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  1. #1
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    Start of another Synik 22 review

    I don't usually win things, so getting the email from Darcy that Countron had chosen me to review a Synik backpack was kind of like peeling back the wrapper of a chocolate bar and finding the golden ticket. Soon this beautiful Aubergine/NWS Synik 22 was in my hands. I was so excited that I didn't let it touch the floor when I first received it.

    Start of another Synik 22 review-img_20190725_155142-jpg

    There have been some incredible reviews so far (see the list here), and I've decided to focus on my own situation and peculiarities. For starters, I've owned Synapse 19 and 25's in the past, but don't have either currently, so I can't do a photo comparison. My focus will be two-fold:

    (1) My commute. It's currently two hours in each direction (ugh!), mostly on the commuter rail into Boston. I notice that my fellow long-distance commuters, like me, put a lot of consideration into what we carry. After all, our backpacks and tote bags contain our little capsules of happiness: phones, iPads, books, headphones, snacks, and the oh-so-important mugs of coffee that get us through the day. I'll carry the Synik 22 for a week so that I can weigh in on how it compares to other options.

    (2) Weekend trips. I'll be taking the Synik 22 with me for 2-day trip in late August, but before that, I'll do test packs with the other small-ish bags I have on hand: the Luminary 15, the Night Flight Travel Duffel, the Pop Tote, and possibly the Western Flyer, to show how they stack up against each other.

    Both of these will follow later, in this thread. But as for first impressions:

    The Synapse 19 I started with, years ago, was a relatively small bag as I remember it. When I first saw the Synik 22, my impression was that it was beefier. Of course, it's made of 525 ballistic, and my Synapses were Halcyon or Cordura, as I remember. As others have commented, it seems just slightly wider and flatter, and less rounded. It has a stiff back panel. For me, I like most of these changes. One of my issues with the original Synapse was the curviness, which I found hard to pack, and its tendency to "egg out" if overfilled. Also, I found the S19 to be a little small for my needs sometimes, but being 5'2', the S25 was too long for my torso. The Synik 22 is actually a great size.

    Straps: The S22 straps are much more comfy for me than the Synapse straps. Keeping in mind that everyone's body shape is different, and mine seems to be particularly unique: in order of preference: Luminary 12 (original) > Synik 22 > Luminary 15 (new).

    Weight: By my standards, this is a moderately heavy bag. To be fair, I'm comparing it to the ultralight Luminary 12, or the Small Cafe Bag, which I have been carrying lately. That's part of the reason I'm trying it for a full week before making up my mind. So far, by the end of Day One, I'm getting used to it. As I'll go into in more detail, it is not packed very full. I'm basically loading it with the contents of a Small Cafe Bag, with the addition of a mug of coffee and a few more items.

    Laptop pocket: This is great! It fits my 13" Macbook Pro well, and of course the iPad Mini with ease. I like having a dedicated space for flat items that is distinct from the main compartment, and accessible from the outside. Today I took home a 9 1/2" x 12 1/2" Fedex envelope of personal papers that had been sitting on my desk at work. It just fit, with some nudging and a tiny bit of folding the corners.

    Top handle: A lot of reviewers have already remarked on this. To me, it's perfect. I loved the original Luminary 12 top-handle, which was a different material, but also stiff.

    O-rings: Lots more O-ring goodness in this bag. If it were up to me, I'd have a few additional, or different, placements. I like having o-rings at the very bottom of the bag so that I can clip valuable items in before going through airport security. And as I expressed with the Luminary, it's helpful to have an o-ring at the very top of the interior main compartment. However, I was glad to see an o-ring in the small flat interior front pocket, which is where my train pass can go. I always feel better when that's attached. (Fun fact: My monthly train pass is worth more than the Synik. I really don't want to lose it.)

    OK, that's it for now. I will be back with at least two more detailed posts, as described above.
    Last edited by bchaplin; 07-27-2019 at 03:51 AM.
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

  2. #2
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    This is very helpful so far - looking forward to more detail as the days pass. Any chance of a photo or two of you wearing the S22? I ask because I’m 5”1”, and I really need the extra capacity of S30 (Have had and returned S25 after finding it too small for my use case.). I have a really cheap backpack that is 18” tall and it looks fine on me - big, but fine. I’m definitely ordering the S30, because it is quite possibly my dream bag, but at 20” high, I’m guessing that could be a challenge. In any case, seeing S22 on someone roughly my size ahead of time would still give me an additional data point. Thanks!

