View Full Version : Coming out of lurkdom - S19 vs S25 - sizes and colors, SCB

01-18-2014, 06:42 PM
Hi all - I've been lurking for several months trying to decide on a bag (or two or three.) Primary use case is everyday carry (with water bottle, with and without laptop); also trying to accommodate less frequent scenarios of (1) one bag plus EDC for 1'ish week trips w/o laptop, and (2) one bag for 1-3 day work trips, including laptop.

I currently use a generic laptop backpack from my employer, which seems to be a couple inches smaller than the Synapse 25. I find the current backpack ok, but am looking for something with better organizational capabilities and better materials. (And I'm obsessed with bags.) Before that I used a medium Cargo messenger bag from Waterfield Designs, which I love, but is a bit heavy and after one bad neck pain episode, I decided I needed to switch to a backpack, even if it looked slightly less professional (I'm in IT consulting so I can get away with it.)

I finally decided to get a Synapse 19 and accessories, to see if my laptop (Lenovo T420) would fit into it well enough in a pinch. I received it on my birthday (yay) in black parapack/wasabi. I love the material inside and out, and the laptop does fit w/o sleeve without stretching the zippers too much, but at the expense of "pushing out" the bottom so to that there's not much additional capacity in the main compartment.

After some more thought I think I need to get a Synapse 25 (in black parapack/wasabi or iberian) with a cache on rails. I'm sure the S25 will fit everything I want to put into it for trips to the office and occasional short work travel, and also for the occasional 1 week vacation (I packed everything I needed for a 1 week trip to Europe last year in the generic backpack). I'm hoping it will look smaller than the generic backpack I have now when not full, even though it's actually a bit bigger. But I'm concerned it will be too big a bag for EDC w/o the computer. So I'm thinking about swapping the S19 (still unused) I have to black dyneema/wasabi (so as not to have two Synapses in the exact same color scheme). But then I started thinking about the PCBP or small cafe bag as an EDC alternative. Analysis paralysis again!

Any suggestions or things to consider among these choices?? Thanks in advance!

01-18-2014, 07:35 PM
So are you saying you'd have 2 EDC bags - one (the S25) for laptop days and one (S19, SCB or PCSB) for non-laptop days? If so, do you want to transfer your stuff between them, or are you looking to toss the smaller bag into the S25? The SCB or PCSB should fit nicely into the S25. While I bet you could get a lightly-packed S19 into an S25, that doesn't seem, um, optimal, so you'd have to transfer stuff between them.

I like the modular approach myself. I've got an Ego for work days and an S19 for non-work days, and I just transfer my keys and Side Effect between them. In the S19 is a PCSB with my diaper kit, which I can easily hand over to the babysitter on its own.

01-18-2014, 08:44 PM
Yikes, my post wound up being a lot more wordy than I had intended! Good point terayon - modular would be better, as I always forget things if I move from one bag to another. Oh yes, I'm looking at getting a Side Effect too. :)

01-19-2014, 08:02 AM
I prefer my Synapse 25 to the Synapse 19 for carry-on travel. I don't even do the waterbottle, but with an mp3 player, charger, laptop, charger, ipad, charger, the Synapse 19 is pretty much maxed out. With my 25 I have room for one more essential item- a book- and still with space to spare. Next to the 25, my 19 really feels cramped now... (and the 19 is a 'stretchy Dyneema', which should allow more stuff than the smooth Parapack of my 25)

01-19-2014, 08:38 AM
I have the same comment about the S19 - once the laptop goes in, little else fits. I do not have the S25 though to compare it to, so I can't speak to what it would be like to use the larger version without a laptop.

Regardless of what bag you decide on, the side effect is essential for making smooth transitions; put your wallet and small essentials in there and you'll never forget something changing bags.

You might also consider the copilot or pilot with the absolute strap to ward off neck pain.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk (http://tapatalk.com/m?id=1)

Yoda Sloth
01-19-2014, 11:18 AM
I have a Synapse 25 and carry it on the plane w/o laptop (but with more than my EDC needs) - and it isn't "too big" in any way. Its a magical bag - in that if its not full, it still holds its shape, and keeps its organizational features. With an iPad, Kindle, pashmina, side effect (with purse stuff), cables, sun glasses, regular glasses, water bottle, etc., it is 60% full maybe, but looks good and carries comfortably.

Not sure what is in your EDC (w/o laptop), but if you got a side effect to move things from bag to bag (fits perfectly in the bottom pocket of the Syn 25, BTW), maybe the 25 for laptop days and short travel and a medium cafe bag for EDC sans laptop. (side effect fits vertically in the MCB and leaves room for other stuff, it doesn't work as well in the SCB - not much room for anything else if you have the SE in it, however, without the SE, SCB might be large enough - just depends on what you carry). You could then combine the two on 2-3 day trips with a laptop as needed.

I have the black parapack/iberian - and it is stunning. Which is saying alot since I am not a huge fan of red... I would have preferred the black/wasabi - but my needs were immediate and they were out of stock.

If you tell me what your EDC w/o laptop looks like, I can try it in the Synapse 25 and post pictures for you to see how it looks.

01-19-2014, 09:04 PM
It will be helpful for us to help you decide between the S19, the Small Cafe Bag and the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag to know what items are included in your current EDC without laptops.

