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 25
  1. #1
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    16
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Question Synapse for College?

    My son is graduating high school ( ) and a family member asked about a graduation present for him. I immediately thought he'll need a bag - Tom Bihn!!!

    While I don't own any Tom Bihn bags (around the time I discovered these bags I wound up with a Red Oxx when maybe an Aeronaut would have been better - maybe some day..), the few pouches I have are of impressive quality, and my MIL raves about her Yarn Stuff sacks.

    So...

    1) Would a Synapse 25 be an appropriate bag for a college student? I looked at the 19 and it's too small for his laptop (12.3" x 9.14" x 0.51"), but the 25 with a Vertical Mac 15 Cache though a little big would work.

    2) Would a Brain Bag be a better option? He's an engineering major, and we have no idea what is schedule will be (e.g. will there be time to go back to his room to swap books. etc between classes) or how many (and what size) physical books he'll have.

    3) Are these bags simply too "spendy" for a college freshman?? Granted it's not my money I'm spending, but wonder if a $100 North Face (or similar bag) would be a better option for him. He's a typical kid. The bag will be thrown around, dropped on the floor, left on the grass/dirt and so on. His LL Bean backpack from the last two years or high school is basically trashed/dirty, etc...

    What else should I be thinking about?

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    69
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'd go with a Brain Bag. I have an S25, and it's a great bag, but if you're carrying a lot of books, you'll need the capacity and second compartment of the BB.

    The BB will hold a LOT, and stand up to abuse. I wish I'd had one in college.

  3. #3
    Forum Member marytattoo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    1,731
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    have you considered a Smart Alec?

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Share
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    177
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'd vote S25 or Smart Alec over the Brain Bag.

  5. #5
    Forum Member operator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Share
    CA
    Posts
    105
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If you can pack everything into the S25, I'd go with S25 but it's college and there are going to be items upon items being packed into a backpack. So maybe the Brain Bag is not a bad idea.
    Synapse 25 Black Dyneema/Wasabi
    Side Effect Black Dyneema/Wasabi
    Aeronaut 45 Burnt Orange/Steel
    Absolute Shoulder Strap
    Travel Laundry Stuff Stack Aeronaut 45 Wasabi
    Vertical Freudian Slip Synapse 25
    Travel Tray Wasabi
    Pilot Navy/Wasabi
    RFID Passport Pouch Iberian
    Spiff Kit Deluxe Northwest Sky Halcyon 200
    Synapse 19 Black Halcyon/Ultraviolet
    Empire Builder
    Snake Charmer

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    16
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I had not considered the Smart Alec...why would you suggest that over the Brain Bag or the Synapse? I'll definitely check it out.

    The Synapse 25 was the first bag I showed him, and he seemed to like it. I'm all about presenting options.

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    16
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I should add that my son is approximately 5'8" tall...

  8. #8
    Forum Member Muni_Jedi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Share
    MA USA
    Posts
    303
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It is all very subjective. I would have preferred a Brain Bag in college over either the S25 or SA. I don't own one but the ability to carry a large load or cinch tight would have been helpful. What type of engineering will he study; if it's something physical he may need to the room for tools or project materials.

  9. #9
    Forum Member binje's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    467
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    For the "is it too spendy" question - I'd say "no, it's not" unless he's likely to lose it (says someone who didn't have a winter coat from 6th through 12th grade because her mother got tired of buying more than one a year and knew I wouldn't freeze to death in South Louisiana without one). Just get a dark color and know that it's going to outlast about anything else you can buy, dirty or not.

    As to which bag, is he likely to use the organizational features of a Synapse? Or would one large compartment be more practical? I've been thinking of a Smart Alec for my thesis term of grad school because I want to be able to load it up with books and laptop and not have to think too much about where I put things. I just offloaded a pretty but too compartmentalized 19L (not TB) daypack because the largest pocket wasn't big enough for much more than my laptop and a couple of books. Towards the end of the semester when I was working on final papers, I'd find myself lugging a shop bag for the overflow. Of course, it may turn out that he doesn't actually use books for his classes, but I'm guessing that will be highly variable, especially with the gen ed requirements in his first couple of years.

    Incidentally, I'm personally not looking into a BB because I don't want to be able to carry that much stuff. I had a pack about that size as an undergrad and tended to lug around a lot of unnecessaries just because I could.

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Share
    NC
    Posts
    174
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Not sure what model LLBean backpack he's been using, but the S25 and Smart Alec are smaller than most of them... pretty much everything except the Original Book Pack. For campus use, you'd want the same or larger, definitely not smaller. I'd go with the Brain Bag, unless he hates the aesthetics.

  11. #11
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    16
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    All good info.

    He's a mechanical/aerospace engineering major, so he may have some project stuff to lug around. My guess is he'll be involved in pep band (though he plays flute/piccolo), and probably have some club involvements too.

  12. #12
    Forum Member DeBru's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Share
    Atlanta, GA USA
    Posts
    246
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    +1 more for the Brain Bag... The Synapse is a beautiful bag, but my daughter has a more difficult time packing hers for school because of the compartments. She enjoys the Brain Bag for the versatility.
    current EDC- Black Ballistic Travel Cubelet with an Orange 152 COW. I have MANY pouches... My goal is 1 in every color 好的朋友

  13. #13
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    4,067
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I am 5.8 and I used the Brain Bag for a class which had the most books I ever had to carry for just one class. Everything fit.

    The Brain Bag also make a great travel bag, perfect to bring light laundry at home on breaks from college and the occasional fun trip or exchange program.

    I have had my Brain Bag for 10 years, I could have had one for more, I didn't know that Tom Bihn Inc was in a neighboring town.

    Bottom line is, it is a very very very tough bag, it can look very slim or carry many items and expand as needed.

    I use Packing Cube Backpacks to pack different items in the two compartments, clothes/books and paper, nice clothes/not so nice ones, etc...
    Instead you could get him a Daylight Backpack for the days when only his laptop and a book is needed or at exam time for a bottled water candy bars (for sugar boosts during long and very long exams), some writing instruments and/or his laptop...
    It can also be used for extra curricular activities like volunteering, mentoring and physical activities.

    I wish I had a Brain Bag in college.

    To transport his stuff like linen, duvet, all the items a college freshman needs in his dorm room a Yeoman Duffel would be ideal. Again I wish I had one in college.


    If he knows that most of his studies will be on computer, seldom with books, the Synapse 25 might have enough room for everyday campus carry.
    Last edited by backpack; 05-12-2016 at 05:14 AM.

  14. #14
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    1,410
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Another vote for the Smart Alec. When I was in grad school I recall constantly trying to shove everything back quickly into my bag before the next class, and the open configuration of the SA lends itself to that. Plus it would be easier to use the SA for hauling groceries, etc. Also, it has expansion options - bungee (or Gatekeeper strap) bulky things to the front; add or subtract the Upper or Lower Modular Pockets, as needed, for more or less space.

    But, if he's going to be bringing along a laptop and/or say, workout gear, then I guess the Brain Bag would provide the largest absolute capacity. I personally would be too tempted to overpack it every day, so the size limit of either the SA or S25 (if he's very organized) would be preferable, if it were me. ;p

    tl;dr summary: SA for easy packing. S25 if he's methodical. BB for kitchen-sink-style EDC.

  15. #15
    Forum Member Saltgirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Share
    North of the TB Mothership
    Posts
    266
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'm a stuff it all in one pocket kind of person which makes the Smart Alec perfect for me.

    My son likes to have a place for each individual collection of things (there is the sports clothing pocket, the book pocket, the lunch pocket, the gaming pocket, etc.) which makes the Brain Bag perfect for him except he has a cheapie WallMart version of it at the moment and I'm trying to convince him to go Bihn. He is 9 btw and has yet to hit 5 feet.

    All this to say - what is your child's bag using style?

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
  •