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Just ordered two TB bags to try, would love some feedback

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  • Ilkyway
    replied
    Originally posted by garrily View Post
    The SA also has that elastic pocket at the bottom front of the main pocket, which makes 6 total.
    since I left the quite bigger version of the same concept in the main compartment of the Synapse out of the count too, the difference stays: The Smart Allec has ONE pocket less than the Synapses.

    jhnmason you are not the first one who has expressed, that the Synapses have FAR more organisation than the Smart Allec. And I too feel exactly that way, here is why:

    With the pockets of the Synapses you get the all over space of the backpack "cut" in piceces much more than with the SA because the pockets the Synapses have are roomier. So if you do not go by pocket count but by volume the space in the Synapses gets more devided than with the Smart Alec. That huge roomy main compartment of the SA just screems: make me your own as you like! Whereas the Synapses say: hey, let me take care of this for you.

    Ilkyway

    Leave a comment:


  • Fulton
    replied
    Just ordered two TB bags to try, would love some feedback

    I can vouch for the S25 for travel as a single bag. I have used it with an A45 end packing cube and some stuff sacks. It swallowed a change of clothes, toiletries, and paperwork. A snake charmer or a stuff sack fits the bottom pocket and holds "in flight" necessities like some snacks and a book.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    Leave a comment:


  • jhnmason
    replied
    Interesting comparison and, to be sure, you are both correct. I guess I just feel that the pockets on the S25 just so easily meld into my EDC, when testing packing, for work, that it seemed like a perfect match. I feel like the SA would likely be more versatile in the long run but would require more accessories, at least a Freudian Slip and additional organizers, to fit my EDC needs quite as well. I may still spring for a Freudian slip for the S25 but I could probably get away without it. I'm just wondering how well the S25 would work as a personal item, especially on a short trip, as my only bag. I am thinking the SA would work better for this, with the one large compartment, but I am sure that I would get a surprising amount of clothes into the S25.

    Leave a comment:


  • garrily
    replied
    The SA also has that elastic pocket at the bottom front of the main pocket, which makes 6 total.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ilkyway
    replied
    People keep saying that the Synapses have SO many more pockets. But to my counting it is just one pocket more. The leayout is totally different of cause:
    Synapse:
    1. Bottom Pocket
    2. Side pocket left
    3. Side pocket right
    4. Bottlepocket
    5. Small Stuff pocket above bottelpocket
    6. Main Pocket

    Smart Alec:
    1. Side pocket left
    2. Side Pocket right
    3. Lidpocket left
    4. Lidpocket right
    5. Main pocket.

    Both have a top-open devider in the main pocket so I did not count that in. Still: I know that they are TOTALLY different and I wount part with either of them but this "pocket-count" is in my head for quite a while now and I thought I share it.

    Ilkyway

    Leave a comment:


  • jhnmason
    replied
    Received both bags today and am, first, extremely impressed and pleased with the quality of both. Also interesting to see the contrast between the two sort of bag philosophies as the SA is truly one huge compartment while the S25 seems to have some pockets for just about everything. Originally I was thinking the SA seemed more of a fit for me because I'd like some flexibility, for different purposes, and I can add more accessories and options to the SA. With that said, now having them in person, I'm thinking the S25 might be more for me. The pockets just seem to suck up my test packing of EDC for work quite well and I love how the exterior of the S25 looks.

    Decisions, decisions...here is to thinking that just getting the bags would make the decision easier. I also did order some accessories, a SE, few travel sacks, and small organizing pouches to help things along. Thinking I may just need to go with my gut on this one as realistically carrying it to work will be the main use while traveling and others will be second.

    Leave a comment:


  • nukediver
    replied
    Ok, so I sit down to catch up on my forum reading, and I'm sipping some water out of this!

    Click image for larger version

Name:	RU Tervis.JPG
Views:	1
Size:	307.6 KB
ID:	297317

    I live just up the road from New Brunswick, in Metuchen. My first Masters degree came from Rutgers New Brunswick. I think Tom needs to come out with some Scarlet/Black bags with Iberian Dyneema interiors

    Leave a comment:


  • jhnmason
    replied
    Thanks for the recs - I ordered a side effect, a couple sizes of the Travel Stuff Sack, and a couple of small Organizer pouches to get me started. I can always return some once I get them and find out what else might be helpful.

    Also, small world - I am also a Rutgers New Brunswick graduate.

    Leave a comment:


  • maverick
    replied
    Originally posted by jhnmason View Post
    maverick,

    Is this the organizer pouch you were talking about? What size travel stuff sack for a rain jacket? Thanks for all the suggestions so far, it is greatly appreciated.
    Hi jhnmason!

