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  1. #1
    Forum Member imagineez's Avatar
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    Synik 30 Review: The New Pack for You?

    Firstly, let me thank Tom Bihn for giving us forum members the chance to review the new Syniks. I have been having a lot of fun getting to know the Synik 30.

    My intent with this review is for you to get a clear picture what this bag can do for you, and what it can't. I'm posting a lot of pictures to help tell a story.

    In this review, I will:

    (1) Show how the Synik 30 wears on my back.

    (2) Show the Synik 30 against the Daylight Backpack, Synapse 25, Brain Bag, and Aeronaut 45 (in backpack mode).

    (3) Show different use case scenarios for how I'd use this bag: Mobile office, Mobile office plus Gym Bag, and Travel Bag

    (4) Show different size Freudian Slips fitting inside the Synik 30


    LET’S GET STARTED…

    And NO head-butting allowed!
    (Left: Synapse 25 / Right: Synik 30)





    HOW THE SYNIK 30 WEARS ON MY BACK:

    About me: I am 5’8.5” with a torso length of around 21 inches.

    The Synik 30 compresses well.
    In the “minimal load out” pictures below (in the top row), I have a 15” MacBook Pro Retina, a Side Effect in the bottom lower front compartment, and a Medium Cafe Bag Freudian Slip in the main compartment. Very little, that’s it.


    Note, in the above photo, that when the pack is minimally loaded out, it is appearing wider towards the top. When at 80% loaded out, it rounds out toward the top and looks a bit more like the Synapse 25.

    Some people seem concerned if the straps are adjustable enough to hold the Synik high or low on the back. They are easily adjustable and you can wear the pack any way you like.





    NOW LET’S COMPARE THE SYNIK 30 TO OTHER TOM BIHN BAGS:

    All the bags are shown labelled for your reference. I don’t have a Synapse 19, so I used the DLBP as the closest volume size reference.




    A close up of the Synapse 25, Synik 30, and Brain Bag is in the below pic. I tried to get them all similarly packed for the best size comparison reference.




    The Synik 30 is wider at the top compared to the Synapse 25. The Synik 30 front side compartments also hold a lot more, including a fully loaded Side Effect and even an old keyboard Kindle. These front side pockets are much more useful now compared to older S25 front pockets (before the recent S25 update to the water bottle and side pockets), which I hadn’t used all that much because they couldn’t fit what I really wanted in there.




    Note the NEW shoulder straps for the Synik 30 (below pic, right). They are called the Edgeless EV50 1/2” shoulder straps. They are very comfortable and don’t trigger pressure points in my shoulder when carrying a heavy load. The old shoulder straps were fine (giving it a rating of 7 out of 10), but this upgrade does make a world of difference now that I have it (a 10 out of 10).





    WHAT ARE SOME DIFFERENT USE CASE SCENARIOS FOR THE SYNIK 30?

    (1) Mobile Office:
    As a writer, a lot of my work happens in cafes or libraries. When I need more screen real estate, I bring both my iPad 12.9” 2018 (with Smart Cover) and 15” MacBook Pro Retina. They both fit together in the zippered laptop compartment, for ease of access from the external side zipper opening.

    When I relied on the Synapse 25 for my mobile office in the past, it became a nuisance lugging my MacBook Pro around because there was no external side access laptop compartment for easy retrieval and quick stow away, which happens too many times throughout the day when on the go.

    Here is a list of what I could have as my Mobile Office, though I don’t need to take all these items at once.
    These are all listed just to show what can be possible to put inside the Synik 30.

    Listed as follows (See Below Pic): First Aid Kit, Sony noise canceling headphones, tablet stand (folds up), 3 keyboards including a mechanical one (yes, overkill!), external hard drive, Kindle, iPad Pro 12.9 in Smart Cover, 15” MacBook Pro Retina, MCB Freudian Slip with pens/notebooks/markers/etc, charging cords plus external battery pack.




    See the pic below of the Synik 30 fully packed out, but you don’t have to open the Synik 30 up all the way - this is just for demonstration purposes and visual clarity.




    In the lower front pocket (pic below), there’s a fully loaded Side Effect, an external hard drive in a small padded organizer pouch, medium double organizer pouch, and small ghost whale pouch (coyote mesh).




    That beefy first aid kit, in the below pic, fit without any problem inside the side front pocket - as did the Side Effect and Kindle too…I love this!




