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  1. #1
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    Synapse 25 Showing Light Scuff Marks - Durability of 525 Ballistic?

    Hello All. I have purchased several TB bags in the last year or so - including Synapse 25, Aeronaut 45, two Daylight backpacks, Pilot and Cafe Bag - and have been using and loving all of them. My Synapse 25 is in the gorgeous Aubergine color as is my Aeronaut 45. (I just LOVE the Aubergine color!)

    I travel a lot (airline travel) and have used my Synapse 25 as my one bag carry for shorter trips. Lately I've noticed that the fabric on my Synapse is picking up what I would describe as light scuff marks that don't come off. I emphasize that the marks are light (a light white) and I mainly notice them only up close and when the bag is in direct light - so we aren't talking major cosmetic damage here and certainly not damage that impacts the integrity of the bag. Still, it bothers me that the bag, after just a few trips this past year, is starting to show this kind of wear. I am an extremely careful - some would describe me as persnickety LOL - person and I take very good care of my stuff. My Synapse has never been checked into the luggage hold and has not received any abuse. During travel it sits under the seat in front of me and of course I do pull it in and out from underneath the seat at times during flights. The marks are showing up on the front of the bag, mainly on the panel where the TB logo patch is located. My Aeronaut 45 which is in the 1050 ballistic has not picked up any such scuff marks and of course it rides in the overhead bin during travel. My Pilot which is in the Halcyon fabric also rests underneath the seat in front of me when I use it for travel and shows no wear to date.

    So, my question is - Has anyone else experienced their ballistic 525 material getting easily lightly scuffed? I realize that all bags will begin to show wear over the years but the marks I'm getting on my Synapse are inexplicable to me, and especially since I've only had the bag for a year and used it just a few times. As I said earlier, I truly love the Aubergine color and the fact that it's showing scuff marks this soon on my Synapse is rather disappointing, and especially since a major selling point of TB bags is their great durability.

    Thanks so much for any feedback.
    Last edited by KathyS.; 11-11-2019 at 10:03 AM.

  2. #2
    Forum Member cucumber.sandwich's Avatar
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    I have been using a black ballistic nylon 525 pop tote as my EDC for over a year now, and have only noticed very slight thread fraying in a very small area near a seam that could be clipped off without issue. I wonder if there is any variance in the level of durability between different lots of the ballistic nylon 525 fabric.


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  3. #3
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    I purchased a blue 525 ballistic synapse last august and I have the same issue as well. I take my bag to work and back basically and the bag just sits on ground of the train and it gets picked up. That's basically all it does. I have a couple of small whitish scuffs as well. Even though I don't beat up my bag, I just took it to mean it's a cosmetic issue and the bag performs fine. But my DLBP doesn't have this issue - just the synapse!

  4. #4
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    I also wonder if different color batches also make a difference. My coyote 525 PCSB also shows white scuff marks from carrying a camera battery inside but this never shows on my black halcyon PCSB which I’ve used the same way. I also wondered about the original halcyon- it seems heavier than black halcyon, but maybe it’s an optical allusion.

  5. #5
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    This is a bit concerning given the supposed deprecation of 1050 for 525 even on the travel bags.

    I wonder if anyone has experience checking bags made in 525 and could comment on scuffing there.

  6. #6
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    My 525 definitely shows marks. I couldnít say if it was a scuff or if it was pulling paint off a wall I had brushed against (for instance). My 210 shows marks like crazy (I swear even rain makes water marks) and the lighter colors are particularly sensitive to marking. I donít have this problem with Halcyon. Actual scuffs on Halcyon donít tend to show as much in my experience.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrendaH View Post
    My coyote 525 PCSB also shows white scuff marks from carrying a camera battery inside but this never shows on my black halcyon PCSB which I’ve used the same way.
    For what it's worth, I think the only Coyote PCSB so far is in 210d ballistic, not 525d (the 525d Coyote items are expected to be available sometime within the next year).

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the responses so far. It sounds like I'm not the only one experiencing the scuffing issue. I wonder if the folks at TB are aware of it? It seems they should inform their customers that this will (or could) be an issue with the 525 ballistic nylon since one of the reasons (I assume) most of us are spending the kind of money we do for their products is the durability, which in my mind would include the ability of the fabric to endure wear. My previous luggage system that I used for a good 15 years was by Eagle Creek. I actually still have those bags and aside from some very minor fraying on some edges and places where the plastic is a bit scratched (from being checked in), the fabric on those bags is still in great shape. The rate it's going with my Synapse I'm afraid I'm going to have a very scuffed up bag in just a couple of years. Frown

  9. #9
    Forum Member cucumber.sandwich's Avatar
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    Have you emailed TB? I bet in this situation, they might be open to discussing a replacement. Maybe itís the lot number of the fabric that there was an issue with.


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  10. #10
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    I wonder if it is just the nature of the 525 fabric to show abrasions more, the way that flat paint shows every imperfection in a wall. I've noticed that 1050 fabric seems to be more shiny/luminous than the 525, so microbrasions may just not be as obvious...
    A30 - Original Halcyon/UV MB - Aubergine/NWS LCB - Original Halcyon/Wasabi! MCB - Steel dyneema/Wasabi! STT - Wasabi! SE - NORDIC/Solar TT - Sitka

    TB Newbie First factory visit - 9/21/2018

    Heartís desire: a S19 or S25 in original NORDIC.

