Main TOM BIHN website
 
emailus@tombihn.com

COMMUNITY FORUMS

Welcome! We're glad you are here. This is the place to ask for bag advice, help other people out, post reviews, and share photos and videos.

x

First, select your desired search engine:

  • Google Search
  • DuckDuckGo
  • Original Forum Search Engine

User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 18
  1. #1
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    9
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    possibly parting with my TB Synapse 25

    I currently have the Synapse 25 that I have been using daily for about 2 years to lug some essentials to and from work and was also used for travel to Japan early last year. I will admit that shortly after purchasing this bag I have come across some other bags that I liked that seemed did tug on the strings of buyer's remorse, but I've shaken those off for as long as I could until today when the temptation to get a bag that better suits me for daily usage and travel started rearing its ugly head again. That said, a few things I didn't like about the Synapse is how the bag has no back support so when the bag is filled to a certain amount it becomes a "ball" and doesn't feel too comfortable. This was experienced when I used it for travel, which pretty much lead me to search for a new bag. Also the shoulder straps being a bit more spread apart than the past versions of the Synapse has forced me to use the sternum straps for daily use and without them comfort definitely becomes an issue even when there's not much in the bag. I did really like the way the bag looked, as well as the Tom Bihn company itself along with the community here being pretty awesome, but I feel this bag just doesn't work for me. I have returned to looking at the Minaal backpacks and was wondering if anyone here switched and had regrets or if there's something similar along the lines of the Minaal by Tom Bihn?

  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Posts
    1,312
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by dimm0k View Post
    I currently have the Synapse 25 that I have been using daily for about 2 years to lug some essentials to and from work and was also used for travel to Japan early last year. I will admit that shortly after purchasing this bag I have come across some other bags that I liked that seemed did tug on the strings of buyer's remorse, but I've shaken those off for as long as I could until today when the temptation to get a bag that better suits me for daily usage and travel started rearing its ugly head again. That said, a few things I didn't like about the Synapse is how the bag has no back support so when the bag is filled to a certain amount it becomes a "ball" and doesn't feel too comfortable. This was experienced when I used it for travel, which pretty much lead me to search for a new bag. Also the shoulder straps being a bit more spread apart than the past versions of the Synapse has forced me to use the sternum straps for daily use and without them comfort definitely becomes an issue even when there's not much in the bag. I did really like the way the bag looked, as well as the Tom Bihn company itself along with the community here being pretty awesome, but I feel this bag just doesn't work for me. I have returned to looking at the Minaal backpacks and was wondering if anyone here switched and had regrets or if there's something similar along the lines of the Minaal by Tom Bihn?
    Before you give it up, did you know that there is now an optional internal frame sheet for the S25? I just ordered one last night. Reviews say it completely solves the problem of the bag becoming a ball when full. If it is in stock when you look (you can find it on the New page or on the S25 page) don't hesitate. It has sold out at least three times already.

  3. #3
    Forum Member melminimalist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Share
    Alabama
    Posts
    489
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I also just wanted to say that the frame sheet is a game changer. I used it in my s25 for a week in Florida. Packed with 9lbs of gear it felt like I wasn’t wearing anything at all!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    "Not all who wander are lost"
    "Love people, use things, because the opposite never works" - The Minimalists
    Synapse 25 in Olive, Aubergine Side Effect, UV A30 PCBP, Sitka PCSB

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    9
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    thanks all, I did not know about this internal frame sheet! unfortunately it looks like it's out of stock at the moment...

    Quote Originally Posted by melminimalist View Post
    I also just wanted to say that the frame sheet is a game changer. I used it in my s25 for a week in Florida. Packed with 9lbs of gear it felt like I wasn’t wearing anything at all!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    I'm curious how long you had the Synapse before getting the frame sheet... were you ever at the point of giving up on the bag before getting the frame sheet?

  5. #5
    Volunteer Moderator
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Posts
    1,312
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    possibly parting with my TB Synapse 25

    Quote Originally Posted by dimm0k View Post
    thanks all, I did not know about this internal frame sheet! unfortunately it looks like it's out of stock at the moment...



    I'm curious how long you had the Synapse before getting the frame sheet... were you ever at the point of giving up on the bag before getting the frame sheet?
    I've had my S25 since July and I got pretty annoyed by the back panel but a forum member suggested I use a Freudian Slip to add a bit of padding and stability to the back and that has worked well enough that I used and enjoyed it more. But yeah, before that I was really annoyed that all I could pack in the main compartment was my kids' rain jackets otherwise stuff would be poking into my back.

