Main TOM BIHN website
 
emailus@tombihn.com

COMMUNITY FORUMS

Welcome! We're glad you are here. This is the place to ask for bag advice, help other people out, post reviews, and share photos and videos.

x

First, select your desired search engine:

  • Google Search
  • DuckDuckGo
  • Original Forum Search Engine

User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 17
  1. #1
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    48
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    More on the Synik 30

    Well, Synik preview week is here and pre-orders start next Tuesday! In my first post on these forums at the beginning of the year I asked for pretty much this exact backpack, so I'm excited that I've been able to test it out and provide some feedback to others who are interested. A big 'Thank You!' to Darcy and the Tom Bihn crew, as well as our friend/nemesis Countron.

    There are already many comprehensive reviews here with great product photos, as well as specifications and information on the newly launched product page- so I'll try to cover some things that may not have received as much attention and include some in-action images. (I was not thinking of the 2MB size limit, so I will add more as I have time to resize them...)

    While I'm a huge fan of Tom Bihn as a whole, there are pros and cons to everything in life and the Synik is no exception. I've tried to look at this bag objectively with fresh eyes, and have many praises as well as a few criticisms.


    Aesthetics

    Obviously this is subjective, but I think it's a great looking backpack. The Synik retains the key elements of its predecessor but seems more modern and slightly less Ninja Turtle. The height and width are equal to the Synapse 25, but it appears to have a more squared-off profile when unpacked. This is mostly an illusion. The extra depth needs somewhere to go when the bag is laying flat, but when packed out and on your shoulders it pretty closely resembles a Synapse.
    Off-center logo?? I love it. I think it may look more awkward in photos than in person. I don't mind a little branding from a good company, but if I'm buying a black Synapse it's because I want a low-key black bag (with superpowers in this case), and I feel like the center logo sort of kills that. The lower-right positioning is a bit of a tease though, and is just screaming for coyote attachment points. TB please include the Synik 22 when the Guide Edition becomes a thing!


    Changes from the Synapse

    Clamshell Opening: Great. To the less clamshell inclined, my rebuttal is that this just gives you more options. You can still open it halfway if you'd like and it will perform exactly as a Synapse, but you're able to go the extra distance if needed. Very seldom do I open my backpacks completely flat; more commonly I'll sling the bag around and open one side in order to access items more easily without setting the bag on the ground. Tom Bihn zippers are a two handed operation though, so opening and closing this beast can be a chore.

    Carry handle: Perfection.

    Integrated laptop sleeve: Pretty great, but I wish the external zipper access were on the opposite side. I sling my backpack on and off from the right shoulder, and it would be nice to have access to this compartment without taking the bag off completely. This is the exact reason that's kept me from purchasing other backpacks like the Evergoods Quick Draw 24, which places the side access zipper on the "wrong" side.

    New straps: Oh yes, put them everywhere please. I think that these will get more creases/age wrinkles than the older design- but who cares, they're backpack straps.

    Internal frame integration: Awesome. Much better than the solution with the Synapse, and the luggage handle passthrough is an added bonus even though I have no plans on using it.

    Updated center/side pocket: Eh.. To be fair, this is a recent update to the Synapses as well. I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority, but the change has resulted in a lower capacity for the center pocket and more space/flexibility in the side pockets. This can be a good thing, but taller water bottles will not longer fit in the center pocket (looking at you, 40 and 24 oz. Hydroflasks), and any bottle regardless of size may need a little persuasion to slide into place if the side pockets have much in them at all.

