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  1. #1
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    Wink A quest for the perfect man bag: so glad to have discovered the Tom Bihn Synapse 19

    First of all--please let me know if this is in the wrong forum or I breach forum etiquette in any way! First time posting here.

    I've been carrying around another bag for the past 9 months and I just got a Synapse 19, so I wrote a pretty detailed comparison and review (perhaps to justify to myself that I needed another pack?).

    You won't be surprised which of two I think will serve my needs best :) Here's what I love about my new TB Synapse 19.

    Build quality is top notch. The Synapse is made in the USA of tough materials like Cordura and Dyneema, and uses top of the line YKK Aquaguard water-resistant zipppers. Iím looking forward to using this pack for years.

    The design is a tier above others when it comes to my every day carry needs. It works great on one shoulder. It swings around for easy access to side or bottom pockets. Itís wide enough to comfortable accommodate file folders and binders. The pocket layout is simply brilliant! Everything is within easy reach.

    My water bottle problems are solved. Thereís a well placed pocket in the center of the pack designed just for 1-liter bottles. Fantastic. Even if you have to put your bigger bottle in the main compartment, youíll be able to get to it easily. So, middle water bottle pocket is great, but let's settle this once and for all (never could find a definitive answer when researching prior to purchase) in no way does the 24oz Narrow Mouth Hydro Flask fit all the way in. No biggie for me; I'll stash it in the main compartment during the week and leave it in water bottle pocket, unzipped, on the weekend.

    The carrying capacity is just what I need. No, I canít carry nearly as much in the Synapse 19 as I can in bigger bags. In fact one my first thoughts when I opened the box wasÖthis is SMALL. Nevertheless, everything I need (water for the day, snacks, lunch, gym clothes, toiletries) and more (!) fits. I could probably do a weekend with this pack if I didnít need a laptop.

    You canít beat how it looks, either. When I first checked out the Synapse (back when I purchased the Rush 12) I wasnít a fan of the aesthetic at all. I donít know what was wrong with me. I now think this is one of the most beautiful packs in this category Iíve seen.2 Photographs just canít do it justice. I got it in the Gray/Iberian combo and itís just perfect. Super low-profile, too, even when fully packedÖthe engineering and design are just really impressive. My wife is relieved that I wonít be entering restaurants looking like Iím ready to bug out at a momentís notice anymore.

    Iíve had the bag for less than a week at this point, so I canít yet speak to long-term comfort. I

    A change in backpack philosophy

    When I got my last bag, I was looking for a single backpack that could fill every need: every day carry, camping/hiking, and travel. Iíve come to realize that if you want something that performs really well in one category, youíll probably compromise on at least one other.

    I canít really imagine trying to strap a hatchet to the Synapse 19 and heading into the woods, so I'll still need other bags for overnight camping trips and any sort of travel that requires bulky clothing or a stuff for other people in my family. Stuff like that.

    But I wonít being carrying another bag every day again for the foreseeable future.

    No, the future of my every day carry, day hikes, and solo travel is the Tom Bihn Synapse 19.
    Last edited by nathanrhale; 05-30-2015 at 05:58 PM. Reason: edited out explicit mention of other brands

  2. #2
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    Without reading your review I think they would rather we do not discuss other brands here really.

    Lets just say I know this first hand from experience and I do know exactly where you are coming from.

    I love them both though and that is a tough choice always.

    Welcome here too!

  3. #3
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    Welcome to the forum! Your writeup was well done and provided lots of information about both bags, and I think you reached the same conclusion that I, and many others on the forum, have discovered... there's no perfect bag for every situation. That being said, after buying many bags (TB & others) I have come to the conclusion that Tom Bihn's products offer me the best tools to assemble a modest size bag collection so I will have the best bag for every situation. They are well made (in the US), thoughtfully designed, easy to carry, and pack more that their modest sizes will suggest. As you use your Synapse it would be great to hear about your experiences using it as your EDC bag. And if you are like many of us here, it will be interesting to hear about the TB bag you "need" next!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by AVService View Post
    Without reading your review I think they would rather we do not discuss other brands here really.

    Lets just say I know this first hand from experience and I do know exactly where you are coming from.

    I love them both though and that is a tough choice always.

    Welcome here too!
    Thanks so much for the warm welcome. Makes sense re:other brands. I will keep it in mind for future posts! I edited my original to avoid mentioning other brands, but keeping a link to my full article. I went ahead and put everything I love about the Synapse in my post too, so you don't even have to click through to get to that stuff now!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by giantsteve View Post
    As you use your Synapse it would be great to hear about your experiences using it as your EDC bag. And if you are like many of us here, it will be interesting to hear about the TB bag you "need" next!
    Yeah I will definitely keep you posted! Thanks for the kind words and warm welcome!

  6. #6
    Volunteer Moderator Alumni Ilkyway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanrhale View Post
    Thanks so much for the warm welcome. Makes sense re:other brands. I will keep it in mind for future posts! I edited my original to avoid mentioning other brands, but keeping a link to my full article. I went ahead and put everything I love about the Synapse in my post too, so you don't even have to click through to get to that stuff now!
    Hi nathanrhale and welcome to the forums from me too.
    I sadly am too late to read your original version. But some Moderater had read it and approved of it else it would not have been there for a member seing it and to write the warning. What I am getting at here: as long as you apply common sense and keep in mind that this is the manufactorors own forums you CAN mentione other bags for comparing or specific featurs or what ever you want to discuss about it in RELATION to Tom Bihn bags. New members do require approvel to keep the forums spam free off cause.

    As for your struggle to find the PERFECT bag the "Egg leying wool milch pig" as we Germans would call it: I can relate to that and (at least for now) I have come to the very same conclusion. I need more than one bag for different useage profiles. BUT I keep saying, if I had to reduce to only ONE bag out of thouse I currently own it would be a Smart Alec. It is larger as your S19 and there for not the iDEAL substitute but it is so unbelivably flexible that it could perform all I need a bag for. It would be a compromise in some aerias and therfor I wount go down to one bag but it feels good to have him (my personal Smart Alec) for the rescue.

    Ilkyway
    ďAnkh-Morpork people considered that spelling was a sort of optional extra. They believed in it in the same way they believed in punctuation; it didn't matter where you put it so long as it was there.Ē

    By Sir Terence David John Pratchett from The Truth

  7. #7
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    If I can just add a slight bit of clarity here as it does directly affect my posting......I am not the original poster here.

    I merely answered his question in his first thread here with us regarding talking about bags from other mothers in this forum.
    I was thinking maybe this info to a new member would be enough to get the point across and nip any "Cross Talk" in the bud as it were.
    Evidently his post was deemed inappropriate and deleted in its entirety leaving my post as the first post but completely without context too?

    I am not sure how this really helps anyone and I too have been the recipient of this moderation before.
    I am not questioning the motive but the method I suppose.

    Anyway I just wanted to clarify this as now the thread makes little sense to anyone who stumbles across it I imagine.

  8. #8
    Forum Member adalangdon's Avatar
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    Yeah, um, what happened to OP's original post? Did he delete it or did something else happen?

  9. #9
    Volunteer Moderator Alumni Ilkyway's Avatar
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    Nathanrhal did edit his original post and unfortunatly (in this case) that puts it automaticly back on moderation. Since I was out and about and the others are in a different time zone... Sorry for the confusion.
    This all is off cause to see if new members are going to be members, like this is clearly the case here, or mere Spammers. The hole prosess is an automatic one and has prevented a lot of Spamm. Sorry for the glitches here and there.

    Ilkyway

    ETA maybe I even did it wrong ealier? When I wrote my post (the first one) I thought I had Nathathals original post brought back to live, but since I was in a hurry than I now am not too sure if I had done it propperly. So sorry about that!
    Last edited by Ilkyway; 05-31-2015 at 07:28 AM.
    ďAnkh-Morpork people considered that spelling was a sort of optional extra. They believed in it in the same way they believed in punctuation; it didn't matter where you put it so long as it was there.Ē

    By Sir Terence David John Pratchett from The Truth

  10. #10
    Forum Member viewsnortheast's Avatar
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    Hi Nathan, I read your original post yesterday and thought it was really a thorough and well-balanced write up. Hopefully it can live on somewhere else online, as I'm sure it will be very useful to other readers.

  11. #11
    Volunteer Moderator Alumni Ilkyway's Avatar
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    Again: the original post MUST have been fine within this forum too. A modarator had already approved of it.

    Ilkyway
    ďAnkh-Morpork people considered that spelling was a sort of optional extra. They believed in it in the same way they believed in punctuation; it didn't matter where you put it so long as it was there.Ē

    By Sir Terence David John Pratchett from The Truth

  12. #12
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    OK well now this thread is even stranger than before and that is really saying something too!

    Synapse 19=Great Bag!
    No Surprise here.

    My only issues with mine are it is too small on me and looks a little silly but that has never stopped me with anything else and does not here either!

    I NEED an S25 though to even things out,clearly.
    Last edited by AVService; 05-31-2015 at 07:36 AM.

  13. #13
    Forum Member ceepee's Avatar
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    Well, I was lured into this thread under false pretences it would seem ......
    A quest for the perfect man bag: the 5.11 Tactical Rush 12 vs Tom Bihn Synapse 19-screen-shot-2015-05-31-12-47-50-png

    ;)

  14. #14
    Volunteer Moderator Alumni Ilkyway's Avatar
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    Since no one IS in fact perfect I settle for the man that to me comes close enaugh and who is the father of my children by a lucky coincedens, thank you very much.
    ;-)

    Ilkyway
    ďAnkh-Morpork people considered that spelling was a sort of optional extra. They believed in it in the same way they believed in punctuation; it didn't matter where you put it so long as it was there.Ē

    By Sir Terence David John Pratchett from The Truth

  15. #15
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    Thank you all for your patience with me as I get used what's appropriate to post! I edited my original post (looks like it's showing up now) and there's still a link there to my full write up comparing my Synapse 19 and my previous bag.

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