  3. #3
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    I understand that it has an internal frame and it adds to the weight. May I know if the internal frame removable? Thanks!

    Would love pictures of Aubergine S22 on you too!!!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chill View Post
    I understand that it has an internal frame and it adds to the weight. May I know if the internal frame removable? Thanks!
    The internal frame is removeable - they'll be posting the 'how to' in the FAQ and/or product details page.

    Keep in mind that the frame does contribute to how the laptop is suspended off the base of the bag, if that's something important to you.
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by G42 View Post
    The internal frame is removeable - they'll be posting the 'how to' in the FAQ and/or product details page.

    Keep in mind that the frame does contribute to how the laptop is suspended off the base of the bag, if that's something important to you.
    Thank you, I hope the pros and cons of removing the internal frame will be included as well :-)

  6. #6
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    @Chill, I wore the Synik 22 Friday with the internal frame. It does add some weight, but if you have a laptop inside, it protects it by adding rigidity that, along with the design of the laptop pocket, keeps it raised up from the bottom of the pack. (This will be explained in more detail in the Tom Bihn FAQ.) From my experience with the Synapse, I think the frame also helps the S22 keep its shape if it is stuffed full, something I'll test out.

    That said, it's lighter when removed. On Monday I'm going to try out my commute without the internal frame. The removal only takes a minute (you just curve it and pull it out of the pocket; that's also going to be in the FAQ).
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bchaplin View Post
    @Chill, I wore the Synik 22 Friday with the internal frame. It does add some weight, but if you have a laptop inside, it protects it by adding rigidity that, along with the design of the laptop pocket, keeps it raised up from the bottom of the pack. (This will be explained in more detail in the Tom Bihn FAQ.) From my experience with the Synapse, I think the frame also helps the S22 keep its shape if it is stuffed full, something I'll test out.

    That said, it's lighter when removed. On Monday I'm going to try out my commute without the internal frame. The removal only takes a minute (you just curve it and pull it out of the pocket; that's also going to be in the FAQ).
    Lovely! Thanks bchaplin.

  8. #8
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    A few quick notes:

    (1) Here's the Synik 22 on my suitcase. It's a small cheapo roller from TJ Maxx. I know the perspective makes it look smaller than the backpack, but that's not exactly the case. However, they are close in size! The fit is tight, so a suitcase with a super-wide handle might not accept the pass-through; however, it also means that the S22 doesn't spin around on top of the roller. Also, it made sense to flip the backpack straps forward in this configuration.

    Start of another Synik 22 review-suitcase-roller-jpg

    (2) As pointed out by (no)mad creative in his excellent review, the water bottle pocket now has a triangular shape. It was really hard to get a photo of this, but here's the best I could do. Maybe someone with a Synapse can confirm, because I don't remember, but the reviewer points to this as a new feature. EDIT: See @aedifica's note below: The curved pockets are actually a recently introduced feature that is now present on both the Synapse and Synik lines.

    Start of another Synik 22 review-water-bottle-pocket-jpg

    Why does this matter? It means that the two side pockets have a little more space! I don't think this is a huge difference, but it's an interesting feature, as most objects in the water bottle pocket would be cylindrical, and this frees up more space on the sides.

    Start of another Synik 22 review-side1-jpg
    Start of another Synik 22 review-side2-jpg
    Last edited by bchaplin; 07-29-2019 at 05:39 AM.
    ----
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  9. #9
    Volunteer Moderator aedifica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bchaplin View Post
    As pointed out by (no)mad creative in his excellent review, the water bottle pocket now has a triangular shape. It was really hard to get a photo of this, but here's the best I could do. Maybe someone with a Synapse can confirm, because I don't remember, but the reviewer points to this as a new feature.
    This was a recent-ish change on the Synapses--maybe within the last few months? So the Synapse 19 and Synapse 25 now have that same shape to the water bottle pocket.
    I have a bunch of great bags. Favorite color combos include Aubergine/Island, Navy/Solar, Forest/UV, Original Halcyon/Wasabi, Cloud/Viridian.

    I've fulfilled my dream of palindromic-colored nested bags! Navy/Ultraviolet Pilot with Aubergine/Island Side Effect inside: blue purple purple blue. Forest/UV A45 with Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot inside: green purple purple green.

  10. #10
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    Hi! I asked @tuskegee7294 this, too... I'm wondering what accessories fit in the newly designed side pockets. 3DOC? Size two stuff sack? Cubelet?

