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  1. #1
    Forum Member goblin's Avatar
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    Unhappy Synapse 19 feels very heavy

    Hi all!

    I'm posting for the first time. I'm very enamoured with these bags, however I'm having issues with the Synapse 19. I got this to replace my current daily backpack which is a Timbuk2 Showdown. It's a 22L pack and is about 17ish inches long. For reference I am 5'5". I don't carry a lot of stuff daily but well maybe I do. Sometimes I have to lug my laptop to and from work, but usually the largest items I carry are a couple bottles (1 32oz nalgene, 1 ~18oz thermos) and a u-lock for my bike. It is often a bit chilly in the morning so I wear a light jacket in the morning that I have to stuff in the bag for the super hot ride home in the afternoon. Theoretically this does not seem like too much for the Synapse 19 and I got it after researching and reading quite a few reviews.

    As soon as I got the bag I moved over everything from my current bag. It fit okay but it felt so heavy. Putting it on, it felt very uncomfortable. I tried different arrangements, tightening the straps to hold it high, or lowering the bag. I tried with the sternum and hip belts and without. I even adjusted how items were placed in the bag. I compared back and forth between my old pack and the new one. I kept taking heavy items out of the Synapse to see if it felt better. At one point I had about 10lbs in the Showdown and 5 lbs in the Synapse and the Synapse still felt heavier. The Showdown has a stiffer back so it seems to have a sort of soft frame in it. It holds it's shape at the back very well, though it gets really lumpy at the front when stuffed.

    Okay so my last resort is I have ordered a frame for the Synapse to see if that helps. Do you think this will make a good difference? Has anyone had this issue with the bag feeling heavy? It must have something to do with where the straps fall on me.

    Ultimately do you think this bag might not work for me? I've read through reviews that the Synapse 25 seems too large for most folks and I'm a smaller person so I imagine that would be the same for me. Do I need to hold out for the Synik 22? I really want to make this bag work because it's so beautiful and I love it.

  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator bartleby's Avatar
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    Hi goblin, and welcome to the forums! I think the best you can do is try the S19 for a couple of days with and without the frame sheet. Sometimes what seems heavy or uncomfortable is just having a new and unfamiliar backpack. But if you still think that it feels uncomfortable or heavy then it may not be the right bag for you. That does happen as all backs are different. The S22 has different straps and might feel different so you can give it a try. I think it is important to feel comfortable with a bag especially if you want to use it every day.
    ...spread joy in your neighbourhood Smilie Rainbow Cheers
    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

  3. #3
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    The Synapse 19 can feel heavy sometimes. It does hold a surprising amount. When I travel onebag, as small and compact as the S19 is I sometimes feel like I am carrying a bowling ball. The S25 can also feel heavy.

    One of the things about this is because it encourages you to pack heavier, denser things further from your back using the zippered pockets. It is a trade-off.

    The framesheet does help. Personally I think it makes the bag feel like a completely different thing. If you are a hipbelt person, you may also like the Synapse padded hip belt, but I've never tried them because I hate hip belts.

    I'm interested to see if the SN22 (S22?) feels more comfortable, despite being heavier. Maybe the new strap design will help as well.

  4. #4
    Forum Member goblin's Avatar
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    I will keep trying. I hadn't thought about packing the pockets up front making it feel heavier. I'll hold out and see how it feels with the frame. Here's hoping!

  5. #5
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    Greetings,
    When I bike, I prefer to load heavy things on the bike. Since everyone has different preferences, I offer this for your consideration.

    A very lightweight rear rack will hold the u-lock with a small bungee. I replace the hooks on ends of my bike bungee cords with carabiners, it's safer. I've seen people lock their lock to the rack and leave it there, but I'm not comfortable with it myself.

    Liquid is heavy, so if your bottles won't fit in standard bike bottle holders, load them on the rack. A small pannier might be helpful here. If anything left on the bike could be stolen, perhaps a cheap drybag would suffice.

    I love the Synapses for travel. I'm not comfortable with weight on my back when cycling, so I load the bike whenever possible. The frame sheet might help, but I don't have one so I can't comment.

    Good luck and please let us know what you decide. elisa

  6. #6
    Forum Member goblin's Avatar
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    Thank you Elisa. I may start to consider those options. I had a rack on my old hybrid bike but I have a nice lightweight carbon road bike now and somehow it seems wrong to have a rack on it. I do generally ride to work most of the time so I think I could leave the u-lock at work. I've not minded wearing my backpack while riding so far even when it is pretty full. I will update you once I get the frame if it makes it better and I'll decide whether I'm keeping the bag and go on a ride with it!

