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  1. #1
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    Synapse 25 - is a frame sheet necessary?

    Hi there,

    I'm thinking about ordering a Synapse 25 in halcyon. I'm debating whether or not to order a frame for it as well.

    The Karimor bag I'm using now is about the same size. It seems to have some kind of reinforcement in its back - maybe plastic. No aluminum. Not inflexible. I wouldn't want or need anything stiffer or heavier in a bag of that size when I'm just using it for everyday carrying.

    What I'm wondering is, what is the Synapse like without the frame? Does it not have anything keeping the backside more rigid to begin with?

    And one more question? The Tom Bihn video about the frame sheets says that it is mainly used when using the waist strap. If I don't plan on using it – it doesn't look like it would help much anyway – would the frame be just added weight?

    Thanks for any help with these questions.
    Last edited by del; 08-23-2019 at 06:48 AM. Reason: More detail

  2. #2
    Forum Member DWSeattle's Avatar
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    The whole idea of a frame is to transfer the weight to your pelvis via the hip belt rather than carrying all the weight on your shoulders. If there is no hip belt, there is no need for a frame. Also, the pack needs to fit your torso size when using the hip belt for weight transfer; otherwise, it provides more stability, but that is all. The only other case for the frame is to protect your back from lumpy contents, but that is more of an issue with wilderness packs.

  3. #3
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    I don't use a frame sheet if I'm carrying a laptop, as that provides a lot of rigidity. If I'm not carrying a laptop, I often have the framesheet in my S19 to protect from weird lumpy things as @DWSeatte says and sometimes I just prefer the more rigid feel against my back...but I don't think it's 'necessary'
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

  4. #4
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    Is there nothing stiffening the back of the pack except for the foam in the padding?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by del View Post
    Is there nothing stiffening the back of the pack except for the foam in the padding?
    Correct, it's foam and the nylons, no separate rigid piece for this style of pack. I carried my S19 for over a year without a frame sheet and found it quite comfortable. I bought a frame sheet to try out and often use it as I mentioned because I often like a more rigid back, but it's not necessary to me. I have more TB backpacks than frame sheets and rarely move them around.


    ETA - the best thing to do is try it out yourself. It's cheapest if you're in the US, but order it with the bag, try it out, and return it if you don't like it. Check out this FAQ for how to appropriately test pack to allow returns

    https://www.tombihn.com/pages/contact-us/#faq38
    Last edited by G42; 08-23-2019 at 10:07 AM.
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

  6. #6
    Volunteer Moderator bartleby's Avatar
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    In my view it also depends a little bit of how full your bag is. As long as you carry it mainly underpacked you might not need a frame sheet. However, if it is really full the frame sheet preserves a straight back. Without the frame sheet things in your bag might protrude the back which makes it uncomfortable to carry (the so called "reverse turtle effect"). Although I almost never use a hip belt on my Synapse 25 I still find the frame sheet useful for this reason.
    ...spread joy in your neighbourhood
    current bags: Smart Alec, Guide's Pack, Guide's Edition S25, Luminary 15, Daylight Backpack, Aeronaut 45, Tri-Star, Road Buddy 36, Daylight Briefcase, Small Yeoman Duffel, bits and pieces

  7. #7
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    I don't use a frame on my S25 or S19. I don't carry a laptop every day but I do carry an iPad (9.7"). I very rarely has so overstuffed a bag that it forms an egg shape.

    Both bags are the most comfortable I've carried.

    (P.S. I have an S22 on order and am guessing there's a greater chance that I'll remove the frame in it than not.)
    Bags - S25 (Mars Red balistic/Northwest sky/halcyon), S19 (Deep blue balistic/Iberian/halcyon). SCB (Nordic)
    Accessories - Nik's #4 wallets, Q-kits, pouches, stuff sacks, travel trays.

  8. #8
    Forum Member melminimalist's Avatar
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    Synapse 25 - is a frame sheet necessary?

    Yes! It makes a great carry even greater! (Even better? The best?) I never thought I needed one before they came out, but once they did and I tried it, well it was like “whoa, where have you been all my life?” That kind of extra awesome.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by melminimalist; 08-23-2019 at 01:10 PM.
    "Not all who wander are lost"
    "Love people, use things, because the opposite never works" - The Minimalists
    Synapse 25 in Olive, Aubergine Side Effect, UV A30 PCBP, Sitka PCSB

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the replies, folks.

  10. #10
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    I had one...stopped using it in favor of the flexible fit and feeling.

  11. #11
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    I have a S25 BH. I thought the frame was a game changer and I almost never take it out of the bag. With the lightness of the Halcyon, the total weight of the bag is only slightly more than the 525 Ballistic. It provides good structure to the bag and I like the way it carries. But I also almost never carry a laptop in there.

  12. #12
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    I haven't had the Synapse - but an abundance of packs, some with - some without any type of frame sheet.

    In a small-ish pack it largely depends on how and what you pack whether you'll "need" a frame sheet.

    Personally I like frame sheets - it doesn't need to be the aluminium-stay type model, but it needs to be sturdy.

    here's the advantages I find packs with framesheets have:
    - They don't "slouch" when put down on the ground, making accessing your stuff easier.
    - odd / hard / unshapely items will NOT push into your pack
    - it usually prevents the back of a pack to bulge out if you slightly overpack your pack
    - weight transfer can be better


    there's very little downside to having a frame sheet, aside from the obvious one of adding a bit of weight.
    and in case of the Synapse - taking away *some* internal space. (I wouldn't worry too much though, as the sheet isn't thick or bulky, but still)
    In my opinion both downaides are easily outweighed by the advantages.

    If you're ordering a new synapse, I'd definitely would get the framesheet too...

    I was literally minutes away from ordering a synapse 25 not too long ago, was then holding off, because the framesheet wasn't in stock (I want to combine shipping, as intl. shipping is rather expensive)...
    then found out about the Synik... and got on board with the pre.order for the Synik 22.
    Aside from a number of improvements that I find fantastic (clamshell being one) the included framesheet and laptop compartment won me over from the Synapse.


    Frankly one of the probably best aspects about framesheets is what I listed above.... stuff doesn't poke your back... that alone makes it worthwhile in my opinion.
    Unless you always pack "perfectly".

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