The Synapse 19 in Black 525 Ballistic. The Synapse 19 in Black 525 Ballistic with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Black 525 Ballistic with Wasabi (green with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Black 525 Ballistic. The Synapse 19 in Black 525 Ballistic with Island (blue with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A profile shot of the Synapse 19 in Black 525 Ballistic. The Synapse 19 in Nebulous Grey (medium grey) 525 Ballistic. The Synapse 19 in Nebulous Grey (medium grey) 525 Ballistic with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Nebulous Grey (medium grey) 525 Ballistic with Island (blue with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Cloud (light grey) 525 Ballistic. The Synapse 19 in Cloud (light grey) 525 Ballistic with Island (blue with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Cloud (light grey) 525 Ballistic with Ultraviolet (purple with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A profile shot of the Synapse 19 in Cloud (light grey) 525 Ballistic. The Synapse 19 in Deep Blue (dark blue) 525 Ballistic. The Synapse 19 in Deep Blue (dark blue) 525 Ballistic with Iberian (red with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Deep Blue (dark blue) 525 Ballistic with Ultraviolet (purple with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Deep Blue (dark blue) 525 Ballistic with Wasabi (green with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. A profile shot of the Synapse 19 in Deep Blue (dark blue) 525 Ballistic. The Synapse 19 in Mars Red 525 Ballistic. The Synapse 19 in Mars Red 525 Ballistic with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Aubergine (dark purple) 525 Ballistic. The Synapse 19 in Aubergine (dark purple) 525 Ballistic with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Burnt Orange 525 Ballistic. The Synapse 19 in Burnt Orange 525 Ballistic with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Coyote (brown) 525 Ballistic. The Synapse 19 in Coyote (brown) 525 Ballistic with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Ursa (brown-grey) 525 Ballistic. The Synapse 19 in Ursa (brown-grey) 525 Ballistic with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Wilderness (forest green) 525 Ballistic. The Synapse 19 in Wilderness (forest green) 525 Ballistic with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Constellation (light blue) 525 Ballistic. The Synapse 19 in Constellation (light blue) 525 Ballistic with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Original (black with white grid) 400 Halcyon. The Synapse 19 in Original (black with white grid) 400 Halcyon with Iberian (red with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Original (black with white grid) 400 Halcyon with Wasabi (green with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Original (black with white grid) 400 Halcyon with Island (blue with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Nordic (blue with grey grid) 400 Halcyon. The Synapse 19 in Nordic (blue with grey grid) 400 Halcyon with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Nordic (blue with grey grid) 400 Halcyon with Iberian (red with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Nordic (blue with grey grid) 400 Halcyon with Wasabi (green with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Black (black with grey grid) 400 Halcyon. The Synapse 19 in Black (black with grey grid) 400 Halcyon with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Black (black with grey grid) 400 Halcyon with Island (blue with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Black (black with grey grid) 400 Halcyon with Wasabi (green with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Black (black with grey grid) 400 Halcyon with Iberian (red with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Black (black with grey grid) 400 Halcyon with Ultraviolet (purple with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. The Synapse 19 in Taiga 400d Halcyon. The Synapse 19 in Taiga 400d Halcyon with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior.
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Synapse 19

$210.00

A backpack well suited to hiking, travel, or commuting.

19 liters (1160 cu.in.)

Black 525 Ballistic/Island 200 Halcyon
Black 525 Ballistic/Island 200 Halcyon
Black 525 Ballistic/Wasabi 200 Halcyon
Black 525 Ballistic/Wasabi 200 Halcyon
Cloud 525 Ballistic/Island 200 Halcyon
Cloud 525 Ballistic/Island 200 Halcyon
Nebulous Grey 525 Ballistic/Island 200 Halcyon
Nebulous Grey 525 Ballistic/Island 200 Halcyon
Nebulous Grey 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Nebulous Grey 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Nebulous Grey 525 Ballistic/Solaris 200 Halcyon
Nebulous Grey 525 Ballistic/Solaris 200 Halcyon
Ursa 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Ursa 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Wilderness 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Wilderness 525 Ballistic/Northwest Sky 200 Halcyon
Black 400 Halcyon/Island 200 Halcyon
Black 400 Halcyon/Island 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
A Synapse 19 with its pockets open, containing a laptop, books, a water bottle, cables, a multitool, and a wallet and other various accoutrements. A close shot of the zipper of the Synapse 19. A close shot of the Guardian Light on the light strap of the Synapse 19. A profile shot of the Synapse 19. A reverse shot of the Synapse 19 showing the backpack straps, sternum strap, and hip belt. A close shot of the mesh back of the Synapse 19. A reverse shot of the Synapse 19 with the sternum strap and hip belt removed. A person at the beach wearing a Synapse 19. A person hiking with the Synapse 19. A person at a river with the Synapse 19. A person wearing the Synapse 19. A profle shot of a person wearing the Synapse 19. A person accessing the left pocket on the Synapse 19. A Synapse 19 with a Synapse 19 Freudian Slip and water bottle. A person removing a Synapse 19 Freudian Slip form the main compartment of the Synapse 19. A person accessing a pocket in a Synapse 19 Freudian Slip while it's in the main compartment of the Synapse 19.

Description

People hike, travel, or commute with this versatile pack; where will you take it?

 

The Synapse 19 is a carefully calculated, supremely organized backpack, designed for day hiking, everyday carry, and ultralight travel. Its graceful, curvilinear exterior may on first blush look like something akin to sculpture, but in truth it is simply the judicious realization of ultimate utility. No mesh pockets clutter the exterior of this bag, nor extraneous straps festoon it; in it, you'll be able to carry more than you would imagine, and no one will be the wiser.

The Synapse 19 is designed to fit people from approximately 5'0" to 6'0" / 1.52 to 1.83m; it's the smaller version of our Synapse 25 (for those 5'6" / 1.68 m or taller or who want a bigger bag — check it out). With 30% less volume, it's ideal for those of us who just don't need to carry as much stuff.

It features our beloved Edgeless Straps; 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 (and most people who have worn these straps) find that this increases comfort. Yet the straps aren’t too soft: the 1/2” thick EVAZOTE® OEKO-TEX® certified foam means the strap is robust enough to carry a heavy load.

The front of the Synapse 19 is divided into five zippered pockets, all of which zip shut with #8 YKK Aquaguard® water-repellent zippers:

Though you'd never guess by looking at it, the top center front pocket is deep enough for a 1-liter water bottle or 1-liter hydration bladder. Everyone who has carried a water bottle in a backpack knows how important it is to pack the water bottle wisely so it a) doesn't dig into your back and b) doesn't throw off the weight of the pack. With the water bottle kept in dead center of the Synapse 19, you won't have to worry about either. Removing the water bottle from the Synapse 19 (and replacing it) is a breeze. Note that the water bottle pocket doesn't needlessly continue to the bottom of the bag; that'd be wasted space, plus you'd have to reach farther in to pull your water bottle out. Instead, we took that volume and allocated it to the bottom pocket (where it can serve good instead of evil — see below). Also worth noting: the water bottle pocket has one O-ring. (Yes, we do listen: we're adding O-rings. Just because you asked.)

Below the opening for the bottle pocket is another small zippered pocket, also with one O-ring: it's 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 stuff sack (like our Travel Stuff Sack). The right side pocket has a 200d Halcyon/nylon-lined inner organizational pocket; the left pocket has three pen/pencil slots. Both side zippered pockets feature one O-ring — one comes with an 8" / 200 mm Key Strap.

The bottom front pocket of the Synapse 19 is a great spot for extra clothing or snacks and will easily accommodate a thin wool/fleece sweater, light down jacket and/or Windbreaker-type jacket. If you care to add organization, it's more than big enough for a 3D Organizer Cube (MeshFabric (Halcyon or Parapack), or Clear) or Side Effect; two O-rings are inside this pocket. (Packing advice: tether one of the above-mentioned organizational cubes or Organizer Pouches to the O-rings via a Key Strap.) And because we care about your safety, we've added a 1.5" / 38 mm webbing loop on the exterior bottom of this pocket that's ready to accept the Guardian Light — highly recommended if you ride a bicycle or walk in the dark.

