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  1. #1
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    Luminary Questions and Thoughts...

    Hey All! So, throwing myself on the mercy of the lovely forums' expertise.

    I'm trying to find my perfect backpack for a school commute which involves a bus and a rather long walk, so I need to turtle a bit and have everything I need on campus with me. My beloved Pilot is my perfect briefcase, but my shoulders/back get unhappy carrying my load as far as I need to without it being distributed. Until the Stowaway successor comes along, I think the Luminary 15 will fit the bill, but, of course, I'm waffling in a few ways.

    What I'm Carrying
    • Laptop - Samsung Chromebook Plus V2, almost identical in size to the 2018 iPad pro 12.9, preferably in a sleeve
    • Some letter sized folders, an 8.5 x 11 notebook, and *possibly* a slim letter sized binder
    • A to-go coffee cup, and probably a protein shake/water bottle
    • (Sometimes) An a5 journal
    • (Sometimes) small kobo ereader
    • charger for the laptop
    • side effect-ish sized pouch of various snack, personal, and digital items
    • Some pencils/pens (ideally easy to access)
    • (sometimes) layers for our unpredictable weather


    Considerations
    • - It seems like this *might* fit in the original luminary, but my main notebook and the laptop would have to go in the main compartment as I understand it, and I'd only occasionally have small, flat items to go in the padded back pocket, which seems a waste of space.
    • - I also carry a PLO that's somewhere in the side kick/side effect size range. I prefer to be able to drop that in the backpack on an as needed basis.
    • I like having an accessible outside pocket for my phone (planning on using the luminary's side pockets, it's one of the smaller phablets and should fit without problem), and a pocket that's easy to access that i can drop pencils and highlighters into
    • The 15 *seems* like it will give me greater flexibility (side kick fitting nicely in the top, a small toiletry bag/change of clothes squashed in if I stay overnight downtown
    • Even though the city I'm in is casual to the extreme, and most people are in backpacks, looks sleek and urban and grown up enough that I go to a restaurant or similar without it being completely awkward


    I have a synapse 19, which I love but seems a bit too bulgy for school. I'm looking for something a little sleeker/less outdoorsy (And my s19 tends to spend most of its life packed for hikes, so it'd be annoying to have to constantly switch.

    (You're so lovely and patient to still be reading!)
    My concerns:
    - While I really like the S19's straps for comfort, I seem to have narrow shoulders, as the S19 is ONLY comfortable if I snap the sternum strap to keep the straps close. I'm 5'0" tall, stocky, and while I don't have the backpack cinched up to my ears or anything, it's not riding terribly low (I'm too short for it to Smilie ) I'd really rather not have to be constantly snapping and unsnapping the sternum strap as I move between classes. I bought my S19 in 2014, and I think I've seen reference to the straps having been updated. If so, are the L15's straps more like old S19, or something else? (I have a Smart Alec as well, if that offers any comparison). So, does anyone have any thoughts on the L15 straps as compared to the old-style S19 straps? (I know I'm shorter than recommended for the L15, but did see Darcy's pics of an L15 on 4'11" and 5'2 people.)

    - Size: My whole goal with this is something that feels sleeker than the S19, and if I thought that the laptop, notebook, etc, would fit comfortably in the L12, I'd go for it. But while the dimensions listed seem only trivially different from the S19, every pic I see comparing the L15 and S19 the L15 seems far more than half an inch longer. I can't tell if this is a function of how the Synapse sits vs the L15. I know that this is a 'gut feel' thing in some ways, but I've seen enough references to the L15 feeling 'long' that I'm concerned that it will feel as bulky/big as the S19...

    So, to sum up, I am a Shorty who is looking at a Luminary 15, especially as compared to the Synapse 19. The things I'm trying to 'improve' from my typical S19 carry are something 'sleeker'/more city, and (more importantly) straps that won't slide off my shoulders even if I'm not using the sternum strap. Do I go for the L15? Get a second, updated S19? Is there some world where my laptop or a letter-sized notebook would fit in the back pocket of an L12 (aka, is it worth ordering both L12 and L15 and returning the one that doesn't fit as well). I've been compulsively looking at the reviews comparing the L15 and L12, but the (possibly perceived) length difference between the L15 and the S19 is throwing me, as are the somewhat confusing reports of what will and won't fit in the back pocket of the luminary in both flavors. (And, while I'm guessing Customer Service is my best bet, does anyone know how far off the L15 restock is? Nebulous or Black (and Island lining) is my ideal combo.)

