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  1. #1
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    Synapse 19 for school?

    Aloha all,

    I am currently looking to replace my school/edc pack. The synapse 25 can surely fit my books, but I wasn't a huge fan of how tall the main compartment was. I'm trying to decide if the S19 would be better. Does the main compartment of the S19 have the capacity to house multiple school books and notebooks? All the pictures and videos I've seen there is hardly anything in the main compartment. (a computer, a notebook and a jacket etc). Has anybody here used the S19 for school? I'm a nursing student for what its worth.

  2. #2
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    I use my S19 for college. Bottom pocket has side effect with EDC. Snacks and small water bottle in side pockets. Coffee mug in water bottle pocket. College ID in the small top pocket. In the main compartment I put lunch, large notebook, textbook, medium cafe bag freudian slip with calculators, pencils, various papers. Room to spare for another textbook or jacket but perhaps not both without some faffing to get it all in.

    Sent from my SM-T713 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    I'd say it depends on the size of your textbooks, macattack, and how many you have to carry at a time, plus how you're getting around and how much. When I was hauling around a full day's load walking all over a sizable campus -- which included multiple encyclopedia-sized textbooks, plus notebooks, water, snacks, sometimes a laptop -- I needed an S25 equivalent. I could only rarely return to my car between classes (which was a schlep to get to), so I had to carry the whole day at once most days, and much as I like my S19, the main compartment would have been way to small for my load. And what fit would've been jammed so tight as to make it uncomfortable to haul around. Thinking back, I think the combo of S19 with my personal school load would've made for some really hellish days.

    If I had been carrying one class at a time, though, or just a couple of books, or smaller books, or if all my classes had been in one building maybe, it would've been more doable (with a supplemental bag, though, for that last scenario). You can certainly jam quite a bit into the S19 (more than it looks) but having both the S25 and the S19, I personally find the S19 to be too small to be a proper college bag -- though that also comes with the caveat that the S25's height doesn't bother me. If the S25 is uncomfortable but the S19 too small for your load, you may be looking at a non-TB bag or combo of S19 plus supplemental bag. Or, if you don't mind the lack of organization, perhaps you could score a used (discontinued) Tom Bihn Smart Alec off eBay? It's a gaping maw as far as space/organization goes, but it was shorter than the S25 and some folks found it more comfortable.

  4. #4
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    I think it depends on the number of books you will carry and if you need room for other stuff as well. For just a couple of smaller textbooks and a 13 in or smaller computer - I believe the synapse 19 would work well. If you are carrying med/nursing/law school books - probably not as well. I teach at a law school and the packs my students carry around are much larger than my synapse 19 and theirs are stuffed to the brim. So much so that I worry about their backs.
    But if you are not worried about your back - have you considered the Brain Bag? It is a couple of inches shorter than the Synapse 25 (and is more the size pack the students at my school carry for the most part)

    Here is an older discussion of what bag to take to college
    https://forums.tombihn.com/questions...e-college.html

    And here is a link with pictures of a brain bag and law school textbooks
    Tom Bihn's Brain Bag Survives Law School and More ? The Alien Pebble
    Last edited by spcanf; 03-15-2018 at 09:01 AM.

  5. #5
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    It really depends on the size of your books and how many you'll have to carry. When I was in graduate school, the S19 wouldn't have been the easiest to use for some of my classes because they involved such enormous packets of reading and work. If you're only going to be carrying one or two classes at a time, the S19 may work.

  6. #6
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    I was curious so I went and grabbed 4 hornbooks from my old law school days. At most 3 would fit into my synapse 19 - and not well - with just 2 textbooks there would be room for an ipad or small computer but with 3 textbooks there would not be room for anything other than some small odd shaped addition on top of two of the three books or maybe a small sweater or jacket could be stuffed on top. Putting in the 3 books put strain on parts of the pack. Here are the pictures.

    Synapse 19 for school?-img_8127-2-jpgSynapse 19 for school?-img_0039-3-jpgSynapse 19 for school?-img_5617-2-jpg
    Last edited by spcanf; 03-15-2018 at 10:20 PM.

  7. #7
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    Wow!! Thank you to everyone for such detailed information. Also, @spcanf those pics were exactly what I needed! Im hoping one day maybe Tom Bihn releasing a midsize synapse. Maybe 18 tall?

  8. #8
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    I had posted about this on this thread.

    What will you normally be carrying on your school days? I'm 6'3" and have used an S19, and for me it's a little small for most school days. I can fit a 13" macbook pro, a letter sized spiral notebook, and maybe one textbook sized book and it starts to feel and look overstuffed.
    Basically, I've found it depends a lot on what you'll be carrying. For me for either of my areas of study (Administration of Justice, then Nursing), the S19 unfortunately didn't quite cut it. Even being a mostly digital person, my S19 quickly felt overpacked.

    The S25, however, is my workhorse! It's been the perfect companion for me through graduate school, clinical rotations, and now work. I rarely actually fill it (and when I do, it's because I had to stuff a couple jackets and warm bits in at the end of the day because it warmed up too much). It has the same organizational features, with a little more room for textbooks, notebooks, and activities. I'll be adding an internal frame in a little bit just to give it a try-I don't think it's absolutely necessary for me.
    DLBC (black Dyneema) **Missing **, Synapse 25 Black Dyneema/Ultraviolet), Synapse 19 (Navy/Wasabi), Aeronaut 45 Black Dyneema/Ultraviolet), PCBP for TriStar (Iberian), Synapse 19 (Navy/Solar), Ristretto for iPad (Black/Wasabi), Large Shop Bag (Island),mini Q-kit, various packing cubes, stuff sacks, and pouches.

    Retired but not forgotten: TriStar (Black/Wasabi), Aeronaut 45 (Navy/Solar), Synapse 25 (French Blue/Steel).

  9. #9
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    I tried to buy a S19 at some point but returned it precisely because I always have to have a book or two with me, and it does not have enough depth. Here, another person is having the same problem.

    Based on this, I've written some suggestions in a thread where people are discussing what they would want in a backpack. I have several full-size bags from Tom Bihn (Tri-Star, Pilot, Co-Pilot, ID) and a slew of accessories, but with backpacks, I'm sticking to other manufacturers because I don't think any of TB's backpacks really work with books.

  10. #10
    Forum Member 3rdCoastHighlander's Avatar
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    I originally purchased my S19 for travel to Europe and adapting to carry-on regulations. It appealed to me due to the pocket design and materials used. I really have enjoyed it. But, for long days trekking and hiking, the shoulder straps aren't designed well, IMO, and should be improved. They need to lay flatter on the shoulders and the padding needs to be beefed up.

    But for an EDC or for school, its perfect. I use the S19 for and EDC and as a "briefcase" basically, and it has been great. I carry my MacBook Pro, a backup phone battery, headphones, and then some manuals/ books and papers I need to grade on the run or at home.
    Last edited by 3rdCoastHighlander; 03-24-2018 at 11:46 AM.
    Synapse 19, Black Halcyon/Island with multiple organizer accessories. Black Halcyon/Island Side Kick, 7-8 TB Shopping totes.
    Briggs & Riley CX Carry-on.
    "You can't have a narrow mind and a thick passport."- Pauline Frommer
    Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown.

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