    The 24 and 40 oz. Hydroflasks inside the pocket showing their fit, and the 21oz Hydroflask and Stanley french press bottle that fit well.
    More on the Synik 30-synikbottles-jpgMore on the Synik 30-20190806_115622-jpg


    Changes/additions I would like to see

    -Laptop pocket zipper changed or added to the righthand side of the bag.
    -This backpack is still a strappy mess. I've tied my own strap retainers temporarily, but a nicer system would be a very welcome change.
    -Some sort of loop added to the bottom, underneath where the zipper pull seats when fully open. The ridiculously large zipper pulls of the main compartment are a benefit for durability, but I feel like the Synik has more undulations in its materials and zipper than many other bags and can be difficult to close at times. Having a loop to anchor the bag with your non-dominant hand while operating the zipper would be a welcome addition.


    A note on parapack:
    Parapack is a pretty cool material. I chose this because it's different than any of the other Tom Bihn bags I have used (halcyon/1050 & 525 ballistic/cordura), and I'm mostly pleased. It's smoother and more tightly woven than ballistic, but has just a little more structure than the 400d halcyon. I definitely feel like it picks up dirt and scuffs more than ballistic, but most of these have cleaned up with a little water and a gentle scrub. The navy color is a nice, darker blue that is pretty low-key and easy on the eyes.


    What should the Synik 30 used for?

    There hasn't been enough time to use it for longer-term travels yet, but this is one area where the backpack should perform wonderfully. I'll be taking some big trips soon and will update with how the bag fares over time.

    The 30 liter is a little large for daily carry in my opinion, as I've already reduced from the S25 to my S19 for that purpose. I don't commute to work, but it could be the right choice for you if you carry a lot of daily gear or an extra set of gym clothes/shoes.

    Where the Synik has done well these past couple weeks is for specialty carry. It's accompanied me on many day hikes, beach trips, excursions to film fests, and farmer's markets. The center pocket holds my water bottle; the side pockets are perfect for my small mirrorless camera and a couple spare lenses; the bottom cavern works well for a microfiber towel and light rain jacket; and miscellaneous items like beach towels or a farmer's market grocery haul can go into the main compartment without expanding the profile much.
    More on the Synik 30-20190802_210510-jpgMore on the Synik 30-img_1234-jpg


    Should you purchase/upgrade?

    Overall the function of this backpack is fantastic. It's mostly a Synapse on steroids, so if you have experience with the S25 or S19 then you have a good idea of what the Synik is all about. If you're deciding between the two, I would have a hard time recommending the older over the newer unless your core deciding factors are the cost or the additional weight. It's similar to other 30L travel backpacks from companies like Minaal or Peak Design in price and weight, but it's a hefty jump from the Synapse in both categories. Personally I would go for it, but I'm an addict- my S19 will probably be replaced by the new 22-liter in the near future as well. The Syniks are a great improvement over an already proven design, and are a welcome addition to the family.

    For size comparison- I'm 5'11", and my partner in crime is 5'4" - the bag is packed for a day hike with the front pockets full and main compartment relatively light.
    More on the Synik 30-20190728_120737-jpgMore on the Synik 30-20190728_120804-jpgMore on the Synik 30-20190728_120805-jpg
    More on the Synik 30-20190728_121053-jpg

    I'm happy to field any questions about the Synik 30, and will continue to clean up and update this post with more detailed info as I travel with the bag and put it through the paces!
    Last edited by slightlysaltybagman; 08-08-2019 at 08:25 AM.

  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator bartleby's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Share
    Location: Germany / Hobbies: Photography & Guitars
    Posts
    265
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Great review and pics! Looks like you're hiking in Sleeping Bear Dunes, am I right?
    ...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

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    48
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by bartleby View Post
    Great review and pics! Looks like you're hiking in Sleeping Bear Dunes, am I right?
    Thank you! And you are correct! I'm currently living in Northern Michigan (for another month) and Empire Bluffs is one of our go-to's :)

  4. #4
    Volunteer Moderator bartleby's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Share
    Location: Germany / Hobbies: Photography & Guitars
    Posts
    265
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Would love to be there! One of my favorite spots around the Lakes.... (sorry for being off-topic) :)
    ...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
    Forum Member imagineez's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Share
    SF Bay Area ; He/Him
    Posts
    197
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Fantastic review! Great set of photos too!

