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  1. #1
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    Please help me like the Luminary

    Here's my predicament:

    I was excited for my Luminary 15 to arrive this past Monday, as I'm heading to Portland for a month or two on Friday and wanted to use it as a companion to my TS on the plane and daily carry while I'm back in the NW.

    I hate to sound negative, but I can't find much that I like about this bag. The shoulder straps are sewn wider apart than the Synapses, and while they don't completely fall off my shoulders, they don't feel secure at all without clipping the sternum strap (which I almost always remove on my backpacks). The main compartment has the smallest zip opening I've seen on any backpack. This is dictated by the design choice to have the main zipper in-line with the side pockets, but it's inconvenient for the deep, narrow profile of this bag. And then I find the side pockets relatively unusable. I can fit my phone in the larger one, but if there's anything in the main compartment at all, it takes a good effort to get it in and out. Also, the division at the bottom of the bag might sound like a good idea and probably works better in the shallower L12, but it's not very practical for a water bottle as advertised. It's deep in the bag, and unless you're carrying the the Luminary half full/empty, you wont be accessing that bottle very easily.

    What can I see it being used for? Well, maybe three long and narrow items that you place in each section of the divider, a phone in one pocket and possibly business cards or a clif bar in the other? I just feel like my S19 is much more practical in every way. The L15 can handle slightly more volume in the main cargo hold than the S19 and maintains its shape very well, but I definitely prefer the compartmentalization of the Synapse. I also recently picked up an Aer Go backpack, which fits more in the main compartment and has usable access pockets, as well as easily accessible water bottle pockets.

    I apologize for the rant; I just had higher expectations for this bag and usually appreciate TB design choices. Am I missing something? I know some people love their Luminaries, but I'm having a hard time seeing why I would choose it over another backpack.

    Please enlighten me and help me see the good in this bag!

  2. #2
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    I was excited for my L15 as well! Funnily enough, the day before it arrived I needed to take my laptop somewhere. I have a new sleeve for it (not TB) and I tried the whole setup in my S19 for the first time. Surprise - it fit perfectly!

    Which was good because I had ordered the L15 precisely for my occasional computer needs. (Old computer did not fit in S19.) And I found out my computer doesn't fit very well in the Luminary. The bag also doesn't fit me very well. I think I'm just a little short of its target demographic, so it sits up above my shoulders slightly. So I was a little sad about not having chemistry with my L15.

    I might try the L12 out, as a sightseeing-type daypack (when I'm not carrying a computer). I think it's ok if it's not love for you and the L15. Maybe your usage scenario is just different. Hope you find something you DO love (or you already have it and it's called the S19!). HAve a great trip!

  3. #3
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    As @haraya said, it's going to depend on whether is suits a use case for you. I use my S19s for carrying a laptop as EDC and the Pilot for laptop work travel. I can fit my laptop at a slight angle in the L15, but it's not a great fit so I rarely do it.

    The L15 suits me for non-laptop days. Sometimes I use the internal zip sleeve and other times not - depends on what I'm carrying. I use 16oz Nalgene bottles that don't leak, so I often put one down there, in the slot, but without zipping the sleeve up. In the rest of the space I put whatever random stuff I'm carrying to work, like a TC I use as my mobile office, a fleece, snacks, whatever.

    For the side pockets, I put Clif bars, pen/pencil and small stuff in the mini Q-Kit which fits well in that space. The new mini Ghost Whales fit well there too.
    The flat back pocket is great for kindle, book, journal, etc.

    Since the Luminary (both sizes) is so tall/narrow, it really works well when you want backpack vs side/cross body carry and want to keep a minimal profile. It's great for wandering through a city.
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too!

  4. #4
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    If you don't like the Luminary, that's ok. It's all about your preference. I like the relative lack of structural organization and having a large open space for my daily carry items. A Surface Pro4 in a sleeve fits well, as do a variety of chargers, cables and personal items (in differing TB items - snake charmer, travel cublet, and so on). I had a S25-recently sold and have a S19. Both are great bags but I did not need the S25 capacity for daily carry and I found over time that the enforced organization of the S19 an increasing problem in terms of how I prefer to manage my stuff. Bottom line is to use whatever works best for you style and daily carry. (I don't get traveling with only a S19 or S25 a some folks do - I am jealous of them despite my best efforts, I have come to the conclusion, I will never, ever be a one-bagger!)

  5. #5
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    Please help me like the Luminary

    Quote Originally Posted by slightlysaltybagman View Post
    Here's my predicament:

    I was excited for my Luminary 15 to arrive this past Monday, as I'm heading to Portland for a month or two on Friday and wanted to use it as a companion to my TS on the plane and daily carry while I'm back in the NW.

