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Two issues with S25: capacity, and back panel. Which of the Smart Alec or Brain Bag?

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    Two issues with S25: capacity, and back panel. Which of the Smart Alec or Brain Bag?

    I got an S25 and several TB accessories a while back. It's a very comfortable bag when packed lightly, but I found that:
    1) As soon as I add a puffy or jacket, or a tiny bit of grocery, it puffs out and loses comfort
    2) This would in theory make it a good summer bag, when I don't need to carry spare warmth...
    3) ... but the lack of rear panel ventilation makes this the exact opposite, unfortunately

    I've had a ton of bag with less capacity than the S25 but with much superior back panels. I wish these were improved...

    Here's what I'd like to solve with a replacement:
    * Better ability to carry slightly larger items e.g. a pair of headphones + a puffy + a packing cube with clothes for a night
    * Better back-panel ventilation

    I'm looking at both the SA and the Brain Bag. The Smart Alec SEEMED bulky on the pics and reviews... but the website's dimension for it are smaller than the S25, and its general shape looks to make it much easier to fold up a jacket inside.
    The Brain Bag looks cool... but may have a little too much functionality for me. If they made it with only one main compartment I'd love one!

    Now of course I COULD go there and check it out... but the shop is closed on Saturdays and only open on weekends during normal work hours So I have no way to test them out...

    FYI every-day carry:
    -- Year-round
    15" laptop in its cache
    Power brick + cable + USB cable in a 3D mesh packing cube
    USB power brick + USB cable
    2 x USB sticks, 1 x pen, 2 x USB cables, 1 x USB wallplug
    2 x grocery paper bags
    Papers (I occasionally move bills, letters etc... around)
    1 x rainjacket (Marmot Precip)
    -- Winter
    1 x Puffy (North Face Thermoball usually)
    Gloves, scarf, hat (sometimes carried on me, but I want to be able to stow them)

    I could also move away from the brand altogether. And in fact, since I got my S25, I went through the Wandered Prvk 21 and the Greenrom136 Rainmaker (medium). But neither were as comfy as the S25, though they did carry more, in a less cumbersome way.
    I'm hoping one of the other 2 TB laptop bags get me there

    Thanks for any tips y'all!
    Last edited by pott; 02-18-2017, 01:44 AM.

    The S25 shines if you have a lot of smallish items for the front-pannel pocket plus flat shaped items (laptop, paperwork and so on) for the main compartment. When using the S25 I have my extra layers in the lower compartment. I can fit a lightweight warm layer and a waterproof in there.
    The SA is a different bag in many ways. Where the Synapses become egg-shaped when too full the SA has never done that with me. I have used both around an equal amound of time I would astimate.

    Differences to me are:
    S25 looks better underpacked where the SA handeles fully loaded better. A half empty SA looks hungry.
    S25 has nativly one organisational pocket more than the SA which can be equalised with an Upper Modular Pocket
    The position of the waterbottle pocket (in my opinion) is way better on the Synapse. But that is of cause due to the different desings.
    Through the Modular Pockets the SA can ad substantial packing space. The Synapse does not have this option.
    Safty: the well organised frontpannel of the Synapse is very "open" as in easy to reach which could be more easily get pickpocketed than the very body near zippers on the SA.

    For me I have said it before and I say it again: the Synapses are briliant and as long as I have more than one backpack in the house I will have both a Smart Alec and a Synpase 25. But if for some reason I would have to pair down to just one backpack ( ) than the Smart Alec for the higher versitality would be it.

    Hope this helps a bit
    “Ankh-Morpork people considered that spelling was a sort of optional extra. They believed in it in the same way they believed in punctuation; it didn't matter where you put it so long as it was there.”

    By Sir Terence David John Pratchett from The Truth


      I haven't used a Smart Alec but I traded my s25 for a brain bag and love it. I do think about cutting out the internal divider so it just has one big compartment, will probably do that soon.

      If you're considering other brands, I would look at Goruck gr1 or gr2.


        I'd have a GR1 already if not for, again, the complete lack of back-panel ventilation

        Thanks both for your feedback. I don't ever carry a waterbottle, and I have less smaller-things to fit in (and if I do, I can put them in a Q-kit and suspend it in otherwise unused space), so it does look like both of the SA and BB would solve the issues I had organization-wise at least, due to the larger main compartments.