The Synik 30 is our bestselling everyday travel backpack, designed to do —and fit— it all. It has many of the well-thought out features of our original Synapse:
- 5 exterior front pockets with independent volume
- Interior, banded open-top pocket
- Comfortable, durable, edgeless shoulder straps
- Removable sternum strap and waist strap
- Webbing loop on exterior bottom of bag to hook items
- Meets the personal item size requirement on most airlines
- Generally fits folks between 5'6" and 6'6" comfortably
Plus, we added more features to the Synik:
- Full clamshell zipper opening to main compartment
- Two-point access suspended laptop compartment, fits up to 16" Macbook Pro
- Fully integrated, yet removable, internal frame
- Rolling luggage handle pass-through pocket
- Padded grab handle and bottom
The original Synapse 19 debuted in 2009. Tom originally designed the Synapse to serve as a day-hiking backpack, but our customers saw the backpack's potential beyond hiking and began using it both for everyday carry and minimalist travel. Over the years, we started receiving requests to make a slightly larger version, and we did: the Synapse 25 debuted in 2013.
You've also asked us for other sizes and features over the years: maybe a 22-liter Synapse, or a 30-liter version, and what if we added more travel-specific features, like 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.
5 Front Exterior Organizational Pockets
The Synik 30 has an abundant amount of organization for your everyday essentials, big and small: the exterior of the bag has five pockets with independent volume. 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 centered in the bag, allowing one of the heavier objects in your bag to be balanced in the middle, resulting in a more comfortable carrying experience while maintaining a clean, straight-forward exterior aesthetic. We've found that most standard 32 oz / 1 liter water bottles can comfortably fit in the water bottle pocket.
Below the opening for the water bottle pocket is another small zippered pocket that is just deep enough for keys, a wallet, glove liners, or a small camera.
The side pockets are generously sized for sunglasses (in a case or alone), a first aid kit, or even a light Windbreaker-type jacket or down vest compressed in a Travel Stuff Sack. The right side pocket has a small organizational pocket; the left pocket has one pen slot and two wider slots for tools or more pens.
The bottom pocket is a great spot for extra clothing or snacks and will easily accommodate a thin sweater, light down jacket, or Windbreaker-type jacket. If you care to add organization, we recommend storing a Size 2 Handy Little Thing here.
Interior Banded Open-Top Pocket
On the front interior side of the main compartment, there is a banded open-top pocket. It's spacious enough to fit a wide range of items, such as books, tablet, pair of sandals, or our Clear 3D Organizer Cube. Above this open-top pocket are two O-rings, where you can tether additional pouches, such as the Ghost Whale Organizer Pouches. Between the two O-rings is a set of Cache loops. It is the perfect spot to tether a Size 2 Handy Little Thing or a small device stored in a Cache. All these tethered items can be stored inside the open-top pocket too, if you want.
Edgeless EV50 1/2" Shoulder Straps
Conformity is overrated — except, perhaps, when it comes to shoulder straps. The edgelessness of this 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.
There's enough length on the shoulder straps to accommodate a wide range of body types. If you need to tighten the straps to the maximum amount, don't worry about having dangling ends — we've included sewn-in strap keepers to help keep those at bay.
Webbing Loop on Exterior Bottom
On the exterior bottom of the bag is a 1.5"/38 mm webbing loop. Originally, the Synapse was designed for hiking, so the intended use of the webbing loop was for hooking on a flashlight (highly recommended if you ride a bicycle or walk in the dark). If you're planning on using the Synik for travel, we've found the webbing loop serves as an extra grab handle, allowing you to easily pull the Synik from under the seat or the overhead compartment no matter which direction you stowed it on your flight.
Full Clamshell Zipper Opening
The biggest change we made between the Synapse and the Synik is the opening of the main compartment. The Synik can open fully clamshell — the zipper starts at the bottom edge of the bag, rather than the middle, so you can pack your bag like a suitcase.
Due to the clamshell style opening, there are also additional features added to the main compartment of the Synik. First, on the back interior side of the main compartment, we have included two sets of removable tie-down straps. You can strap down clothes or even a Packing Cube without worrying about the contents falling out while opening the clamshell all the way. Second, we added padding to the exterior bottom of the main compartment to protect the zipper sliders.
If you are using your Synik for daily use and don't need to fully unzip the clamshell each time, know that you can also unzip the main compartment halfway and pack it like the Synapse or any front-loading backpack. The #10 YKK Aquaguard zippers that we use have enough resistance to keep the main compartment in place when it is opened just halfway. We've test-packed the Synik to its maximum to see if that would unintentionally force the clamshell open, and rest assured, it did not.
