Tom Bihn Synapse 19 Backpack Review

To say I love this bag would be an understatement.  Then again, I love just about anything that Tom Bihn makes. The Synapse 19 is my go-to travel backpack. This bag comes in either an Ultralight 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop exterior or 1000 denier Cordura® although I'm not seeing the Dyneema exterior currently as an option on their site.  The interior lining is 200 denier Dyneema®/nylon ripstop fabric.  This stuff is tough!  I chose the Dyneema for the exterior for my bag which is pictured below.

The backpack is a perfect size for my frame of 5’5”.  There is a larger Synapse 25 for the taller folks or if you just want more room.  It comes in an assortment of colors both inside and out.  There are six zippered compartments and there are plenty of o-rings to attach key straps and whatnot.  There is a large exterior zippered pocket large enough to store a 1 liter water bottle.

My luggage for my 7 day trip to Chicago.  Medium suitcase, Tom Bihn Synapse backpack and the Tenba Switch 8.  The backpack and Tenba fit snuggly underneath the airplane seat in front of me. Note this won't be possible on all airlines.

My luggage for my 7 day trip to Chicago.  Medium suitcase, Tom Bihn Synapse backpack and the Tenba Switch 8.  The backpack and Tenba fit snuggly underneath the airplane seat in front of me. Note this won't be possible on all airlines.

Whenever I’m traveling I try and pack as intelligently as I can and I’m always thinking of dual uses for what I carry with me.  In the case of my recent trip to Chicago, I needed to pack for two workshops.  I do not check my camera gear at the airport, therefore everything I need except my tripod needed to come with me on the plane.  I wanted some flexibility in how I could carry my gear when I got to my destination.  Check out the video below for exactly what I carried, but this this configuration allowed me to choose three options to carry my camera gear:  1) Synapse with camera gear inside and laptop when needed; 2) the Tenba packlite with BYOB 9 which was stowed in the backpack, (reviewed here); or just the Tenba Switch 8, which was the other carry-on bag. Having these three options afforded me the flexibility to be really light and nimble when I needed to be and allowed me to carry more gear when it was appropriate.

Also in my Synapse were a few Tom Bihn pouches (reviewed back in February) to keep my wires and cords in check and the Guardian Dual Function Light tethered in the bag by a keystrap.  This is a great light to keep clipped to your bag in case you need a little extra light to see into your bag at night.  It's waterproof and provides a steady beam or can be set to flash.  

I won’t go on and on here, the best way to get to know the bag is to see it, so enjoy the video below which will provide an in-depth look at this highly functional backpack.  As of this writing it goes for $170 and is available at the Tom Bihn website.