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Future of Synapse

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    I also hope the Synapse sticks around - the Synapse 19 is the best general purpose backpack for me. (I've considered the Synapse 25 for travel but I don't think it's big enough to be a good idea.) I lobbied for the Luminary 12 to get a mesh back so I could use it in the summer, but it's going away, so I'll stick with the Synapse 19 for warm-weather use.
    I like the clamshell opening and the larger capacities of the Syniks, but I really don't want the extra bulk of the luggage-handle-pass-through on the back. I like the laptop compartment idea but I'm not sure it would be useful in practice for me.


      It will be a real shame if the Synapses are discontinued. My S25 is truly the one bag that I use for many occasions as I only have one backpack. I usually dont carry a laptop to work but I leave the cache in the bag because it keeps my paper printouts well. If I am heading to the gym or ultimate practice after work, out comes the cache, and in goes a shoe bag, CQPC, a 32oz bottle and shower essentials. If I am travelling with the family, out comes the cache and frame, and in goes the medium tri-star packing cube to keep one set of clothing change for the 4 of us, medical kit, and other stuff that you want handy for a long haul flight. The clean aesthetic doesnt make me look like I am heading out for a hike, when I am heading to the office (banking).

      The Synapse isnt specialized enough to be better than specific purpose built bags (hiking bags, leather backpacks for boardrooms, clamshell bags for travel etc). But pound for pound, the Synapse - with its inbuilt organization and weight, especially in Halcyon, has got to be one of the best jack of all trades bag out there.


        Originally posted by windy city red View Post
        [...] But pound for pound, the Synapse - with its inbuilt organization and weight, especially in Halcyon, has got to be one of the best jack of all trades bag out there.
        exactly my thoughts

        quoting myself from the review page of Synapse 25 : "it traveled to South Asia as main bag / went on camping for a festival (it didn't carry the light tent but could) / has been used as the (only) picnic bag for 4 while hiking / and for picnic for 2+drawing stuff bag for a walk in a park ;"
        just a Bihnion here


          For one bag travel, I've used many different bags in the past starting with the Osprey Porter 46, Osprey Farpoint 40, Goruck GR1, etc.

          The Osprey bags were comfortable, large and durable. However, they lacked organization and bulged out too much. It was always flagged on smaller airlines in Europe and Asia hence, negating the reason for one bag travel.

          The Goruck GR1 is a popular bag for different reasons. It's built with robust materials and can handle heavy loads with nice large shoulder straps. The problem is that it lacks organization. The front pocket is useless. There are no water bottle pockets. It's just one large dark bucket. Goruck make their bags with 1,000D Cordura which is just over-kill for a backpack. It causes pilling on anything you wear due to its abrasiveness.

          While the tough guy aesthetics was cool to look at for maybe 15 minutes, I felt slightly uncomfortable going through airport security in certain countries and walking around in places where the military isn't viewed favorably.

          That said, I'm now looking to pick up a Synapse 25. I've heard nothing but great things about TB and I love how he manages his business -- with a level of passion you just don't see anymore in the age of the sterile sameness in big box stores and e-commerce sites. I really hope the Synapse will continue to be made.


            Originally posted by Chicagoan View Post
            I've owned 2 incarnations of the S19: one made from Cordura nylon with the original shoulder straps, and a newer 525 ballistic nylon version with the edgeless straps.

            It is my go-to Bihn bag. I carry it to work. I take it hiking. I pack it full for weekend overnight trips.

            I did purchase an SN22 to test pack at home. My problems were this: I only use tablet (not laptop) computers, and never carry rolling luggage (rendering the pass-through sleeve useless). The frame did not sit well against my back, and added enough additional weight that I would no longer consider the SN22 a lightweight backpack. While I appreciated the extra 3L of capacity, the backpack on the general whole provided more <gestures broadly> than I needed, and it was sent back for a refund.

            For me, the best improvement to the Synapse line (carried over to the Synik) was correction of how the center water bottle pocket was constructed, allocating more space to the right and left side pockets. With those 2 side pockets now able to accommodate a much larger variety of items than they could previously, it's an extremely versatile bag.

            For me, the S19 has more than enough internal organization and I prefer it for camping trips, because the multiple pockets make it easy to find whatever I need in a dark tent at night. I don't know what point I'm trying to make other than - after having tried other backpacks (even within the Tom Bihn brand) - I always come back to the original Synapse 19.