    ETA: If you haven't, sign up for email notifications on the product page so you'll be notified as soon as it's back in stock. Good luck!

  6. #6
    Forum Member kathryn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Share
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    623
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've had a S25 since 2013 (yikes--time flies!), and definitely experienced the "egg" issue when the bag is packed full. I did a 10-day, one-bag vacation in Buenos Aires with the S25, and it was noticeably less comfortable than a lightly packed bag. TBH, I have basically switched over to my Aeronaut 30 for vacation travel now because it holds its shape so much better when full. I only use the S25 for work travel with my laptop and work gear, meaning it's mostly empty.

    I literally *just* got the frame sheet, so I haven't had a chance to test pack yet. Based on the postings here and in other threads, I think it will make a huge difference.

    I second Christina's recommendation to sign up for email notifications--very helpful when awaiting restocking.
    "I'm more of a creative problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares.” ― Maria Semple, Where'd You Go, Bernadette

  7. #7
    Forum Member melminimalist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Share
    Alabama
    Posts
    489
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by dimm0k View Post
    thanks all, I did not know about this internal frame sheet! unfortunately it looks like it's out of stock at the moment...



    I'm curious how long you had the Synapse before getting the frame sheet... were you ever at the point of giving up on the bag before getting the frame sheet?
    No, never considered getting rid of it, but that has been because my travel in the year and a half has only had me wearing for short time frames. When I went to NJ at Thanksgiving the first thing I did when I got back was order the frame sheet, I realized it was a vital tool for longer carries. Made a HUGE difference for Florida.

    Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
    "Not all who wander are lost"
    "Love people, use things, because the opposite never works" - The Minimalists
    Synapse 25 in Olive, Aubergine Side Effect, UV A30 PCBP, Sitka PCSB

  8. #8
    Forum Member Peruvian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Share
    Northern California
    Posts
    189
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by dimm0k View Post
    thanks all, I did not know about this internal frame sheet! unfortunately it looks like it's out of stock at the moment...



    I'm curious how long you had the Synapse before getting the frame sheet... were you ever at the point of giving up on the bag before getting the frame sheet?
    I have given up 5 Synapses!! (Three 25’s and two 19’s) for all the reasons you mentioned. Debating about making it “6 times a charm”!!

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    9
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Peruvian View Post
    I have given up 5 Synapses!! (Three 25’s and two 19’s) for all the reasons you mentioned. Debating about making it “6 times a charm”!!
    interesting... why did you keep coming back?

  10. #10
    Forum Member Peruvian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Share
    Northern California
    Posts
    189
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by dimm0k View Post
    interesting... why did you keep coming back?
    The pockets!! Not a huge fan of the main compartment, however. It could use much better organization, such as dividers, or dedicated laptop compartment without the need for a cache.

  11. #11
    Forum Member afreen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    24
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Peruvian View Post
    The pockets!! Not a huge fan of the main compartment, however. It could use much better organization, such as dividers, or dedicated laptop compartment without the need for a cache.
    Have you tried a Freudian slip with the Synapse? It adds a lot of pockets and dividers -- especially the one for the 25.

  12. #12
    Forum Member Peruvian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Share
    Northern California
    Posts
    189
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by afreen View Post
    Have you tried a Freudian slip with the Synapse? It adds a lot of pockets and dividers -- especially the one for the 25.
    Have not; but that’s a good suggestion!

  13. #13
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Share
    The far west
    Posts
    5,918
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Some FWIW thoughts for those here and lurkers — these topics are on our minds lately as we’re working on some new designs (more on that below…)

    The main compartment of the Synapse is indeed designed to be somewhat thin front to back. That’s, we think, part of what makes it such a great travel / every day carry / hiking daypack with a minimalist, low profile look and use/feel. It measures at 25 liters when fully — but not overly — stuffed. If you’ve found you’ve packed your Synapse to the point where its back bulges out (I’ve done this too, as have others here) it can be an indication that the bag is being packed beyond its original intended capacity.

    If you want to stick with the minimalist feel of the Synapse and let that guide you to a certain extent, we’d offer up the following:

    - Pack less stuff.

    - Pack what you do choose to take like you would pack an outdoor backpack: see here for advice on that. Note that there are even some ultralight backpacking packs that lack any kind of internal frame that are still intended for loads significantly heavier than what one might carry in the Synapse. Folks who use those packs do so successfully (by which I mean as comfortably as possible) by making sure not to pack pokey things near the back panel and packing for optimal weight distribution.

