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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Business travel with a Synik 30

    I made my first business trip with the Synik 30 (my first Tom Bihn bag) and it went....just ok. I like the bag quite a bit except for one glaring problem -the laptop compartment is really quite the ordeal to get my 2019 MacBook Pro 15 into and out of with the three point turn process. Coming in from the side is a real hit or miss operation (especially when the luggage sleeve is being used). Coming in from the top is a tight fit as well, especially when the bag is packed. Kind of disappointing for a $300 bag to not nail the laptop department.

    Does anyone else have the same issues?

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the Forums @jefstead!


    I just used my SN30 for two straight weeks with a 15" HP Elitebook and it worked great from the top and side... I don't use roller bags, so I haven't tried to access the compartment whilst using the luggage pass through.

    Hopefully some MBPro15 users will chime in with some tips & tricks or maybe it's that specific laptop.
    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
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    Ah, it might just be the extra inch. I've had a lot of success with the side access (the only one I use) with my Lenovo Thinkpad (14") and an iPad Pro in the compartment at the same time. And while using the luggage handle pass through too.

    The only problem I had is that taking off the bag from the luggage handle can be challenging with laptops in and the bag loaded. It kept getting caught on the edges of either the fabric or the frame sheet, and I really need to finagle it to get it off. (Rimowa Cabin). But with a bit of practice and two hands (both hands free is CRITICAL), getting the bag off is okay...but not effortless.

  4. #4
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    Sort of, yes.

    I travel with my Surface Pro 4, which is far smaller than the maximum capacity of the laptop compartment. If the bag is packed tightly, it's a little bit of work to get the laptop out. Mostly, the point of the S30 for me is to underpack it, but I have wished the laptop compartment was lined in Halcyon or Aether or something else slippery. The mesh feels like it offers resistance to the corners and edges of my laptop -- especially the textured keyboard attachment.

    The laptop compartment of my L15 has never felt as fiddly as the Synik's, and I think that's because of the lining fabric.

  5. #5
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jefstead View Post
    I made my first business trip with the Synik 30 (my first Tom Bihn bag) and it went....just ok. I like the bag quite a bit except for one glaring problem -the laptop compartment is really quite the ordeal to get my 2019 MacBook Pro 15 into and out of with the three point turn process. Coming in from the side is a real hit or miss operation (especially when the luggage sleeve is being used). Coming in from the top is a tight fit as well, especially when the bag is packed. Kind of disappointing for a $300 bag to not nail the laptop department.

    Does anyone else have the same issues?
    Welcome @jefstead and sorry you're having trouble with your 2019 MBP 15" in the Synik 30. Maybe we can troubleshoot this and improve the experience!

    Nik traveled this year with a Synik 30 and the same laptop and didn't experience issues with it, but it's possible he may have just packed less stuff. I'll ask him to bring in his stuff and his Synik 30 and we'll try it on the rolling luggage we have at the factory and see what we think. In our testing of the bag early on, we did find that stuffing the Synik full made the laptop compartment work less smoothly:



    (excerpted from the Synik FAQ)
    If I stuff my Synik completely full, or even overstuff it, will it be more difficult to use the built-in laptop compartment?

    To a certain extent, yes. If your Synik is stuffed to its max with stuff, it will be more difficult to pull your laptop out. The laptop compartment works best with a reasonably packed, but not overstuffed, Synik.

    The thing is ó to prevent that from happening, the bag would need an effectively rigid laptop compartment that would require more bulk, weight, and build. It might even start to feel overbuilt and overly complex, and to us that just didnít fit with the overall intent of the Synapse/Synik.

    Donít worry: you can certainly pack your Synik reasonably full and still use the laptop compartment. And even if you overstuff it, you can still use the laptop compartment ó it just might take a bit more of a tug to pull your laptop out or push it in.

    We counsel ourselves (and also you, here and now) to avoid overpacking our bag if we want the laptop compartment to work smoothly ó and, as a side effect, we find it results in an overall better packing/use experience of various features of the bag. And the 3 extra liters of the 22 / 5 extra liters of the 30 helped us at least avoid overpacking our Syniks.




    (Note that the last sentence about the 5 extra liters helping: well, that's only the experience if one is used to packing/using a Synapse 25 like Nik was :D)

    When you put the Synik over the handle of your rolling luggage, is the handle between the internal frame and the mesh back panel, as opposed to between the internal frame and the laptop compartment? Should be the former; the latter would make the process more difficult.

    Which rolling luggage do you have and/or what are the dimensions of its handle? It's possible that a really thick rolling luggage handle could make it a little more difficult to get the laptop in/out.
    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)

  6. #6
    Forum Member one2many's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    Welcome @jefstead and sorry you're having trouble with your 2019 MBP 15" in the Synik 30. Maybe we can troubleshoot this and improve the experience!

    Nik traveled this year with a Synik 30 and the same laptop and didn't experience issues with it, but it's possible he may have just packed less stuff. I'll ask him to bring in his stuff and his Synik 30 and we'll try it on the rolling luggage we have at the factory and see what we think. In our testing of the bag early on, we did find that stuffing the Synik full made the laptop compartment work less smoothly:



    (excerpted from the Synik FAQ)
    If I stuff my Synik completely full, or even overstuff it, will it be more difficult to use the built-in laptop compartment?

    To a certain extent, yes. If your Synik is stuffed to its max with stuff, it will be more difficult to pull your laptop out. The laptop compartment works best with a reasonably packed, but not overstuffed, Synik.

    The thing is — to prevent that from happening, the bag would need an effectively rigid laptop compartment that would require more bulk, weight, and build. It might even start to feel overbuilt and overly complex, and to us that just didn’t fit with the overall intent of the Synapse/Synik.

    Don’t worry: you can certainly pack your Synik reasonably full and still use the laptop compartment. And even if you overstuff it, you can still use the laptop compartment — it just might take a bit more of a tug to pull your laptop out or push it in.

    We counsel ourselves (and also you, here and now) to avoid overpacking our bag if we want the laptop compartment to work smoothly — and, as a side effect, we find it results in an overall better packing/use experience of various features of the bag. And the 3 extra liters of the 22 / 5 extra liters of the 30 helped us at least avoid overpacking our Syniks.




    (Note that the last sentence about the 5 extra liters helping: well, that's only the experience if one is used to packing/using a Synapse 25 like Nik was :D)

    When you put the Synik over the handle of your rolling luggage, is the handle between the internal frame and the mesh back panel, as opposed to between the internal frame and the laptop compartment? Should be the former; the latter would make the process more difficult.

    Which rolling luggage do you have and/or what are the dimensions of its handle? It's possible that a really thick rolling luggage handle could make it a little more difficult to get the laptop in/out.
    Any soft material compartment (or relatively soft anyway) fully packed will make sliding a laptop in challenging. This is only natural. It would take like Darcy pointed out a hard shell compartment or a completely separate external compartment for a laptop to slide in with ease no matter how overpacked the pack is. However, OP had also an issue with a 15" MBP requiring a 3 point turn process. That perhaps is more of a dimensional issue. Was that what made it an ordeal?

  7. #7
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    Getting in and out of my L15 laptop compartment is definitely smoother and has less resistance than the synik. I thought maybe the mesh of the synik had more friction than the ballistic lining of the L15? But now that I consider it, maybe it's the relative size of my computer to the opening? The L15 is a perfect fit for the Surface, and the Synik is much larger than necessary. Maybe fishing around in the extra space is what I'm noticing.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    Welcome @jefstead and sorry you're having trouble with your 2019 MBP 15" in the Synik 30. Maybe we can troubleshoot this and improve the experience!

    Nik traveled this year with a Synik 30 and the same laptop and didn't experience issues with it, but it's possible he may have just packed less stuff. I'll ask him to bring in his stuff and his Synik 30 and we'll try it on the rolling luggage we have at the factory and see what we think. In our testing of the bag early on, we did find that stuffing the Synik full made the laptop compartment work less smoothly:



    (excerpted from the Synik FAQ)
    If I stuff my Synik completely full, or even overstuff it, will it be more difficult to use the built-in laptop compartment?

    To a certain extent, yes. If your Synik is stuffed to its max with stuff, it will be more difficult to pull your laptop out. The laptop compartment works best with a reasonably packed, but not overstuffed, Synik.

    The thing is — to prevent that from happening, the bag would need an effectively rigid laptop compartment that would require more bulk, weight, and build. It might even start to feel overbuilt and overly complex, and to us that just didn’t fit with the overall intent of the Synapse/Synik.

    Don’t worry: you can certainly pack your Synik reasonably full and still use the laptop compartment. And even if you overstuff it, you can still use the laptop compartment — it just might take a bit more of a tug to pull your laptop out or push it in.

    We counsel ourselves (and also you, here and now) to avoid overpacking our bag if we want the laptop compartment to work smoothly — and, as a side effect, we find it results in an overall better packing/use experience of various features of the bag. And the 3 extra liters of the 22 / 5 extra liters of the 30 helped us at least avoid overpacking our Syniks.




    (Note that the last sentence about the 5 extra liters helping: well, that's only the experience if one is used to packing/using a Synapse 25 like Nik was :D)

    When you put the Synik over the handle of your rolling luggage, is the handle between the internal frame and the mesh back panel, as opposed to between the internal frame and the laptop compartment? Should be the former; the latter would make the process more difficult.

    Which rolling luggage do you have and/or what are the dimensions of its handle? It's possible that a really thick rolling luggage handle could make it a little more difficult to get the laptop in/out.
    Hi and thanks for the follow-up (and also everyone else for the comments).

    My current roller bag is a TravelPro Platinum Elite Spinner: https://travelpro.com/collections/1-...y-on-spinner-1
    The handle is a bit wider at the top, but it clears the sleeve completely and the rest is a standard width.

    The Synik was definitely not packed fully. The one trip I took it on had a couple of items in the main clamshell and the rest in the front pockets.

    I am pretty sure I had the roller handle in between the back of the laptop area and the frame sheet. If this ends up being the problem, I would suggest some sort of fabric "lip" the frame sheet slides into at the bottom to keep it in place and also reduce the chance of "user error" when attaching to luggage.

    I've used other backpacks with a side entry and it just seems that I have to put a lot more effort into getting it in and out on the Synik. I decided not to travel with it this week because I got kind of annoyed with the laptop storage and knew I would be pulling my laptop in and out quite a bit for this trip (I went with my Waterfield Executive Pro).

    I realize I am probably not the target audience for this type of bag, so I feel like this definitely falls into the "first world problem" category.

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