    Thank you all!!! This forum has always been such a wealth of knowledge.

  2. #2
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    I only have the L15 so I looked at your list and packed mine out similar. I wouldn't be able to compare to the L12 but I think because of the laptop I would go for L15 with your carrying needs. Sorry for the poor quality photo (and my bottles are upside down so they're easier to see) I've got a folder with a coloring book inside, an 18oz hydroflask, a 32oz nalgene, a moleskine planner, and 3doc. Not pictured is laptop in sleeve. I would be able to throw the laptop charger and a rolled up flannel on top easily. Hope this helps at all!

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    Ooo, thank you so much @theswiftbiker! And for taking the time to do a picture, too, that helps *so* much Smilie (Wow, I can't believe the 3doc fits perpendicularly too, that's awesome.) I love the wasabi pulls with the aubergine bag, too, that looks sharp Big Grin I think this is defintiely the bag for me!

  4. #4
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    The L15 is only 1/2" taller than the S19 but is noticeably narrower.

    Do you know how long your torso is...? If your S19 fits well vertically and you think you have a half inch to spare before it starts hitting you uncomfortably low on your back or butt, I would give the L15 a shot. @theswiftbiker gave you a great photo to build off of.

    I have the original version of the Luminary, a 12L that has since been updated plus the new L15. If I had to pick just one, I'd get the L15 since that bit of extra space really helps for random extras. As you noted, it is a sleek bag that looks great and it does carry well.

    It may take some test packing to figure out what goes in the back flat zip pocket, what in the main, and what goes in the front pockets, but it's worth it to play around. Several of us use the divider mesh sleeve that's inside unzipped, but still with a bottle in it... it helps keep it situated but unzipping the sleeve lets you rearrange easier.

    Let us know what you end up doing!
    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...

  5. #5
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    Thanks @G42! I think the noticeably narrow is what was throwing me on the preceived size difference between the two, and with the way the bottom of the synapse curves I think the optical effects all combined. I don't know how long my torso is, I've never quite been clear on where to measure from on that, but the S19 has always hit comfortably for me lengthwise, and comparing it to the blackhole totepack I'm carrying currently, a half inch shouldn't be make or break. I'm going to go with the L15, and after having emailed Tom Bihn support, it'll be about a month take or give before my color choice is in stock - colorful linings spark joy for me, though @theswiftbiker, that pic with the aubergine is *severely* tempting me!! I'll report back once I receive it and post some pics Smilie

    I love the idea of using the divider mesh unzipped but still holding the bottle. The notebook and all likely means I won't be able to keep it zipped most days, but every time i don't use my synapse or pilot, I'm reminded *just* how much I miss having a vertical water bottle holder.

  6. #6
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    Let me know if you need any more photos! I just got it last week and it's easily my favorite bag. I have a chromebook as well and I was happy to report it fit into the back padded pocket, I hadn't tried until your post. Aubergine is Luminary Questions and Thoughts...

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by nutmeg View Post
    Thanks @G42! I think the noticeably narrow is what was throwing me on the preceived size difference between the two, and with the way the bottom of the synapse curves I think the optical effects all combined. I don't know how long my torso is, I've never quite been clear on where to measure from on that, but the S19 has always hit comfortably for me lengthwise, and comparing it to the blackhole totepack I'm carrying currently, a half inch shouldn't be make or break. I'm going to go with the L15, and after having emailed Tom Bihn support, it'll be about a month take or give before my color choice is in stock - colorful linings spark joy for me, though @theswiftbiker, that pic with the aubergine is *severely* tempting me!! I'll report back once I receive it and post some pics Smilie

    I love the idea of using the divider mesh unzipped but still holding the bottle. The notebook and all likely means I won't be able to keep it zipped most days, but every time i don't use my synapse or pilot, I'm reminded *just* how much I miss having a vertical water bottle holder.
    Check out this link on how to measure your torso (you need a tape measure and a friend)

    https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-adv...sting-fit.html


    Wait for your ideal colour choice and then order both that and the Aubergine (hopefully available) so you can look at them at the same time in person...
    follow the FAQ for how to test pack appropriately so you can return which one you don't want:

    https://www.tombihn.com/pages/contact-us/#faq38

    Smilie
    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...

