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  1. #1
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    Laptop backpack for petite woman with 13" torso?

    Petite 5'1" woman here with narrow shoulders and an XS (13") torso. Looking for a classy business travel backpack that can fit my laptop and a few overnight items like a change of clothes, shoes, etc., while fitting my frame.

    It seems like most of the bags in this niche are designed for men, i.e. wide shoulders, long torso, slim hips. None of them sit quite right on my back. Messenger bags and totes won't work for me, as I need to distribute the weight across both shoulders to manage it properly. And while I own a roller bag, it's not very practical on stairs, on ice and snow in the winter, etc.

    Any recommendations from fellow petite ladies?

    Failing that, how about if Tom Bihn were to fill this niche by designing something for us shorter ladies?

  2. #2
    Forum Member Rocks's Avatar
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    There are plenty of shorties here who love the Synapse 19, myself included. I'm about the same height as you, but with broader shoulders. The Synapse comes with a sternum strap if you need it to bring the straps closer together.
    I'm used to things not fitting, but I have no issues with the Synapse.
    Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocks View Post
    I'm used to things not fitting, but I have no issues with the Synapse.
    Good luck!
    Ha. I know how you feel.

    I was looking at the Synapse 19 and I like that it claims to fit people from 5'0" to 6'0". I'm a bit concerned that it will be too small for my 14" laptop though.

    Do any fellow extra-petites have any experience with the Western Flyer? I like the convertible aspect of it and that it doesn't scream "backpack" and could conceivably pass for a briefcase. But I'm concerned about the torso length and width of the shoulder straps.

  4. #4
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    I don't have experience with the Western Flyer, but my 14" laptop just barely fits in my Synapse 19 while in a neoprene case (generic amazon basics case for 14" laptop).

    I'm also relatively short (5'3") and the Synapse 19 is the only Tom Bihn backpack that I feel is ideally sized for shorter people.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by timarelay View Post
    I don't have experience with the Western Flyer, but my 14" laptop just barely fits in my Synapse 19 while in a neoprene case (generic amazon basics case for 14" laptop).

    I'm also relatively short (5'3") and the Synapse 19 is the only Tom Bihn backpack that I feel is ideally sized for shorter people.
    I doubt mine will fit then. It's a (work-issued, sadly) Lenovo brick that's rather heavier and clunkier than the average 14" laptop. One of the reasons I'm looking for a backpack-type bag in the first place is that the dang thing is too heavy to carry in a tote or shoulder bag.

    Thanks, though. I guess I'll keep looking elsewhere.

  6. #6
    Forum Member Pokilani's Avatar
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    I have a Western Flyer and I love it! I'm also 5'1", though my torso is much longer than yours. I have fit a 15 inch laptop in the WF, as well as clothing/shoes/toiletries. I don't have a picture of myself wearing it, but I can take one later, if you'd like.

  7. #7
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    I just went on my first trip with a Western Flyer and I'm happy with it! I'm 5'2" but with a relatively long torso; apologies for the low-quality photos, but maybe they'll give you some idea of fit.





  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pokilani View Post
    I have a Western Flyer and I love it! I'm also 5'1", though my torso is much longer than yours. I have fit a 15 inch laptop in the WF, as well as clothing/shoes/toiletries. I don't have a picture of myself wearing it, but I can take one later, if you'd like.
    Thanks, that'd be awesome! It would really help me figure out whether to take a chance and splurge on this bag. (Yes, I know Tom Bihn has a good return policy, but shipping is expensive for us Canadians...)

  9. #9
    Forum Member Pokilani's Avatar
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    Here are a couple of pictures.





    It's super light in the Halcyon fabric. And still lighter than other professional brands (e.g. Tumi) in Ballistic. Let me know if you'd like me to test pack a sample packing list for you. Though, if you are just doing an overnight, the WF will be just fine. I've packed for a week, including a pair of shoes, flip flops, and workout clothes, along with my 11 inch computer and toiletries/makeup. Granted, I didn't need to dress up.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by timarelay View Post
    I don't have experience with the Western Flyer, but my 14" laptop just barely fits in my Synapse 19 while in a neoprene case (generic amazon basics case for 14" laptop).

    I'm also relatively short (5'3") and the Synapse 19 is the only Tom Bihn backpack that I feel is ideally sized for shorter people.
    The Western Flyer can hold 14" laptops -- even those with extended life batteries that stick out the end. I've checked it with both Size 4 and Size 6T Brain Cells (the Size 4 was the generic size for most 14" laptops, and the Size 6T was the model they designed for the Lenovo Thinkpad series -- which is slightly taller than the size 4 and not as wide). I used the Size 6T with the T60p back then. Nowadays, you'd probably not use something as bulky as a Brain Cell.

    Since we've had threads from people with 15.6" (T410, W510, etc.) Lenovo laptops about using the Western Flyer, I'm sure that you'll be able to carry that laptop in the WF. I'm not sure what the best way is to secure it without more information about the model and its dimensions (maybe the horizontal cache for the new 2016 15" Retina Macbook Pro would work).

    The Synapse 19 has a tapered top design for better ergonomics. It might hold a 14" laptop, but it was optimally designed for a streamlined 13" Mac laptop.

    Lots of forum members with petite builds and heights under 5'4" use the Western Flyer, but I'm not sure about the match to short torso length.

    As for packing current Lenovo laptops carried in the Western Flyer, @tpnl might have some suggestions.

    HTH

    moriond

  11. #11
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    I'm 4'11 and change... For a laptop plus a few clothes, I'd probably choose my Smart Alec. Pretty light in the Halcyon and I rather like its sleek lines (I like to swap out the bungee cord for a Gatekeeper strap or two). I've carried the SA packed full for a mile or two over cobblestones and bridges, or through airports, and find the straps the most comfy of my TB backpacks.

  12. #12
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    You guys are awesome -- thanks so much for the replies! The photos were super helpful, so thanks for those.

    And yeah, packing light is not a problem. It's just that I'd prefer to have a bag that doesn't scream "backpacker". (I love my Gregory hiking pack for personal travel, but it's not really appropriate for business settings.)

  13. #13
    Forum Member melminimalist's Avatar
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    I am 4'11" and I use the s25, its a dream. bought the padded waist belt since I am so short I typically carry the weight of my bags in my hips, but while I am glad to have it as backup it wasn't really necessary.The synapse 25 even fully loaded fit like I had nothing at all. usually I find myself slightly hunched over trying to compensate the balance but I was able to walk head held high .

  14. #14
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    I'm 4'11" -- I haven't tried out either Synapse, but I do love my Smart Alec!

  15. #15
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    I used to own a Western Flyer. It is a great bag and will definitely work with laptop, clothes, shoes, and
    etc. I am so minimalist that I sold my WF as I did not need that much room. I have a Synapse 19 but it is not the best bag for laptop plus clothes and shoes. So for now, I am using my Daylight briefcase for the laptop. Actually, next business trip I am planing on taking everything in it. But if I did need more room then I would take both bags. If I had more and wanted to take only one bag, it would be either a Western Flyer or a Synapse 25.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Synapse 19, Travel Tray, PCSB, Daylight Briefcase, all in Dyneema, Side Effect and pouchmania

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