Western Flyer vs Synapse 25 - EDC and Air Travel with Lots of Devices
I'm very new to the whole one-bag-travel scene but I came across it recently after growing tired of how often I overpack and I have to say...I'm kind of hooked. Although I am hopeful to eventually get rid of my ridiculously large and heave Samsonite garment suitcase, that is not what I writing for today (I know how the TB addiction works...once you pop, the TB don't stop!)
My question is this: I'm looking for a bag that I can use everyday to/from the office but also for travel. I work in the mobile app/conference/trade-show industry so I'm forced to carry a lot of different devices with me everywhere I go (not the worst problem one could have but it gets heavy and takes up a lot of space...). I like the idea of the Synapse 25 and have read so many great things about it and the 19 but for some reason my gut is telling me that the WF would be better suited for the number of devices I carry everyday, plus the ability to throw in some clothes, if needed. I know they are virtually the same size as far as volume goes but the WF seems more laid out for laptop travel plus I'd like to use the bag for weekend trips, etc.
I currently have a Solo briefcase/messenger bag that works well for the daily carry but I could use more space and I'd love to have some backpack straps (plus the bag itself is pretty heavy, even without the iPads and laptop...). One thing I love about this current bag is my ability to fit two laptops (15.6" Dell and 17" MBP) and not have to remove them at airport security thanks to the bag opening up flat. I don't always carry two laptops but the convenience to do so is really nice! It has a lot of space but where I really need more space is in the front pockets that hold all of my misc. items (not my laptop and iPads).
My daily carry items:
- 15.6" Dell M4500 (this will likely be changing eventually...hopefully to a 15" MBP bc this Dell is so freakin' heavy but this is what I'm rockin' for now...)
- iPad w/ Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard
- iPad Mini
- iPhone (but that goes in my pocket)
- Galaxy Note 10.1
- iPod Touch 5th Gen
- HTC Thunderbolt
- Logitech Wireless Mouse
- A few chargers/cables, screen cloths, earbuds, bluetooth headset, pens, gum, etc.
So what are your thoughts? Since it will get used to/from the office probably 80% of the time, the other 20% will be travelling and on-site at conferences/trade-shows, which bag will I be happier with? I really like them both. Just not sure which will suite me better and be most functional. Figured I would poll the experts. I love how much you can fit into a Synapse but I like stuff to be easily accessible. Oh and I'm pretty sure both bags are fine from a professional-looking standpoint but I do work directly with some high level clients when on show-site so I need something that is decently professional looking (which IMO gives a point to the WF for the ability to have the backpack straps and the shoulder strap).
Thanks for any advice, it is [I]greatly[I] appreciated! I obviously can't make the decision of my first TB purchase on my own! This forum has been crazy helpful, especially the packing and light travel ideas. I'd like to order my bag early next week so I can have it time for my next out-of-state travel in a few weeks.
I have the Western Flyer big brother the Tristar and the Synapse 25 little brother the Synapse 19.
In the forum thread below, somebody mention fitting the Swift, a bag I also own, inside the Synapse 25, so it is quite a lot roomier than my Synapse 19.
You, indeed have a lot of electronic gear and I thing the Western Flyer would be better suited for you.
But... people who own one or both of the bags you have in mind have much more suitable answers than I do.
Last edited by backpack; 06-09-2013 at 02:57 PM.
My initial response is to consider the WF (in Dyneema?) with backpack straps. To compliment it, get a cache (or caches), the Absolute Strap, a Freudian slip, and a handful of Org Pouches. Throw in a mesh 3D Org Cube to hold chargers and cables. Maybe the padded OPs would be good for carrying the quiver of mobile devices? On top of that, consider a small or large Packing Cube, depending on your clothes packing needs.
I use a WF as my office everyday, and it's the only thing I've used for travel for a while, too. The big difference between my requirements and yours is that my "office" fits into a 6z cache and a small OP while a small Dell travel charger tags along where ever it can fit.
I own the WF and the Synapse 25. I agree with those who say the WF might be a better choice. But I will also declare my bias - my WF is my favourite of all the TB bags I own! As I read your description of your load I could imagine it fitting really efficiently into the bag, with clothes also in there from time to time. I don't think things would be quite as accessible in the Synapse.
IMHO the WF is also more suitable for professional environments (but that does depend your field, of course). If you choose a muted colour it looks like a large laptop bag. And it's the ideal weekend travel bag!
Good luck with the purchasing decision! It won't be your last!
Direct link to a brand new Western Flyer review on the forum. (In case you missed it and your order isn't out already)
You know I really like what I've done for my chargers & cables. I actually use the TB travel tray. I put everything in it & cinch it shut. Then it's dual propose for me as I can use it as a travel tray at the destination also.
Originally Posted by phanzo
That might work. What charger is that in your bag? I could really benefit from a 3 or 4 port charger, as long as it puts out enough power to charge an iPad and iPhone quickly at the same time. Any idea what the output is on that?
I received my Western Flyer yesterday. First impressions...it's a little smaller on my back than I expected but it seems like it will have the perfect amount of space for my daily device load and also enough speace to throw some clothes into a packing cube and folder and one-bag it for a 3 day'ish trip. The one thing I'm upset with is that I didn't order the Absolute Strap and the Freudian Slip with the bag...I already knew I was going to buy them, now I have to pay for shipping all over again and hope that they arrive in time for my next trip (this Thursday). DOH!
I'm pretty sure I would prefer to have the Iberian inside rather than the Steel but that doesn't appear to be an option. The steel is nice but I feel like I went a little too conservative for a $200 bag.
I wonder if they are updating the WF soon?? The color list doesn't list any of the Steel ballistic, yet that is the main picture of the bag...I would've loved to have the Steel/Iberian combo but that option didn't exist.
Anyone know of the WF is about to be updated? I will be so bummed if I just dropped $200+ on a bag that will be outdated in a few weeks.
Originally Posted by phanzo
Not sure if the WF will be updated in a few weeks, though I kind of doubt it (the more experienced TB'ers here can weigh in here) so I don't think you need to sweat the "outdated" thing - worst case scenario, you could always sell it and get the newer version.
My Western Flyer will be delivered next week! I had to get another Aubergine/Wasabi bag -- just love the color and the WF is the one I could see fitting a need that I didn't really technically have (the overnighter). I would have preferred to get that color combo with the pocket on the back vs the backpack straps as I would have used that more than the straps but alas, I chose pretty over function (for me!)
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