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Short person, big laptop

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    Short person, big laptop

    Hi folks,

    I'm 5'0", with ~16-17" torso, but NOT slight of build. I have the misfortune of lugging around a 16" 2019 Macbook Pro for work and occasionally a 14" Thinkpad for personal use. I'm looking for a pack that has enough space to carry the two laptops, big ol' noise cancelling headphones, and a water bottle on flights, but wouldn't look too out of place as an everyday carry when I'm on-call.

    The Synik 22 would be my ideal backpack (planning for next laptops to be 13"), but even if I didn't use the laptop sleeve, I wasn't sure if the 15C cache would fit.
    Tied for second place are the Synapse 25 and Techonaut 30 (maybe with a padded hip belt...), but I'm worried that either of these packs would look ridiculous on my frame and/or be very uncomfortable.

    Can the hive mind help me pick the better pack for my needs?
    Last edited by tacodelmarmot; 11-20-2021, 01:25 PM.

    #2
    Welcome to the Forums tacodelmarmot !

    I'm 5'4" and keep my packs under 20" so I haven't kept the S25/SN30. I really like the S19/SN22 at 16", the Brain Bag at 18.1", and the Paragon at 17.9".
    The two Shadow Guides are also under 20" from the shoulder straps to the base (the dimension on the product page includes the pocket this is above the strap), but I haven't used them with two laptops/work because they are top loading black holes that I feel work better for personal travel.

    Here's the TB laptop cache & built in laptop area dimension chart https://www.tombihn.com/pages/dimensions-specs
    You can always use a separate case for either/both laptops and contact the fine folks in Customer Service for specific laptop to cache to bag size questions for their experience, if no one chimes in here with your exact configuration.

    I usually use the Brain Bag or the Paragon when traveling with two laptops, I find the S19/SN22 to be too small and that's with laptops shorter than your MB Pro.
    I really like the two main sections on the BB and the ability to cinch the bag to compress any extra volume. It can fit under the plane seat, if you keep it a bit underpacked.

    The Techonaut 30 could work with two laptops but it's not as specific to EDC as the other packs.
    Last edited by G42; 11-20-2021, 10:22 AM.
    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...

    Comment


      #3
      Welcome to the forums tacodelmarmot The Synik 22 isn’t going to work well for the 16” MacBook. The Synapse 25 can carry the two laptops. You might consider the Paragon (19.8 liters), which can hold the 16” MacBook in its padded pocket and you could carry another laptop in a cache inside, but doesn’t have the same degree of organization and external pockets as the Synapses and Syniks. I find the Techonaut very comfortable to wear (I’m 5’3.5”, and have usually been carrying the Synapse 25), but would probably think of this more as a travel bag than EDC.

      What else do you need to carry?

      moriond

      ETA : A lot of women 5’ tall have managed with the Brain Bag. I’ve never worn this bag myself.
      Here are a few older threads that may give helpful comments on the Brain Bag:
      Owners of the Brain Bag, did you love it right away?
      Who says short people can't carry big bags?
      Using the compression straps can help control the bulkiness of the bag, but it’s still pretty wide wide, and the discussion shows the Synik is not a replacement.
      Although the pictures of dorayme wearing different backpacks, including the Brain Bag, is old, it may give you a visual impression.
      Last edited by moriond; 11-20-2021, 11:12 AM.

      Comment


        #4
        Thank you G42 ! I hadn't considered the Paragon; in your experience, have you traveling with the two laptops and a set of wireless over-ear headphones? The case for the headphones is hard-sided and pretty bulky. The only other things I might carry are a kindle, my phone and wallet, and maybe another packable layer and/or hat.

        And thanks for the reminder about customer service -- I'll reach out to them to see if a 15C cache can fit in the main compartment of the Synik 22.

        I appreciate your reply! I hope there are some shorter torso-ed folks that can share their experience with the Techonaut as well, as a bag for travel is higher priority for me than as an EDC.


        Edit: moriond do you think the Synik is unsuitable even if I plan to carry the 16" Macbook in the main compartment? Also, do you find the Techonaut 30 to be comfortable, even when not fully loaded? Thank you for your reply!
        Last edited by tacodelmarmot; 11-20-2021, 11:10 AM.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by tacodelmarmot View Post
          Thank you G42 ! I hadn't considered the Paragon; in your experience, have you traveling with the two laptops and a set of wireless over-ear headphones? The case for the headphones is hard-sided and pretty bulky. The only other things I might carry are a kindle, my phone and wallet, and maybe another packable layer and/or hat.

          And thanks for the reminder about customer service -- I'll reach out to them to see if a 15C cache can fit in the main compartment of the Synik 22.

          I appreciate your reply! I hope there are some shorter torso-ed folks that can share their experience with the Techonaut as well, as a bag for travel is higher priority for me than as an EDC.
          Sorry, I don't have the big headphones.

          Something that might help you in evaluating, is if you stack the two laptops and headphone case on top one another and use a ruler/tape measure to see dimensions of the stack of stuff. You'll get a good idea of how much space it'll take up vs the stated bag dimensions. The Paragon is a fairly straight forward rectangular cuboid shape in the main compartment... just note that if you fit large bulky things into the pockets, they'll steal space from the main compartment.
          If that stack fits the Paragon dimensions, then sliding the Kindle, phone, and wallet in should be just fine....as should a small/light jacket and hat.
          My Paragon is 400d halcyon; I used it a lot during the pandemic when I was carrying a lot of random stuff back & forth to the office, for the days I needed to be on site to use equipment. I liked the relative lack of organization/big open space, for that. The lack of extra pockets, zippers, etc. means it's a less expensive bag than the others too.