  7. #7
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    Iíve got the S25, S19, L12, and SCB. I will say this about most of my TB bags. It was not love at first sight for many of them ó and I disliked the S19 at first and almost sent it back the next day.

    Over a 4-day period, though, I kept trying different ways to pack the bag different ways until I found something I like. Now I like the bag. With my other bags, Iíve also needed to get used to them to fall in love with them.

    The organizational pockets of the S19 do add weight. I donít have an L15 but some folks mention they can get as much in the L15 as they do in their S19 and the L15 is lighter. That might be an alternative option.

    (I do have the L12 and itís super light-weight.)
    Bags - S25 (Mars Red balistic/Northwest sky/halcyon), S19 (Deep blue balistic/Iberian/halcyon). S22 (Aubergine)SCB (Nordic)
    Accessories - including Nik's #4 wallets, ghost whales, Q-kits, pouches, stuff sacks, travel trays.

  8. #8
    Forum Member goblin's Avatar
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    KathyH I think that is exactly what is going on. I need to wear it more and adjust to it. I received the frame today and it makes a difference. I also lowered the straps and it helps bear it better. I've always been a tighten the straps as far as they can go person and that wasn't working in this case!

  9. #9
    Forum Member goblin's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Synapse 19 feels very heavy-image1-jpeg
    Here is the bag and it's feeling good now. I have the frame in there. It is still pretty heavy with a water bottle in it. I might take it for a bike ride to the gym later but it is very sunny and hot right now so I'm not sure I'll be up for that. Maybe in the morning when it is cooler Smilie

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by goblin View Post
    Synapse 19 feels very heavy-image1-jpeg It is still pretty heavy with a water bottle in it.
    Carrying a water bottle definitely makes the weight of all my packs jump, especially because I prefer to use a metal bottle.
    Bags - S25 (Mars Red balistic/Northwest sky/halcyon), S19 (Deep blue balistic/Iberian/halcyon). S22 (Aubergine)SCB (Nordic)
    Accessories - including Nik's #4 wallets, ghost whales, Q-kits, pouches, stuff sacks, travel trays.

  11. #11
    Forum Member goblin's Avatar
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    I like the metal bottles too. I'm just gonna have to keep playing around with what and how I carry. It's not the end of the world if I carry my bottle in my hand as I have to do if I am bringing just a purse. Big Grin

  12. #12
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    I do think the Synapse and Synik are relatively heavy bags within the Tom Bihn lineup. They have a ton of built-in organization and zippers, and those back panels, and while it's great to have all those pockets and the stability, they do add weight.
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
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  13. #13
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    I agree that all of the Synapses are heavy-ish bags and they can be a bit hot, as well. The great thing about heaviness with these bags is that it translates into sturdiness and protection. IMO the way the bag is designed allows for a lot of gear protection and organization along with overall pack structure. For a super light EDC carry, I use a DLBP but its load is very limited and has no organization. Plus it's a very thin bag so when full, it looks a bit like a pumpkin (it's orange) that swallowed a porcupine. And on a bike I have to use a waist strap because it doesn't hug my body like the Synapse packs.

    I'm your height and based on your photo, look to be about your size or close to it. The S19 is the lightest, so I'd advise you to base your initial impression on fit rather than weight. If you can adjust to the weight but not the fit, then you could try the S22 maybe? I also found that the S19 fit me differently than the S25, and the frame sheet is very different in each bag. At least I thought so - loved it in the S19, don't love it in the S22 and S25.

  14. #14
    Forum Member goblin's Avatar
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    I guess a lot of it comes down to torso length. Iím guessing the bigger bags might not feel good with the frame because they can no longer stay flush with your back. Then itís just awkwardly sticking out. Iím so glad I tried it on the 19 before sending it back. It made all the difference.

  15. #15
    Forum Member xyppy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goblin View Post
    I guess a lot of it comes down to torso length. I’m guessing the bigger bags might not feel good with the frame because they can no longer stay flush with your back. Then it’s just awkwardly sticking out. I’m so glad I tried it on the 19 before sending it back. It made all the difference.
    Another option would be to get a commuter bike that has a rack, front or back, and get some nice panniers. Back in the day before my hips revolted, I had (more than) a few bikes, each having their own purpose. I'm of the opinion that one can't have too many bikes or bags.
    "Ignoring isn't the same as ignorance, you have to work at it." -- Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale"

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