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Pre-Order The Guide's Edition Synapse 25 (Ships Early April)

Regular price $260.00
  • Coyote 525 Ballistic/Coyote 210 Ballistic
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  • Mars Red 525 Ballistic/Coyote 210 Ballistic
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Pre-order FAQ
Pre-order for The Guide's Edition Synapse 25 has closed. Sign up here to be notified via email if we offer it again.

Pre-order FAQ
  • You can expect your TOM BIHN bag to give you years of hard service. Our bags are guaranteed to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for the life of the bag. That means if something goes wrong and it's our fault, we'll fix it at no charge.

    Same with your Skookum Dog gear: it'll give you years of hard service and is guaranteed to be free of defects in materials or workmanship. If something goes wrong and it's our fault, we'll fix it at no charge. If your dog chews something up or otherwise damages it, we'll repair it for a reasonable fee if it is repairable.

    Read more
  • Use this link to open a new tab to a regularly updated list of reviews of our bags.
    Or click here to see reviews posted by our Forum community.

Pre-Order The Guide's Edition Synapse 25 (Ships Early April)


525 denier Ballistic exterior fabric
210 denier Ballistic fabric lining
Dri-Lex® Aero-Spacer® mesh upper back
210 denier Ballistic lower back
Closed-cell foam back
Edgeless EV50 1/2” / 12mm shoulder straps (EVAZOTE® OEKO-TEX® foam)
Tough Duraflex®, Nexus, and Woojin buckles and related components
#10 and #8 YKK Aquaguard® water-repellent zippers


Made in USA with fabric from Korea / Japan / U.S.A.
100% finished seams


Dimensions: 13.4" (w) x 20" (h) x 9" (d) / 340 (w) x 508 (h) x 230 (d) mm
With the included removable internal frame: 2 lb 10.7 oz / 1210 grams
Without the included removable internal frame: 2 lb 1.1 oz / 938 grams
Volume: 1526 cubic inches / 25 liters (ASTM Standard Measure)
Removable 1" / 25 mm webbing waist strap included; padded 1" waist strap optional
.375" / 10 mm padded and contoured backpack straps with .75" / 20 mm removable sternum strap
Total O-rings: 9 (2 in the main compartment; 1 in the top center pocket, 1 in the small center pocket, 3 in the bottom front pocket; 1 in the left side pocket; 1 in the right side pocket)
Want to see the specs for all of our bags?

Note: the Guide's Edition Synik 22 and Guide's Edition Synik 30 are also now available. 
The Guide's Edition Synapse 25 takes all of the same clever features, bountiful organization, and top-shelf build of the original Synapse 25 and walks it all a bit further up into the mountains, a bit deeper into the woods.

Rather than the all-too-common black zippers, hardware and webbing, the Guide's Edition Synapse 25 has gone terrestrial: it’s trimmed and lined in Coyote brown. The resulting aesthetic might be taken as an homage to another time; but to our sensibilities, bags trimmed in Coyote seem to be a little more at home in the great outdoors. Brown blends in more readily with natural surroundings and doesn't show dirt as much. When it does get a bit dusty or dirty, it looks like it's supposed to. You might also find that the Guide's Edition S25’s rugged good looks solicit more than a few smiles of appreciation when you’re back wandering the canyons of Gotham.

And it's not just about the practical and handsome coyote trim–we've added several features to the Guide's Edition Synapse 25 that allow you to carry gear specific to slightly more adventurous outdoor adventures: 

New Edgeless EV50 1/2" Shoulder Strap

Conformity is overrated — except, perhaps, when it comes to shoulder straps. The edgelessness of our Edgeless EV50 1/2" Shoulder 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.

Included Removable/Adjustable Internal Frame with Pre-Curved Aluminum Stay

The Guide’s Edition Synapse 25 includes an internal frame of die-cut .055” thick High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), with a nylon webbing sleeve sewn down the center that encases a removable 1” /25mm wide 6061 aluminum stay. We’ve bent the stay to a generic spinal curve but we recommend you re-bend and/or adjust the curvature to best fit your own back (video instruction here). Along with the included webbing hip belt or optional Padded Hip Belt, the Guide’s Edition Synapse 25’s internal frame enables you to shift some of the weight of the fully loaded bag on to your hips. Another reason to use an internal frame? It ups the ante on comfort if you over-pack or don't pack carefully: the frame keeps an overstuffed pack from barreling out against your back, and also prevents pointy objects inside from poking you. For more on internal frames—how they differ from "frame sheets" and the pros and cons of using one—see our Guide To Backpack Frames.