    - If the above doesn’t work for you, use the optional internal frame. The internal frame does add a bit of weight and takes up a little space, but it can mitigate the effects of an overstuffed pack to a surprisingly effective extent and is a good solution for those of us who sometimes carry more than we thought we would. I personally find the internal frame most useful when I’m throwing my stuff in the Synapse in a hurry and don’t want to make the time to pack carefully as suggested above.

    If your intention is to use the Synapse for travel but you find you want or need to take more stuff, or if you just want a main compartment with more capacity, the Aeronaut 30 (as @kathryn mentioned), Aeronaut 45 or Tri-Star or Western Flyer could be better options (if you’re looking for a travel bag.) If you’re hoping for a dedicated travel backpack that can carry more stuff than even the Synapse 25, stay tuned to see what Tom is designing next….. (more hints on that in another thread, some other time.)

    We don’t have plans to add a dedicated laptop compartment to the Synapse. Our thinking on that is — not everyone carries a laptop, and some people who do have laptops don’t carry them all of the time. For example, there’s folks who carry their laptop when using their Synapse as an EDC/work bag, don’t carry their laptop when they’re using the Synapse as a day-hiking pack, and maybe only take a tablet when they’re going on vacation and using the Synapse as their travel bag. It’s a versatile pack and we’re hesitant to add anything to its design that would make it less so. The optional Cache sleeve is our way of hopefully offering the best of both worlds: it’s a protective laptop sleeve that’s likely to come in a size to better fit your laptop than a generic built-in laptop compartment and it’s removable if/when you don’t need to take your laptop with you.

    As for built-in additional organization in the main compartment of the Synapse — no plans for that either. We think that organization beyond the open-top pocket that’s already in the main compartment could make it difficult to fit stuff in the main compartment (that stuff could get caught on pockets or dividers or the like when you’re trying to just slide it into the bag) and it’s kinda the same deal as above: loads of built-in organization adds weight, bulk, and not everyone wants or needs it. That said, we know some folks do want more organization and…. more exciting news…. we have discussed making a Synapse-specific Packing Cube (there’s actually two variations of it at this point) for those who do want to further organize its main compartment. (Again, more on that in a different thread, some other time.)

    Goes without saying, but just to be sure I’ll add: there’s some who will prefer a bag with more main compartment organization, a thicker main compartment, or with other features that the Synapse doesn’t have. While the Synapse is a bag that works for a lot of people, it won’t work for everyone. Our hope at the end of the day is that people find the bag that works best for them whether that’s one of ours or not.

    “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” - Pascal

    (I think I need to make that quote part of my signature.)
    Current Carry: The Hero's Journey, Skookum Dog Citizen Canine, Founder's Briefcase, Synapse 19 (day hikes), Guide's Pack (longer day hikes), Yeoman Duffel (winter/emergency stuff for the car), Aeronaut 30 (travel), Night Flight Travel Duffel (camera bag), Moveable Feast + Shop Bags (food)

  14. #14
    TB Crew (We Work Here) MikeV's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    189
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Just to add my two cents: having never done anything professionally except selling backpacks and hiking shoes I've had the great luxury (or maybe a great curse) of carrying dozens of backpacks from at least a dozen makers in my life. I will say that I'm not always a careful stuffer of bags, and though I'm not frequently an over-stuffer of bags, we've all been there, right? And because of that I’ve had some “barreling” in every backpack I’ve ever carried, so here’s what I do: whenever something is lop-sided or digging into me or otherwise barreling I gently lay it on the ground and dig my knee into the back panel. I not-so-gently force the shape of my bag into submission

    I'm not saying it's a solution for everyone, but maybe it'll work for some of you! In my experience whenever the back panel doesn't have a stiff frame (and I'm not always a huge fan of stiff frames) it is bound to push out a little when stuffed too much. IMO the beauty of a soft-sided bag is that the bumps and ridges can be manipulated so that it's comfortable.

  15. #15
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    197
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'm very much looking forward to when my S25 frame arrives, as even when packed carefully, I find what you need to carry just doesn't always conform to optimal packing practices. I appreciate now having the flexibility to add or subtract the frame as needed.

    That being said, and along those same lines, that occasional barreling has been my only complaint of the Synapses (Synapsi?): I very much appreciate that the laptop cache is optional and the main compartment generally large and fluid because I do use the S25 and S19 in variable contexts, from work to play to in-between. The front-pocket organization is my main love of the Synapse, but once I get into the main space, I find that's where I need a flexible, empty space to bend to whatever will I need that day. As such, I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for those packing cubes (thanks, Darcy!) for those times when more configuration, rather than less, would be helpful.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •