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  1. #1
    Volunteer Moderator bartleby's Avatar
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    Travelling with a Synik (30)

    After a couple of excellent and systematic reviews of the Syniks my review of the Synik 30 will be a rather narrative one mainly based on the experiences I made during my recent trip to the US from which I returned just yesterday!

    My Synik 30 is in Navy/Steel Parapack. To me, Parapack is the most beautiful material in the TB portfolio (it is also used for the Guide’s Pack). Its look and feel are unique although the newer Ballistic, especially 525 comes close.

    Travelling with a Synik (30)-synik-15-jpg

    The Navy is very dark and saturated as the comparison with my S25 GE reveals (Parapack on the left, 525 Ballistic on the right). Its filaments are also finer giving it a very nice look and feel. It is also a little bit heavier than Ballistic but the difference is rather small (about 10 grams overall on the Synik 30 compared to the Ballistic 525/210 combo). You can find more technical information on Parapack in the respective glossary.

    Travelling with a Synik (30)-synik-12-jpg

    Compared to the Synapse 25 the Synik 30 looks like the beefier brother. The difference in size is clearly noticeable and due to the extra padding here and there the Synik feels more rigid when empty.

    Travelling with a Synik (30)-synik-3-jpg

    Travelling with a Synik (30)-synik-7-jpg

    My trip was a mixed business and leisure trip. Since I am not a minimalist traveler anyway and I had to bring formal clothes and proper shoes for the business part I had to take an additional suitcase that I checked in.

    I decided to use the Synik for a bit of clothes just in case my suitcase would end up in a different location than myself (I had that already a couple of times) as well as to carry my EDC stuff. This configuration was also very handy as I had three different destinations (Boston, Chicago and Berlin) and I organized my clothes in such a way that I could live out of the Synik on the weekends that started and ended my trip and lived out of my suitcase during the business part.

    I used an A30 Laundry Packing Cube for the clothes (a short, a jeans, underwear, socks, a polo and a t-shirt). I fixed the packing cube with one of the straps (very handy!). For the toiletries I used a Crumpler bag that was fixed with the top strap.

    Travelling with a Synik (30)-synik-4-jpg

    A light hoodie for use during the flight and a book went on top. I never thought about whether a clamshell opening would make sense to me as I was quite lucky with the top opening of the Synapse 25 so far. However, now that I tried it I am a fan. I think it is much easier to pack with the bag fully opened and in daily use it is very easy to open it just half to make sure nothing falls out.

    Travelling with a Synik (30)-synik-8-jpg

    For my wallets I attached a 3DOC (of course in Steel Parapack!) with two 1’’ Single Gatekeeper clips to the front top O-rings because that is my favorite spot to keep my valuables: inside the bag but easy to access.

    Travelling with a Synik (30)-synik-6-jpg

    My diary went into the open-top pocket. I put a A4-Folder and my 11’ Macbook Air (in a Neoprene Sleeve) inside the computer compartment. I love its two-way accessibility, it works great! To me the new laptop compartment is really awesome! In my S25 I put the laptop in the lower pocket of the Freudian Slip and that works fine. However, the new laptop compartment increases the carrying comfort tremendously and it saves some space in the main compartment.

    Travelling with a Synik (30)-synik-9-jpg

    The front pockets were loaded with a couple of smaller items: My NC headphones went into the bottom together with two Small Organizer Pouches to keep my cables and other small things.

    Travelling with a Synik (30)-synik-5-jpg

    The top small pocket carried my keys, a Super Mini Ghost Whale with a small flashlight, a Mini Ghost Whale with some medication and my in-ear headphones.

    Travelling with a Synik (30)-synik-14-jpg

    The water bottle compartment took my Passport Pouch with the passport, a mini Halcyon organizer pouch with some flash drives, some snacks and tissues as well as a larger flashlight. I didn’t need a water bottle but I think I would have been able to carry a small water bottle. When the main compartment is quite stuffed it is difficult though to put in a larger bottle.

    Travelling with a Synik (30)-synik-11-jpg

    My glasses, sun-glasses and a clear-organizer wallet went into the left side pocket.

