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The Synapse backpack: Q & A

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    I have used my Plum Synapse for the past three days, and I'm in love! It has forced me to downsize from all of the stuff I carried around in the Smart Alec, which is much better for my back, and everything just works so well. And it's a gorgeous bag!

    However, waiting for it to arrive on the East Coast . . . it's just so hard to justify expedited shipping when it would only save a few days. It would be nice to have a wormhole or portal between DC and Seattle!

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      My navy/solar showed up today...beautiful as expected. It is smaller than I had anticipated, so I will try it for a few days and see. Ideally, I would like it to be about 30% larger than it is. Love all the pockets and organization.
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        I'm in the same boat as bltkmt. The bag is awesome -- the design, pocket placement, construction, materials -- everything is top notch. But I'm 6'0", and I think it might be a little small for me to use as an everyday bag. I knew it was on the small side before I ordered it (I have a Brain Bag and was looking for something for those days when I don't have such a load to carry), but since I've been following the development of the Synapse since it was first mentioned a couple years ago, I was hoping it would work out. I'm still going to think about it for another day or so, because it really is a great bag. If only it was 1/3 larger it would be perfect for me. Maybe a Synapse Grande?
        Last edited by gmich; 11-10-2009, 09:53 PM.

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          which accessories would best complement the synapse?

          i can't see putting anything other than a key strap in the side pockets and i didn't see rings in the top two pockets.

          would the side effect or 3d cube fit in the bottom pocket?
          small or medium organizer pouch attached to the main compartment rings?

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            After a few days I decided to post. I actually like the capacity-- I currently use a bag with even smaller internal capacity and a bunch of external mesh pockets that leave everything in them visible. Navy/Solar is just awesome and with the red ultrasuede pocket it is just such a cool color scheme.

            The small backpack I normally use is a much thinner ripstop fabric similar to dyneema with very flexible padded straps with a back yoke style configuration. When I tried the Synapse on I got the nagging sensation that the straps were too close to my neck (I'm 6 ft, 210 or so), especially with the sternum strap clipped, and that they were a little stiff and therefore difficult to get on. I was a little disappointed that I wasn't jumping for joy at how great it was. However, the Synapse was empty.

            I put it away in the closet and plan on using it the next time I need a pack. I remember having the same reaction to the Western Flyer, thinking that it was too small and the back wall wasn't flexible enough because of the backpack straps. Now I love my Western Flyer. Like all TB bags, I am sure the Synapse was designed for use, and when I put things in it the straps won't hug my neck because there will be weight in the bag and I will be glad for their width. And I will be thrilled at the structured stiffness of the bag when I need to get things out in a hurry, and for the protection that structure will give the items. And that the weight of the contents of the bag and the little bit of flexibility in the straps that will come with use will make it easy to get the pack on and off my shoulders, and I won't have to worry about things falling out (or being lifted) the way I do with my current pack. So as usual the bag looks great and I am looking forward to finding out all the great things about the Synapse that don't become apparent until after it is used, the way all TB bags are designed...
            Western Flyer (Crimson); 4Z Brain Cell; Swift (wife); Empire Builder (Black/Steel/Wasabi); Aeronaut (Black/Steel); Side Effect (Black), 3D Cube (Olive); lots of cubes/pouches/kit; Synapse (Navy/Solar); Smart Alec (Cardinal/Steel)

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              Originally posted by residue View Post
              which accessories would best complement the synapse?

              i can't see putting anything other than a key strap in the side pockets and i didn't see rings in the top two pockets.

              would the side effect or 3d cube fit in the bottom pocket?
              small or medium organizer pouch attached to the main compartment rings?
              you can definitely fit a mini organizer pouch (or organizer wallet) in the side pockets; that's where i carry my wallet. and there is room for more than one on each side, if you carry multiples.

              i seem to remember someone (maybe maverick?) saying that a 3D organizer cube will fit in the bottom pocket. i also seem to remember mention of a side effect, but don't recall the verdict, sorry.

              my synapse is upstairs and i'm stuck underneath two cats at the moment (heh), so i can't investigate further at this hour, but maybe someone else will know more!