The Synapse 19 has one main, back compartment for large, flat items like notebooks or laptops — it closes with a #8 YKK Aquaguard® water-repellent zipper. It has two O-rings for you to attach Organizer Pouches or tether other items. Also inside the main compartment are four unobtrusive webbing loops (also known as rail loops), two fore and two aft, to which you can secure the optional Cache (available in sizes specifically for every Apple laptop and iPad; PC users, click here to take a look at our Laptop Fit Guide). When you add the Cache, the Synapse 19 becomes a "checkpoint-friendly" laptop backpack. Here's how it works: on the back (or bottom, depending how you look at it) of the Cache are two parallel "rails" of 1" wide lightweight nylon webbing which extend from the top to the bottom. Included (and already attached for your convenience) with the Cache are two Gatekeeper Rail Clips: unclip the side that isn't clipped to the Cache, slip it through the webbing loops in the Synapse 19 main compartment, and flip it shut. Slip the Cache inside the Synapse 19, and pull it back out: you'll see that the Gatekeeper Rail Clips ride the rails of the Cache, allowing you to remove your laptop or tablet from the Synapse 19 entirely while it is still encased in the protective Cache. Doing this at the airport security checkpoint means the X-ray machines (and TSA personnel) will have a clear, unobstructed view of your device — allowing you to keep your laptop in the Cache and the whole affair securely held together as one unit. (We think that's much better than having to remove your device and dump it in one of those buckets.) Many of us will appreciate this functionality on a daily basis as well: the rail system can be a convenient and quick way to remove one's laptop from the bag. And remember, there are four loops of webbing in the top of the main compartment of the Synapse 19: one pair is on the back side, and one pair is on the front side. That means you can choose to have your laptop or tablet against your back or against the front of the bag, whichever seems most comfortable or most convenient. Using all four loops, you could even carry two laptops (or one laptop and one tablet) in the Synapse 19. Note that the "checkpoint-friendly" functionality will only work for one of two devices — you'll need to remove the second laptop at the airport security checkpoint.

In addition to the Cache, the rails loops can also tether the optional Synapse 19 Internal Frame—you can even secure the frame and a Cache to the same set of rail loops. A clever “T” bar holds the loops in place relative to the frame, allowing the lower edge of the internal frame to float 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. The frame is constructed of die-cut .060” 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). Some folks swear by internal frames and others find them superfluous. 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.

Also inside the main compartment is an elastic-topped, open-top pocket. Generously sized to fit a book or two or an extra pair of shoes. 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.

For the interior of the Synapse 19 we chose 200d Halcyon/nylon because it's ultra-lightweight and ultratough. We've used this fabric for several years now with virtually no complaints or failures; it's been abrasion tested by both our fabric suppliers and our in-house lab. Conclusion? 200d Halcyon/nylon is perhaps a bit of overkill for a lining fabric, and you expect nothing less from us. More on external fabric options for the Synapse 19 are below in the Choosing an Exterior fabric section.

The back panel of the Synapse 19 is padded with 1/4", high quality, closed-cell foam with an exterior of Spacer mesh and 210 denier nylon. This combination of mesh and smooth nylon is designed to provide maximum breathability while still being gentle on your clothing. The contoured backpack straps of the Synapse were custom designed by Tom for maximum comfort. We tested the Synapse backpack straps on a wide range of people — all heights, shapes, and sizes — and we think we've come up with straps that work for just about anyone: no small feat!  The Synapse 19 features 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 (a design inspired by nature). At the top of the back of the pack, you'll find a webbing loop: use it to hoist the Synapse 19 up and onto your back or to hang it on a coat hook.

Enough said. Now get one and get out of here.

Materials

bluesign® and OEKO-TEX® certified Ultralight 400d Halcyon/420d nylon ripstop
— or —
bluesign® certified 525 denier High-Tenacity 2x2 Ballistic exterior
bluesign® and OEKO-TEX® certified 200 denier Halcyon/nylon ripstop fabric lining
Spacer Mesh upper back
bluesign® certified 210 denier High-Tenacity 2x2 Ballistic nylon lower back
Closed-cell foam back
Edgeless EV50 1/2” / 12mm shoulder straps (EVAZOTE® OEKO-TEX® foam)
Duraflex®, Nexus, and Woojin buckles and related components
#8 YKK Aquaguard® water-repellent zippers

Specs

Sewn in USA with globally sourced materials 100% finished seams

Dimensions: 11.4" (w) x 16" (h) x 7.9" (d) / 290 (w) x 410 (h) x 200 (d) mm
Weight:
400d Halcyon/420d nylon ripstop: 1 lb 9 oz / 708 grams
525d Ballistic: 1 lb 11 oz / 752 grams
Volume: 1160 cubic inches / 19 liters (ASTM Standard Measure)
Removable 1" / 25 mm waist strap included
.375" / 10 mm padded and contoured backpack straps with .75" / 20 mm removable sternum strap
What's 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
Total O-rings: 8 (2 in the main compartment; 1 in the top center pocket, 1 in the small center pocket, 2 in the bottom front pocket; 1 in the left front pocket; 1 in the right front pocket)

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 4.8 out of 5
Based on 4 reviews
average rating 4.8 out of 5
Based on 4 reviews
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100% of reviewers would recommend this product to a friend
Review posted
Reviewed by Captain G.
Rated 5 out of 5

Your search is over - A disabled user’s perspective.