  11. #11
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    Reply to Cucumber.Sandwich -

    As a matter of fact Darcy from TB emailed me this morning upon reading my post. I didn't realize they read and monitor their forums so attentively but, wow, I'm very impressed with the customer service and quick attention to my concern. What a great company! Per her request I sent Darcy pictures of the scuffs and we'll see what she says. I want to reiterate and underscore that the marks on my bag thus far are a small few, very light and noticeable mainly up close to the bag. I would not necessarily ask for a replacement at this point, only if the number of marks continues to grow and get worse. If the cause of the marks is a bad batch of fabric, replacement may ultimately be an option but I'm really not there yet.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jessmakes View Post
    I wonder if it is just the nature of the 525 fabric to show abrasions more, the way that flat paint shows every imperfection in a wall. I've noticed that 1050 fabric seems to be more shiny/luminous than the 525, so microbrasions may just not be as obvious...
    Could be you're correct about the 525 fabric. I think if it's the case that 525 shows micro abrasions easily then TB should give customers a heads up prior to purchase of the bag (and this knowledge will also assist customers in making the decision whether to go for this fabric or the halcyon). Knowing in advance what to expect would dispel the concern one feels when marks start showing up within a few uses.

  13. #13
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    Yes: I have had the same issue with my 525 Side Kick for example which does not get rough used at all. But after just two trips overseas, they do look a lot more scuffed than my 10 year old Synapse 19 (cordura) after all these years of rough use. I think the 525 is durable in terms of tears and so on; but not in terms of appearance, compared to the 1050 Ballistic; or the halycon.

  14. #14
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    All,

    Thanks to everyone who responded to my emails so quickly and sent the photos.

    Iím pretty sure what weíre seeing here is very small areas of the DWR (Durable Water Repellent) surface treatment (the water repellant stuff thatís applied to the top of the fabric) turning white-ish after being abraded ó not the fabric, but the DWR. Thatís why itís white-ish, and thatís why some (but not all) have reported success using a warm wash cloth or a brush to remove the small area of the abraded DWR. One of the folks who posted in this thread who we have been talking with via email had success using the warm wash cloth method; another will try it and let us know how it works.

    (The exception would be BrendaHís 210d bag ó the fabric on their bag actually looks abraded, so we will be working with them to figure out how that happened. It is worth noting that while 210d is very abrasion resistant, itís not infallible, and it is not as abrasion resistant as 525d; thatís why we offer bags that may see light use or can be used as packing cubes or other interior organization bags with an exterior of 210d, but we donít offer bags like the Synapse or Tri-Star in 210d.)

    This came up previously, and I think one or two people reported this to us. We contacted our fabric mill and they thought the issue might be this: the industry is changing over to the more environmentally friendly C6 DWRs, because it's a good thing to do and... the old school chemicals are going to be illegal soon. These new water-repellent treatments, so far, perform very well ó but not quite as well ó as the old school chemicals, and our mill thought perhaps they were applying too much of the new stuff to make up for that. After that, our mill tested various lower concentrations of the DWR to ensure it was still doing its job with water repellency but wasnít so thick it would appear visible when the bag came into contact with rough objects; they found a concentration that met their requirements as well as ours, tested it, and we approved. This was back in 2018. Thinking back to then, this was something we wanted to improve but didnít consider a defect or problem ó the small areas that got whiteish marks didnít significantly impact the water-repellency of the bag and were difficult to see in most lighting situations, unless one was looking for them, and they seemed to be able to be wiped off.

    If anyone is experiencing this issue, our recommendations are:

    First, try taking a soft brush or a dry wash cloth and try lightly brushing the small area of white coating off ó like one might brush a quality loafer to remove debris before polishing.

    If that doesnít help, take a warm wash cloth and a little bit of dish soap and wipe/rub the affected area.

    Weíll also be working on some in-house tests to try to find other ways to remove the DWR markoff. First, we need to replicate it ó oddly enough, we don't see this issue on any of our bags.

    Do you guys remember this thread: https://forums.tombihn.com/general-b...tle-spots.html We ended up using Citra-Solv to clean the Nikwax spots off the Founderís Briefcase; weíre going to test that in-house if we can replicate the DWR markoff and see if that works too. To be clear, though, we have not seen any 525d bags that look anything like that Founderís Briefcase!

    Weíre testing, researching, talking with our fabric suppliers and leaving no stone unturned here ó I will post more news when I have some.

    Quote Originally Posted by jessmakes View Post
    I wonder if it is just the nature of the 525 fabric to show abrasions more, the way that flat paint shows every imperfection in a wall. I've noticed that 1050 fabric seems to be more shiny/luminous than the 525, so microbrasions may just not be as obvious...
    Weíve long noted that Halcyon hides imperfections more than any other fabric we use ó whether thatís 1050d, 420d Parapack, 525d, etc. We think thatís because of the two grid patterns Halcyon has ó the background diamond grid in the nylon and then, of course, the grid of the UHMWPE. Further, because the UHMWPE is white, it attracts the eye and helps to guide our perceptions away from any imperfections in the base nylon.

    Additionally, lighter color fabrics are always going to be prone to stains or discoloration (thinking of you, my now perfectly imperfect light grey sweater, but those tacos were sure good!) but the nylon diamond grid + UHMWPE white grid in Halcyon helps to mask stains. So, thatís why weíre more willing to choose lighter colors in Halcyon ó plus, the UHMWPE white grid makes most of the nylon base colors look even lighter than they actually are. And here Iím digressing way too much, but we considered offering an off-white Halcyon at one pointÖ. but then decided against it because that quality of the UHMWPE white grid attracting the eye away from stains or dirt wouldnít really be working its magic anymore Smilie
    Current Carry: The Hero's Journey, Skookum Dog Citizen Canine, Founder's Briefcase, Synapse 19 (day hikes), Guide's Pack (longer day hikes), Yeoman Duffel (winter/emergency stuff for the car), Aeronaut 30 (travel), Night Flight Travel Duffel (camera bag), Moveable Feast + Shop Bags (food)

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the information about the different fabric on the PCSB. If this is thinner (don’t know if less dense is the descriptor) it may show marks more than 525?...

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