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I Miss My Synapse

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  • Andymeg
    replied
    I have a Synapse, which I love, but sometimes it just wasn't large enough to take to work, especially if I was taking a laptop. So I bought a Brain Bag, which I never used because it was just too huge; I have since sold it. This year I got a Smart Alec for those heavy-carry days, and while I'm not enamored of its structure, it serves its purpose. I can fit my lunch and my purse in, as well as a laptop, for those days I walk to work. And I can see it being useful for short overnight trips as well. I love the water bottle pocket, and both side pockets are capacious, which I find very useful. And I have the Freudian Slip, which is great for folders and papers and my iPad.

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  • zutphen
    replied
    I agree with "dichroic" about how the SA shines as a travel bag.

    My wife used our first SA as her only bag on a quick business trip (two days, one night) a few months ago.

    She had a brain cell for her laptop; a freudian slip for her papers and pens; a snake charmer for cables, chargers, etc; a clear quarter packing cube for her toiletries. And she still had room for a "please don't talk to me" inflight book, her ipod, and of course a change of clothes.

    She also raved about how easy it was to get things out while it was under the seat.

    But it was her ease at getting through security that sold her completely.

    In other news, I have recently taken to using my SA as my day bag, almost in preference to my Synapse, and it all comes down to the freudian slip. That thing is essential!

    So, Stacybean, I would suggest: hold on to your SA & slip. I'm beginning to see that the gap between "too much stuff for a Synapse" and "not enough stuff for a Smart Alec" is smaller than I thought -- at least when no laptop is involved.

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  • pretzelb
    replied
    I have SA, Synapse, and Brain Bag (yikes I have a problem) and I think Synapse might be my favorite but I can't see using it for commuting back and forth to work with a laptop. Maybe I prefer the Synapse because I use it for vacation. The BB is so huge it really makes me not want to use it because it will be much too heavy if full. But if you need that much space then you need that much space. I do love the look of the SA the most. It just seems sleek to me. I had good luck with mine going to/from work when using a TB Brain Cell.

    I never tried it but you might have good luck with the SA as a carry on. It can hold a lot and if you pack clothes it won't be very heavy. Plus you can probably still fit it under the seat of a large plane. I've crammed my BB under there before.

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  • dichroic
    replied
    I liked my SA from the beginning, but didn't love it until I had traveled with it. Two reasons: it turns out the SA is perfectly designed to make it easy to access when stuff under (or pulled partway out from) an airline seat; and the sleek design is great for carrying around cities where pickpockets are an issue. I'd consider a Synapse as an everyday work bag if only it had a laptop section. Since it doesn't, I'd have to use a separate sleeve, which means it's that little bit more annoying to access the laptop. And on travel, I never seem to want *less* space!

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  • Stacybean
    replied
    UPDATE: A new Synapse arrived yesterday Black/Iberian to replace the Olive/ Solar that I had reclaimed from my partner , after a week of not bonding with the Smart Alec . QUESTION: Should I sell the Smart Alec with the Freudian Slip? Am I likely to regret it when those occasions arise when I really do need the greater volume? Opinions welcome! Thanks.

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  • trin0042
    replied
    Originally posted by Tlacltme View Post
    I feel for you, Stacybean. I haven't bit the bullet on a Smart Alec- yet?- but I'm looking as my 11 year old needs a bigger book bag and the Synapse just isn't quite big enough...but I'm a little leery. Have you considered jumping up to a Brain Bag? I don't have one but I've heard the compression straps cinch down well on it.
    I have all 3 backpacks. I would not recommend the Smart Alec for a book bag. The bag is pretty tall, but unless you stack your books on its sides, you won't really be maximizing all of the space. The problem I have with the SA and books, is that the book(s) will flop around in the bag because the bags tie down in the front won't fully secure the book to your back. The brain bag's tie downs are wonderful for this, the brain bag was just way too big for me to carry around daily. It was complete overkill.

