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  1. #1
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    Question EDC and occasional travel bag: Synapse 25 or Synik 30?

    Hi everyone,

    I am currently looking to buy a new bag from TB, and I'm struggling between the Synapse 25 and Synik 30 and I want to get some opinions from people using them.

    TLDR; I go on a trip for one week, and due to my gigantic size (6'5", 340 lbs), I fear that my clothes will take so much space that the Synapse 25 won't be enough.

    Day to day, my EDC is nothing very complex;
    - 500ml hydroflask
    - 1 liter hydroflask
    - rigid notebook (similar to a large moleskine)
    - mechanical pencil, pen, eraser, bullet pencil
    - Multitool
    - Folding knife, fork
    - Over-ear headphones
    - earbuds
    - A4 book
    - Cellphone
    - wallet
    - Lipstick, eyedrops, various medicine
    - small e-reader
    - shaker bottle
    - snacks
    - sometime a macbook (usually on weekends if I have to get some job done), but eventually I'll add an iPad Pro or a Surface tablet (or similar) with a keyboard and mouse for day to day.

    I currently have a Mystery Ranch Urban Assault 21L, and it does the job with room to spare. The 3-zip system let me but stuff on top without worrying to get it all out to access something at the bottom.
    Thing is, if I add shirt, short and sport shoes, the bag is now pretty full. Not a problem for EDC, as I only go to the gym two or three times a week. But in March, I'll go to Vancouver for one week (for work) and I wanted to pack everything in one bag, and I know that I won't be able to do that in the Urban Assault. My question is; Synapse 25 or Synik 30?

    Thing to take into consideration:
    - I was lot of people packing lots of stuff in their synapse, but I'm a pretty big guy and clothes take much more space than most (6'5", 340lbs). A pair of jeans take 2-3 liters of space once rolled up.
    - I want to bring everything listed in my EDC above, with clothes on top of that. (5 pair of socks and underwear, 2 pairs of dress pants, 2 t-shirts, 2 shirts, gym shoes, 1 pair of shorts).

    I personally prefer the Synapse 25, but if I can't accommodate the Synapse for the very occasional trip once or twice a year... The Synik 30 looks more than large enough, but the laptop compartment, the integrated frame, the padded handle, and the clamshell are not something I need everyday, and to pay $90 more (making the bag nearly $400 CAD) for features I don't especially care about isn't that great. However, If the Synapse 25 cannot handle all the stuff I want to bring with me, then I'll consider getting the Synik 30.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by DomHorrible View Post
    Hi everyone,
    I am currently looking to buy a new bag from TB, and I'm struggling between the Synapse 25 and Synik 30 and I want to get some opinions from people using them.
    Welcome to the Forums @DomHorrible!

    I'm too short to comfortably wear the S25 and SN30... but I will tell you to also consider the Brain Bag at 36L if you're concerned about total volume and want a backpack. It would require a slightly different packing style because of the two main compartments, but that may actually work out better for you, especially if you're rolling clothes.

    I'm 5'4" and the BB is shorter than the S25 & SN30, so I can carry it. It is a large bag, but collapses well when it's not packed full.

    Hopefully other folks will chime in
    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...

  3. #3
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    Thanks @G42 for the welcome and your quick response!

    I didn't include the Brain Bag in my choices for two main reasons;
    - I find it a little less elegant than the S25 or S30,
    - Less external pockets.

    But, I must say that it does look like a solid choice if the consensus is that the s25 is too small (especially at the lower price point). The sad thing is that it is in production until March...

  4. #4
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    I currently have the S25. I have test packed it out for a weekend trip with my & my daughterís clothes. It fit a lot more than I thought it would and I am NOT a minimalist. I think you could fit all of you EDC & clothes no problem. With the exception of the hydro flasks & a 2nd pair of shoes. But since you will only need it once or twice a year for that purpose, maybe you could carry the shoes separate? Annoying I know, but, I do think you would love the S25 as an EDC. I am not sure I would love a clamshell opening for EDC. Also agree with you about paying more for features you donít necessarily need/want.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flowerchild81 View Post
    I have test packed it out for a weekend trip with my & my daughter’s clothes. It fit a lot more than I thought it would and I am NOT a minimalist.
    That's good to know! Clothes take so much space, especially thicker fabric like denim. But if two people's worth of clothes can fit comfortably...

    Quote Originally Posted by Flowerchild81 View Post
    With the exception of the hydro flasks & a 2nd pair of shoes. But since you will only need it once or twice a year for that purpose, maybe you could carry the shoes separate?
    The second pair of shoes is a struggle for any pack I think. I might just buy some water shoes or very light shoes for the rare occasion where I'm traveling. For the hydroflasks, I was under the impression that I could fit the 1 liter bottle in the bottle compartment, and the smaller one in one of the side pockets or even in the bottom of the main compartment, but I guess I would need to try it out myself.