After going through about 8 different bags over the years, I finally found one that works. I’ve had the Halcyon Synapse 19 right at two years now, and it still looks nearly brand new and it’s gone everywhere with me since. As noted in the title, I’m disabled and use crutches to get around. My hands are full all the time, so carrying things has never been a strong suit of mine. Coupled with the ever-shrinking pockets in jeans and the increasing amount of stuff one needs to have at hand daily, everyone needs a bag these days. The more gimpy among us included.

I wear mine backwards and even fully loaded (for me, 15-20lbs) this bag stays perfectly balanced. I’ve not once felt unsteady with it even at its heaviest.

It holds everything I need for a typical outing and the pockets are easily accessible with one hand. I’m not sure what magic they worked into the materials, but this bag does - not - age. I’m not outright abusive toward this bag, but I don’t baby it either. It gets thrown around; tossed in the bed of the truck; friends’ kids drag it here and there and there’s not so much as a loose thread on the outside. The only noticeable sign of wear is on the mesh back where the zippers of my coat have chewed at it a bit.

The price has increased some since I bought mine, but if I had to buy this again tomorrow - my rainbow of organizer pouches, zipper pulls and frame included, I’d not think twice about it.

You can stop debating now. It’ll be the best bag you’ve ever owned.

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Review posted
Reviewed by Anna
Rated 4 out of 5

Lovely, life changing, as long as you don't pack it to the brim.

I lived out of this bag for a couple of years and it was completely dreamy. I had fallen in love with it, until the zippers started to stick. Tom Bihn claims to fix or replace any problems with the bag that should arise but alas they denied fixing this issue, which was a real bummer. So I think you'll enjoy this bag, keeping in mind that you cannot fill it up unless you want troublesome enough zippers to change my opinion, excitement and regular usage of the bag.

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TOM BIHN

Thanks so much for the review, Anna! I'm glad that overall your Synapse has served you well. I recall seeing your bag when it came in for repair last year and, at that time, we determined that all your bag needed was a good cleaning and possibly some zipper lubrication. If there are any new problems with your zippers now, we'd be happy to have another look. I sent you an email to see how we can further help. :) - Mike

Review posted
Reviewed by Seth R G.
Rated 5 out of 5

Never Been a Backpack Guy

I have never liked carrying a backpack as my every day carry (EDC) bag, always like a messenger/shoulder bag. This bag changed my opinion totally. The 19 liters is just the right size for everything I need and then the stuff my kids want to add in for a a trip or a run to the park. It is the most comfortable backpack I have owned. From the padded back, to the shoulder straps, everything feels balanced just right when it is loaded up. I think the biggest park of that is having the dedicated water bottle pocked in the center of the bag which fits my 32oz Hydro Flask just right. Sunglasses, folding hat, pens, first aid kit, wallet all fit snug and tight in the two side pockets while my Handy Little Thing #1 sits in the bottom pocket like it was meant to be there, weird right ; ).

Now that I have been carrying the S19 for the last few months and have gotten use to traveling and commuting with it it is hard for me to think about going back to a smaller shoulder bag. This backpack truly converted my years of EDC habits.

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Reviewed by Grace C.
Rated 5 out of 5

Legendary Poppins-esque EDC Bag

I can't believe I'm writing the first review for this beautiful bag as I just discovered Tom Bihn a year ago. I have to say I was one of the people not initially attracted to the overall look and aesthetic of the bag but it QUICKLY won me over with the way the materials feel, look, and using it is like A DREAM!!! I bought the 19L mainly to use as my newborn son's diaper bag and my EDC going out with him. As my first Tom Bihn item ever, I thought it seemed a bit small when I first received it. However, once my son was actually born and we started using it, it has never failed me or left me wanting more. My Camelbak Chute fits perfectly in the water bottle pocket. I use the bottom pocket to store extra clothes, one side pocket for his stuff, other pocket for my stuff (sunglasses, snacks, etc). The main compartment is mostly just his changing pad and diapers/wipes at the moment, but having the elastic separation is nice to keep extra diapers, and anything else like a dry/wet bag, and a portable baby cam if we need it. I'll say we don't even usually need most of the stuff we pack in the bag so it's just a good practice of minimal EDC to get a smaller bag if you're trying to stay light. I love the look of the black halcyon with wasabi. Light yet durable. Planning on using this bag forever! This bag is a STEAL for the price. It is handmade in Seattle and it just feels SO GOOD to use! Just get it and you'll fall in love. If you don't, you can always return it but you won't. :)

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