          As for the Techonaut 30, I just used it for the first time on a cross country flight (also in 400d halcyon) and I quite liked it. I only carried it fully loaded however (including laptop) and 'lived out of' it in a hotel room. My EDC wandering around was a PCSB. If I used it as an EDC/office laptop bag on a trip where I emptied out the clothes, toiletries, whatever where I was staying and only carried the laptops, some files, etc., at the very least I'd want to have stuff in the bottom pocket since the main compartment sits on top of that. Personally I'd think it would look odd if that bottom pocket was empty, but that's probably just because I'm used to empty space being at the top in traditional backpacks.

          If your goal is two laptops, bulky headphones, travel friendly, office friendly - I'd probably go for the Brain Bag first if you're potentially carrying a bunch of stuff sometimes (you can cinch down if not) and the Paragon if you're mostly only carrying the list you had (since it's smaller).
          Both look like fairly traditional/old school packs.

          The T30 is a different visual appearance (especially depending on fabric), better for travel with clothes, harder (to me) to access the 2nd laptop and maybe not as attractive if very empty.

          None of them are bad choices - it would depend on which way your usage might lean.
          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...

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by tacodelmarmot View Post
            Thank you G42 ! I hadn't considered the Paragon; in your experience, have you traveling with the two laptops and a set of wireless over-ear headphones? The case for the headphones is hard-sided and pretty bulky. The only other things I might carry are a kindle, my phone and wallet, and maybe another packable layer and/or hat.

            And thanks for the reminder about customer service -- I'll reach out to them to see if a 15C cache can fit in the main compartment of the Synik 22.

            I appreciate your reply! I hope there are some shorter torso-ed folks that can share their experience with the Techonaut as well, as a bag for travel is higher priority for me than as an EDC.


            Edit: moriond do you think the Synik is unsuitable even if I plan to carry the 16" Macbook in the main compartment? Also, do you find the Techonaut 30 to be comfortable, even when not fully loaded? Thank you for your reply!
            The issue with the Synik 22 is that the design of the separate laptop compartment, its integration into the backpack, and also with the partial framesheet that is built into the back, affects how well you can carry larger laptops in the main compartment. Using the side access zipper for the laptop compartment, we’ve determined that the new 2021 14” MacBook will just clear the zipper end if inserted bare, and I think Customer Support is not willing to claim this “works”, although users will probably make use of this in practice. Carrying your 14” ThinkPad inside the Synik 22 main compartment and using the laptop sleeve for other items, including papers/folders, an iPad, etc. would likely work fine and feel comfortable. Even putting the recent 15” MacBook Pro inside the Synik 22 main compartment isn’t optimal for EDC, as opposed to occasional use. In the Syniks, the bottom of the main compartment starts to slightly curve upwards at the outside. It may be part of the design to make for a more stable suspension in the external laptop compartment. In any case, what you’ll find is that the corners of a recent 15” MacBook Pro carried inside the main compartment of a Synik 22 touch the bottom sides just where they begin to curve upwards, so your contact points are these corners rather than having the full bottom edge of the laptop supported by the full bottom edge of the main compartment. You’re close enough to the bottom, and there’s enough cache padding so that it’s not terrible to occasionally do this, and you could also make sure there was some additional support under the laptop.

            With the additional width of the 16” MacBook carried inside the Synik 22 main compartment you’re basically resting the entire laptop on the two contact points of the bottom corners pushed further out onto the curved region. I personally wouldn’t do this except in a pinch, You’d be better off trying to carry the laptop in the main compartment of a Synapse 19, where it wouldn’t be resting on curved corners.

            The Techonaut is very comfortable, even not fully loaded. Some of that is due to additional built-in support at the back of the bag, in combination with the edgeless straps. I’ve only tried the (smaller) T30 model.if you choose to get the padded hip belt, that will feel even more comfortable if you need to carry the weight of contents while walking long distances. Because of the design of the back supporting frame on the T30, you can leave the padded hip belt connected to the sides of the bag and stow them behind that frame, while they are still attached to the bag. You can’t do that with an Aeronaut 30.Also, you can use the bottom pocket of the T30 in much the same way that you’d use the bottom front pocket of a Synapse 25.

            I posted pictures of the stowed padded hip belt in the Ravelry Tom BIHN Knitting Bag forums, where I’m also a mod, but not here.
            T30  in Night Walk  Halcyon with padded hip belt
            Here is the padded hip belt connected to the two sides of the Techonaut 30 in Night Walk
            T30  in Night Walk  Halcyon with padded hip belt Stowed
            You can leave the padded hip belt ends connected to the T30 and stash them behind the back external frame. The edgeless padded backpack straps get dropped into the left and right sides of that frame and everything is neatly stowed,

            HTH

            moriond

            Comment


              #7
              Wow, Binhians are SO helpful!! Thank you both!

              I’m probably going to go with the Techonaut over the Brain Bag, honestly, largely for aesthetic reasons. I don’t see black for the BB and the design already leans a little too heavily into the student look for my taste.

              I work from home and this bag would be used primarily on trips and on the rare occasion I need to bring my work laptop and I’m on call, which is ~1 week a quarter. For these purposes, it sounds like the Techonaut should suit me fine.

              Again thank y’all so much for the expertise, links/resources, and prompt and informative responses!

              Comment


                #8
                If you're so inclined, please post some pics of your pack out, once you get your bag!
                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...

                Comment

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