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  1. #1
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    Synapse 30 Guide Edition

    WARNING: Long-winded post.

    Hey TB fam- My name's Trevor, and I'm a bag junkie... I came across Tom Bihn bags as I began downsizing and looking for better ways to 'one-bag travel.' My Synapses (Synapsi?) are close to ideal in most situations, but this is my version of a slightly larger 'S30' that I've seen suggested a fair amount on the forum.


    *28-30L capacity*: This could be achieved by 'squaring up' the current design and filling out the corner dimensions a bit. The enhanced capacity would be great for those extra few necessities, and the shape could help the bag stay upright when it's not on your back. Whether you're hiking the PCT or walking the streets of Paris; this size is about perfect. A larger Synapse lends itself to overfilling as needed, while still maintaining a smaller profile if packed down.

    *Additional compartment*: The extra volume would be a great way to add a slim zippered compartment between the main stowage area and the back panel. This would be the ideal pocket for a laptop, integrated organization panel, or just a spot to stuff some clothes for added padding.

    *Full-length clamshell zippers*: Please! To me, this is the largest disadvantage my S25 & S19 have when compared to other backpacks. Full length zippers are so, so much easier to pack and access. The zips on TB bags are tough as nails, so structurally I don't think it'd be a problem. This feature alone would be enough for me to purchase a new one.

    *Strap management*: A seemingly small detail that actually makes a big difference. I can't be the only one who loathes "the dangle." Many good quality bags manage loose straps with an elastic 'keeper' that holds them to the standing end of the strap (similar to the material I imagine is used on the new Nik's wallets). On my Synapses I've attached a small plastic slide that holds the loose end and standing part together. I'll included pics sometime if anyone is interested in how I do this. It feels and looks so much cleaner without excess strappage. Including a simple strap management system even on existing designs would be easy enough.

    *More breathable backing*: I'm not talkin' mountain-trekking/technical pack breathability. Just a little more airflow and maybe a change in material. Last year I carried my S25 around the Marianas for a few months and it was quite the soak-show. I don't usually sweat much, but even walking around Seattle for a few hours gets toasty and my back ends up gasping for air. A few ridges in the backing could help, though this may be one of the more difficult changes to implement as it's different from anything that the company currently offers.

    *Guide edition*: For one, it looks awesome. But more so, it's functional. The lashings make the bag more versatile; from minimalist travel to camping/backpacking, or even daily carry. Being able to attach a tripod, sleeping pad, yoga mat, etc. vastly enhances the possibilities. Add this to a bag with already pretty decent organization, and you have a killer.


    That's a start at least. One google search for a minimalist or 'one-bag' travel backpack will lead you to the Synapse, but I feel like a few of these changes would take its capabilities to another level and leave it unmatched in the travel world. Whether you're endlessly vagabonding around the globe or lugging your laptop and gym clothes to a 9-5, the Synapse 30 GE could be the ultimate go-to...

    I'll spare you any more. Thanks for reading if you made it to the end- we either suffer from the same ailment or your back button doesn't work. Let me know your thoughts on this 'S30' option, or if you'd like to see a different backpack entirely.

  2. #2
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    Location: Germany / Hobbies: Photography & Guitars
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    Hi slightlysaltybagman and welcome to this forum! Wow, what a post, youre really dug deep! Very interesting suggestions. I especially like the idea of the strap management and the laptop compartment although that might interfere with a feature of the current S25 that I like very much: If it is underpacked it snuggles very unobtrusively against my back. Regarding the full-length zippers I am not sure: I think that having them only halfway gives the bag a better stability.
    ...spread joy in your neighbourhood
    current bags: Smart Alec, Guide's Pack, Guide's Edition S25, Luminary 15, Daylight Backpack, Aeronaut 45, Tri-Star, Road Buddy 36, Daylight Briefcase, Small Yeoman Duffel, bits and pieces

  3. #3
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    Interesting ideas. I am 100% with you on the back material. It's fine for a little while, but can get hot really quick!

    I have to say, though, that the rounded profile of the Synapse is one of the things I love about it. There are a lot of squared off bags out there, and *for my use case* I'd much rather have the nice profile of the current Synapse than some extra room in the squared out corners. Similar story with the zippers. I use my S25 as a edc bag and I prefer the half zip for this use. I could definitely see a full zipper being useful if I were using it to one-bag around the world.

  4. #4
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    For sure, I definitely appreciate the S25 and S19 for what they are. I agree that the extra compartment would set the back further astern; a bigger Synapse would be sort of Brain Baggish in that regard. I also agree that squaring up the profile would detract from the sleek factor.. It'd be interesting to see how much the extra capacity would bulk up the bag- I was surprised how much smaller the S19 is compared to my 25, but I think the bigger the bag the less you notice.

    As far as the zippers, I feel like TB zippers are so strong that you could unzip halfway and you'd never know the difference from it being permanently attached. But you'd have the option. 90% of the time I only open my full-zip bags at the top, but it's nice when packing or to pull something from the bottom when its full.

    Now that I'm thinking about it more, this bag really sounds more like a Brain Bag Guide Edition, haha. Hmm...
    Last edited by slightlysaltybagman; 02-14-2019 at 05:01 PM.

  5. #5
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    Synapse needs a clamshell so bad. Id pay a fortune to have a clamshell zip added on...

  6. #6
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    Sounds close to an aeronaut 30. (With a few exceptions such as laptop compartment and breathable mesh) I don't have one but it would be my choice if I traveled by plane and went with one bag.

    Sent from my XT1575 using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Forum Member Rei's Avatar
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    Some great idea though I'm happy with my current GES25

    28-30L will be too big on me (under 5') but an external compartment which could be attached to the bottom of the GES25 (the dual diamonds) would be awesome (and add the capacity without modifying the bag size)

    and some "loose staps keepers" in coyote as "parts" would be awesome too :P
    just a Bihnion here

  8. #8
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    Yes! I love that idea. It'd be awesome to have lashing attachments on more bags and then an array of accessories/pockets that can be added. A modular design like that keeps the bags simple and allows people to customize as needed.

  9. #9
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    Of your list, the two that I would most want are the clamshell zippers and that additional padded laptop/tablet compartment. A chunky top handle would also be great for holding onto the bag when removing it for elevators & public transportation.

    The one item I am a little less excited about would be the guide edition b/c strangely, I never did love the color schemes there--they seemed neither urban nor outdoorsy to me but somewhere inbetween. I am a big fan of the other halcyons/ballistic color combos though.

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