    Iím really admiring the Synik 30 in navy parapack, but as you pointed out it has a tendency to scuff a little bit more (the only reason I didnít pick this material choice for reviewing). But I might have possibly made the exception if it had come in olive parapack.

    I agree with you about the undulations in the material and zipper, which can make it a chore to close the pack. I like your suggestion/solution for this - I find myself looking for some material to grab onto to get some traction with the zippers to pull them back up.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    8
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Those are very relevant points you brought up rishio.
    I’m also not a big fan of the clamshell opening. It’s certainly a big improvement for people using the bag primarily for travel, but for a more versatile use the traditional opening is just fine. So I hope the synapses won’t get retired anytime soon.

  7. #7
    Volunteer Moderator
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Share
    SF Bay area
    Posts
    1,497
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by rishio View Post
    I’m still not feeling the clamshell opening. There are some tradeoffs:
    - They have to use bigger zips to compensate for the reduced durability of the design.
    - As you mentioned it’s harder to close

    Opening the bag all the way is not something I was needing and I’d rather have durability, a little less weight, and simplicity over it.

    I hope they retire the Synapse 19/25, replace them with a Synapse 22/30, with all the features of the Synik aside from clamshell zips. I might also be okay with just a sleeve in the back of the synapse for the computer rather than a zipped compartment. Those zips seems like another thing that could break (I read they are made of plastic).

    Everything else about the Synik is great.
    Quote Originally Posted by theedge View Post
    Those are very relevant points you brought up rishio.
    I’m also not a big fan of the clamshell opening. It’s certainly a big improvement for people using the bag primarily for travel, but for a more versatile use the traditional opening is just fine. So I hope the synapses won’t get retired anytime soon.
    Per @Darcy, there are no plans to retire the Synapse 19 or 25.

    The plastic zippers on the laptop sleeve are to prevent any scratching issues with laptops - they are still fit for their purpose and not really in a typical 'wear' location, in my opinion. They're all covered by the warranty for normal use - see FAQ for details.
    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...

  8. #8
    Volunteer Moderator bartleby's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Share
    Location: Germany / Hobbies: Photography & Guitars
    Posts
    265
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    After almost two weeks of use for travelling but also for EDC my experiences with the clamshell opening are much more positive than I would have imagined. I didn't miss a clamshell opening at all on my S25 and I still think that I don't need it. But it doesn't limit the functionality in EDC use at all. The zippers have just the right amount of resistance so that they are easy to open but don't open by themselves. From what I experienced with the YKK Aquaguard zippers on my other bags so far I assume that this resistance will not wane in the future to the point where the zippers are too loose even with frequent use. Of course, it is all a question of personal preferences but if you want the additional space and the laptop compartment - which in my view is a real upgrade in functionality - the clamshell opening shouldn't put you off.
    ...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

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    18
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    All I want is a synapse with the new straps.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Posts
    11
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for the detailed review with great pictures! I am curious after using Parapack along with other materials previously, if you were to choose again would you still do Parapack or Ballistic?

  11. #11
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    41
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Curious to know if his partner found the bag too big for her to carry. I am a bit taller (5’6”) and can’t decide between the 2 sizes. Instinct is SN30 will be a bit to long to be comfortable to carry for long walks in the airport. Anyone have any ideas?

  12. #12
    Volunteer Moderator
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Share
    SF Bay area
    Posts
    1,497
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Katsage View Post
    Curious to know if his partner found the bag too big for her to carry. I am a bit taller (5’6”) and can’t decide between the 2 sizes. Instinct is SN30 will be a bit to long to be comfortable to carry for long walks in the airport. Anyone have any ideas?
    I'm not @slightlysaltybagman, but another POV...

    I'm 5'4" with a torso length under 20", so the SN30 is basically too tall for me. I am on a one-bag long weekend (via airplane) trip with it all packed up (including 2 laptops) to see how it goes.

