View Full Version : Realized the Synapse 25 isn't for me -- time for an Aeronaut 30

01-31-2017, 07:26 PM
I am an organization freak and love having a place for everything. That makes my realization that I prefer bags with LESS built-in organization all the more surprising.

I was super excited when I got my Synapse 25, my first TB bag. It IS a great bag, to be sure. But after a couple trips with it, I realize it is not for me for a few reasons. First, the inability to open the main compartment all the way is a big disadvantage when traveling, particularly when using packing cubes and staying on someone's couch or anywhere you don't have any personal space. Always unpacking and repacking everything. Second, the compartments are cool but very limiting as far as what you can put in them. Sometimes I've wanted just a bit more space in the main compartment while leaving one or both of the side front pockets unused because they only fit very specific shapes.

So I realized that for me, the best organization system is modular and customized to my needs rather based on a bag's design, and entirely accessible without rooting through many pockets. In other words, I mostly just want a big space where I can create my own organizational system with packing cubes and other organizers. And I want to fairly easily access everything without digging to the bottom of a narrow main pocket (in other words horizontal access would be far more convenient than vertical like in a backpack).

The Aeronaut 30 would give me 5 more total liters of space, but would feel like even more because there wouldn't be any unused pockets. Plus, I was shocked to see that it's basically the exact same dimensions as the S25--slightly smaller in fact! I could still shove this thing under a plane seat for a short flight but I think traveling will be a far better experience with it. I'm bummed that the S25 didn't work out for me since it's a nice bag and wasn't cheap, but sometimes I guess you just have to learn through experience! I'll be getting a halcyon A30 sometime soon, and I'm greatly looking forward to it.

01-31-2017, 08:42 PM
Same - I wanted desperately to love the Synapse, but my sweet spot turned out to be the Smart Alec. It's a big empty barrel that lets me organize exactly the way I want.

01-31-2017, 08:44 PM
I also really like the "small footprint" of the Aeronaut twins. When I get into my hotel room, I sometimes do not even need to unpack. I can generally get at everything without needing to "unpack" so to speak - great design. Sometimes, on the last day, when I need to carry my luggage to work, it is great to have this ability given the small cubicle work spaces.


01-31-2017, 08:51 PM
I've come to decide that finding the perfect travel bag is a quest. What's great for one type of trip is mediocre at best for another. I just bought the S25 because I needed more space for my main bag than the S19 had. Although I love the nooks-and-crannies approach to packing, I can see how the A30 would be better suited for your packing style. That bag is on my (every growing) wish list.

I took a couple of trips with the Pilot as my personal item, and while I loved the organization, it just didn't make my heart sing. I decided to use it for my gym bag (a decision which seemed crazy at first until I realized how much more often I go to the gym than on a trip), and I am in love. Sometimes you just have to take the bags out for a spin, and see what works. The great thing about such quality bags is that they last a long time, so they can be repurposed over and over again and they have a good resale value.

I hope the Aeronaut works out for you.

02-01-2017, 05:35 AM
I agree. As a travel bag that allows you to fit in everything as you want and retrieve it easily, the horizontal format of the aeronaut with its nice wide openings and big unstructured spaces cant be beat. I alternate between a synapse 19 and a copilot for work, where smaller dedicated compartments make it very convenient to access daily work stuff. The S19's vertical orientation with half zipper is great for keeping computer, papers, iPad, and all my things inside the bag from spilling out. I also love how slim the profile is it is and how easy to lean up against the inside of my desk.

I have traveled with my Synapse 19 as my only travel bag for 4 day trips (with computer!), and I was amazed how much I could fit, but I would always choose the aeronaut 30 first.

The Smart Alec is fantastic for its ability to comfortably haul things that even the aeronaut can't, due to its barrel shape and ability to strap things to the outside, but it is not as good for living out of because of its vertical orientation. I took it on a week long trip as my only bag, and missed the aeronaut the whole time.