    Thanks for answering @Flowerchild81! It's nice to see that I'm not the only one that finds the Synik's new features more niche to hikers and travelers.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DomHorrible View Post
    That's good to know! Clothes take so much space, especially thicker fabric like denim. But if two people's worth of clothes can fit comfortably...



    The second pair of shoes is a struggle for any pack I think. I might just buy some water shoes or very light shoes for the rare occasion where I'm traveling. For the hydroflasks, I was under the impression that I could fit the 1 liter bottle in the bottle compartment, and the smaller one in one of the side pockets or even in the bottom of the main compartment, but I guess I would need to try it out myself.

    Thanks for answering @Flowerchild81! It's nice to see that I'm not the only one that finds the Synik's new features more niche to hikers and travelers.
    Yes I donít own a hydro flask, but, I know other members here do. I am just not sure up to what size fits. My tall, thin water bottle fits fine with plenty of extra room. Also, just FYI, I used packing cubes & a large snake charmer to compress the clothes when I packed. Eagle creek makes a envelope style flat packing cube meant for dress shirts. It compresses slightly & is supposed to keep them from getting to wrinkled. Something like that might work for you as it seems you are not needing to many clothes. Plus the S25 is tall & deep. So I find it easier to slide the packing cubes in flat with the back of the bag flat on the ground. VS. packing from the bottom up. Obviously, thatís just my preference. Would be interested to know how others pack it out when one bagging it EDC and occasional travel bag: Synapse 25 or Synik 30?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7
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    If I were 6'5" I'd use the Synik 30 as my EDC. If I didn't already own an S19 for my EDC, I would have gotten the 22. It carries very well no matter how full or empty it is, so if you usually need less than 21L, then it'll be great. Most of your EDC list will probably work perfectly in the exterior organization pockets with just the computer in the main compartment. I think the rest of the clothes should fit -- the shoes will be your make-or-break item.

    Here's my argument for the extra $90: if the S25 doesn't quite have enough room, you'll need to buy another bag and how much will that cost? More than $90 if you want it to last more than a minute.

    Still the second bag might offer you more options: instead of another 1-bag option, you just add a personal-item type bag for overflow. But if 1-bag is you priority (I know *I* prefer it when I can make it happen), then go for safety with the 30.

    I got the Synik for the laptop compartment, and didn't appreciate the value of the clamshell until after I carried the Synik on a few trips. Now I love it and think it's definitely worth a little extra.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lia View Post
    Here's my argument for the extra $90: if the S25 doesn't quite have enough room, you'll need to buy another bag and how much will that cost? More than $90 if you want it to last more than a minute.
    A one bag solution is prefered, especially because I'll travel by plane and I want to keep everything with me. The $90 difference would not be a problem, but it is a $120 difference on top of a $275 in Canada (plus shipping). I already got two quality bags for overflow (if need be, like bringing a sleeping bag or cooking equipment on a camping trip). At this point I realize that I'm almost trying to convince myself that I don't need the Synik, but I'm just trying to clear things up in the sense that the argument of "it's only $90" is a little moot in my situation, especially since I would like to get a couple of accessories with the bag (packing cube, string bag, side effect or snake charmer, pouches, etc.)

    I guess that if I want to, someday, keep a computer/tablet in my EDC, and that the internal frame is pretty nice, adding a cache and the frame to a synapse would make the cost pretty similar to the Synik, and the clamshell will surely come handy sometime... But, if I can get by with the Synapse... I can get any of them, but that $90 man... It ain't burning a hole in my pocket!

    Tom Bihn better blow my mind when I finally decide to go forward!

    Thanks for your insight @Lia !

  9. #9
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    The frame really makes a difference, especially when the bag is under packed. I though it wasn't necessary until I got my GE S25. I had an S25 previously and ended up trading it because I found it unwieldy, now I carry my GE every day and love the way it feels.
    DogBikeSpringRainbowTengu

  10. #10
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    I've owned and used both bags quite a bit. For daily carry, undoubtedly I would opt for the S25. In theory, there isn't much of a size difference, but I find that in practice the Synik just feels much larger.

    Where the Synik 30 shines is as a travel bag. The main compartment is more cavernous, especially with the clamshell, and it can hold everything a person reasonably needs. I've onebagged my S25 a few times and it definitely works for short summer trips or minimalist travel, but I prefer to carry it under-packed as my 'personal item'/carry bag at the destination, and have a small duffel or my Tristar as the main bag.

