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  1. #1
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    Your assurance needed: Trading in S19 for S25

    I know on the Tom Bihn forum is the only place I could get the assurances and opinions of fellow bag obsessors so here goes!

    A couple months ago after EXTENSIVE research and then weeks of waffling about the color, I requested a Synapse 19 (in Red Blend thanks to the forum's help) for an anniversary present. I was very kindly gifted it (although my boyfriend left the unopened Tom Bihn box in the hallway with an order not to open it for a FULL MONTH, talk about torture!).

    Finally, our anniversary weekend came and I opened it with glee (red blend is beautiful!) and promptly threw away the tags and packaging because I was so sure it was my perfect bag. However, last night, as I packed it for the first time to be used, I realized it's a smidgen too small for my needs as an EDC. On an everyday basis I carry my work laptop, a lunch, a change of gym clothes (usually w/ sneakers) and a book. I could not fit my book, and it only barely zipped, without an inch to spare.

    Now I know the S19 is too small, but am concerned that the S25 will be conversely too big and look like I'm wearing an oversized turtle shell. I know Tom Bihn markets the S25 as a bag for those 5'6 and taller and comparing photos the S25 looks significantly larger. I'm 5'5 and of medium build. Will people who are under the recommended 5'6 comment on whether they found the bag overwhelmingly large for their frame? I know S19 vs S25 is an oft discussed forum topic, but I figure a few more opinions can't hurt and you guys were so helpful when I was deciding the color! Thanks so much.

  2. #2
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    What book was this? Smilie I'm of a larger-than-average build, and I once packed an S19 with 3 changes of clothing, a pair of shoes, a 4Z cache, a 20 oz Hydro Flask, a 3DCOC, a puffy down jacket, and a Kindle Paperwhite.

  3. #3
    Forum Member Rocks's Avatar
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    I'm dinky, and the Synapse 25 looks fine on me. I think you'll like the extra space in the 25.
    On the other hand, maybe it's just a matter of learning how to pack the Synapse 19 more effectively. The bottom zip pocket can hold a lot without taking away space from the main compartment, and the water bottle pocket can hold a lot too.
    good luck!

  4. #4
    Forum Member flips712's Avatar
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    I'm 5 foot on a good day. I own both the S19 and S25. Although I find the S19 the more comfortable of the two, I still found the S25 to be a good fit for times when its smaller sibling just won't do. For reference, my torso length is around 16 inches at most. So at your height, I think you'll find the S25 to be a great length while giving you the extra room you need.

    Red blend. Very nice choice and one I've had my eye on for quite a while.
    Last edited by flips712; 07-19-2016 at 10:43 PM.

  5. #5
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    @kieri - WOW, you are a packing master!! I admittedly have a huge bulky work laptop and put the things in the main compartment without trying different variations (i.e. one shoe in the bottom pocket, and one shoe in the water bottle pocket) but seems like I may not have the skills to attain your level of packing!

    @Rocks & @flips712 - thanks for your input, good to know that a smaller frame can handle the S25!

  6. #6
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    I agree that doing a bit of pre-planning when packing the Synapse series really is an advantage. It keeps it from becoming too oval in shape. It may well be that by doing this, you can fit everything into your new Red Blend S19.

    While I do not have an S19, I can say that I chose the S25 so I had options if I needed to carry more (light EDC vs heavy trip). I find that normally, I can carry everything in the front compartments making the bag quite low profile (ie - not turtle-like). The main compartment is actually unused except for a thin laptop and few papers sometimes.

    This may help in visualizing an S25 compared to an S19 -from what I understand and have read, the S25 is really an S19 with a larger bottom pocket (which is where the extra length, width and height come from). The top 2 centre pockets and 2 side pockets are the same from what I have read (maybe others can double check as I do not have an S19).

    Also, IMHO, from what I see in the latest S19/S25 video, the S25 seems fine on the 2 5'5" people in it.

    Strickly visualizing (as I do not know the size of your gym items or book), perhaps the sneakers could fit in the bottom with some Gym clothes (S25 should have good room for that) and the rest in the side pockets. Could your lunch fit in the water bottle pocket? Your laptop could fit in the back elastic pocket and book (is it a small paperback or a tome? Smilie) in a side pocket or loosely in the main compartment?

    Hope this helps
    Cheers!
    Last edited by tpnl; 07-20-2016 at 11:47 AM.
    TB Ballistic Black/Iberian Dyneema backpacks and briefcases for every occasion together with my cherished Nordic and Solar Dyneema!

  7. #7
    Forum Member sarahlin's Avatar
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    I ordered a cordura S25 and really disliked it, I did not like the fit, shape, anything about it. I was not ready to give up so I reordered it in the Halcyon and loved it, it was like a new big, including how it fit on me. I have both an S19 and S25 and love them both.

  8. #8
    Forum Member Saltgirl's Avatar
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    I bought the S25 for my 9 yo son who is under 5 feet. It is huge on him but fits all he needs to carry for school and sports and he finds it comfortable. I use it on business overnight travel with computer and clothes or as a day bag on vacations. I am 5'4" and I do not find the bag too big. It is a little long in the torso, I'll admit, but I always carried my Jansport hanging down that low anyway. It does not come uncomfortably low, I can still use the waist strap and I do not feel like a turtle. As to whether or not I look like one...well I did get it in green. Wink

  9. #9
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    Could you pack your lunch in a separate insulated lunch bag and attach it to the outside of the Synapse, maybe clip it to the top handle with a caribiner?

  10. #10
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    I'm 5'4" and women's size small/6 and my S25 fits fine. I'm still learning how to pack it for quick retrieval, though.
    Current carry: Super Ego, various pouches, I/O (when shooting). Incorporating the FIELD JOURNAL!!!! Next up on wishlist: S25 and SE (June 2016)

  11. #11
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    I carry a S25 as an EDC. Almost everything fits in the front section leaving the large main section fairly open. I carry my lunch in an ebags slim lunch cooler and it fits nicely in the main section. I tried the S19 and just didn't get along with it. I also switched from Cordura to Halcyon and am much happier with the Halcyon (especially the Nordic). I am 5' 5" and medium build and find the S25 fits very comfortably and under packs well.

  12. #12
    Forum Member lizziejean3's Avatar
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    I'm 5'5" and carry a S25 and love it! I like big bags and I cannot lie! Cool
    Navy/Wasabi S25, Sitka Mini OP,
    Nordic/Iberian SE, Nordic PCSB, Navy Medium Clear OP, Iberian 8" Key Strap, Ultraviolet 8" Key Strap,
    Black/NWS SK, Ultraviolet Large OP, Fjord Small TT, Verde Small Double OP, Island Origami Swan, Island 3D OP , Island SSC , Nordic/NWS LCB, Multi Color Clear OW

  13. #13
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    I find the S25 pretty big personally (even thus i'm 5"11).

    I would definitely consider keeping the S19 if you want "not too big" and can make it work (all books do not have to be huge ;-). If not.. well it does not matter: A pack that you can't close easily is not a pack you will use, so change it.

    In any case, highly recommend halcyon over cordura for these bags as they'll deform more easily as others pointed out, which means easier to pack/wear.

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