View Full Version : Those who use S19 and S25, how did you decide which capacity is right for you?

04-24-2019, 08:37 AM
Im struggling to decide. How much can you fit in a 19L bag?

My current EDC bag is the Brooks Rivington 16L rolltop bag. Although I often find myself admiring the bag (I think its a very pretty backpack),
its top-loading design is quiet frustrating to deal with.

Previously, I had a few 23-25L bags. I love having the extra space for groceries, however, aesthetics matter. Being only 53 (160cm), many bags in that range looks too big for me.

My EDC normally consists of :
- 27oz (800ml) Klean Kanteen water bottle
- 13 MacBook Pro with sleeve
- 2 pairs of gym clothes
- 2 pairs clothes
- Shoes
- A5 Moleskine notebook
- Fleece jacket

I think I should get the S25, because I already have a 16L (which I plan to keep)- but Im currently leaning towards the S19 because if a bag doesnt look good on me, I wont wear it. Buying both isnt an option since Im based in the UK.

Another question- can an A4 paper fit unfolded in the S19 laptop compartment?

04-24-2019, 09:04 AM
Your list should fit in either bag...

The interesting thing about the Synapse family is that they kind of collapse in on themselves if they're not full, so they're not wicked obtrusive... I don't know that the S25 would look overly large on you if it's not overstuffed, though that's a personal preference...

A more important consideration may be how comfortable it feels on your back from a length perspective... I'm 5'4" and don't carry the S25 because it's too tall for my torso length. I'm much more comfortable maxing out at 18" and the S25 is 20".

Find a friend and a tape measure and measure your torso - this is a handy guide from REI:

Be sure to check out the photos & video on the Synapse pages - they show quite the range of heights of people wearing both packs, from all sides, though they don't have their torso lengths listed.

There's a bevy of TB owners in the UK, perhaps you could arrange a meet up someone and check the bags out in person...

Hope that helps a bit and welcome to Forums

04-24-2019, 09:35 AM
Hello from South Yorkshire! Here is an A4 folder in the main compartment of an S19, it fits fine:

The reason you can't see the lining on the back wall is because I have a frame sheet, I highly recommend it. The frame sheet makes the bag lay smoothly on your back even if you have oddly shaped objects in the bag.

And here is the document folder in the front Pouch inside the main compartment. It also fits well here.

Hope this helps!

Seconding @G42's recommendation to measure your back and also to watch the videos. They're both great bags but if you strongly prefer bags under 50cm you'd probably prefer the S19.

04-24-2019, 10:46 AM
Looks perfect, thank you!

Are those two different bags? One has yellow interior and the other one has green interior!

I love black bags with yellow interior!

04-24-2019, 11:57 AM
Looks perfect, thank you!

Are those two different bags? One has yellow interior and the other one has green interior!

I love black bags with yellow interior!

It does indeed look like two totally different bags!! The lighting in the room was really weird at the time because of some very dark passing clouds but I just took this one to show you in better light. It's Navy Parapack / Solar Halcyon interior, (both discontinued) made around 2013. (Edited to add: I got this second hand a couple of months ago, so stay vigilant if you're looking for discontinued colors in the second hand market)


04-25-2019, 08:06 AM
Hi!! I've got both the S19 and S25. I'm 165 cm / 5'5". Based on your packing list, I'd say the S19 is too small. In your packing list, you don't have a lot of smaller items that would make use of either the two side pouches or the bottom pouch. That means almost everything is going into the main compartment. With clothes, fleece, and a pair of shoes, it'll be a *very* tight fit. Once the main compartment gets full, I find it becomes tricky to get the water bottle out, and even trickier to get it back in!
The S19 is a lovely compact design, but often doesn't work for me because I can't distribute my EDC items across the front pockets.

04-25-2019, 08:37 AM
With the S19, once a laptop is in there, there's really only enough room for a folded up fleece jacket or shoes, or possibly both. Anything beyond that is definitely too much for the S19.

A lot of those 19 liters is taken up by the outer pockets, which handle small items brilliantly but does limit your ability to carry larger things in the main compartment.

An S25 will happily swallow all of those things.

04-25-2019, 12:06 PM
I find the S19 works well as my EDC bag. A big reason I opted for the S19, as opposed to the S25, is that I wanted to prevent myself from carrying too heavy a bag.

I find that I can fit my EDC items in the front pockets. In the bottom front pocket, I've got my cords, cables and such in a mesh 3DOC attached to a keystrap. In the left side pocket I've got my rechargeable battery (largest allowable on a plane), a mini notebook and a pen. In the right side pocket I've got my sunglasses case and business cards case. In the quick access pocket, I've got my AirPods and my wallet attached to a keystrap. I do agree that carrying a water bottle the water bottle pocket can be a pain. As a result, I find its best use of that pocket is for my mini-umbrella and a spare pair of reading glasses in a thin case laying across the top of that pocket.

In the main compartment's elastic-topped pocket, I've got a 12' MacBook in a cache. When I'm traveling, I can also fit a fully packed WF small cube in the bottom of the main compartment with the cube's long side laying down. My liquids and gels in a clear 3DOC attached to a key strap sitting on top of the WF cube. Traveling or not, I also keep a folded PopTote in the main compartment, which can really come in handy.

When packed as I've described, my S19 is full but not overstuffed. At ~12 lbs., it's comfortable on my back and I love that the sternum strap keeps the bag well positioned.

04-26-2019, 12:18 AM
I ordered both and luckily for me, the s25 was just more comfortable on my back than the s19. It was obvious to me while wearing both packs empty. Im not the tallest by any means by I do have a long torso relative to my height. The S25 fit like a glove while the S19 was too short.

What the above posters say is key, your torso length will matter.

Also, the bottom outside compartment on the S25 is much more useable to me than the S19.

In the end I chose the S25 for the larger capacity AND because it fit better. I dont feel like either would carry or feel large when not fully loaded. They have a tendency to disappear.

After a couple years of use, Ive switched to a Guides pack (loved the look and needed more space), but one thing is for sure with either synapse, its an absolute joy to use and interact with. I know I know, who says that about a backpack...but its true. While not a looker, the synapse is high on function and I really miss that aspect of it.