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  1. #1
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    Waterproof alternative to Synapse 19

    Hi Guys,

    I travel with a Synapse 19 and 25 along with a suitcase on all my long distance trips. The combination has been perfect. When traveling to new destinations I use the 25 and put the empty 19 in in the suitcase. Once at the destination the Synapse 19 fits the bill perfectly for me.

    I knew that these bags are not waterproof but didn't realize they are not very (or at all) water resistant!

    I was in Tokyo last week and caught in a downpour and realized I do need a waterproof or very resistant bag and figured I'd post here if anyone has found something they really like.

    Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
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    I love TB and didn’t find waterproof alternatives I like. Instead, I went with a waterproof backpack cover I found on Amazon. For light rain, my bag goes naked but for heavier rain I pull out the cover. I found covers with different sizes.
    Bags - S25 (Mars Red balistic/Northwest sky/halcyon), S19 (Deep blue balistic/Iberian/halcyon). S22 (Aubergine)SCB (Nordic)
    Accessories - including Nik's #4 wallets, ghost whales, Q-kits, pouches, stuff sacks, travel trays.

  3. #3
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    I travel with an umbrella which has worked for me mostly. I suppose if I couldn't use an umbrella I would try to put it under my rain jacket or under a poncho. Otherwise I put sensitive things into plastic bags or dry sacks.

    I do bike commute a lot and admittedly the water resistance of the Synapse bags is not enough for rainy days on the bike. I haven't found a suitable solution there either.

    Most truly weatherproof bags don't have great organization and aren't as satisfying as the Synapse. The North St. Bags are pretty appealing but slightly lacking in the same thoughtfulness.

  4. #4
    Volunteer Moderator bartleby's Avatar
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    Location: Germany / Hobbies: Photography & Guitars
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    Same here: I also use a rain cover when it really pours down. I have one for every backpack. As it packs very small I carry it with me all the time so I can't forget it.

    New purchased bags should have some water resistance at least. However, after some use it is advisable to renew the water repellent treatment. In a similar thread there were some hints how to do this.

    Some other websites have specifically looked into waterproof backpacks:

    https://www.globosurfer.com/best-waterproof-backpacks/

    https://www.tripsavvy.com/best-waterproof-backpacks-4174777


    https://adventuredigest.com/best-waterproof-backpacks/
    ...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

  5. #5
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    Thank you for that fast and informative response! I should say I don't necessarily need waterproof but at least water resistant. I was surprised how much water was in the top pocket of the Synapse. I actually took it out today in the rain just to see how it would do and it was terrible. Can't use it again in the rain. I'll look at the links you posted!

    Any particular cover you might suggest for the Synapse's?

    Thanks again!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by carrot View Post
    I travel with an umbrella which has worked for me mostly. I suppose if I couldn't use an umbrella I would try to put it under my rain jacket or under a poncho. Otherwise I put sensitive things into plastic bags or dry sacks.

    I do bike commute a lot and admittedly the water resistance of the Synapse bags is not enough for rainy days on the bike. I haven't found a suitable solution there either.

    Most truly weatherproof bags don't have great organization and aren't as satisfying as the Synapse. The North St. Bags are pretty appealing but slightly lacking in the same thoughtfulness.
    I should have said 'water resistant' rather than "water proof".

    I ordered this, while I keep looking..I am spoiled as I really love the Synapse;s and love traveling with both!

    https://www.osprey.com/us/en/product..._content=smart

    I'll pick this up too:

    https://www.rei.com/product/118866/r...over-20-liters
    Last edited by 28mm; 06-18-2019 at 01:18 PM.

  7. #7
    Volunteer Moderator bartleby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 28mm View Post
    Any particular cover you might suggest for the Synapse's?
    I use this one for the Synapse 25. It should work for the S19 too maybe it is a bit too large but the cover has a pull cord to adjust the size.

    More alternatives have been discussed here.
    ...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

  8. #8
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    I generally use a cover with most of my Tom Bihn backpacks if I anticipate extremely heavy rain. If you needed extra high water resistance, as suggested above, some of the bike commuter packs have incredibly high water resistance, if more limited organization. I have a general use Flowfold backpack that I occasionally use when it is particularly rainy, and it works great for water resistance, but I always miss the organization and O rings that my Tom Bihn bags have.
    "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

  9. #9
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    It sounds like you'd benefit from re proofing the fabric with spray on waterproofing.
    When new my TB bags in all the fabrics I have tried have been extremely waterproof - caught in thunder showers and nothing came through at all.

    Sent from my SM-T713 using Tapatalk

  10. #10
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    May not be the easiest to carry around but the wheels can come in handy and NOTHING get wet inside........ever!

    There is also a Backpack Harness sold for these but I have never seen one in person?

    https://www.pelican.com/us/en/produc...protector/1510

    I also carry some ThinkTankPhoto Bags and PortaBrace cases and bags and they each come with a rain cover that fits the bag.

    I know you can buy covers at several places and just use a seam sealer to make sure they will not leak.
    Last edited by AVService; 06-19-2019 at 03:38 PM.

  11. #11
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    I bought a black summit pack from hyperlite mountain gear.

    The downside is that it is a roll top and just one big hole.

    I bought the front pocket accessory to keep my water bottle and other items that I want to access readily and do not need to keep inside the main compartment.

    Cannot dunk the bag, but in downpours and persistent rain, my stuff inside the main compartment stay dry.

    I also have their southwest backpack. It is a first generation.

    I have 2 bags from hyperlite mountain gear + 4 pods and too many to count bags + accessories from Tom Bihn.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  12. #12
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    How old is your S19? I read somewhere, you need to do some maintenance on the water-resistance of your bag.
    My S25 and I got caught in the rain riding on the highway for 30min. All the biking gears were dripping in water, I was dry.
    My S25 was also all wet, the content of it was all dry! Maybe yours needs to have its coating "refreshed"?

  13. #13
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    I highly recommend using nikwax or other suitable re-proofers. If applied correctly water just beads on top and rolls off the fabric. The zips are the only place water may get in but they are water resistant zips so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

    But yes if all that doesn’t work then it’s not ultimately designed to be waterproof so maybe your use case is not what the bag was intended for.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  14. #14
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    My approach, whatever the bag, is that I protect water-sensitive things (or, electronics or paper), by encapsulating them in smaller bags or pouches to add another layer of protection. So far I have not had water leaking into a Synapse or other TB bag, but I also am not usually in heavy rain for too long. But as an example, I am currently carrying a Cafe Bag with a Freudian Slip, which has a zippered pocket for my iPad and papers. I also keep my small things, like my phone and wallet, in a Travel Cubelet. This is mostly so I can leave the larger bag at work and just take the Travel Cubelet to lunch, but it serves the additional function of protecting the phone if I were caught in a deluge.
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

  15. #15
    Forum Member TheLibrarian's Avatar
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    I will also toss in my vote for re-waterproofing your bag.

    I had a water bottle leak in my S25 and the pocket contained all of it (a good inch or so). Nothing inside was wet at all and a few napkins later, neither was the water bottle pocket. I've used it in the rain, in EXTREMELY foggy/misty mountain environments, and had no problems. I do own a rain cover (because it makes me feel better to know I have one in case of monsoons) but I've never actually needed to use it.
    Synapse 25, Aeronaut 30, Travel Tray

    “...a book is a fragile creature, it suffers the wear of time, it fears rodents, the elements, clumsy hands. If for a hundred and a hundred years everyone had been able freely to handle our codices, the majority of them would no longer exist. So the librarian protects them not only against mankind but also against nature, and devotes his life to this war with the forces of oblivion, the enemy of truth.”
    ― Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

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