    Someone had asked about a Kindle fitting in the side front pockets. I have a bigger older Kindle, and it’s easy to fit inside even with a fully packed bag.





    (2) Mobile Office + Gym Bag Combined?

    In addition to some of the mobile office items listed above, the Gym Items List for me would include: Jump rope set, lifting gloves, bluetooth earbuds, gym clothes plus towel, cross trainers size 10.5 men’s, toiletries, padlock, nutrition, Heart rate monitor, watch.




    Because the mobile office items were already overkill for me, I had to whittle that list down if I was going to fit in these gym items too. I removed the mechanical keyboard, the first aid kit, and metal folding stand.

    It was a tight fit to get everything inside, but admittedly I didn’t take the time to fully optimize packing - due to constraints in time. This is just for demonstration purposes in the process of getting to know this bag more and more.

    Personally, I like having a separate gym bag (as I have more requirements due to the versatility of my workouts). Or I could use a bag that has separated main compartments, like the Brain Bag. I like having office and gym stuff separated anyway, as this requires less thought in packing strategy.

    After filling the Synik 30 up, it was 100% loaded (see pic below) - that’s really not recommended. It was tough to get my laptop in and out from the side zipper opening.

    But I think the real trick here (other than packing less!) would be to maximize usage of the front zippered compartments, which now fill a lot more stuff (eg. Side Effects) compared to my older version of the Synapse 25.

    (Edited to Add: My version of the Synapse 25 is before they made recent modifications to the water bottle pocket in the S25 - as a result, its side pockets have become larger to accommodate bigger items like the Side Effects that have fit so nicely in the Synik 30.)

    Maximally and efficiently packing the front zippered compartments means there would be more space in the main compartment and less compression on the laptop compartment - for easier laptop stowaway and removal from the side zipper opening.





    And last but not least…

    (3) Travel Scenarios:

    Disclaimer: I don’t claim to be proficient in packing for traveling. It is an evolving process for me. So as I accumulated things to put into the Synik 30, it was trial and error with some fails along the way. I will document that - so hopefully you have a better idea about what this bag can do and not do for you in your individual use case scenario.

    Also, I just stuffed towels and sheets and whatever else I could find into packing cubes and Side Effects, because of time constraints. Hopefully you can extrapolate, from what I’ve shown, your packing needs using the pictures and descriptions.

    Down the road, I’ll be able to report more specifics for actual travel items and clothes.

    Here, I focused on the one-bag scenario for the testing of this bag - in theory for now. However, I myself like to use two bags - such as a small zippered shop bag or just a travel cubelet (depending on the trip) as my personal item. Just to ease the load on the main pack.

    In the pic below, there are 4 PCSBs that I first wanted to try. 2 out of the 4 PCSBs were really filled up and bulging out, and the other 2 PCSBs moderately filled (but not skinny by any means).

    List of things (as seen below in the pic) are: 4 PCSBs, empty DLBP, 3 Side Effects, Side Kick, Clear 3DOC for toiletries/3-1-1, Travel Cubelet with Nik’s Wallet, Kindle, MacBook Pro 15”Retina, Small Organizer pouch, Medium DOP with First Aid items and miscellaneous, Sony Noise Canceling headphones, Grass Cubelet (half filled).




    This was 100% filled (see below pic), but WITHOUT the Side Kick, Travel Cubelet, and MacBook Pro 15” laptop (not that I needed the SK or TC). Those 3 items just couldn’t fit. I was expecting this since the 4 PCSBs stacked in the main compartment (despite being tied down with the compression straps) were really thick and overpacked. All the zippers of the Synik 30 zipped up (very tightly), but without the aforementioned items.

    In this above pic, this was not the most efficient way to pack the front pockets of the Synik 30. The zippers did close.


    So let’s try again and pack these pockets more efficiently…

    Now please see in the below pics that the Synik 30 will be packed with 2 PCSBs (each moderately filled) in the main compartment.

    Here are the items packed. This time, I made better and full use of the space in the front compartments now…better efficiency!







    More pictures are below with the 2 PCSBs again (but now in Viridian and Dawn), showing that the MacBook Pro 15” Retina can now fit too! Hooray!

    The front pockets of the Synik 30 are packed exactly the same as you saw in the above pic. Can you believe all those zippers in the front being easily closed?!




    Now let’s use some Aeronaut 45 packing cubes too. The Large A45 packing cube is about 3.5-4” in packing thickness filled, and the Small A45 packing cube about 3” packing thickness. This is not taking into account the compression tie-down straps I used too.

    Keep in mind that 2 small A45 packing cubes, placed together, fit precisely on top of the A45 large packing cube to form the same dimensions as the large cube.


    Being conscious of how much you pack inside these cubes, and considering their relative thickness and strap compression within the main compartment, will help you know whether you can easily insert your laptop/tablet into the exterior side laptop compartment as the bag is packed.

    In all packing cases mentioned so far in this travel packing section, the iPad Pro 12.9” 2018 retrieval and stow away was fine.

    If you have just one layer of packing cubes to fill the compartment, I’m confident you’ll be able to stow away and retrieve your laptop (from the side zipper access point) like I did with my 15” MacBook Pro Retina.

    The constant in all of these packing scenarios has been the fully packed front compartments (with the same items used every time) that you saw of “items spilling out” - from the above photos.

    I weighed the Synik 30, packed full with my MacBook Pro 15” Retina (which is 4.5 lbs). The total weight came out to 19.4 pounds or 8.8 kg. I had heavy sheets and bulky heavy towels packed in the cubes too. I’m sure with less heavy laptops and tablets nowadays, along with more efficient packing strategies and lighter clothing materials, you can get the weight down to 7 kg. Keep working at it!



    NOW ONTO THE FREUDIAN SLIPS - LET’S SEE RELATIVE SIZING AND FIT WITHIN THE MAIN COMPARTMENT OF THE SYNIK 30:





    I wanted to get these pics out as soon as possible for the Synik 30 so the community could have even more visual information.

    I hope this has helped.

    I will need some more time with the bag to give a more thoughtful review, but I did share some immediate impressions of this bag in the Synik 22/30 Q&A thread a day after getting this bag.

    I will post more in this thread as a follow up in the days and weeks ahead.

    Thanks!


    Addendum to Synik 30 Review: Further Pics and Impressions (link is to post 25 in this thread)
    2nd Addendum to Synik 30 Review: Closer Look at the Synapse 25 and Brain Bag Freudian Slips (link is to post 17 in this thread)
    3rd Addendum to Synik 30 Review: A Laptop Compartment Video Demonstration (link is to post 49 in this thread)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by aedifica; 08-12-2019 at 10:27 AM. Reason: further addenda at imagineez' request

  2. #2
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    That's a fantastic set of photos and pack out info - thanks so much!
    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...

  3. #3
    Volunteer Moderator aedifica's Avatar
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    Excellent review, and nicely organized! I like the labels on the photos, and how you organized your review into packing for different situations. Maybe I'll copy that organization for part of my own review. :)

    I think the difference you're seeing between the side pockets in the Synapse 25 and Synik 30 is only a difference with older Synapses--a few months ago they changed the shape of the water bottle pocket on the Synapses in a way that makes more room in the side pockets. So new Synapses have the same nice big side pockets you're noticing on the Synik! Here's a thread where healthydetail asked about the change (with pictures!) and G42 replied with information from Kat.
    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.

  4. #4
    Forum Member imagineez's Avatar
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    Synik 30 Review: The New Pack for You?

    Quote Originally Posted by aedifica View Post
    Excellent review, and nicely organized! I like the labels on the photos, and how you organized your review into packing for different situations. Maybe I'll copy that organization for part of my own review. :)

    I think the difference you're seeing between the side pockets in the Synapse 25 and Synik 30 is only a difference with older Synapses--a few months ago they changed the shape of the water bottle pocket on the Synapses in a way that makes more room in the side pockets. So new Synapses have the same nice big side pockets you're noticing on the Synik! Here's a thread where healthydetail asked about the change (with pictures!) and G42 replied with information from Kat.
    I was aware of those changes actually, but it also seemed like the Synik’s front side pocket zippers were a little longer compared to my older (late 2018) S25. Or I’m just seeing things! Which is very very possible! :)

    I had put a question out to Darcy to confirm the front section/panel of pockets were all the exact same dimensions compared to the S25.

    And thanks for all the Forum posting tips! That program you recommended for the collage of photos helped a lot!

