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Is the Synapse 25 right for me?

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    Is the Synapse 25 right for me?

    I've used a Synapse 19 for the past 3 years as my daily commuter laptop bag. Overall, I like the bag a lot. For a while, I was using multiple offices, so it was great to keep everything in its compartments and be ready to work at any moment.

    Recently, I've changed jobs and I've had to give up my MacBook Air for an HP Windows laptop. It's not huge (14") but it's a lot bigger than my MacBook Air 13" and requires a much larger sleeve.

    the zipper on my Synapse 19 just broke and I'm thinking about moving up to the larger Synapse 25, but am concerned about it being too large. I'm about 5'8" and I like the compactness of the Synapse 19. For those who have used both - does it feel like there's a big difference in size when you're wearing them?

    With the larger laptop, my Synapse 19 definitely feels snug. I typically have my laptop, an iPad, 3-4 pouches with external battery, myfi, cables, chargers, an eyeglass case, a sunglass case, folding headphones, maybe a notebook:

    As you can see, it's a tight fit:

    The perfect bag would be just a slight bit larger - so I could stuff a set of bigger headphones in when I fly, etc. Would the Synapse 25 be the answer, or would that be just too big?

    Welcome to the forums, @barryg_nyc Two quick comments: I've had my (Indigo/Solar) Synapse, used as an EDC bag, since they first introduced the Synapse in 2008, and have never had a zipper break, so I would get in touch with Customer Service in any case about repairing the zipper on your Synapse 19. I'm 5'3.5", and I have both size versions of the Synapse. I think you'll find Synapse 25 perfectly comfortable if you need more carrying room. Although I personally like the Synapse 19 best for my usage, the larger Synapse 25 is convenient if you carry more contents, and use of the larger front zippered pocket can be convenient. (Both S19 and S25 easily hold 3D Organizer Cubes in that pocket, but you'll also be able to switch to a Packing Cube Shoulder Bag or a Snake Charmer -- which I usually find a bit large for these backpacks, and better suited to a Smart Alec -- into that pocket. You'll also find storage of headphones easier.

    The S25 sounds perfect for you. BTW, they went to a wider backpack strap spacing in the Synapses in May 2013. My feeling is that while some people who liked the original Synapse strap spacing are less comfortable with the new spacing on the Synapse 19, there isn't as noticeable a difference in the comfort of fit going to the Synapse 25 (and I've tried versions of all Synapse models both before and after the change).

    HTH moriond


      Hi and welcome to the forums @barryg_nyc! I just want to echo what @moriond has said. I have had several Synapse 19s (I'm convinced I have a problem with picking and sticking to just one color), and also a Synapse 25 and recently found myself in your situation. I often would carry my 11" MacBook Air, which takes up little space in the 19, but have needed to carry a 14" Dell recently for work. The Synapse 25 has been perfect for that, and to me does not feel that much larger. I love that even if I really fill the bag it still maintains a low profile.
      Eat well, travel often.


        For another perspective, I have an S19, but it's too small to carry my workweek EDC. Tried an S25, but it was still too small (because of the compartments) for my needs, and did not carry as comfortably.

        Tried the Smart Alec (same size as S25 but organized differently), and we had a winner.

        But that said, if all you need to carry is what's in the photos above, the S25 would probably be fine.


          Thanks for the quick feedback. Sounds like the Synapse 25 could work. I like the compartments, so lean towards Synapse over Smart Alec. I'll probably go for the 25, but will also reach out to TB about getting the 19 repaired.
          Here's the zipper break, btw. It surprised me, as generally I think the quality of the bags are superb.


            Ouch! Looks like the YKK zipper failed as opposed to any TB workmanship. Definitely send it back to TB for repair - it is worth it.

            I do not have an S19 but I do have an S25. Below are a few pictures from my last trip with my S25 as a personal item (11 x 18 x 9 max size) to hopefully give you an idea of its relative size (for reference, I am 5'11") and what can be carried comfortably:

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            I carried 2 laptops for the trip and an emergency shirt/ socks/etc. in the PCSB so it was a bit more than what you are carrying based on your picture. Even with that, the S25 was very slim in profile (one of the S25's great traits!) - wish I was that slim!

            Also, I am assuming you have seen the S19 and S25 comparison video that just came out. It should help you more with visualizing the sizing based on your body type:

            Video: Synapse 19 vs Synapse 25 - TOM BIHN Blog: We make travel bags in Seattle, Washington

            Hope this helps



            The black/iberian ballistic Side Effect has my laptop accessories - 2 power supplies, network cable, USB cables, adapters, etc.
            The iberian medium Yarn Stuff Sack holds my Compact Umbrella that I put in the middle water bottle compartment.
            Last edited by tpnl; 11-02-2014, 10:04 AM.
            TB Ballistic Black/Iberian Dyneema backpacks and briefcases for every occasion together with my cherished Nordic and Solar Dyneema!


              Originally posted by tpnl View Post
              Ouch! Looks like the YKK zippered failed as opposed to any TB workmanship. Definitely send it back to TB for repair - it is worth it.
              tpnl is right on as usual -- [email protected] and we'll help you arrange for your bag to be repaired.
              Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

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


                I think I'll be ordering a Synapse 25 and also sending in my Synapse 19 for repair.
                Now the question becomes Cocoa or Navy? Leaning Cocoa right now.