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  1. #1
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    Best bag for a boulderer | Climber | hiker | Micro4/3 photographer | Beach/City ?

    Dear forum members,
    I am new and this is my first post.
    I post from the big North (the land of the moose, the maple sirup, the TH coffee...).
    I am a very petite women with an athletic frame with an imperial 5 08 and a metric 1.55 m.
    I am also a climber, specifically a boulderer, a photographer (micro four third) and a traveler.
    I am browsing the forum and the website and instagram for few 2/3 months.
    Shy by nature, I am taking the leap and posting today as I really need advices and haven't found the answer yet.
    I would like to buy a TB backpack but the question is which one? Luminary or Synapse series? And which size?

    The trigger is: I have a 2 weeks vacay planned in Southern France in June and would like to act fast.

    This is how I will use the backpack (each describe a situation):

    1/ Bouldering day - Going to the bouldering indoor gym or to an external bouldering (aka in the forest) site
    What I will pack: daily lunch, snacks, climbing shoes, approach shoes, a pair of flip flop, boudering mat, chalk bag, water, smartphone, power bank, tablet, headphone, cables, my handbag/purse organizer (it is an inner bag with all my papers, makeup, money that I transfer from one bag to another depending of the situation so I do not have to forget something)
    a half rectangular folding accordion mat (used to seat at the lunch break and for a small siesta using the bottom of the bag as a cushion)

    2/ Micro Four Third Photography - When I want to go a full day street photographing or nature photographing
    What I will pack:
    my olympus em5, a 12-40 lens, a 24 mm lens, a rocket air blower, filters (4 filters incl neutral density filter), a godo large flash, two additional batteries, a hard case for my sd cards, additional caps for the bodies/lens, a gorilla pod, smartphone, tablet, power bank, headphone, cables
    my olympus em10 back up body.
    my handbag/purse organizer (it is an inner bag with all my papers, makeup, money that I transfer from one bag to another depending of the situation so I do not have to forget something)

    3/ Hiking - As a member of a very large hiking club, I am looking for a bag where I can fit my day hike equipment. Also comfort is important for the hips.
    What I will pack:
    Maps and hike directions
    Lunch, snack, foldable rectangular water bottle (this is not a camel pack)
    my micro four third and a lens on, a rocket blower, filters
    a small A5 notebook and a pen
    a pair of clean shoes (+socks for the post hike) and a dirty shoes pouch
    rain poncho, sunglasses, sunscreen, bear repellent
    hiking sticks (I need a solution to have them securely attached to the bag, when the hike is easy and I do not require them)
    a half rectangular folding accordion mat (used to seat at the lunch break and for a small siesta using the bottom of the bag as a cushion)
    additional layers (long sleeve, soft shell)
    my first aid pouch
    smartphone, power bank, tablet, headphone, cables
    my handbag/purse organizer (it is an inner bag with all my papers, makeup, money that I transfer from one bag to another depending of the situation so I do not have to forget something)

    4/ Vacay in Europe - This bag will be used as a personal bag in the plane and a daily bag.
    Activities during the vacay:
    * Seaside town surfing / beach / paddle / biking
    * Small villages and big cities hopping
    * Alps hiking
    * Family day out with kids
    My main concern is: waterproof on the beach and safety in the street as I visit beautiful cities with notoriously experienced pickpockets.

    Can you help me?

    Thank you so much

    LN
    Last edited by LN95; 05-03-2019 at 06:55 AM.

  2. #2
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    I think many TB backpacks will do greatly the job,

    For myself, I am happy to have a Guide Edition Synapse (25L) (with a lot of Coyote and Skookum Dog addons) in order to travel and hike in the same time,
    it have many attachment points and can have a pretty clean look (not sleek, but the way I do like), plus it is pretty big

    I thing the Smart Alec will also do a very good job, I would have hesitated if it were still available at the time I purchased my GES25
    just a Bihnion here

  3. #3
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    Welcome to the Forums, @LN95! I don't have experience with most of your planned activities so I don't think I have a recommendation myself, but I bet someone else will have a suggestion.

    Edited to add: and I see that @Rei does have a suggestion already, great!
    I have a bunch of great bags. Favorite color combos include Aubergine/Island, Navy/Solar, Forest/UV, Original Halcyon/Wasabi, Cloud/Viridian.

    I've fulfilled my dream of palindromic-colored nested bags! Navy/Ultraviolet Pilot with Aubergine/Island Side Effect inside: blue purple purple blue. Forest/UV A45 with Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot inside: green purple purple green.

  4. #4
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    I also love the Guide pack for the different activities you listed, but I think it will be to big for me (I am 1.5m, Synapse 25L is a little big on me already)


    BTW, about your concerns

    TB bags are not waterproof, but it has been said they are water-repelant enough on the beach (as long as you use them like any normal bag)

    and about pickpockets : just close your pockets :,) actually lot of the people who have been pickpocketed had wide open pocket or phone/wallet in coat external pocket or jean pocket... not the safest place,
    just close your bags and pockets, it will be deterrent enough, if you are really affraid, use a carabiner or cord to "lock" the main pockets of your bag.
    Last edited by Rei; 05-04-2019 at 04:58 AM.
    just a Bihnion here

  5. #5
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    Hi @LN95 and welcome to the Forums!

    You have some cool activities going on. Hopefully some of the Forum members with similar interests will chime in.

    That's a fair amount of stuff to carry bouldering and then quite a bit less it seems, when you're wandering around cities on vacation.
    Unfortunately, unless you can quickly find them used on eBay or similar, the Synapse 25 Guide's Edition and the SmartAlec are discontinued.

