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  1. #1
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    Apr 2018
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    My impressions: Synapse 19 vs Synapse 25

    Hi everyone! First post here. First off, big thanks to all for the info shared while I was lurking and deciding what to get. My number one dilemma (shared by quite a few I realise) was between the Syapse 19 and the Synapse 25. I gave up in the end and got both (each play a role in my EDC and are both well used). Happy to share my thoughts:

    1. The 19 (Black Halcyon) is by far my favourite Tom Bihn bag (I have 4). Mainly due to the very streamlined profile. It wears smaller than expected (I am male, 5 ft 5). Even when overpacked, it is streamlined and with nothing poking out uncomfortably. Feels beautifully balanced on my back, happy to wear it all day as I did on a recent trip.

    2. The 25 (Navy Ballastic) wears significantly larger than a bag that is supposed to be 30% bigger than the 19 (my impression). The profile is not as streamlined due to its larger size. More to the point, it "balls" up even when 2/3 loaded which I did not like at first. Luckily TB offered the internal frame as an add on which I bought immediately. A world of difference to me, as it keeps its shape much better. I packed it full a few times and it feels very nicely balanced on my back. So to me the internal frame is a compulsory addition to the S25.

    3. Front compartments: totally genius design, no other words for it. Been said many many times here so I shan't repeat. All I can say is the central water bottle compartment is more useful on the 25 than on the 19 (especially as I sometimes carry an iPad with a case and without the TB Cache). The bottom front pocket on the 25 makes me smile as to what I can actually stuff in it - windbreaker in a pouch plus gym gloves, maybe even a pair of my size 9 trainers would fit!

    4. Inside compartment: the pocket in the 19 has been deemed too large by some folk in proportion to the size of the compartment, I believe it is fine. Totally no issue with the size of the one on the 25 - I can fit shoes, a change of clothes for gym, an ipad, couple of paper notebooks etc and (thanks to the internal frame) everything feels right. Read somewhere that packing cubes don't work as well on the Synapse vs say the Aeronaut (more in another review) but I've packed one large one together with shoes and there is still room left over. Very likely to use my Sypapse 25 on a short trip one of these days when I don't need the larger size of my A 30.

    5. So in conclusion, am thrilled with both, slightly more thrilled with the 19. Both are well used, main difference is if I need the above mentioned change of clothes and running shoes for gym days, then the 25 gets the nod. For travelling as a personal carry on, I've taken the 19 a few times, not sure if the 25 would qualify especially if stuffed. Again, the internal frame on the 25 is a must have, no need at all for one on the 19 in my view.

    Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
    Forum Member brucep's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting.

    Quote Originally Posted by tchoo18 View Post
    Again, the internal frame on the 25 is a must have, no need at all for one on the 19 in my view.
    I would say that it depends on what you’re packing. With full front pockets, carrying a thin lunch box in the main compartment made my S19 unwearable. I wouldn’t have bought it if they hadn’t announced the frame sheets.

  3. #3
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    Fully agree Smilie It does depend on what you're lugging and especially if stuff pokes you in the back. Thanks for sharing! Smilie

  4. #4
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    I am an adjunct college professor with classes spread across campus. I basically have to carry everything for the entire day around with me, and although that doesn't include books it does often include student papers or exams from 3 classes and a Lenovo X1 carbon. I also carry an umbrella and water bottle most of the time. I went back and forth between the 25 and 19. The 19 would probably work for me most of the time and definitely on days when I have only one class and the weather is good, but would be very very full and on days when I have a large load of papers combined with a jacket I would end up strapping the jacket on the outside. The bottom line for me is that the 25 works 100% of the time and works for travel. What I think I would really love is to have a Synapse 21-22 that is the same width as the 25 but slightly less deep. On the other hand, there are some of those typical NC days where it is 35 degrees in the AM and 60 by afternoon when I am happy to be able to stuff a down jacket into the bottom of the main compartment on the 25, so perhaps I am asking for something I really don't want.

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