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Looking at a Synapse 25 vs 19 for gym, work/school, and dance bag

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    Looking at a Synapse 25 vs 19 for gym, work/school, and dance bag

    Hello All,

    This is my first time posting and I only found Tom Bihn a little while ago. I have already ordered a sidekick and a 3D clear organizer cube which come today!!!! I do have a question though about the S25 vs the S19 and while I've been digging way back in the forum, I can't find an answer. I am looking for a backpack/bag that will be my everyday bag during the week. I'm about to start grad school this fall and that promises to make me carry a good amount of stuff, but in addition to that, I go to the gym in the morning, get ready there, go to work, then go to class, and then in the evening I have ballroom dance. I don't have a car which makes it so that I have to carry everything I need for the day on me and I hate having a bunch of bags especially on public transportation. When I found Tom Bihn, I got really excited because I might be able to finally fix my problem. Here is the list of things I plan to carry with me:

    A change of clothes for work/school (including an extra pair of shoes)
    Toiletries to shower and get ready at the gym (hopefully the 3D clear organizer)
    My laptop
    A notebook and pencil case
    A water bottle
    A lunch box
    My dance shoes
    Wallet, phone, keys
    And basic everyday supplies

    I know this is a lot, but I really don't want to have to carry both a backpack and a duffel which is what I had to do in my undergrad. From what I can see on the website, it seems like the S25 might be a smarter choice for me, but my concern is that it might be a little too close to the Aeronaut 30 which I want to get for one bag travel. Would it make sense to have both the Aeronaut 30 and the S25? Thank you in advance for everyone's help and recommendations!!!!

    Hi and welcome!

    If you're in the US and can take advantage of the cost effective shipping & returns, the normal suggestion is to order them all and test pack them in your home - then send the rest back. Please read the FAQ about returns, etc. to ensure you know the details...

    With that being said, the S19 would probably be too small for you.
    I would suggest trying out both the S25 and the Brain Bag (36L). The BB might work better because there are two big sections. If you put your clothes in packing cubes and/or Eagle Creek packing folders, you can layer in the laptop, lunch, etc. and use the smaller outer pockets for small things you carry all the time + water bottle. The BB has the advantage of having cinch straps so that you can tighten up the bag if it's not full all the way.

    I love the A30 but it is more of a duffel first and backpack second... if that appeals, then test pack that too, but since you're on foot and/or mass transit, a true backpack would probably be more comfortable.
    Lots of people share single-bag-travel stories with the S25, BB, and A30 - so it's partly what volume you want to carry, what carry method you prefer, and whether your packing style is 2D or 3D. A more 2D travel style would put you closer to the TriStar or Western Flyer.

    The SmartAlec is a top loading 26L backpack (which I also love) but it's discontinued.. but they pop up on our trade thread (if you're a registered Forum member) and on Ebay.

    Good luck and keep us posted on what you evaluate and what you end up with!
    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 think that an s19 wouldn't hold everything you need it to.
      I think an s25 would be a better choice, maybe paired with one of those folding "envelopes" for your change of clothes.

      I don't have an Aeronaut, so I can't say how similar they are. If they're too similar in size for you to want them both, I'd lean toward purchasing the one you want for your every day usage. (whichever bag is going to get the most use is the one you'd want to get).

      I have an s19 and an s25, my other "one bag" luggage is from a different company. I bought their bags long before I encountered TB, and so far haven't had a reason to replace them.

      After I posted this, I saw G42's comment.
      I think a Brain Bag might actually be ideal. It's a bit bigger than what you probably need, but you could compress it down with the side clips and make it thinner. Then you'd have the extra volume for travel.
      Last edited by Kelly S; 07-27-2018, 01:33 PM.


        Thank you so much for your suggestions! I'm going to go try and find videos on the BB to see how it packs and what fits in it. Does anyone have any pictures of what they put in their BB?
        3DOC,SK,SCB,A30, DLBP



          That's a link to moderator maverick's video about both the S25 and the BB which may help in your decision.


            Here are photos of what I put in my S25:


            For a reference point, the clothes are men's size L/XL (I'm 6'2, 200ish). (The pile in the bottom left DID NOT go in the S25. It went on me.)

            I note that there are only a few S25's left in Alphaviolet, in case you are a fan of purple. The Olive is a cool color, too.