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  1. #1
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    Synapse 19 vs Smart Alec

    Hi guys! I'm about to make my first ever Tom Bihn purchase (woohoo) and I'm torn between the Synapse 19 and the SA. I plan to use it as an everything bag. However, I'm not so sure about the size being just 5 feet tall. Can someone post photos of the two bags side by side? Also, how would either compare to the size of a Jansport Right Pack?

  2. #2
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    I can't compare the two bags directly, as I haven't owned a Smart Alec. However, as a user of both the Synapse 19 and 25, I can say there's quite a size difference between those two, and the SA is a bit bigger than the 25.

    My Girlfriend is about your height, and the S19 fits her very well. She often complains about the weight of my S25, and it looks pretty huge on her shoulders.

    Hope that helps a bit, I'm sure someone will chime in soon with comparison pictures of the S19 and SA.
    DLBC (black Dyneema) **Missing Frown **, Synapse 25 Black Dyneema/Ultraviolet), Synapse 19 (Navy/Wasabi), Aeronaut 45 Black Dyneema/Ultraviolet), PCBP for TriStar (Iberian), Synapse 19 (Navy/Solar), Ristretto for iPad (Black/Wasabi), Large Shop Bag (Island),mini Q-kit, various packing cubes, stuff sacks, and pouches.

    Retired but not forgotten: TriStar (Black/Wasabi), Aeronaut 45 (Navy/Solar), Synapse 25 (French Blue/Steel).

  3. #3
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    On the product page, you can see people of different heights carry the Synapse 19. The closest person to your height would be 5 feet 2
    inches Amanda.
    But that is not the whole story, there is nobody in the pictures that can match to the way I carry, because I am 5.8 with legs longer than my torso and curves which change the way the bag carry.
    However, it seems that the Synapse 19 has the most people able to carry it comfortably.

    The Synapse 19 main is most like the size of the bag you mentioned, I have the Synapse 19 but have only seen the jansport.

    IN that video, the people who work at Tom Bihn and who are of various size and shape show off their bags. Holly is carrying the Smart Alec in Blue and Mathew carries the Black Synapse 19
    https://vimeo.com/108250717

    A Synapse 19 video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gzl6AnMxP7U


    Below are 2 videos which is a good description of the Smart Alec capacity.
    https://youtu.be/Q1FEBVXSpec

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpb_GCv7Rg4

    Hope this help!
    Last edited by backpack; 03-11-2016 at 11:55 PM.

  4. #4
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    I do like this picture by @tcook showing an S19, SA and Guide's Pack.



    From the thread, she mentions that she is 5'3". Here is the full thread:

    http://forums.tombihn.com/general-ba...html#post54668


    Hope this helps
    Cheers!
    TB Ballistic Black/Iberian Dyneema backpacks and briefcases for every occasion together with my cherished Nordic and Solar Dyneema!

  5. #5
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    I have both the Smart Alec and the Synapse 19, and am 5'2". The both fit me comfortably, but I prefer the S19 for a commuting bag, because of the many pockets and accessibility. I love the Smart Alec as a travel bag, but find it awkward to access the contents on a regular basis like I do during a normal work-day.

    Of course it also depends on whether your stuff would fit into the S19.
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

  6. #6
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    The Synapse, unless you often have to carry a lot of stuff. These days I usually carry the Large Cafe Bag or the Synapse; the Smart Alec (which was my first TB bag) is for grocery shopping and laundry.

  7. #7
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
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    I have both the Synapse and the Smart Alec. I'm 5'7" and find both very comfortable, but the Synapse looks/feels significantly smaller (my 8-yr-old granddaughter can comfortably carry it), and is significantly more organized. I love the huge gaping maw of the Smart Alec and the fact it'll hold anything, but I don't think it's as good for daily work stuff since it requires more work/sub-bags to keep stuff from getting lost, and it's a bit more hassle to locate and retrieve stuff from it. So unless you're carrying large/bulky things, my recommendation would be the S19.
    Donít make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, donít hesitate to make it beautiful. ó Shaker Philosophy

  8. #8
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    I have both, S19 is better for daily carry but SA is a champ for a ton of different duties (work, travel, groceries, random odd shape packages)

  9. #9
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    @Mia, I'm quoting a post that @flips712 made in January to summarize her experience after coming to a decision in the Spirit Airlines - Personal Item Bag and Accessory Recommendations thread she started in late 2015. Basically, @flips712 was looking for a personal item to carry on board on Spirit Airlines, asked about the Western Flyer and Tri-Star, and ended up deciding on a Synapse 19:

    Quote Originally Posted by flips712 View Post
    I just wanted to thank everyone here for their helpful advice. I wanted to update my post in case it may be helpful for any other short individuals. Just to recap, I'm under 5 feet tall and have a torso length around 15 inches. I ordered both the WF and S19. Both fit me very comfortably even when packed completely full. But in the end, the S19 won my heart with it's awesome functional design and organizational compartments. It was very tough to return the WF because there really wasn't anything about the bag that I didn't like.

    I was initially concerned that the wider strap placement on the newer vs. older S19 would be a problem and result in slippage. However, I'm here to report that the S19 was a perfect fit regardless of whether or not it was filled to full capacity both with and without the chest strap. It's actually the MOST comfortable backpack that I've ever worn. Sometimes I forget I'm even wearing it. I initially bought it to use as my personal item on flights, but find myself using it as my EDC. I wear it to work, to the mall, etc.. Heck, I even do some runway modeling in the office for my co-workers, who think I'm nuts but they just don't understand how spectacular this bag is.

    I'm actually considering buying the S25. Just wondering how it will fit my small frame. Any input from fellow tiny people?
    I also wanted to add that if you do considerable reading in the forums, you may find some references to the a change in the backpack strap spacing of the Synapse 19 in May 2013 that made this bag less comfortable for people who were shorter and with smaller frames. (@bchaplin reported this, and started the New backpack strap placement on Synapse 19? thread.)

    Let me shortcut all that discussion to state that in another recent thread with the unlikely subject name of "Bewbs", Darcy posted (#11 01-21-2016):

    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    Mid-2015, we switched the shoulder straps on the Synapse 19 back to the "old" version. This was a tough call for us -- some people definitely preferred the new strap placement while others didn't. Ultimately, it seemed the majority preferred the old strap placement, so we went with that.
    This was just 3 days after @flips712 posted the review I quoted above, and at the time we didn't officially "know" that they'd gone back to the older strap spacing. (In fact, technically speaking, it's not the spacing they used when the Synapse 19 was first produced, but a slightly wider one that was in use just before the Synapse 25 was released, and is the strap spacing that I personally found most comfortable -- I'm just under 5'4"/1.6 m tall, and wear petite clothing). So, please ignore any threads you may read about the Synapse 19 straps now being too wide to be comfortable on smaller frames, since that hasn't been true since mid-2015.

    HTH

    moriond

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