Two-Point Access Suspended Laptop Compartment
On the back interior side of the main compartment is also a built-in zippered laptop compartment. It is made with the same padded foam fabric as our Cache on the side facing the main compartment, and backed by the main lining fabric of the bag. The laptop compartment is suspended off the padded bottom of the bag, ensuring that your laptop is protected each time you place your backpack on the ground, whether gently or not.
There are two access points to the laptop compartment. You can access it from the inside of the main compartment. Or you can access it from the external zipper, located on the back left side (when facing the front of the backpack). We find the external zipper especially helpful when you want to directly pull out your laptop without having to rummage through the contents of the main compartment (say maybe in the security line at the airport). Unlike the metal zippers on the main compartment and the five exterior pockets, the two zippers for the laptop compartment are made of plastic so that they don't damage your electronic device.
Above the interior zipper are two additional O-rings. More places to attach pouches.
The laptop compartment (size 14.15" x 9.75" x 0.75" / 359mm x 248mm x 19 mm) can fit devices as large as the 16" Macbook Pro. Please note: It's no biggie in practice, for these bigger laptops, if you want to fit them through the external side zipper access, you will need to do a two-point turn (no need if using internal zipper access).
Integrated Yet Removable Internal Frame
The Synik is designed to accommodate an optional internal frame. It 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 half-stay.
We include it for you, but if you're not a fan of the extra rigidity, you can remove the internal frame (here's a video tutorial) by sliding it 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, and we've tested the bag enough to know that the frame also won't slip out.
The internal frame assists in ensuring a laptop stowed in the laptop compartment is suspended off the bottom of the bag, as well as adds a firm barrier between the laptop and (if you're using one) a rolling luggage handle that's inserted through the luggage pass-through slot.
On the internal frame is also an aluminum half-stay. It allows us to pre-bend the frame at a curve that will be comfortable to the vast majority of people.
Rolling Luggage Handle Pass-Through
We know many of you like to use our bags as personal items alongside roller luggage when traveling, so we added a pass-through pocket to the Synik, tucked between the back panel and the internal frame.
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 30 over the handle of your rolling luggage, that handle will need to be at least 470 mm / 18.5" height and at most 185 mm / 7.25" wide.
More Substantial Grab Handle
The depth on the shell of the Synik gave us the real estate needed to add a more substantial, padded grab handle (vs. the simpler webbing handle on the Synapse). The padding offers extra support, and the bowtie shape is more ergonomic.
P.S. does our bowtie handle look familiar? It's the beloved side grab handle from our Tri-Star.
Included Removable Sternum Strap + Waist Strap
As with all of our major backpacks, we include adjustable and removable sternum and waist straps: if you don't like or don't use your waist or sternum strap, remove them!
Note: 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.
8" Snaphook/Snaphook Key Strap
As with most of our bags, we've included a key strap. 8" long from tip-to-tip, a snaphook on either end. Good for attaching your keys to.
Cord Zipper Pulls
A set of pulls to extend, quiet, or replace your metal pulls.
Size 2 Handy Little Thing (HLT)
You can attach a Size 2 Handy Little Thing (HLT) to the pair of cache loops above the open-top pocket, or you can store the HLT in the bottom front pocket of the Synik 30. It is the perfect clamshell organizer pouch for those looking for a lot of organization.
Synik 30 Packing Cube
If you're using the Synik 30 as a travel bag, we recommend that you use our Synik 30 Packing Cube to organize your clothes and shoes. Cinch it down with the included tie-down straps for extra security.
Packing Cube Shoulder Bag
The Packing Cube Shoulder Bag is the perfect 2-in-1 packing cube. It's big enough to store rolled up shirts. Once you reach your destination, attach a shoulder strap and use it as a crossbody. You can pack this on top of the Synik 30 Packing Cube.
Love organizing and want even more pockets? The Synapse 25/Synik 30 Freudian Slip adds an additional fifteen organizational pockets to your bag. One side of the Freudian Slip has two folder pockets that can fit folders/papers horizontally or vertically, as well as four open-top pockets for a small tablet in a Cache or a notebook. The other side has two mesh pockets for bulky items, two large zippered pockets, four pen slots, and a business card slot.
The Synik 30 can accommodate a wide range of devices. If you plan on stowing your laptop in the built-in compartment, we think there is enough padding to skip a Cache. If you plan on putting a second device directly in the main compartment, outside of the laptop compartment, or in the interior banded open-top pocket, we recommend adding a Cache.