The internal frame secures via the same rail loops as our optional Cache laptop/tablet sleeve (don't worry, you can secure both the frame and a Cache to the same set of rail loops!) and a clever “T” bar holds the frame in place relative to the loops.  The lower edge of the internal frame floats freely—in all of our testing, we’ve found this isn’t much of an issue as the bag’s contents tend to keep this lower extreme in place. Your Guide's Edition Synapse 25 will come with its internal frame installed; here's instructions (text and video) on how to install and remove the internal frame.

Are you getting excited reading all of this and wishing your current Synapse 19 or Synapse 25 could have an internal frame? You can! This very same internal frame (with black trim) is also available for the regular 19 or 25: see the Synapse 19 or Synapse 25 Internal Frame page to purchase internal frames for those two bags separately.

New! Ice Axe Loop and Accessory Strap Holders

The center front of the Guide's Edition Synapse 25 has one diamond accessory strap holder and a corresponding ice-axe loop below, allowing you to carry an ice axe for high-country, early-season mountaineering. If you go that route, or think you're gonna secure something else similar to the front (say, a camera tripod) make sure to pick up an optional Ice Axe Lash Strap. Being the thoughtful types we are, we added an additional zipper slider -- that makes two, not just one -- on the bottom pocket of the Guide's Edition Synapse 25. In the event that you decide to strap an ice axe or tripod on the front of the bag, the two zipper sliders will make it a little easier to access the contents of that front bottom pocket.

In addition to the diamond strap holder, we've added two strap holders on the bottom. If you opt for the optional Lash Straps (sold in pairs), you can secure foldable hiking poles, an ultralight folding chair, icy gaiters or a wet raincoat to the bottom of the pack.

As with the regular Synapses, the Guide’s Edition has a 1.5" / 38 mm webbing loop on the exterior bottom pocket that's ready to accept a Guardian Light—highly recommended if you ride a bicycle or walk in the dark.


Like the regular Synapse 25, the Guide's Edition is carefully calculated and supremely organized. 

Conformity is overrated — except, perhaps, when it comes to shoulder straps. The edgelessness of our Edgeless EV50 1/2" Shoulder 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.

We tend to recommend that folks under 5'6" / 1.70 m (or those who just want a smaller bag) check out the Guide's Edition Synik 22. However, this is not to say that the Sypanse 25 won’t fit you—a number of us who are between 5’1” / 1.55 m and 5’5” / 1.68 m use it all the time and find it fits very well. Regardless of your height and build and no matter which bag you get, it’s a good idea to test it, fully loaded, for fit and comfort.


The front of the Synapse 25 has five zippered pockets, all of which zip shut with #8 YKK Aquaguard® water-repellent zippers.

The top center front pocket is deep enough for a 1-liter water bottle or hydration bladder (a 2-liter hydration bladder will also fit as long as it's not overfilled). This pocket centers your water bottle perfectly so it won’t throw the bag’s weight to the side. We’ve put one O-ring in this pocket, because why not?

Below the bottle pocket is another small zippered pocket, also with one O-ring: it's just deep enough for keys, a wallet, or glove liners.

The side pockets are generously sized for sunglasses (in a case or alone), a first aid kit, or even a light jacket or down vest compressed in a stuff sack (like our Travel Stuff Sack). The right side pocket has a small organizational pocket; the left pocket has one pen/pencil slot and two wider slots for multitools, knives or just more pens. Both side zippered pockets have one O-ring—you’ll find an 8" / 200 mm Key Strap attached to one of them. Tucked inside of one of the side pockets is a pack of 8 inch Cord (8 Pack) in Coyote so you can tie your own zipper pulls; additional cord in other colors is available on the Cord Zipper Pulls page. 

The bottom front pocket of the Synapse 25 is a great spot for extra clothing or snacks and will easily accommodate a thin wool/fleece sweater, light down jacket, or rain jacket. If you care to add organization, it's more than big enough for a 3D Organizer Cube (MeshHalcyonParapack, or Clear), Side Effect, or Cubelet. You can tether your cubes with a Key Strap to one of the three O-rings inside this pocket.