    It didn't *hurt* or anything to carry the bag, but it's definitely not as comfortable to me as the same load in an A30 or spread between the S19/SN22/SA and a hand item... I'm short, but I lift weights and am pretty strong, so that part is fine. It's the just the lower end of the pack rides on my butt (no comments please, just chuckles) and that is just vaguely annoying the whole time.

    YMMV, but if your torso is 20" or more, you'll probably find it more comfortable than I do...

    The new cushy straps are definitely more comfortable under heavy load and I never bother with the waist strap for the relatively short distances.
    Last edited by G42; 08-09-2019 at 09:45 AM. Reason: I live for typos
    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...

  13. #13
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    48
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for the detailed review with great pictures! I am curious after using Parapack along with other materials previously, if you were to choose again would you still do Parapack or Ballistic?
    That's a good question, and I've been battling with it a bit myself. For some cases, I like parapack in the way that it's closer to halcyon but without the ripstop grid pattern. But with this particular bag I think I'd prefer ballistic for the structure. It really has more to do with the zippers- I understand some of the thought process for using the beefiest zippers known to man, but I feel like they're overkill. My opinion is that getting into and out of the bag should be an easy and almost enjoyable experience, but I haven't found that to be the case with the S30. I even lubed the zippers with WD-40, but it didn't make as much of a difference as it has with my S19. The reason why this matters in the case of the bag's material is because parapack, and I assume halcyon as well, has more 'kink points' that fold over when you operate the zipper. Ballistic will lessen this effect to a degree, but it'll still be a two-handed operation most of the time.


    Curious to know if his partner found the bag too big for her to carry. I am a bit taller (5’6”) and can’t decide between the 2 sizes. Instinct is SN30 will be a bit to long to be comfortable to carry for long walks in the airport. Anyone have any ideas?
    It was definitely big on her. Whether it's too big for you is more a matter of preference, but @G42 makes a good point- it'll probably rub quite a bit. If you're trying to onebag-it, then it's doable but maybe not ideal. With your frame I would prefer a S22, and accompanied by a shoulder bag if you need the extra space. Then you'll also have something that's more suitable for a day bag when you're at your destination. This is why even at my height, I'll probably pick up the 22L version eventually to replace my S19.

  14. #14
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    41
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks. That’s was my first instinct with the length of the SN30. That it would be a bit long and annoy me on the long walks in the airport.

  15. #15
    Forum Member imagineez's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Share
    SF Bay Area ; He/Him
    Posts
    197
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by slightlysaltybagman View Post
    That's a good question, and I've been battling with it a bit myself. For some cases, I like parapack in the way that it's closer to halcyon but without the ripstop grid pattern. But with this particular bag I think I'd prefer ballistic for the structure. It really has more to do with the zippers- I understand some of the thought process for using the beefiest zippers known to man, but I feel like they're overkill. My opinion is that getting into and out of the bag should be an easy and almost enjoyable experience, but I haven't found that to be the case with the S30. I even lubed the zippers with WD-40, but it didn't make as much of a difference as it has with my S19. The reason why this matters in the case of the bag's material is because parapack, and I assume halcyon as well, has more 'kink points' that fold over when you operate the zipper. Ballistic will lessen this effect to a degree, but it'll still be a two-handed operation most of the time.
    I find the ballistic has definitely given the Synik 30 more structure, which has been a significant advantage with the clamshell zipper for opening and closing. But I have found that when you open the clamshell all the way, even with the ballistic there is some kinking and undulations along the lower zipper end that requires a bit of coordination to zip it up.

    Iíve had a halcyon Synapse 25 in the past, and those zippers were tougher to open and close. The ballistic made it easier for me when I got my last S25 in ballistic. So I can definitely imagine what you are experiencing regarding the parapack, since it closely relates to the Halcyon.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •