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  1. #1
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    Synapse 25 - One bag travel for 4 weeks?

    Hi all - Iím looking for some advice!

    My husband and I are taking a 4 1/2 week vacation (mid March to late April) and will have a number of stops (London, Barbados, Trinidad, Paris, Venice and Southampton). Because we will be hopping so much I want to just take one bag! Iíll need both warm and cold weather clothing and we are taking one cheapy European flight from Venice back to the UK so the bag canít be particularly large or heavy.

    Iíve always traveled lightly so packing shouldnít be a problem but I was wondering if the Synapse 25 would be a good one bag solution? Can anyone share their experiences? Was it easy to stay organised? Is the bag a good size for those restrictive European airline rules? Did you wish you had more space/stuff?

    I will also have a small cross body handbag for the essentials.

    Thanks!!!

  2. #2
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    Synapse 25 - One bag travel for 4 weeks?

    Your itinerary sounds amazing!

    I would say you should definitely search the forum using google instead of the forum search, which never works for me.

    Try googling things like 'one bag s25' or 'a30 vs s25' and then adding forums.tombihn.com to the search and it should give you results from here. Like this one:
    https://www.google.com/search?q=%22o...ms.tombihn.com

    Generally speaking, people find the A30 more useful to live out of because it opens so wide and you can get at everything easily. On the other hand, you'll need a separate daypack and that is a whole other question!

    Why don't you make a packing list and share it here, like this:
    https://forums.tombihn.com/packing-l...king-list.html

    My biggest concern with the S25 (or any light packing endeavor) is the shoes. You'll need to wear your cold weather shoes while traveling and fit any other warm weather shoes in the bag. Depending on what else you pack and the size of your shoes, it might be tricky in an S25. I would say an A30 might make more sense just because it's a better layout for shoes.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Cristina; 01-30-2019 at 01:12 PM. Reason: Logic

  3. #3
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    Thank you! I had done a few searches but was unsuccessful - that’s a brilliant post with the packing list! The A30 looks like an awesome option - I do tend to prefer one large space rather than pockets.

    I do have big feet (women’s 11) so shoes are always interesting. I’ll be wearing Vivibarefoot boots and packing a pair of Saltwater sandals which are pretty flat.

    My packing list is:

    Packing list - 4 1/2 weeks in hot and cold

    2 stripe T-shirt’s
    1 x patterned T-shirt
    4 x thermals
    6 x vests
    2 merino cardigans
    1 white cotton cardigan
    Bomber jacket

    Black skirt
    Navy skirt
    Pink floral skirt
    Navy thin skirt
    Black and white check thin skirt

    1 swimsuit (tankini top and bottom)
    4 x tights
    4 x under shorts (I always wear shorts under skirts and I only wear skirts!)
    8 x undies
    3 x bras of varying styles

    Salt water sandals
    Black boots

    1 x backpack (Synapse 25 or A30?)
    2 x grocery bags (super light roll up ones)
    1 x tote
    1 x black crossbody handbag

    Scarf
    Hat
    Gloves

    iPad
    iPhone
    Single colour cross stitch kit

    I’ll be wearing all the heavy bits to travel (a skirt, boots, tank and T-shirt, cardigan and carrying the bomber jacket). I’m bringing more tops and bottoms than usual because of the hot/cold problem, but they all roll up pretty small and I’ll be layering the warm weather tops in the colder countries.

    Always open to advice and thoughts!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizalou View Post
    Thank you! I had done a few searches but was unsuccessful - thatís a brilliant post with the packing list! The A30 looks like an awesome option - I do tend to prefer one large space rather than pockets.

    I do have big feet (womenís 11) so shoes are always interesting. Iíll be wearing Vivibarefoot boots and packing a pair of Saltwater sandals which are pretty flat.

    My packing list is:

    Packing list - 4 1/2 weeks in hot and cold

    2 stripe T-shirtís
    1 x patterned T-shirt
    4 x thermals
    6 x vests
    2 merino cardigans
    1 white cotton cardigan
    Bomber jacket

    Black skirt
    Navy skirt
    Pink floral skirt
    Navy thin skirt
    Black and white check thin skirt

    1 swimsuit (tankini top and bottom)
    4 x tights
    4 x under shorts (I always wear shorts under skirts and I only wear skirts!)
    8 x undies
    3 x bras of varying styles

    Salt water sandals
    Black boots

    1 x backpack (Synapse 25 or A30?)
    2 x grocery bags (super light roll up ones)
    1 x tote
    1 x black crossbody handbag

    Scarf
    Hat
    Gloves

    iPad
    iPhone
    Single colour cross stitch kit

    Iíll be wearing all the heavy bits to travel (a skirt, boots, tank and T-shirt, cardigan and carrying the bomber jacket). Iím bringing more tops and bottoms than usual because of the hot/cold problem, but they all roll up pretty small and Iíll be layering the warm weather tops in the colder countries.

    Always open to advice and thoughts!
    Thanks for the list!

    Are you a packing cube person? I think on a trip with multiple climates they could really help keep the cold weather clothes separate and out of the way when you don't need them. Like a winter/summer wardrobe.

    I think an A30 would be a better bet for you especially since you prefer open spaces. The S25 is very much for those who like a lot of smaller pockets. Make sure to check your airline's requirements though.

    One of the handy things about the layout of the A30 is that you can keep your toiletries in one end pocket and your electronics in the other, far away from each other. I have read (here?) that packing liquids and electronics next to each other can get you flagged at airport security.

    Here are some specific packing lists for A30s:
    https://www.google.com/search?q=pack...ms.tombihn.com

  5. #5
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    I think you need to upsize to a 32L-35L pack, if you are talking about airlines that up-charge you for overhead use and want to avoid that. On the Asian and American carriers I use, up to 35L is acceptable at the seat, 40L-50L is an overhead size. The A30 is a better size and shape for underseat stowage than teardrop shaped packs. It's important to research your particular European airlines for official details (LxWxH requirements, weight limitations, etc.) and also to check into travel forums that cover those airlines.

    You have two problems: the Synapse 25, though large for a daypack, is still in the hunt as your on-the-ground walk-around daypack. 30L and over begin to get unpleasant. So I think you will want to consider the superb Daylight Back Pack which has flat straps, isn't lined, and essentially flattens out pretty well so it doesn't take too much space in your main bag. (This strategy is also great for the "normal" airlines that don't ban you from overhead luggage without a hefty fee - you can repack your seatside items from the A30 etc. into the DLBP.)

    The other problem is the range of temperatures you need to cope with. Of course you can wear some serious warm layers in the airplane and in the cold destinations, but where do you put them when you touch down in the Barbados? I guess if you have the DLBP you can pull it out and stuff your warm layer(s) in there when you arrive. But on the flight, you will want to wear the warm layer(s) to keep space available in your A30 etc.

    It's a challenging scenario you face. Taking the overhead out of the equation really mucks things up.

  6. #6
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    This sounds like an amazing trip! And a fun thought exercise for those of us who enjoy this sort of thing...

    I agree with all of the above regarding bag choices. I don't have an S25, but I have an S19, and you need to enjoy small pockets to take advantage of its design features. I've taken the A30 on half a dozen flights, and more train and road trips. Your list sounds like a little too much for it. I would never pack more than three of anything except socks and underwear in my A30. Also, I don't pack cotton cardigans anymore. Merino or nothing because it's lighter weight, more useful in a wider variety of weather situations, packs smaller, dries faster, smells better.

    Also, instead of a tote and 2 grocery bags, I'd pack one tote that was also a grocery bag. Will the European airline let you carry the crossbody purse as a personal item in addition to the carry-on? That would make everything much easier. But if not, I'd choose one second bag and use it as my purse/tote/grocery bag (for me, it would be the Pop Tote). Basically, here's what I'd do to your list to get it all in an A30:

    2 x T-shirts (1 pattern, 1 stripe)
    3 x thermals
    3 x vests (assuming at least 1 of these is wearable as a top by itself in the hottest of hot weather?)
    2 merino cardigans
    Bomber jacket

    Black skirt
    Navy skirt
    Pink floral skirt
    Black and white check thin skirt

    1 swimsuit
    3 x tights (I would also bring socks, if only for sleeping.)
    3 x under shorts
    8 x undies
    3 x bras

    Salt water sandals
    Black boots

    1 x backpack (A30)
    1 x tote (small zip top shop bag for space/utility maximization, but a Pop Tote if I could make it fit)

    Scarf (very long and wide -- can be used as a scarf or wrap or sarong or blanket.)
    Hat
    Gloves

    iPad
    iPhone
    Single colour cross stitch kit



    In my clothes sizes (large, 12-14 American), this would be do-able in an A30, with a little flex room for a souvenir or two.
    Definitely let us know what you decide and how it goes!

  7. #7
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    I used the S25 for a European trip once and although I was very well-organized I really wished I had used a different type of bag. We were also going to multiple destinations so the packing & unpacking was kind of a pain. And I tend to become less organized over the course of a trip so my tolerance for making sure everything was put in a certain place over the course of a few weeks became a bit exasperating.

    I later bought an A30 and found packing nirvana so - another A30 vote! With the amount of clothes you're taking coupled with multiple destinations I think it would be easier to live out of the A30. Have you checked the dimensions of the A30 with the carryon limits of the cheapy European airline to see if it's within the size allowance? We've flown Easyjet, Ryanair and Wizzair in Europe and they do have some tiny bag allowances so be sure to check as some of the check-in staff are VERY strict about people trying to bring on bags that are too big or more than one bag (I hope your cross-body is small enough to be tucked inside your travel bag).

    Are you using the cross-body as your daybag? If you are I wouldn't waste space on taking a small backpack. I would stuff the warm weather items in a portable tote (I always take a large Baggu for stuff like this-they fold completely flat and can be used as grocery totes - great multi-purpose bags that I pack in my cross-body during the day for unexpected purchases).

    On another note - I love your packing list - it's really perfect.

  8. #8
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    Thank you for all the replies so far!! I also love working out packing lists/plans/bags so this forum is really fun for me!

    In answer to the various questions:

    I am VERY pro packing cube! I have some no name ones that work really well for compression and organisation. I usually use 3 which are about Side Kick size and fit all of my clothing except skirts (which are rolled tightly and put at the bottom of the bag) and bras (which are folded on the gore and stored by the back to prevent damage).

    Luckily when I'm in Barbados and Trinidad we will be staying with family so I can just dump the cold weather clothes into the grocery bags for the week, then relayer for the plane/cold when the time comes!

    I haven't booked the Venice to London tickets yet but I'm leaning towards British Airways which is only $20 more expensive for the day we want, but takes us to either Heathrow or Gatwick (can't remember which) instead of a random far away airport... The ability to shove the bag under the seat would be brilliant. Luckily it's just this one short flight that will be so restricitve as the long hauls are more flexible and the rest of our trip will be trains/busses/cars. If anyone has preferences/experience with this route and airlines - all advice gratefully recieved.

    One of the handy things about the layout of the A30 is that you can keep your toiletries in one end pocket and your electronics in the other, far away from each other. I have read (here?) that packing liquids and electronics next to each other can get you flagged at airport security.
    I would never have thought of that! Excellent point!

    My vests can all be worn as tops in the hot countries and as a layer in the cold countries. The cotton cardigan is currently on the list as a contingency for cool nights in warm countries but I agree that it would be one of the first things to make the cut!

    I don't tent to carry a daypack. Instead, I just toss my cross body bag in a cotton tote and call it good. This is handy as I don't have to worry about carrying an extra bag but I can use it for extra snacks and removed layers while in transit and as a daypack while exploring. I do have one of those super light weight roll up backpacks from a backpacking store that would work as an emergency daypack/swim bag etc... Maybe I'll ditch a grocery bag and add that. My handbag is quiet small and I'm hoping to have space to pop it in the bag if necessary, but 99% of the time it'll be out and on my body.

    I used the S25 for a European trip once and although I was very well-organized I really wished I had used a different type of bag. We were also going to multiple destinations so the packing & unpacking was kind of a pain. And I tend to become less organized over the course of a trip so my tolerance for making sure everything was put in a certain place over the course of a few weeks became a bit exasperating.
    This is me in a nutshell! I always start off super organised and get more and more annoyed at repacking as I go.

    Again - I really appreciate the time and answers! At the moment I'm super leaning towards an A30 which wasn't even on my radar before!

  9. #9
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    You might also consider getting the frame sheet and padded hip belt with the A30 if you have sensitive shoulders and/or you're going to be carrying it in backpack mode for a long time.

    Please do let us know what you decide and if you fancy it, send pics of your setup! Sounds like a fabulous trip.

  10. #10
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    I think if you exactly halve your clothing list you will easily get it all in the Synapse 25 with room to spare for toiletries, some souvenirs, and then a little extra space so the bag isn't totally stuffed.

    You'd end up doing laundry a little more often, but I think it could be a worthwhile tradeoff to consider.

    I personally don't like wearing all the heavy cold-weather gear to the airport and on the plane either. I want to be comfortable, so lightweight shoes, pants, and long sleeves are my max and everything else has to get stuffed in the bag. It's possible by halving your clothing that you could simply fit everything in the bag, which simplifies travel pretty substantially.

    One other caveat: some smaller carriers may ask to weigh your carry-on bag, and even if everything fits your bag may be too heavy! I once flew a regional jet that had a 15lb limit per bag which made packing a little trickier than usual, since I had a 5lb laptop!

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