  11. #11
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    Start of another Synik 22 review

    Great insight, bchaplin, and thanks so much for the in depth review!

    You mentioned having some Synapses in the halcyon fabric. How would you say your experience with the ballistic has been thus far? Iím fighting the battle of going back and forth on fabric, and would love the opinion of someone who has owned both!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by STX21; 07-29-2019 at 06:14 PM.

  12. #12
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    Great questions so far, and also some more great reviews that have been posted. @imagineez certainly did a very in-depth, photo-rich essay.

    @Lia, my reviews will go up next weekend, and I'll check on what can fit in the pockets.

    @chill: As for the internal frame sheet, I started out this morning with it removed, and within about two minutes, popped it back in. It just felt better on my back. To be fair, my back is very temperamental, and what I consider to be uncomfortable changes over the course of the day.

    @STX21: Overall, I prefer the solid color of the ballistic. My only issue is that it's heavier. On some large bags, like the Aeronaut, I find that the rigidity of ballistic makes it easier for me to carry. However, the Synapse has a lot of structure, with all the internal dividers, and a frame, so my feeling is that the choice of fabric in that bag shouldn't really influence how it carries --- it's probably more an issue of aesthetics.

    @aungrl, Here you go. Looking at these photos which my coworker took (in the glamorous setting of our hallway), I realize that the Synik 22 is actually pretty big on me! However, it's quite comfortable. The bag is packed so that the bottom pocket is full, the side pockets lightly filled, with a water bottle inside, and the main compartment about half-full. I should try to get a photo of myself wearing a Luminary later, for comparison.

    Start of another Synik 22 review-img_20190729_151455-jpg

    Start of another Synik 22 review-img_20190729_151505-jpg

    Start of another Synik 22 review-img_20190729_151522-jpg

    Beth
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

  13. #13
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    Thank you for your review - it's very good and detailed so far and the photos are really useful!

    I have a question for you. Do you find the Synik 22 is a travel bag or more of and EDC. I feel the Synik 30 is more of a travel bag because of the size but this may be different given the Synik 22 is smaller.

    Does this feel heavier than the S25? (i know you no longer have it but you note you used to).

    I like you, used to have the S19. But I found it too small. It was fine at the beginning of the day as an EDC but then as the day progressed it would fill up (work documents/groceries/ etc). On your work days did you find that with the S19? Do you find that with the Synik 22?

    Thanks again for all of the info you've posted. It's super helpful!

  14. #14
    Volunteer Moderator aedifica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TorontoSS View Post
    Does this feel heavier than the S25? (i know you no longer have it but you note you used to).
    I've made a note to answer this in my own Synik 22 review, since I do currently have an S25 and S19.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bchaplin View Post
    Great questions so far, and also some more great reviews that have been posted. @imagineez certainly did a very in-depth, photo-rich essay.

    @Lia, my reviews will go up next weekend, and I'll check on what can fit in the pockets.

    @chill: As for the internal frame sheet, I started out this morning with it removed, and within about two minutes, popped it back in. It just felt better on my back. To be fair, my back is very temperamental, and what I consider to be uncomfortable changes over the course of the day.

    @STX21: Overall, I prefer the solid color of the ballistic. My only issue is that it's heavier. On some large bags, like the Aeronaut, I find that the rigidity of ballistic makes it easier for me to carry. However, the Synapse has a lot of structure, with all the internal dividers, and a frame, so my feeling is that the choice of fabric in that bag shouldn't really influence how it carries --- it's probably more an issue of aesthetics.

    @aungrl, Here you go. Looking at these photos which my coworker took (in the glamorous setting of our hallway), I realize that the Synik 22 is actually pretty big on me! However, it's quite comfortable. The bag is packed so that the bottom pocket is full, the side pockets lightly filled, with a water bottle inside, and the main compartment about half-full. I should try to get a photo of myself wearing a Luminary later, for comparison.

    Start of another Synik 22 review-img_20190729_151455-jpg

    Start of another Synik 22 review-img_20190729_151505-jpg

    Start of another Synik 22 review-img_20190729_151522-jpg

    Beth
    Thank you!!! These photos of how the S22 fits you are super useful to me....and I guess it’s all in the eye of the beholder, but I don’t think this looks large on you at all. It looks terrific. If anyone out there is vertically challenged and has an S30 to review, it would help so much to see pictures of that one, too.

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