    Travelling with a Synik (30)-synik-10-jpg

    My camera went into the right side pocket (a Lumix LX100 in a Lowepro Dashpoint 20 which is ideally shaped to fit into this pocket!).

    Travelling with a Synik (30)-synik-1-jpg

    With all that stuff the bag was quite heavy but still excellent to carry. The new shoulder straps are really comfortable. I had several flights with larger and smaller planes (e.g. Boeing 777 vs. Bombardier CRJ-900LR) and had no problems with stowing the bag under the seat or in the overhead compartments.

    During my trip I also used the rather empty Synik 30 as my daypack and that did work quite well. However, I do like the Synapse 25 better for that use because when it is empty or underpacked it becomes very unobtrusive while the Synik 30 due to its construction and padding is more noticeable.

    A word on the rolling luggage pass-through: The suitcase I used was a Rimowa 60 L Trolley. The handle is a bit too short to poke out of the pass-through. I did still use it but I had to grab the handle inside the pass-through.

    Travelling with a Synik (30)-synik-16-jpg

    Overall, I think that the Synik 30 is a very versatile, multi-purpose, comfortable and beautiful bag. To me, it plays out its strength mainly as a travelling bag (clamshell opening, internal tie-down straps) especially when you need to carry a laptop. If it was just for EDC use I’d still prefer the S25 as it has almost the same organizing features but is lighter and less voluminous.
    Last edited by bartleby; 08-05-2019 at 04:07 AM.
    ...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

  2. #2
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    Excellent review! The pictures were really helpful. Thanks for posting.

  3. #3
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    This is fantastic, and super helpful! Great photos too. Thank you!

    Wondering, how the parapack hold up in terms of scuffing. I know you haven't had it long, but air travel is probably a good mini-test? Interested to hear your thoughts.
    Last edited by boateng; 08-05-2019 at 11:55 AM.

  4. #4
    Volunteer Moderator bartleby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boateng View Post
    Wondering, how the parapack hold up in terms of scuffing. I know you haven't had it long, but air travel is probably a good mini-test? Interested to hear your thoughts.
    I have a Guide‘s Pack that is also made from Parapack and is intended for rough outdoor use. No scuffing as yet despite some hiking adventures. The fabric might not be as tough as the newer Ballistic fabrics but even with intensive use you won‘t bring it to its limits. It was originally made for use in parachuting - hence its name.
    ...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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    Fantastic review and very pertinent to my upcoming decision of choosing Parapack or Ballistic. I received material samples from Tom Bihn, and it made an impression on how soft the Parapack feels. Is that softness to the touch noticeable when applied to the whole bag compared to your Synapse with Ballistic?

    I love your idea of a 3D Organizer Cube inside the main compartment to hold your wallet. I'm going to steal that if you don't mind (your idea, not your wallet).

  6. #6
    Volunteer Moderator bartleby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yugo View Post
    Is that softness to the touch noticeable when applied to the whole bag compared to your Synapse with Ballistic?
    Yes, the touch (or the „hand“) is noticeably softer than that of the Ballistic.

    Quote Originally Posted by yugo View Post
    I love your idea of a 3D Organizer Cube inside the main compartment to hold your wallet. I'm going to steal that if you don't mind (your idea, not your wallet).
    Go ahead, it‘s certainly not my idea. I got it from somewhere here in the forum where you‘ll find a couple of handy bag hacks :)
    ...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

  7. #7
    Forum Member terayon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boateng View Post
    Wondering, how the parapack hold up in terms of scuffing. I know you haven't had it long, but air travel is probably a good mini-test? Interested to hear your thoughts.
    I have a six-year-old Navy Parapack S19, and it definitely shows scuffs much more easily than my 525 Ballistic S25. My Ballistic bags looked brand new for quite a bit longer.

    But the scuffs are cosmetic, not functional, a lot of them brush or wipe off pretty easily, and I rather like the ones that are parmanent (they’re the bag’s “patina”). I also like the look and feel of Parapack a LOT (it has sort of an iridescence in sunlight that photos don’t usually capture), and functionally it’s been just as durable as the Ballistic.

  8. #8
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    Excellent review! Now you have me torn between Blue ballistic with Coyote interior or Blue parapack.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Volunteer Moderator bartleby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djkindred View Post
    Now you have me torn between Blue ballistic with Coyote interior or Blue parapack.
    Oh yes, that‘s a difficult one because the Deep Blue/Coyote combo is definitely seductive....
    ...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

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bartleby View Post
    Oh yes, that‘s a difficult one because the Deep Blue/Coyote combo is definitely seductive....
    Hah, that's exactly the decision I was deciding between - the softness and deeper blue luminescence of Navy Parapack, or the fantastic color combo of the Guide's Edition Deep Blue / Coyote (Darcy confirmed a Guide's Edition Synik in 2020).

    With the helpful answer you provided in the softness feel of the bag, and having felt the materials myself thanks to the generous free samples from Tom Bihn, I decided on a Synik 30 Navy Parapack. Thank you very much bartleby for your review and insight.

  11. #11
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    Travelling with a Synik (30)

    Bartleby,

    Do you think this bag would function better in 525 ballistic given the beefy zippers? Or do you think the difference the stiffer fabric would make is negligible or negated by the pros of the Parapack?

    I’m basically torn between the navy parapack and one of the 525 ballistic options. Any help is much appreciated!


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    Last edited by GoVols; 08-09-2019 at 08:45 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bartleby View Post
    The Navy is very dark and saturated
    Greetings,
    This is a perfect description of the color!

    I organized my clothes in such a way that I could live out of the Synik on the weekends that started and ended my trip and lived out of my suitcase during the business part.
    This is brilliant! Thank you for the inspiration, I can't wait to try it myself.

    Your review is the perfect mix of excellent text description and lovely photos to demonstrate your point. Thank you for testing the bag and sharing this with us! elisa

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoVols View Post
    Do you think this bag would function better in 525 ballistic given the beefy zippers? Or do you think the difference the stiffer fabric would make is negligible or negated by the pros of the Parapack?
    I too would like to know if the stiffer fabric of the Ballistic 525 makes it easier to unzip the bag one-handed compared to Parapack. I've read some anecdotal reports of users preferring Ballistic material over Halcyon on certain bags because it allows for easier one-handed unzipping. I've read that opening the zippers on the Synik is a strictly two-hand operation, and I'm okay with that, but I would still be curious if the zippers are easier to operate on the stiffer Ballistic 525 compared to the softer Parapack.
    Last edited by yugo; 08-10-2019 at 07:08 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bartleby View Post
    For my wallets I attached a 3DOC (of course in Steel Parapack!) with two 1’’ Single Gatekeeper clips to the front top O-rings because that is my favorite spot to keep my valuables: inside the bag but easy to access.
    IMO, this is one of the big things that Tom Bihn is missing in the Synik (and the Synapse). I always like to secure my valuables in an interior zip pocket when traveling--and even for EDC. I want someone to have to deliberately access 2 zippers if they want to steal something. Of course, this is a workaround (as are pouches with leashes) but if there was a way to include an interior zip pocket near the top of the main compartment (above the elastic portion perhaps), I think that would be a nice addition.

    Also, it is interesting that it looks like the Synik luggage handle pass through has trouble working with a lot of luggage. Perhaps a pass through that doesn't run the full length of the back might make sense?

    Thanks for the review!

  15. #15
    Volunteer Moderator bartleby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoVols View Post
    Bartleby,

    Do you think this bag would function better in 525 ballistic given the beefy zippers? Or do you think the difference the stiffer fabric would make is negligible or negated by the pros of the Parapack?
    Sorry for the delay, I was travelling the weekend.... I can't compare the two fabrics directly, but from comparing my S25 with the Synik 30 I'd reckon the difference is rather negligible. Due to its construction the Synik 30 is beefier than the S25. Thus, although Parapack might be the softer fabric the zippers still work fine. To illustrate this I did two short videos showing how I work the zippers when grabbing the bags by the top handle. Both bags were loaded with my 11' Macbook Air and a Freudian Slip with some bits and pieces for office work to add some weight. As you can see you can open and close them on the Parapack Synik 30 just as well as on the S25 Ballistic.

    Zippers on the Synik 30:



    Zippers on the S25:



    Hope that helps!
    ...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

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