            I would imagine I'm not the only one who feels that way, either.
            These are my thoughts exactly. I've used a ballistic S19 for over a year and it's the perfect bag in every way for my needs. I thought the SN22 was going to make the experience even better but I realized I didn't really need the laptop pocket, luggage pass through or the back frame. I do like the bigger zippers and the new shoulder straps and also how the center pocket is triangular rather than square like you mentioned. I really like the bag and the thoughtfulness in the construction but it I still preferred the S19. I ordered another S19 in Black Halcyon.
            Last edited by ROYT; 07-07-2020, 07:53 AM.


              Future of Synapse

              [mention]ROYT [/mention]I have a bad back (spinal stenosis) so everyday carry is a careful balance between what I NEED to carry and what I WANT to carry. The Synik was literally putting more weight on my back, and the additional features were lost on someone who doesn’t even own a laptop or rolling luggage. The S19, especially with the upgraded shoulder straps, was a game changer when I bought my first one because I could keep my things organized without more built-in organization than I needed and its design allowed me to pack items where they made the most sense personally. When a bag company starts adding in more pen loops...microfiber pockets...and tablet pockets, etc. than a person needs, they not only add material weight to make those features, but literally are choosing where your items should be placed in your bag (some serious side eye directed toward Patagonia for that one). I knew Tom Bihn put legitimate thought into the design of their bags from the moment I noticed the water bottle pocket in the Synapse was centered. My bad back appreciates their bags are enabling without being presumptive.

              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
              Last edited by Chicagoan; 07-07-2020, 08:39 AM.
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                I actually prefer non-clamshell designs. I am happy to hear that the Synapse doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon. I wouldn't be sad if the Guide's Edition was it's "replacement" as the de-facto version though. That thing is pretty awesome.


                  So here is a two page discussion about the future of the Synapses - obviously the bags are well loved - and just unusual silence from TB. I am really surprised that Darcy has not commented so far.

                  Just to add another voice, I use my S25 pretty much daily, and would really be sad if the Synapses would be replaced by the Synik, which I have no interest in.
                  Last edited by Artdime; 07-10-2020, 04:43 AM.
                  Today is a good day for a good day!


                    I have a Synik 30 coming for when I pack camera gear BUT it won’t be replacing my Synapse 25 for normal travel. Long live the S25!


                      They seem to be busy, someone posted on the FB group that her shipment had gone astray and the Crew had taken an unusually long time to reply to her inquiry. (They made it right for her.) I imagine it’s crazy what with now making masks alongside bags.

                      They did just post a long list of discontinued items so I think the Synapse is good for this round, at least.


                        Hi everyone

                        Yes, the TB crew is awfully busy... they are effectively running two business now: bags and masks.... whilst keeping up with all the safety requirements needed for their workplace lives and their personal lives.
                        Everything has been upended by the pandemic for everyone, so it's impacting a small 47ish person business like TB as well.

                        It's hard for me to type/verbalize empathy, so please forgive my clumsy attempt -
                        I trust that the business philosophy underlying TB (you can read it here https://www.tombihn.com/pages/company-philosophy ) and their past actions show their commitment to continuing to support and communicate with all of us in the Forum, their customers, and the greater community - it may just may take a little longer than before.

                        These are trying times for most (all?) people and it's mentally exhausting for many to keep moving forward whilst wishing things were just 'back to normal'... hopefully we can all be patient with each other and find our moments of fun and peace and purpose and joy.
                        I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...


                          I feel like it's a good business move to have two options at the different backpack sizes. Two different price points on the small backpack side and two more on the large backpack side gives a good set of options for customers to find something that fits their needs. I was going to order a Synik 22, but realized I really don't want a clamshell opening and I never use rolling luggage. Also a full laptop compartment is overkill for my 10" tablet that I carry with me. Going with the cheaper version that suited my needs better has been perfect! I was so happy to see the Wilderness edgeless strap S19s available again a few weeks ago. It's a perfect pack!

                          If one of the two lines (Synapse or Synik) proved vastly more popular than the other one over a long enough timescale, I'm sure TB would have to give serious consideration to retiring the less popular design, but I seriously doubt that's going to happen. Who knows, but I hope the Synapses stick around!


                            There's no plans to retire the Synapse 19 or Synapse 25, and I can't imagine we'd do that anytime soon. They're classics, just like the Brain Bag, in our minds.
                            Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

                            Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.


                              Originally posted by Darcy View Post
                              There's no plans to retire the Synapse 19 or Synapse 25, and I can't imagine we'd do that anytime soon. They're classics, just like the Brain Bag, in our minds.

                              Hi Darcy,

                              Thanks for providing an answer and a sigh of relief.

                              Any updates to the colors for the Synapse in production?



                                Thanks for the update Darcy and a big sigh of relief.

                                We hope you and the TB crew are staying safe and healthy. The bags are worth waiting for, especially if putting yourselves first makes them adds a little delay.