    The regular Synapse 25 would probably carry the volume of what you have but you'd want to check that. The regular S25 doesn't have much in the way of exterior lash points though (GE version did/the SmartAlec doesn't), so that might be hard to accommodate your hiking sticks and possibly your mat.

    The Brain Bag is huge, but with side compression straps, it can collapse a bit. You might be able to use the water bottle area as a way to attach/lash things.


    The Guide's Pack is probably your best bet for the bouldering and normal hiking, if it fits you. It is probably too big for random walking around.

    A Daylight Backpack, especially in halcyon, is easy to roll up and tuck inside other bags - it works as a great walk-around-the beach/city bag for many folks. You may find two bags will work better for you... The Luminaries likewise are great urban/beach bags but I doubt they'd accommodate your bouldering.

    Keeping aware of your surroundings and pockets closed is a decent deterrent for pickpockets as @rei mentioned. Nothing will really stop a determined thief with a knife to cut open your bag/straps or a group scam, but you really just want to focus on not being the easiest target. Several folks also use mini carabiners (like from Nite Ize) to clip adjacent zippers together... it slows down anyone trying to casually unzip a pocket. The TB zippers are also pretty substantial so they're not super easy to open one handed in a stealthy manner.

    Couple things that might help:

    Get a friend to help you measure your torso... compare your torso length to the pack heights... you may find that if the pack is too tall, it will be uncomfortable. REI has a nice visual on how to measure:
    https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-adv...sting-fit.html

    Check the volume of your stuff: Measure out the size of the packs on the floor (use painter's tape or a line of socks or rulers, or whatever)...pile your stuff up and then measure to see how 'deep' (vertical) it is. That will help you see if things fit the overall pack volumes, though pockets will alter that.

    Test pack if you can... This is cheapest if you live in the US... order the bags you think might work, follow this FAQ for test packing https://www.tombihn.com/pages/contact-us/#faq38 and return the one(s) that don't work for you.


    And if you can't find a TB bag that works for you, if you have an REI or similar outfitter near you, they are a great place to get both fitted for packs and try a variety of styles - usually they let you bring your pile of stuff in to see what works. TB does that too, but you'd have to fly to Seattle

    HTH
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too!

  6. #6
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    I think that the Synapse 25 is necessary for the amount of stuff you want to bring, particularly once shoes or a full size camera comes into play. To be honest there's not a lot of choices in the TB line for what you're looking for - the Luminary series is fairly small, the Brain Bag is huge, and the Guide's Pack is probably too big and not organized enough for your needs. The other that would work really well is a Smart Alec, but they are discontinued now.

    I have the E-M1 and E-M10 also and the E-M10 fits easily in one of the side pockets of the S19 with the 20/1.7 pancake lens but not any larger lenses. Obviously the S25 pockets will fit this too. A big plus is the lower pocket of the Synapse 25 (I call this the "chin pocket") will fit shoes for most people.

    On carrying trekking poles, there isn't a great solution. I would recommend the "quick stow" method that backpackers like to do as it doesn't require taking off the pack: shorten the poles, then tuck them both under your armpit in your shoulder strap, and clip the trekking pole wrist straps through your sternum strap. The poles won't go anywhere, they'll carry comfortably, and can be easily accessed again when needed.

  7. #7
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    The Shadow Guide (retired product) is my bag of choice for proper hiking. In line with the above comments The Guide’s Pack is probably most practical current product. I like the Shadow Guide because it is not organised, you load it up with kit based on weight distribution and likely need. But for a holidaying day-pack, assuming that a rucksack style bag is preferred, the Daylight Backpack is my preference.

  8. #8
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    There are some great suggestions already, here are my thoughts.

    At a minimum I would say you'd need a Synapse 25, but even then I am concerned about your accordion mat. And yet if you want to use it on the plane as an under-seat bag, then the Brain Bag will most likely be too big. Do you need it to go under the seat? I assumed that it would since you called it a personal bag for the plane. Definitely check your airline's carryon policy and size limits.

    A Guide's Pack with the optional extra pockets would give you flexibility and capacity for hiking, and a rolled up Daylight backpack inside would give you a smaller option for your city walks.

    I don't know if the Guide's Pack would fit under the airplane seat though, I believe it is nearer to a carry on size rather than a personal item.

    Hope that helps!

  9. #9
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    I may be wrong but
    the GES25 is not really "retired", but in limited production, when enough people ask for it and when they have enough production capacity you can pre-order it (it is the way I could get one)
    due to his popularity, the Smart Alec may be produced again (limited production) if enough people ask for it (same for the Shadow Guide)
    so for both, if you are patient, you can still register to get a notification when they (if they do) come back.
    just a Bihnion here

  10. #10
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    Agreed it is not always fully clear over exact definition of “retired design” and what may or may not possibly one day make a return either due to customer interest or production capacity, but presumably also dependent on TB overall product strategy. But I would suggest that if interested in a retired bag and it does happen to make a return, then don’t delay to order as it is likely to be a limited production run.
    Last edited by BigBadD; 05-04-2019 at 09:11 AM. Reason: Edited for clarity

  11. #11
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    Agreed that TB may theoretically produce any of their designs or colorways again.
    If you're actively looking for a bag in the next 3-6mo though, I wouldn't wait on the chance of a limited production run of a design listed as retired.
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too!

  12. #12
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    I notice that the guides pack is only available "in production," although the pockets are available (though not in the same colours as the new pack). I think I'd want my pockets to be the same colour. So, if you want the back now, it looks like the Synapse is the choice.

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