Synapse 25: The Maiden Voyage
Here's an initial review of my first adventure with the steel dyneema/wasabi synapse 25. Shout out to dorayme for her wonderful comparison shots of the 19 and 25. I do a week or less trips, at least twice a month and a total sucker for backpacks. I can manage with a 15 liter pack for a 2-day trip. The cavernous S25 was perfect for the 3-4 days mix of business and leisure. I believe I can do a week with just the S25 (excluding cold weather areas).
What I Love:
1. The straps! They don't slide off and seems to be fine against bare skin as well.
2. Lightweight! A feature that made me want it to begin with.
3. Seems to be lint and dustproof except for the splashproof zips.
4. Tested it against the tropical heat, dusty rides, sand, turbulent flights and finally, the rain when I got home last night. It certainly kept all interiors dry even if all the zippers were totally soaked.
5. I don't really dislike this feature so I'll add it here - on torso length, it's a inch+ longer than my exact measurements but I don't mind as it molds well on my lower back.
6. I love the water bottle compartment. I could fit 2 of my klean kanteen 24oz.
7. I've read that a few don't like the handle webbing as it looks cheap or thin and the likes. I actually prefer it that way. It never gets in the way.
8. The removable straps are awesome.
9. It's a handsome piece of pack. Kudos to the makers!
What I Dislike:
1. The slight gaps on the zips. It doesn't completely close as much as I wanted it to.
2. The zips might fade sooner than the body or actually, it's the only feature that seems to have the potential to fade/whiten with friction.
3. I was walking under the scorching sun with it on my back and it was fairly breathable. Could be better but it serves its purpose.
4. While wearing the pack, the webbing won't budge if I want to adjust the length. I had to take them off to do this.
5. The straps could have used a velcro snap.
1. Could have something like a compactor system at the bottom when the bag is barely filled out. I was forced to use it as a day pack with a laptop on and only a few items. The laptop corners made the bottom sag.
2. How about a couple small webbing loops at the bottom for a sleeping bag holder if needed? I'll probably do a DIY using the 2 loops of the waist strap and the webbing for the bike light at the front.
So without further ado here are a few photos.
My packing list. There are 2 more shirts missing on the pile plus a few knick knacks. Yes, that other bag behind the laptop was also inside the pack.
Kudos TB-ers! Got another flight and adventure to catch tomorrow. Naturally, the S25 will come with me :cool:
Last edited by roadpotato; 07-27-2013 at 01:03 AM.
Awesome! I am flying to the Mayan Riviera in less than a week and I am taking my Synapse 19. I have used it every day since I received it earlier this summer, and it is more breathable than I expected in the Toronto humidity, so the final test will come next week in tropical humidity. I do not do well in heat, especially humid heat (I am originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, where it's scorchingly hot, but dry), but so far, no complaints. I'll post my packing list and photos soon. We're actually taking suitcases for the three of us, but my backpack will be my carry on and daily bag. Still debating whether to take my LCB in case I can't stand a covered back. Hmmm...
Loved your photos!
Thanks for the real world post! I have not used my S25 yet (steel like yours, but with the UV interior. Pretty!), but I bought it to be my One Bag for travel. Looks like it can easily be done.
Great pics! I know I should be able to estimate this from your picture using the pad of paper (A4, I presume), but how large is the laptop you are carrying? Reason for wondering is your comment about wanting something to stabilize it when you're not carrying much and set it down. And I recall from another earlier review by someone using the S25 with a 17" laptop in the cache, that he wanted more support beneath. I haven't used my S25 yet (same 400D steel/wasabi color combo as yours, but 13" cache), but with the S19, which I've used as an EDC since it first came out, the organizer pouches I carry in the bottom pocket, which might include 3D organizers cubes, Side Effect, or the soon-to-be retired Kit, all act to stabilize the bag when it is only carried with a laptop, and is set down.
Glad you find the bag such a comfortable carry. Tom's designs are amazingly scalable in terms of how comfortable they remain for people of very different builds and heights. As you've discovered, there's a whole group of forum members in the 5'4" and under, petite build category who are fans of his bags. I think this became very evident in the design process thread for what ultimately became the Aeronaut.
On the Synapse, I really love the comfort of the breathable mesh and padded back design that works in so many climates. Enjoy your S25 and post more pics!
@yohopee - The mesh material is pretty breathable in tropical heat/humidity as tested these past few weeks. I want to point out however that the longest I've worn it on my back under the sweltering heat was 30 to 40 mins tops. I took it on and off. Have fun fun fun with your synapse! Please don't forget to photos as well :)
@rocks - You're welcome! I'll post more soon when I get the chance. The synapse is getting a lot of mileage and abuse lately especially the rain.
@moriond - Hi! The pad paper is actually 5.5x8.5 inches or 140x216 mm. My laptop is a 14" lenovo. I think... haha. In comparison with an A4 pad, it's about half an inch taller and wider. The internal pocket on the synapse swallows it up even if I use a padded sleeve. I think it would have been better if the internal pocket didn't go all the way down at the bottom of the pack. Maybe an inch of elevation would have helped to provide a bit of protection despite the non existent padding.
P.S. I variously use the waist strap on: diy cache (on a V set up - kind of hard to explain), straps for my dry sack on the go, and webbing for compressing the lower section. I love it and it's a multipurpose must-have now!
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