    (I hope that made sense)

    My general usage for all 3 bags:
    brain bag: travel
    SA: daily laptop bag for work
    synapse: day/diaper bag

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  • Stacybean
    replied
    Moriond, I am going to develop a better relationship with my SA and Freudian Slip. Because of my Synapse sentiments I am convinced that Tom Bihn employs a neuromarketing guru on board to help with designs, .

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  • maverick
    replied
    hi stacybean!

    the smart alec was my first tom bihn bag, and both it and the synapse have been a joy to use! they are two different bags, and the way you organize your stuff in each is different. both are great, but different. the freudian slip will help you to organize, as will organizer pouches and maybe a clear quarter organizer cube depending on what you are carrying inside of the smart alec.

    let us know how it works out!

    Leave a comment:


  • Stacybean
    replied
    Again thanks for your help with Smart Alec appreciation. Yes, the side pockets are lovely as are the straps. Rob, I think you identified the two key issues: the overpacked Synapse vs. the capacious underpacked slightly enormous SA and the vast affection I have felt for the Synapse ( which is a little embarassing). Your description of falling crashingly, hopelessly in love with it was a comfort. I will explore the Side Effect and other accessory options. Tlactime, I ruled out the Brain Bag because it is much heavier and seemed like 3x what I require. I was unaware of the cinch straps. Best, Stacy
    Last edited by Stacybean; 05-17-2012, 08:00 PM.

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  • Tlacltme
    replied
    I feel for you, Stacybean. I haven't bit the bullet on a Smart Alec- yet?- but I'm looking as my 11 year old needs a bigger book bag and the Synapse just isn't quite big enough...but I'm a little leery. Have you considered jumping up to a Brain Bag? I don't have one but I've heard the compression straps cinch down well on it.

    Leave a comment:


  • zutphen
    replied
    Lots of great comments already! Thought I'd throw my $.02 in as well.

    I have a Synapse and a Smart Alec, both of which I got more or less at the same time just a few months ago. And because I have been splitting my time evenly between the two, I've been putting them both through their paces, "learning" them both.

    To answer your last question first: yes, my Smart Alec is growing on me, but not quite as quickly as my Synapse. I have an awed respect for my Smart Alec: it's gotten me through some very long days, and kept its cool, and helped me keep mine. But... I fell crashingly, hopelessly in love with my Synapse almost at first sight.

    I have recently been switching from one to the other practically every other day, depending on whether I need my laptop that day. If I do, that means Smart Alec w/ Brain Cell. Otherwise, it's All Synapse All The Time.

    Also, I've got a Side Effect filled with neccessary stuff (pens, bandaids, travel kleenex, ipod + earbuds, that sort of thing) that switches between them. It fits perfectly in the low middle pocket of the Synapse, and perfectly in the side "drink" pocket of the Alec. And I sometimes use a Freudian Slip (and more rarely a Snake Charmer as well) with the Smart Alec to replicate the seemingly infinite pockets of the Synapse.

    So: accessories may really help you.

    I think part of the issue you may be struggling with is: it's easier to "overpack" the Synapse in style than it is to travel light with the Smart Alec. A Smart Alec can seem like cavernous overkill after the compact roominess of the Synapse.

    They are indeed very different bags. I doubt my SA will ever be my everyday bag, unless I needed to travel with my laptop every day. In which case, it would be All Smart Alec All The Time, no question.

    ~Rob

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  • moriond
    replied
    Originally posted by Stacybean View Post
    I recently bought a Smart Alec with a Freudian Slip because I couldn't fit all of the things I feel compelled to shlep around in the Synapse. This seems so improbable after reading the posts of people packing for two week trips in it but i just couldn't warp the space time continuum enough, apparently. I gave the Synapse to my spouse who is delighted with it. I am not loving the Smart Alec. Certainly it is beautifully designed and manufactured but "backpack transference " has yet to occur. I am aware that this is a very high class problem.. Has anyone had a Smart Alec "grow on them"? Best, Stacy
    Hi Stacybean,

    I like your use of the term "backpack transference". First off, I don't know what you need to carry, but it may simply not be possible to fit what you need into the Synapse, as rabergnc states, because of size issues. In some threads, posters ask about fitting items such as shoes into their bags, and that's not something you'll be able to adjust. And there are often simply features of particular bags that really appeal to each of us, so that we look for something similar in other bags. This may be what you're feeling coming to the Smart Alec from the Synapse.

    It may be helpful for you to read some usage comparisons, so I'll link to the Recommendation for Teacher? thread. (Interestingly, the original poster in this thread was coming to this topic impressed with the great sling design features of the Buzz backpack, but needing something larger.) You mention that you have the Freudian Slip, and the ability to use that is one of the features that a lot of Smart Alec users love most about that bag. This makes great use of the vertical space of the bag, and provides some of the instant organization that historygal was commenting on.

    Another great design feature of the Smart Alec is the structure of the side pockets that rabergnc mentioned. They let you carry substantially larger items than in the Synapse side pockets -- a large water bottle would fit into each pocket -- but are designed so that nothing falls out despite the ease of access. (I had a Trager backpack -- Seattle made, great materials, even some of the same buckles and kiwi ballistic nylon that Tom Bihn uses, but less brilliantly designed; when you unzipped the side pockets where you stashed chargers, etc., they simply fell out. I mentioned this to Darcy some years ago by way of comparison with the Smart Alec, because the Trager bags are otherwise very well made, and Tom Bihn used to sell them, too, in their store. Darcy's reply was, "I know, that's one of the reasons we stopped carrying them.") I don't know whether any of these features will "resonate" with you, but I thought I'd point them out. I do use a Snake Charmer with the Smart Alec -- I think I only use this with the Smart Alec and the Aeronaut because of it's size, though it's squooshable to some extent.

    The Smart Alec also fits nicely under airplane seats in front of you, as long as they are the standard size seats without A/V equipment boxes. I've got to confess that I love my Synapse more, but this is a personal decision, and there's plenty to love about the Smart Alec. And in the end, you can always "borrow back" the Synapse from your husband and convince him that the Smart Alec would be great for him, as suggested.

    HTH. moriond
    Last edited by moriond; 05-17-2012, 11:45 AM. Reason: Corrected bag name in Snake Charmer reference

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  • Stacybean
    replied
    Thanks for your responses everyone. It is very helpful to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Stacy

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  • rabergnc
    replied
    I have both a Synapse and a Smart Alec. the Synapse was here first and I really liked (and still like) the bag. As you point out, it is not big enough sometimes for what needs to be carried - hence the Smart Alec came into my life. It did take a while to appreciate what can be carried in the bag and how useful the bag can be for a daily carried bag. The top-load feature can be troublesome at times for daily use, the ability to use a Freudian slip for folders, cables, chargers, etc combined with the wonderfully large side pockets contribute to what I really grew to like about the bag. It also gives me the flexibility to add-in things that crop up at work or on the road without having to wonder if the new things will fit. (The Smart Alec does sometimes tax my Tetris skills:>))

    I marvel at how much some people can get get into a Synapse while traveling. My clothing just does not shrink that much. With the Smart Alec, I have been able to travel with 3-4 days worth of clothing (more if I want to do laundry or have it done in a hotel - what can I say, I am lazy) plus the electronics and files I typically need when traveling both for work and fun. Anyway, give the Smart Alec a chance. If it does not grow on you, then you can sell it or return it (if within the time limits and it has not seen the outside world) or "convince" your spouse of how much better the Smart Alec would be for him/her and swap bags!!

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  • notmensa
    replied
    Hey @Stacybean,
    I had the Smart Alec and swapped it for the Synapse. I have an over shoulder bag, about the size of a small Cafe bag, which I use as well if I've got a little too much stuff.
    (Yes, I will replace the other (handmade in Australia) bag one day with TB bag!!!)

    Leave a comment:

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