When I fly southwest, I have started bringing the a30 for all my clothes and toiletries, and the Smart Alec as my personal item (technically too big but southwest never complains). I love having room to fit anything I need in case I buy stuff or decide to bring a ukulele. [emoji3] I put the smart Alec at my feet and the a30 in the overhead compartments.

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02-01-2017, 07:21 AM
I flip flop between the A30 and WF depending on whether I need to use an Eagle Creek packing folder (which fits perfectly in the WF), or regular packing cubes (for the A30).

02-01-2017, 12:07 PM
I definitely agree that it is all a quest and different bags are really well suited for different uses. I considered a Brain Bag or Smart Alec, but in the end I decided the top-loading would cause the same frustrations. I use a Daylight Backpack for work, and it's perfect. It's dyneema and if I have very little in there I sometimes forget I'm even wearing it, but it has plenty of space for when I need to bring a lunch or take something home from work. And it easily collapses and fits into a bigger bag to use as a day bag at my destination.

I'm glad so many people get joy from all the different TB designs, but it's time for me to become an Aeronaut + DLBP disciple!

02-01-2017, 12:17 PM
I can only agree with what others have said. I *love* my Aeronauts (30 and 45) and can happily live out of them for several days at a time with no pressing need to unpack. The Aeronaut is a genius design. As I type this my A30 is on the end of the (hot)desk next to me and everything in it is easily accessible; shortly I shall disconnect my laptop and put it back in the A30, then off into the wilds of central London to forage for dinner before retiring to my hopefully comfortable hotel bed. Nothing else I have used works as well, for my particular use case and way of packing.

02-01-2017, 02:03 PM
I love my S25 as a work/personal day bag but have never really seen it as a travel bag. As you've described, I just can't see it working for that type of use.

My A30 is a perfect sized personal travel bag although I prefer the WF or Tristar for business travel due to the more rectangular nature of business items, shirts in a packing folder, laptop, paperwork etc.

The A30 screams adventure to me and on the short trips I've used it, it has been perfect. I have the A45 also and it does the same but not quite in that compact and agile way. The A30 is my first choice.

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02-01-2017, 08:15 PM
I have a Synapse 25 and I just got an Aeronaut 30. I used both on a 3-day trip to school and they were fantastic together. I carried the Synapse on my backpack and the Aeronaut by the handles on to the plane. I had an Absolute strap but didn't really like using it. Won't bring it next time.

I think the Synapse is a fantastic day pack. I have traveled with it using packing cubes on overnight trips -- and I don't like having to unpack everything to get to what I need.

In the Synapse:
Laptop in a Cache
Noise cancelling full-sized headphones
1-quart Nalgene
Cords and chargers
1 mason jar containing lunch (terrible idea. the jar always prompts a secondary TSA screen. let me know your ideas for leak-proof lunch containers)
Cell phone, tissues, wet wipes, first-aid kid, hand lotion

Aeronaut 30:
Center compartment: Large Aether packing cube with clothes, blender bottle with shake powder packs, a bag of Satsuma oranges
End pocket: Laundry stuff sack with underwear, gym clothes, socks, beanie
Other end pocket: 1 pair of shoes in a generic shoe bag
Internal mesh pocket: Glasses case, jewelry

Large packing cube contained:
1 sweater dress
1 blouse
1 pair of pants
Sleep shirt
Uniqlo long underwear
(Toiletries and makeup are all stored at destination)

Amy G
02-02-2017, 04:12 AM
I have both the S25 and A30. I typically prefer the A30 for travel for all the reasons others have listed. I recently did a 3 day work trip and decided to try the S25 as my only bag. I packed my clothes in a packing cube and left it in the hotel so I could carry the S25 as my work bag without it being so full. It worked ok but the S25 was stuffed full, especially on the way home. I think next trip I may use a DLBC for my work stuff and either the S25 or DLBP for clothes.