    I hate to sound negative, but I can't find much that I like about this bag. The shoulder straps are sewn wider apart than the Synapses, and while they don't completely fall off my shoulders, they don't feel secure at all without clipping the sternum strap (which I almost always remove on my backpacks). The main compartment has the smallest zip opening I've seen on any backpack. This is dictated by the design choice to have the main zipper in-line with the side pockets, but it's inconvenient for the deep, narrow profile of this bag. And then I find the side pockets relatively unusable. I can fit my phone in the larger one, but if there's anything in the main compartment at all, it takes a good effort to get it in and out. Also, the division at the bottom of the bag might sound like a good idea and probably works better in the shallower L12, but it's not very practical for a water bottle as advertised. It's deep in the bag, and unless you're carrying the the Luminary half full/empty, you wont be accessing that bottle very easily.

    What can I see it being used for? Well, maybe three long and narrow items that you place in each section of the divider, a phone in one pocket and possibly business cards or a clif bar in the other? I just feel like my S19 is much more practical in every way. The L15 can handle slightly more volume in the main cargo hold than the S19 and maintains its shape very well, but I definitely prefer the compartmentalization of the Synapse. I also recently picked up an Aer Go backpack, which fits more in the main compartment and has usable access pockets, as well as easily accessible water bottle pockets.

    I apologize for the rant; I just had higher expectations for this bag and usually appreciate TB design choices. Am I missing something? I know some people love their Luminaries, but I'm having a hard time seeing why I would choose it over another backpack.

    Please enlighten me and help me see the good in this bag!
    The Luminary doesn't work for me as an EveryDay Carry either. For me it's because I carry a lot of small items and I am a pocket fiend. The Parental Unit is a much better bag for a lot of small items.

    On the other hand, I really like the L15 as my emergency overnight bag, which is basically a minimal travel bag, to be carried along *with* my EDC, not replacing my EDC.

    A full Packing Cube Shoulder Bag fits in the bottom of the L15 with a Clear Quarter Packing Cube (or a Deluxe Spiff Kit) and a 3D Organizer Cube on top. The slightly triangular shape of the bag means that, even with the PCSB, CQPC/DSK and 3DOC stacked inside against the flat back of the bag, there is room to slide a packable jacket and/or thin accessories like gloves or a scarf down the inside front of the main compartment (I was able to fit in a size 3 Travel Stuff Sack with a packable down jacket inside). Also, there are the three external pockets so I could also have fit my iPad Mini in the tablet pocket. I am amazed by this, since it is such a small, slim bag! Again, though, none of that is my EDC, I can't stand stacking items on top of one another for EDC.

    I hope you find a use case that works for you, or a swap buddy if you decide to try an L12 instead :-)
    Last edited by Cristina; 05-08-2019 at 01:55 PM. Reason: Expanded acronyms

  6. #6
    Forum Member ButtUglyJeff's Avatar
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    That was my plan with the L15. It's going to be my "I have stuff to do or places to go" bag. I hate having to unload my GES25, when I need a day pack. So here's where the L15 will come in to play. My daughter has a parade her band is marching in (Lilac Festival in Rochester, NY for festival lovers), and it'll be a joy to grab my empty bag, just waiting to be filled with the half dozen items I'll need to bring...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ButtUglyJeff View Post
    That was my plan with the L15. It's going to be my "I have stuff to do or places to go" bag. I hate having to unload my GES25, when I need a day pack. So here's where the L15 will come in to play. My daughter has a parade her band is marching in (Lilac Festival in Rochester, NY for festival lovers), and it'll be a joy to grab my empty bag, just waiting to be filled with the half dozen items I'll need to bring...
    I lived in RaChaCha for around 10 years, that's a great festival - have fun!
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too!

  8. #8
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    I bought a L15 for mostly the same reasons as @G42 mentioned. I use a S25 for laptop EDC because I have a 15Ē MacBookPro, and thatís about the only size backpack that can handle it well. I have a tendency to overpack the S25 given the opportunity and itís not the best bag for me to carry around empty, even with an internal frame. Iím trying the L15 out for non-laptop EDC as my chiropractor wants me to stay away from messenger/shoulder bags where Iím carrying the weight on one shoulder consistently.