    ETA: I have amended my Review to reflect the recent updates in the water bottle pocket/side pockets of the S25.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by imagineez; 07-28-2019 at 10:51 PM.

  5. #5
    Forum Member Rei's Avatar
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    really helpfull and complete, thanks
    just a Bihnion here

  6. #6
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    Thank you so much. Very helpful!

  7. #7
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    Thank you so much for this in-depth review, much appreciated...
    I was slightly torn between the 22 and the 30 - but now after reading your review I think I've narrowed it down to the 30 with a 98.934% verisimilitude... thanks for that.
    Also your on-person and side view photos are very helpful.
    it helps a good deal more as I'm 5'9" ...

    One perhaps slightly odd question in regards to the front bottom zippered pocket, which you say has been enlarged: does this by chance fit a pair of 10.5 men's travel sandels (lightweigh, barefoot, etc.)... or even a pair of lightweigh shoes?

    thanks.

  8. #8
    Forum Member SIM's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for the comprehensive review. Super helpful.

    The 30L definitely doesn’t look excessively large. ...which I was afraid it would.

    Now, I need to admit that the logo placement is really starting to mess with my OCD. I normally don’t let things like this bug me, but this is really bugging me. It just looks random. I really wish they would move it back where it belongs.

  9. #9
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    Great review! Love the pics and load out scenario comparisons!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgentile View Post
    Thank you so much for this in-depth review, much appreciated...
    I was slightly torn between the 22 and the 30 - but now after reading your review I think I've narrowed it down to the 30 with a 98.934% verisimilitude... thanks for that.
    Also your on-person and side view photos are very helpful.
    it helps a good deal more as I'm 5'9" ...

    One perhaps slightly odd question in regards to the front bottom zippered pocket, which you say has been enlarged: does this by chance fit a pair of 10.5 men's travel sandels (lightweigh, barefoot, etc.)... or even a pair of lightweigh shoes?

    thanks.
    I haven't tried the Synik but I do have a Synapse 25. My mens 10.5 sandals (flop flops) fit with room plenty of room to spare. I sometimes pack my New Balance minimus in there if I don't bring sandals.

  11. #11
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    Thank you imagineez for the extremely thorough photo review. Since the Brain Bag Freudian Slip fits in the Synik 30, would you recommend using a S25 Freudian Slip or Brain Bag Freudian Slip? While the Brain Bag Freudian Slip is bigger and offers more organizational space, does the fact that it fills the Synik 30's width make it bulkier to use than the S25 Freudian Slip?
    Attached Images Attached Images Synik 30 Review: The New Pack for You?-811ea4479b261e3b367a5114c9fb54b4-jpg 
    Last edited by yugo; 07-29-2019 at 10:39 AM.

  12. #12
    Volunteer Moderator aedifica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIM View Post
    Now, I need to admit that the logo placement is really starting to mess with my OCD. I normally don’t let things like this bug me, but this is really bugging me. It just looks random. I really wish they would move it back where it belongs.
    They moved the label to make it easier for factory crew to tell at a glance whether they were looking at a Synapse or a Synik. The moved label did really throw me when I got my Synik 22, though, even though I knew to expect it! I compared it to seeing a friend who has switched from glasses to contacts: I'm still happy to see my friend but I have to get used to their new look.
    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.

  13. #13
    Forum Member imagineez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgentile View Post

    One perhaps slightly odd question in regards to the front bottom zippered pocket, which you say has been enlarged: does this by chance fit a pair of 10.5 men's travel sandels (lightweigh, barefoot, etc.)... or even a pair of lightweigh shoes?

    thanks.
    The bottom front pocket looks to be the same size upon comparing it to my Synapse 25.

    I have these men’s size 10 stiffer leather-made shoes (in pic) that fit fine, so I’m certain a 10.5 men’s travel sandals or 10.5 lightweight flexible shoes will fit inside.







    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Forum Member BigBadD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIM View Post
    Now, I need to admit that the logo placement is really starting to mess with my OCD. I normally don’t let things like this bug me, but this is really bugging me. It just looks random. I really wish they would move it back where it belongs.
    Same reaction. The new logo position does look like an after thought. Personally prefer the traditional position, and happy to have it prominent.

  15. #15
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    Really excellent, informative review! Loved the way you showed comparative styles of packing with different size packing cubes. Also loved the photo showing how the different size Freudian slips fit.
    Quite thorough and very helpful.

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