well balanced and the form-giving sheet makes it effortless to carry, even when packeted to a 16-lb weight. Finally, walking down the jetway with my hands in my pockets and everything I need for upto four days of travel in my Synik22, which fit under every seat I tried, is absolutely priceless.

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Rated 5 out of 5
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Reviewed by Audrey
Verified Buyer
Rated 5 out of 5

incredibly comfortable backpack for work

I purchased the Synik 22 as work bag to hold paper files, clothing for work (scrubs, lab coats) and the other every day times for 12 hour work days. The organization pockets in the front are incredible to hold my wallet, masks, AviQ epinephrine injectors and other items that trek to and from work with me. Being a veterinarian, I need a bag that can be tough and durable as well as light. I was using a women's Tumi bag for the light weight but it has sadly crumpled down. I am a super picky bag lady but am now obsessed with Tom Bihn. I saw the logo when I lived in upstate NY but now know the source thanks to a online review I ran across. The vertical front packing is genius and the way the backpack slides weight towards me makes it incredibly comfortable (after 2 back surgeries). I cannot recommend this bag enough and the 22 is plenty large enough for all of my adventures to horse barns and the clinic. With the slanted bottom, the bag doesn't stand up but it's worth that sacrifice (my prior flat bottomed backpack didn't stand up either unless packed full). I've not seen a bag this small with the stanted bottom and I appreciate the design. The attention to detail is astounding!

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Reviewed by ST
Rated 4 out of 5

Nice Bag, but Small

I ordered this backpack and was very impressed with the high quality materials. I also appreciated the clam shell opening of the bag which allows for easy access. My only complaint about the bag is that it is small and feels more like a 18L bag. I have a 20L backpack that I use and when I transferred all of my items into this 22L backpack, it didn’t fit all of the items. Unfortunately I had to return it due to this issue. Making the bag a little longer would fix the issue. Other than that, the bag is very well made and I hope that Tom Bihn can design a similar bag in the furture that is longer.

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Reviewed by Danny
Rated 4 out of 5

A fine backpack

Pros: nice material, mine is the Black 400 halcyon - strong and flexible.

It’s a big 22 litres. I’m good at cramming, but it does seem to hold more than you’d expect.

Organisation is nice, once you’ve designated your things to a certain place, getting them is convenient

Cons: Obviously price is high - but you know that before you buy it. The bag should definitely come with flappy strappy nullifiers though

Thoughts: Some people bemoan the aesthetics and shape - turtle like as it is. Certainly it’s no Helen of Troy, or as conveniently packable as a classic rectangle, but just look at it as character and/or character building. Heroes in a half shell!

Many put this bag’s front pocket organisation on a pedestal. Whilst it’s good, don’t just assume it’ll organise your things. The holy grail of bag organisation is individual. Plus, all them pockets have a lot of zips. Big, dangly, jingly zips! I avoid alleyways now since the time I was followed home by 53 mesmerised stray cats.

Shoulder straps: I heard plenty of hype about these before I purchased. Are they comfortable? Yes. But for me, just shoulder straps. I had seatbelt webbing shoulder straps for years and they were also comfortable. Unless you had some spiked chain mail straps previously, don’t expect some life changing moment of clarity and pleasure akin to a herbal essence shampoo advert when you put this bag on.

Would I purchase again if something happened to my current bag? All things considered, probably not.

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Reviewed by ShazM
Rated 5 out of 5

Incredibly versatile pack.

Super versatile pack with well-thought out features. Worth every penny as it has easily replaced three packs I had that sort of worked for various scenarios. With all the lash points and O-rings I can quickly reconfigure my Synik22 for hiking/foraging, DSLR camera (with three lenses!) or travel. I've had my Guide Edition for almost a year of hard use and neither the ballistic fabric nor the durable construction show any signs of wear.

I really wanted the larger size, but a sensible soul at Tom Bihn rightly convinced me that a 30 was going to be awkward on my 15" back length. I have to get creative when I pack, but into a hike I am glad for the comfort of the right-size pack. :-) If you have any questions, I urge you to call them - these are super-generous people who will absolutely help you get the right pack/bag for you.

My only real frustration points with this pack:

- when fully loaded, water bottle (round 20oz Nalgene) pushes into main compartment and out into small outer pocket (making small pocket almost useless). Hydration bladder conforms better to the space, but I do have to leave the zip open if I want to use the tube as I walk.

- interior laptop compartment fabric (it's stretchy) will get damaged at the slightest contact with velcro.

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