    Quote Originally Posted by G42 View Post
    I use 16oz Nalgene bottles that don't leak, so I often put one down there, in the slot, but without zipping the sleeve up.
    How is that holding up? I would be concerned that the zipper gives the slot some structure and/or integrity so the water bottle doesnít laterally pull on the sleeveís stitching, bombproof as it seems.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by allanorn View Post
    How is that holding up? I would be concerned that the zipper gives the slot some structure and/or integrity so the water bottle doesnít laterally pull on the sleeveís stitching, bombproof as it seems.
    Haven't seen any issues yet, but the L15 is still an infant in bag years 😄
    The material and stitching are robust, so I think you'd have to have something sharp and/or heavy trapping the material or constantly abrading under tension to really hurt it. Time will tell, but I'm not too worried.
    I usually keep the section unzipped when I'm putting other items in that need to borrow that space. The Nalgene won't leak if it tips over, but then it's just harder to get out of the bag or find it if it goes wandering around...

  10. #10
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    Feel free to tease me, but the issue I had with the zipped interior section is that after I initially unzipped it I could not for the life of me get it zipped back up. I have zipped many items during my life ranging from jackets to bags, but I find it impossible to get that inner zipper zipped back up in the L12. One would think it would not be so difficult, but since the top outer zipper just extends partway down the bag, I seem to have a coordination issue. If anyone who has tested their Luminary longer has suggestions, I am very open to ideas. On a positive note, the L12 still looks very streamlined with it unzipped. However, it makes me wish there had been an alternate attachment method.

    Otherwise in my limited time testing it out, I have been pleased with it as a small day backpack. While I initially thought I wanted a L15, when I tried the L15 on it was way too long on me to feel comfortable.
    "Do one thing every day that scares you." - Eleanor Roosevelt
    "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." -Ferris Bueller

  11. #11
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    Thanks guys. I was considering allocating it to beach duty- just to carry a water bottle, towel, and spare shirt; or even modifying it to function as a sling bag.

    After waiting a couple months in anticipation, I think I'm just trying to rationalize the purchase. You've helped me get over the fact that every bag may not serve a purpose for every individual, so I'll most likely return the bag (first one ever!) and stick with the trusty S19 for now..

    Thanks again for the insight and your usage tips!

  12. #12
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    @Nwhikergal -- I've had some success adding a cord pull for difficult zippers - would that work for you?

  13. #13
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    If anyone doesnít get on with a L12/15 then you could sell them on in the TB Facebook sales group


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Tom Bihn Newbie- HAVE: Synapse 19 (cloud grey & Island blue)
    WISHLIST: Medium cafe bag, Synapse 25, travel tray, 13 inch MacBook cache, iPad mini cache, Aeronaut 45 (grey/&UV), Spiff Kit, Side Kick

  14. #14
    Forum Member b1gsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NWhikergal View Post
    Feel free to tease me, but the issue I had with the zipped interior section is that after I initially unzipped it I could not for the life of me get it zipped back up. I have zipped many items during my life ranging from jackets to bags, but I find it impossible to get that inner zipper zipped back up in the L12. One would think it would not be so difficult, but since the top outer zipper just extends partway down the bag, I seem to have a coordination issue. If anyone who has tested their Luminary longer has suggestions, I am very open to ideas. On a positive note, the L12 still looks very streamlined with it unzipped. However, it makes me wish there had been an alternate attachment method.

    Otherwise in my limited time testing it out, I have been pleased with it as a small day backpack. While I initially thought I wanted a L15, when I tried the L15 on it was way too long on me to feel comfortable.
    I had a few difficulties in the beginning too until I figured it out. I don’t look at it, it’s easier to do it by feel. I reach into the backpack from above and hold the moveable zipper part in my right hand. I pull it back and upwards to put it on tension. Then I feel along the sewn in zipper in the back with my left hand and push it to a 90 degrees angle with my pointer finger. Then just slide the moveable part over it. In the beginning it didn’t work because I placed the moveable part of the zipper right at the back padding, which is TOO FAR back. For it to slide easily down there needs to be a few millimetres between the back and the zipper. I hope you get it figured out! I think this feature is really practical.

  15. #15
    Forum Member b1gsky's Avatar
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    And generally I agree that some bags just donít work for everyone. I was really surprised by the small opening of the main compartment in the beginning too. But for me it works out great. I only need access to very few things on the go (I use the L12 for work), which are keys, tissues and my phone. All that fits into the outside pockets. Everything else only gets accessed when Iím either sitting down in public transport and have the backpack on my lap and can reach in from above or at work where I just take most things out of the bag for the day. And the backpack hasnít been stuffed so far, I never pack so much that the side pockets become inaccessible. Someone here said that they think of the L12 as a ďSCB able to hold that little extra bitĒ and thatís how I pack the L12. Thereís definitely still room in there.
    Last edited by b1gsky; 05-09-2019 at 02:38 AM.

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