The Synapse 25’s main compartment can hold large, flat items like notebooks or laptops—it closes with a #10 YKK Aquaguard® water-repellent zipper. It has two O-rings for you to attach Organizer Pouches or other items. Also inside the main compartment are the aforementioned rail loops to which you can attach the internal frame or the optional Cache, which is available in sizes specifically for every Apple laptop and iPad (PC users, click here to take a look at our Laptop Fit Guide). Adding the Cache makes the Synapse 25 a "checkpoint-friendly" laptop backpack—see here for how it works. One pair of loops is on the rear side of the compartment, and the other is on the front. This means you can have your laptop or tablet against your back or against the front of the bag, whichever seems more comfortable or convenient.

Also inside the main compartment is an elastic-topped, open-top pocket, sized generously to fit a few books or an extra pair of shoes. It can also hold a Tri-Star Medium Packing Cube, perfect for storing a change of clothing. The open-top pocket will also fit some sizes of Cache, including the 11" Air, iPad, and iPad mini sizes. (If you plan to carry a water bottle in the water bottle pocket and also an iPad or other device in the open-top main compartment pocket, make sure the device is protected with a Cache or a similar protective sleeve: the water bottle pocket is directly in front of the open-top pocket and your device is best protected from your hard water bottle.) 

The remainder of the main compartment opens wide, ready to accept whatever larger items you're packing.


The exterior of the Guide's Edition Synapse 25 is made of 510d 2x2 HT Ballistic nylon that’s as tough as 1000d Cordura® but smooth, so it collects little snow, pet fur or sweater lint. For the interior lining, we chose 210d 2x2 HT Ballistic nylon in Coyote Brown—because it's lightweight, tough, and beautiful.

The back panel is padded with 1/4", closed-cell foam with an exterior of Dri-Lex® Aero-Spacer® mesh and 210d 2x2 HT Ballistic nylon. This combination of mesh and smooth nylon is designed to provide maximum breathability (we even tested it: see here) while still being gentle on your clothing. The shoulder straps are padded with .375" / 10 mm EV50 closed-cell foam and feature an underside of ETC knit to keep you cool and comfortable. The Guide's Edition Synapse 25 features adjustable and removable sternum and waist straps with leave-no-trace hardware, a design inspired by nature: if you don't like or don't use your waist or sternum strap, remove them and leave (almost) nothing behind. Finally, at the top of the Synapse is a webbing loop: use it to hang the bag on a hook on the cabin door, or—even better—to help hoist it up and onto your back as you leave for your next adventure.

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your bag already has great built-in organization. that said, you may want to add these optional organizational accessories to further organize and protect what you carry.

1" Padded Hip Belt

The 1" Padded Hip Belt helps to offset some of the weight of a loaded pack.


The Cache is a protective laptop or tablet sleeve that's available in many sizes to fit a wide variety of devices.

Ice Axe Strap

Works to secure an Ice Axe to the front of The Guide's Edition Synapse 25.

Lash Straps (pair)

Use a pair of Lash Straps on the bottom of the Guide's Edition Synapse 25 to secure foldable hiking poles or an ultralight folding camp chair.

You can expect your TOM BIHN bag to give you years of hard service. Our bags are guaranteed to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for the life of the bag. That means if something goes wrong and it's our fault, we'll fix it at no charge.

Defects in materials or workmanship are uncommon and are most often evident while your bag is still new. Keep in mind that daypacks and briefcases are often subject to serious wear in everyday use. We often see TOM BIHN bags that are still solid and in use after five, ten, fifteen, even twenty or twenty-five years, with minor repairs needed here or there. But remember: only true love lasts forever.

Can you give me a quick summary of how pre-order works?

Yes. And if you have questions, keep reading the FAQ or live chat us, call us at 1-800-729-9607 or

  • We offer a new design for pre-order for one week or until the first pre-order batch sells out.
  • The expected ship date of your pre-order bag is listed as part of the name of the bag.
  • Your credit card is charged for the total amount of your order the day that you place your order. You can cancel your pre-order at anytime and receive a refund.
  • You can place one order that includes just a Pre-Order bag or a Pre-Order bag *and* In-Stock bags. If you place an order for both Pre-Order and In-Stock bags, you will see two shipping options at checkout: Hold stock items until pre-order ships – (one shipping charge: for example, $10 for UPS Ground) or Ship In Stock Bags Now (two shipping charges: for example, $20 for UPS Ground) Express and International shipping charges will also be available.
  • You can also place additional orders for In-Stock bags to be added to your existing Pre-Order up until two days before your order ships. At checkout, our system will recognize that you have a current Pre-Order. You will then be given the option to "Ship with my existing Pre-Order" (no additional shipping charge) or, if you want the In-Stock bags to ship immediately, you can choose from any of the regular shipping options.
  • You can read our full Pre-Orders: Frequently Asked Questions and Pre-Orders: Past, Present, and Future posts on our blog to learn more about this process and why we're offering it.