    I have used the Mini Padded Organizer Pouch for earphones, a Small for a hard drive or battery or a number of other electronics, the one sized for a SuperDrive with a SuperDrive.

    The 3D Organizer Cube comes in Clear, Mesh and Fabric. I have one in my bike pannier for a charger (for the battery to the Bionx motor), bike multitool, spare inner tube, and I'm not sure what else is in there. I have a mesh one to house a tiny power strip and travel power adapters (or at least I did -- I think someone may have borrowed it). And I have a clear one for travel, though I have been using the Clear Quarter Packing Cube for toiletries when I travel. It isn't technically 1 liter, but it is generally not an issue. I put liquids on one side, and non-liquids on the other side.

    The size of your rain jacket will determine the size of the Travel Stuff Sack. A Patagonia Torrentshell will go nicely inside a Size 3, as an example.


    Originally posted by nukediver View Post
    now I live up in Middlesex County.
    Oh wow, nukediver -- that brings back some wonderful memories! I went to Rutgers in New Brunswick back in the day...
    Last edited by maverick; 09-07-2015, 07:02 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • nukediver
    replied
    Originally posted by jhnmason View Post
    nukediver,

    First, oddly enough it looks like we have the exact same lunch bag. Go figure, which works out well for me, may help guide me towards the SA as a better choice overall. I live in Southern Jersey, Atlantic County, about 25 minutes from AC if that is helpful, might be an easy way to guide me one way or another.

    Here is another question then - if I was going towards the Smart Alec, other than the Vertical Freudian Slip, what would you folks recommend for essential organization? Seems like the Side Effect is a popular option.
    I grew up west of you in Cumberland County so I'm totally familiar with where you are, although now I live up in Middlesex County.

    As for your question on essential organization, I echo maverick's comments. I keep a Side Effect in whatever bag I carry. It holds my wallet, phones, Field Notes notebook, a pen, lip balm, and keys. It's great to grab when I need to run an errand at lunch and don't want to schlep my whole bag. Also, Tom Bihn makes many many different sizes of Organizer Pouches and Stuff Sacks, which are a fantastic addition to any bag. Between the pouches and the o-rings in every bag, I'm so organized now it's ridiculous :-D

    Leave a comment:


  • jhnmason
    replied
    maverick,

    Is this the organizer pouch you were talking about? What size travel stuff sack for a rain jacket? Thanks for all the suggestions so far, it is greatly appreciated.

    Leave a comment:


  • maverick
    replied
    Originally posted by jhnmason View Post
    Here is another question then - if I was going towards the Smart Alec, other than the Vertical Freudian Slip, what would you folks recommend for essential organization? Seems like the Side Effect is a popular option.
    I carry the Side Effect with me daily. I wear it around my waist, and it is, for all practical purposes, and extension of my belly!

    Seriously, I would be lost without it! Right now, I have inside it:
    In one interior pocket of the main compartment: my lip balm, a small pen with a clip, a little tape measure.
    In the other interior pocket of the main compartment: a pocket knife with a clip, a flash light with a clip, a lighter, a multitool, earplugs.
    In the open area of the main compartment: a laser pointer, wallet, wired earphones, bluetooth earphones (each in their own case), field notes, and sometimes my keys.
    In the outside pocket: a cleaning cloth for my glasses.

    The Side Effect can also slip inside the front bottom pocket of the Synapse 25, or in the main or a side compartment of the Smart Alec, but the manner in which I use it, it really is best around my waist.

    Some ideas for accessories -- 3D organizer cubes or the Snake Charmer is great for larger adapters or cables, if you have more than what might fit into the mesh pocket of the Freudian Slip. I place various adapters into a Small Organizer Pouch, which I put into one of the mesh pockets of the Freudian Slip. I have placed those items directly into the mesh pocket, but I find it easier to just pull out the Organizer Pouch, unzip it, and find what I'm looking for. A just in case rain jacket can go nicely into a Stuff Sack.