I own all three of the bags above, I use the Small Cafe Bag as a vertical Side Effect, it carries my glasses, wallet (a TB Small Pouch), a makeup case (a TB 3D Cube) and other small stuff.

I carry the bag by itself, inside the S19 or the Large Shop Bag.

When I need to carry my Field Journal Notebook, paperwork and iPad Mini, cardigan and waterproof shell and the Large Shop Bag folded, I use the S19.

I use the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag inside of my Swifts as the center zippered pocket. That bag is wonderful, lightweight, extremely versatile and I believe everyone should have at least one, if not one in every colors.

However, unlike the Small Cafe Bag or the Side Effect, it's flexibility which is wonderful as an inside pocket or a waist pack is a bit disconcerting when worn as a shoulder bag.
I haven't tried to organize it with 3D Cubes in Dyneema to see if it will give it more body while keeping it lightweight.

01-20-2014, 04:38 AM
Thanks Yoda Sloth and backpack!

On non-laptop days my EDC needs are pretty low - I carry a small purse or keep things in my pockets (sometimes in a ScottEVest jacket) today, though my current scheme leads me not to have things I need handy. Here's what I have/would want to have:

Medium size notebook (8 1/4" x 5 7/8" Black and Red, 140 pages)
Sunglasses in a hard-sided case
Small umbrella
Water bottle (need to buy a new one - say a 20 oz'ish insulated kleen kanteen or equivalent)
A few vitamin/pill bottles or pill organizer
charger for my android phone

Yoda Sloth
01-20-2014, 10:29 PM
OK, I attempted to simulate your EDC:

Side Effect for your "small purse" - since you mentioned you might use one to transition between bags
Notebook - used a Moleskins - correct size, might not be as thick
Glasses case (white)
Small umbrella in low tech ziplock to keep other things dry
Water bottle - 24 oz, but not insulated
Pill bottles in a small stuff sack (completely guessing at size/#)
Charger (used a mifi charger, but should be similar)

Here is the stuff:

I put in in the Synapse 25 with the water bottle in the water bottle pocket, umbrella in side pocket, charger in smaller middle front pocket, side effect and glasses case in bottom pocket and pill bottles in side pocket. This leaves only the notebook in the main compartment (thus leaving plenty of room for things you might find during the day that you need to bring home with you - say a small elephant or so would still fit :))


How it looks (still stands up easily and holds shape)


And side view:


Should you wish to see how the bag looks on a person packed like this, give me some idea of dimensions and I will seek a comparably sized human from within the collection in my household ;)

I will do a second post with the same stuff in a Medium Cafe Bag as a compare.

Yoda Sloth
01-20-2014, 10:40 PM
OK, same stuff as the above post in a MCB (do feel free to admire its Plum/Wasabi beauty):

I put the side effect in vertically, with the notebook in the back, and the water bottle to the side. The stuff sack of pills is under the glasses case (assuming you need your sunglasses more frequently). I put the umbrella in the back pocket, not sure I like that configuration, but I guess it would depend on probability of rain. (However, in Seattle we don't really carry umbrellas, we just put up our Goretex hoods and pretend it isn't raining...) Overall it felt like a pretty good fit - not "tight" but not a lot of extra space either.






I think the Small Cafe Bag would not work with this amount of stuff, but if you were carrying whatever was in your purse/side effect in smaller pouches it might.

So, overall, probably just depends on how much "available space" you want on your daily carry and whether you want to move one main smaller bag between your larger bags, or if you are ok moving a handful of pouches.

Hope you find the right bag!

01-21-2014, 07:44 AM
Wow, Yoda Sloth, this is a huge help, thanks! Now I just need to make up my mind... :)

01-30-2014, 03:50 PM
My synapse 19 in black dyneema/wasabi arrived today and I love it! I was able to easily fit the following:

Main compartment
Lenovo T420 14" laptop w/ext battery (no sleeve)
Side Effect (black/wasabi) with a small clear pouch with a jackery bar (got the idea from a post here - thanks!)

Side compartment
HTC one phone w/thin case in ultrasuede pouch

Water bottle compartment
Lifefactory 22 oz standard loop cap

Bottom compartment
Solar 3D cube with prescription meds

The less stiff dyneema compared to the parapack of the one I ordered earlier makes all the difference in being able to accommodate my laptop. This is perfect!

Now I'm wondering if I should keep the S25 I have on back order (black/iberian). Hmmm.... I probably will. :)

01-31-2014, 04:01 PM
Thanks Yoda Sloth and backpack!

On non-laptop days my EDC needs are pretty low - I carry a small purse or keep things in my pockets (sometimes in a ScottEVest jacket) today, though my current scheme leads me not to have things I need handy. Here's what I have/would want to have:

Medium size notebook (8 1/4" x 5 7/8" Black and Red, 140 pages)
Sunglasses in a hard-sided case
Small umbrella
Water bottle (need to buy a new one - say a 20 oz'ish insulated kleen kanteen or equivalent)
A few vitamin/pill bottles or pill organizer
charger for my android phone

This sounds pretty similar to my EDC list, which I carry in a linen/steel SCB. I really like my SCB. I posted some pictures of my linen/steel SCB over at this post http://forums.tombihn.com/questions-about-bags-accessories/6712-small-medium-cafe-bag.html . You can compare your EDC items with mine.