  8. #8
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    a quick question: are these TB pulls? I can't seem to get my pulls this small and tight? do you double them in some way? I like the look of this better than the ones that are longer!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiva View Post
    a quick question: are these TB pulls? I can't seem to get my pulls this small and tight? do you double them in some way? I like the look of this better than the ones that are longer!
    Shiva, yes they are tb pulls. I run the cord through both holes in the zipper pull. It's hard to describe so I have a close up photo for you in the hopes it will explain better than I can with words.

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Volunteer Moderator aedifica's Avatar
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    Hi @nutmeg,

    In addition to @theswiftbiker's useful photo, have you also seen my review from when the L15 came out? I ask because my school carry (featured in the review) is fairly similar to your list. Here it is: https://forums.tombihn.com/photos-vi...uminaries.html (My review compares the L12 and L15, but I think the L15 would work better for what you list. You could put your laptop in the main compartment of the L12, though. But I think the L15 would be better.)

    Good luck finding a right bag for you! (I like saying "a right bag" instead of "the right bag" because there could be several right bags, and you only need to find one of them!)
    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.

  11. #11
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    @theswiftbiker

    I will, thank you so much!! It's funny, initially I had ruled Aubergine in favor of something more neutral for one reason that I *thought* was extremely sensible - I love it too much Big Grin By which I mean, probably a third of my shirts, even more or less my hair when I dye it, fall in the same color range, and I was worried about it clashing. However, as an experiment, I grabbed my aubergine 525 ghost pouch and started holding it up next to a collection of similar colors. This was was pretty random, just the first few things that came to hand, but I found: a grapey purple cardigan sweater, a brighter pinker purple in the same family on the beautiful quilt my sister made me, a turtleneck (leans more towards maroonish red), a notebook (more magenta flavored), a cotton duvet cover that is so close to the aubergine that I thought surely it wouldn't look great, since it matches-but-not-really, and held it up next to them. I even tried the odd bright red tshirt that came to hand.

    It looks good with *ALL* of them. It's some kind of dark (purple) magic.

    That's so encouraging that the chromebook fits - I keep having to compare it to the ipad for size since they seem to be much more common, but mine's been an absolute lifesaver going back to school

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by G42 View Post
    Check out this link on how to measure your torso (you need a tape measure and a friend)

    https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-adv...sting-fit.html


    Wait for your ideal colour choice and then order both that and the Aubergine (hopefully available) so you can look at them at the same time in person...
    follow the FAQ for how to test pack appropriately so you can return which one you don't want:

    https://www.tombihn.com/pages/contact-us/#faq38

    Smilie
    Oh that is super helpful on both counts! (The hardest part of the test pack is always convincing my kitties not to lay on it. They seem to think two things about my bags: 1) Anything other than a shop bag: "If I lay on it, Hooman cannot leave." 2) Shop bag: "I LIVE HERE NOW PICK ME UP AND CARRY ME AROUND, THE CAT IS IN THE BAG."

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by aedifica View Post
    Hi @nutmeg,

    In addition to @theswiftbiker's useful photo, have you also seen my review from when the L15 came out? I ask because my school carry (featured in the review) is fairly similar to your list. Here it is: https://forums.tombihn.com/photos-vi...uminaries.html (My review compares the L12 and L15, but I think the L15 would work better for what you list. You could put your laptop in the main compartment of the L12, though. But I think the L15 would be better.)

    Good luck finding a right bag for you! (I like saying "a right bag" instead of "the right bag" because there could be several right bags, and you only need to find one of them!)
    Oh, thank you so much!! I'd seen your review briefly, but I was looking on my phone and it must not have loaded all the pictures - everyone here is definitely reassuring me that this will be "a" bag for me - Love that philosophy by the way... as well as your Very handsome furry bag model Smilie

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