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                Originally posted by bluedawg View Post
                you can definitely fit a mini organizer pouch (or organizer wallet) in the side pockets; that's where i carry my wallet. and there is room for more than one on each side, if you carry multiples.

                i seem to remember someone (maybe maverick?) saying that a 3D organizer cube will fit in the bottom pocket. i also seem to remember mention of a side effect, but don't recall the verdict, sorry.

                my synapse is upstairs and i'm stuck underneath two cats at the moment (heh), so i can't investigate further at this hour, but maybe someone else will know more!
                hi bluedawg,

                indeed, you can carry the 3d clear organize cube or the side effect in bottom pocket of the synapse.

                i've been using a large clear organizer pouch for carrying papers in the main compartment of the synapse.
                -m

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                  Synapse + MBP Unibody+ Vertical Cache UPDATE

                  Hi All,

                  I just received my vertical 4Z cache and wanted to let all of you know that it is a better fit in the Synapse! I think because the top goes in more since this is where the lip is. So I can fit that along with my kindle and a programming book! There is no stress on the zippers at all! So there you have it If I have time I'll make a video to show you all.

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                    OK, so I've changed my tune on the Synapse. When I got it I immediately liked the design and feel of it, but when I put it on it just seemed so small. I've been using the Brain Bag on a regular basis for the past couple years, and compared to that, the Synapse seemed tiny. But once I actually tried loading it up, I realized that it could hold quite a lot and still maintain a sleek profile.

                    So now I'm sitting on an Amtrak train, my Synapse on the seat next to me, and I'm realizing what a great bag it is. I'm carrying a 12 inch tablet pc (in a Soft Cell), two folders full of papers, a book, pens, phone, an Archos PMP, charging cables for the laptop, and a few other odds and ends.

                    I had to walk about a half mile to get to the train, and the load felt light and well balanced. So contrary to my first impressions, it looks like the Synapse is going to work out well for me after all. I guess Tom knows best!

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                      Yes, after a week with my Synapse I feel the same way. While it seems small when you first see it up close, once you load it up you are amazed at what you just fit in this "small" bag! It has become my daily commuting bag, and I look forward to bringing it with me on a Thanksgiving trip to Los Angeles to see my family. Great bag!
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                        after a week of usage, i've noticed a few things -

                        there's an opening between the water bottle pocket and the bottom of the two side pockets. i guess this is intended.

                        the straps tend to make the bag sit up high on the back. i actually like this but it feels different. i wonder if this contributes to the "small" feeling. i'll have to experiment with the strap lengths more.

                        sometimes the center pocket cord pulls get in the way when closing the side pockets. not a big deal.

                        the navy color looks great.
                        Last edited by residue; 11-16-2009, 10:00 AM.

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                          These posts are helpful. I'm thinking of buying a Synapse but I'm on the fence. People seem to like it but not love it like the Aeronaut -- or at least that's my impression.

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                            Originally posted by dclawyer View Post
                            These posts are helpful. I'm thinking of buying a Synapse but I'm on the fence. People seem to like it but not love it like the Aeronaut -- or at least that's my impression.
                            I'm not sure about that - too early to make such a statement. This is only my 2nd TB bag - first was the Ego. I love them both, and they both have strengths and weaknesses. The Synapse is currently my daily carry bag, and I love it. However, if it were offered in a slightly larger size, I would grab that one as well. It seems like the Smart Alec is the next size of TB backpack, but the style puts me off a bit.
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                              I'm in love with mine, as as I keep using it I keep marvelling at how wonderful the design is!

                              What is not apparent from any of the information is that the main (back) compartment is divided from the front pockets by basically a flat Dyneema wall. The water bottle pocket and the side pockets do not intrude at all into the main compartment. I was baffled when I saw the first pictures that the pocket inside the main compartment was against the water bottle holder - I wanted that pocket flat against my back - but this is no issue at all.

                              The water bottle holder is magnificent. I carry a 1 litre (approx 1 quart) heavy glass bottle to work twice a week, with my milk for breakfast. The empty bottle weighs about 1 kg (2 lb) all by itself. I tried to put away my empty bottle on Friday last week and couldn't - because Wednesday's bottle was still in the pocket! I'd never noticed it at all the following 2 days! I am very impressed that I was able to lose such a large object in the bag and never notice. I never even noticed the extra weight!

                              The divider between the bottle holder and the side pockets is a mesh type material. I lined the water bottle holder with a large Stuff Sack which will contain any minor leaks or condensation.

                              The Synapse is the commuter bag of my dreams.

                              Audrey

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                                Absolutely love it. The Synapse is the backpack I've been waiting for.

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