    Leave a comment:


  • jhnmason
    replied
    maverick,

    From what I've seen it looks like I may want to pick up the Vertical Freudian slip, one thing I don't like about my current bags is the complete lack of organization once so many things are tossed into the bag. The lunch bag is neoprene and thusly extremely flexible so it shouldn't add too much bulk, it has a little insulation, and holds my lunch which is generally in some sort of glass container. With what you've said it sounds like the SA might be a bit better overall for this purpose. As far as traveling goes - I'm right there with you, I'd dig trying to take just one bag if possible. I'm visiting my sister in Minneapolis this November and I'm going to try to make these my only bag for the trip and given that it is only a few days, should be possible based off what you've said which is encouraging.

    nukediver,

    First, oddly enough it looks like we have the exact same lunch bag. Go figure, which works out well for me, may help guide me towards the SA as a better choice overall. I live in Southern Jersey, Atlantic County, about 25 minutes from AC if that is helpful, might be an easy way to guide me one way or another.

    Here is another question then - if I was going towards the Smart Alec, other than the Vertical Freudian Slip, what would you folks recommend for essential organization? Seems like the Side Effect is a popular option.

    Leave a comment:


  • maverick
    replied
    Dear jhnmason,

    Welcome to the foum! I have carried multiple iterations of both the Synapse 25 as well as the Smart Alec backpack. The Smart Alec was my TOM BIHN backpack, and the current Synapse 25 is my most recent.

    EDC -- as nukediver mentioned, the Smart Alec is able to swallow most things you throw at it, and it should accommodate what you've described nicely. I am not familiar with the lunch box you mention, but the Synapse 25 can accommodate different lunch boxes in different ways. I like putting a glassware spill proof container inside a tyvek insulated "brown bag" (just in case it leaks) in the front bottom pocket of the Synapse 25. I have one that fits this pocket nicely. If you want to take a hot lunch, there are a few leak proof thermoses that fit in either front side pocket. You may also want to organize some of the items you have described (cords, chargers, pens, pencils, paperwork, small notebook, other random things) in the Vertical Freudian Slip, regardless of which of the two backpacks you're carrying.

    Misc Use -- both bags should nicely hold what you're describing.

    Travel -- depending on how light you're willing to travel, you could actually have the Smart Alec or the Synapse 25 as your only travel bag. I like to pack 3 changes of clothes (3 pairs of socks, 3 pairs of underwear, 3 t-shirts), 1 or 2 pairs of pants, one warm mid layer if the weather requires it. If I am wearing a warm layer or jacket, I like to make sure they will fit into my bag if I want to put them in there. Then I do laundry at my destination. This generally works. If this seems a foreign concept, just consider that there was a time when I would pack for a 2 week trip with 14 t-shirts, 14 pairs of underwear, etc. !

    As you've understood, the Smart Alec gives you more open space, and you can organize it with packing cubes, stuff sacks, and organizer pouches. The Synaspe 25 on the other hand has some built in organization.

    Even though the two have a similar capacity, I find that there are times that I want to use one or the other.

    Let us know how each works out for you!

    Leave a comment:


  • nukediver
    replied
    Welcome to the forums!

    My two cents. I have both of those bags, and love both of those bags. However, it sounds like the Smart Alec may work better for you. Here's what my experience has been.

    I find the Synapse 25 is really really good as an office EDC if what you carry is usually limited to flat things, like a laptop, some papers, an ipad, etc. The pockets are great for organizing the other stuff - wallet, keys, phone, various toiletry items, etc. You can't beat the central water bottle pocket either. My problem comes when I want to get my lunch in there as well. The lunch bag I use (a Built Neoprene one) doesn't really fit without making the bag bulge awkwardly. I usually end up carry it separately.

    You're right about the Smart Alec - it's great if you want to customize how to carry a variety of things. And I cannot praise it enough when it comes to travel. I have a Cache for my MacBook Air, which rests nicely against the back of the bag. When I don't have my MacBook with me, I use it to carry my iPad and Kindle, thus keeping them both out of harm's way. The ability of the Smart Alec to easily swallow a packing cube of clothing cannot be understated either, which is why mine is in heavy rotation as a travel bag (I'm using it now on a weekend getaway). I also find the Smart Alec accommodates a variety of sized and shaped lunch bags easily, and can continue to swallow whatever you put in it. The bungee helps to compress the bag when it's not full, so it won't look as bulky. Also? The Smart Alec has a flat bottom, so the bag stays upright when you set it on the ground. And the Upper and Lower Modular Pockets are greatly useful too.

    Do't get me wrong, the Synapse 25 is good for travel too, but I find it requires a deal more thought as far as what goes where - the Smart Alec is more forgiving in that department. And if you cycle to work a lot, the Synapse has a lower profile.

    Ok, so I'm not sure I led you in one direction or the other, but hopefully some of this will help?? And now I see you're in NJ - had you posted this prior to your purchase, I could have met you somewhere for a little show and tell? Whereabouts are you?

    Leave a comment:

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