    Both bags can do double duty, but for me it comes down to prioritization. If the primary purpose is daily carry, the Synapse 25 is hard to beat. Some folks prefer the S19/S22 for that purpose, but an under-packed S25 sort of hits the sweet spot for me. Plus, the updated S25 with the new straps will be available in a couple weeks.....

  11. #11
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    I don't really have anything to add, but as someone in a very similar situation (bigger guy looking for a hybrid EDC/travel bag who was originally looking at the Synik but man that Synapse looks good too), this is giving me a lot to think about. So thanks, all!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by slightlysaltybagman View Post
    Where the Synik 30 shines is as a travel bag.
    This is the impression I got from reviews online. I can see that many people who have Tom Bihn products are often traveling for work or going on vacations, so it's no wonder they are all praising the Synik as the clamshell, luggage handle pass-through and integrated laptop compartment do make the difference. Even if all these things are really useful when you need them, as an EDC bag, it does looks overkill. But then again...

    Quote Originally Posted by slightlysaltybagman View Post
    the updated S25 with the new straps will be available in a couple weeks
    Is that so? Then I'll keep waiting a little longer then! This is going to give me a little more time to think!

  13. #13
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    Had S25 for almost 3 years now. Similarly dimensioned except little shorter. Bought it for month in Europe, laundry every 5 days so I had 5 days clothes (what wearing plus 1 jeans, 4 shirts, pajamas, socks, underwear, toiletries, Surface 3 tablet, phone, folder for papers)

    My TB order for that trip was the S25, a Packing Cube Shoulder Bag, and a 3D Clear Organizer for 3-1-1 bag.

    The PCSB gave me the option to have a small extra bag if needed, but elsewise packed in the bottom chin pocket of the s25 very well. The 3DOC fit in one of the side pockets. I stowed the computer without a sleeve or cache I had in the paper folder and was packed and protected by how I packed clothes in the main compartment. The rolling of clothes made it all fit easily, but cluttered.

    My opinion on my situation similar to yours in several ways. Synik is a great bag, but I am not a full time traveler nor do I need all the features. I am content without a laptop compartment if I am conscious of my packing around it. The frame sheet would help with structure, but I feel I achieved that benefit now with an added large A45 packing cube as it provides a flat structured box in the bag for straight back and structure. The clamshell opening would be nice for packing no doubt though for the additional money I feel I would get more value with spending that additional money on packing cube, a second shoulder bag (PCSB), and something to constrain small items. I don't use my S25 for EDC so the frame sheet appears to offer value to those users. Bottom line, both are good bags, the $100USD difference could be spent on customizing your carry with higher value to oneself. I personally will have both of them in time because well why not.

    I also had a Brain Bag for a short time. Can carry a lot, though when packed full with its shorter height, it looked more like an egg on my back versus the slimmer looking S25 (disclaimer a seriously over stuffed S25 can take the same egg shape). I also had a Luminary 15 that was large enough for couple day travel, but it looked small on me. However my wish would be for a 25-30 liter Luminary because the streamlined look and few pockets make it look nice and would look nicer on larger people like myself. For now, the S25 is quite slim when packing with cubes and minimal items in the front pockets. (The large A45 packing be on bottom of main compartment and the PCSB fits above it perfectly in the bag. Only small items in front pockets)

  14. #14
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    Good discussion on these options. For the shoes, consider something like:

    https://xeroshoes.com/shop/gender/mens/ztrail-men/

    I don't know that I'd wear them into a gymn with free weights, but they'd be perfect for a machine workout. I use mine for walking/pool/casual sandals, and in public locations, shower shoes. I wear a size 15EEE--the 15 fits me well, and are very adjustable. They each pack down to a cm thick, or less than an inch if I stack them.

  15. #15
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    @organicfarmer This is great, and this is exactly what I meant when I said that the $100 is not the end of the world for me, but adding packing cubes and the such on top of that...

    @Jimbo3b Nice! I'm more of a closed shoes guy myself, but this isn't even a option I've considered, I'm keeping it in mind. Thanks!

    I've taken a couple pictures of my current bag to show the problem: https://photos.app.goo.gl/gfxhiDuRa7WSAdRi8

    Shoes, bottles, 2 pieces of clothes, an A4 book (about 300 pages), a notebook and a e-reader and the bag is bulging out. It's a 21 liters, but I feel like its so shallow that nothing fit. Maybe I'm just an idiot that doesn't know how to pack a bag, but I lived 4 years in a boarding school and I packed like a pro then. The fact that I see people putting big winter coats in their S25 without it looking like a mess seems like a testament to TB design.

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