When is my credit card charged for a pre-order?

Your credit card is charged for the full order total at the time you place your order. That means we charge you before your order ships, which, depending on the bag being pre-ordered, can be anywhere from two to eight weeks.

To charge you before your order ships isn't our preference; in fact, we'd prefer to postpone charging you until the day your order ships. That's how we used to do it back when we took pre-orders before: our system would authorize your credit card for the total, but we wouldn't actually charge you until the day your order shipped. However, since then, charging folks in advance of shipment of goods has become such the norm that most shopping carts and payment systems don't allow for an alternative. This is due in part because of the success of crowdfunding. It's worth noting that our pre-order system is very different from crowdfunding: we aren't raising funds to make a product and you can be assured you will receive the bag you're ordering.

Rest assured that we see charging in advance of shipment to be a serious responsibility and a matter that calls upon our integrity.

And you're welcome to at any time up until the day your pre-order ships to cancel your pre-order and receive a full refund.

Can I ask you for updates on the progress of my pre-order?

Totally. Of course. Feel free to

We also hope to send you an update or two with some insights on the design and production process.

Can I cancel my pre-order and receive a refund?

You bet., live chat us up or give us a call and we'll make it happen.

Can I return the bag that I pre-ordered once I receive it?

Yes. You can find our return instructions here.

Can I place one order that includes both pre-order and in-stock bags?

Yes, you can.

If you place an order for both Pre-Order and In-Stock bags, you will see two shipping options at checkout:

Hold stock items until pre-order ships – (one shipping charge: for example, $10 for UPS Carbon Neutral Ground)


Ship In Stock Bags Now (two shipping charges: for example, $20 for UPS Carbon Neutral Ground)

Express and International shipping charges will also be available, and they, of course, are more costly. We expect most folks outside of the U.S. will choose to Hold their entire order while those within the U.S. may choose to Hold their order or choose the UPS Carbon Neutral Ground Ship In Stock Bags Now option.

I've placed a pre-order that will ship in 2-8 weeks. Can I add bags to that existing pre-order?

Yes, you can. We will hold bags from any additional orders you place and ship them with your pre-ordered bag once it's ready to ship.

And adding to your pre-order is easy: place the items you want to add in your basket and, at checkout and in the shipping options, you'll see an option that says: "Add to my existing Pre-Order". Our system will automatically add the new order items to your existing pre-order.

We thought of this too and made it an option in part because we think it will be especially convenient for customers outside of the U.S. for whom shipping costs are higher.

I placed a pre-order and it shipped earlier than expected! Nice. How'd that happen?

You received one of the few PPB bags available — congratulations.

A pre-production batch (PPB) of any new design will be ordered and completed by our production department prior to the new design being offered for pre-order.

The PPB is intended to:

  • Serve as the first large-scale test of the efficiency of manufacturing of the new design.
  • Provide photo, review and employee loaner sample bags.
  • Ship a small quantity of bags to a randomized selection of customers who place orders for the first pre-order batch. This will allow folks to post reviews and first thoughts / photos of a new design, which in turn may help other people decide whether a bag is right for them or not.

Please note that the design itself is tested and every detail finalized and approved by Tom, Nik, Lisa, and Fong long before the PPB is ordered. PPB bags are in no way "beta" or incomplete.

There is no way to request or reserve a PPB bag. Once the pre-order window is over, we will randomly select orders from the first pre-order batch and fulfill those orders with PPB bags. So, no need to rush to place your pre-order, as this is not first come, first serve.

I have more questions about how pre-order works! How do I learn more?

That's great: we like questions because we want to provide as much information as we can so you can make an informed choice.

You're welcome to call us, or live chat us anytime, for any question.

You might also want to read these two blog posts:

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