In the last few months, I replaced the backpack that I use to carry my laptop when traveling. I accept the fact that it is nerdy to carry a backpack for business, but for my needs, I really prefer it. I had my bag show up inadvertently in a photo in a past post, and someone asked about it, plus, I’ve been meaning to talk about this, so here is my review of this bag. There were several bags I looked at in my pre-purchase research, but ultimately I decided on the Tom Bihn Synapse 25. Thus far, I’ve been very happy with this backpack. I find it really well designed, and while I mostly use it for business travel, carrying a laptop, chargers, cords, plus paperwork, it is pretty flexible and can be used for most anything.
I should note that I am only recommending this product since I’m a fan. While I’d love to get some Tom Bihn freebies, that is not the reason I’m writing, rather to just share my experience.
Tom Bihn – Made in USA
In the time I’ve spent traveling, I’ve used various bags, but so far, I have to say that the Tom Bihn Synapse 25 is the best designed bag I’ve ever used. To be fair, it is likely the most expensive laptop backpack I’ve owned. Tom Bihn products are made in Seattle, so some of the premium are paying for US workmanship. There isn’t a lot of excess inventory, and materials go out of stock. Don’t expect 2 day shipping like Amazon, in many cases, bags are made to order. There are various options for colors and materials, with the same caveats about availability. I opted for a ripstop nylon in black, which is slightly lighter than the other option.
Why I chose the Tom Bihn Synapse 25
I looked at several options, but ultimately I decided on the Ton Bihn Synapse 25. This bag has room for my laptop, several magazines, plus an assortment of cords, chargers, a water bottle, along with snacks and more. When not carrying items for business trips, there is space to carry several changes of clothes. There are side pockets which have small pouches inside for pens or other items, but I found that pens didn’t work well there, so I just use them for carrying cords, sunglasses, and headphones.
Inside the main pocket, there is a small sleeve, which I often use for reading materials. I keep my laptop on the opposite side of the main pouch.
On the bottom of the bag is a large pocket. I use it for carrying my laptop chargerr, and a few other items. I use a Cathay Pacific Amenity kit to hold assorted small items. This pouch could also be used for holding a rain jacket, or some other piece of clothing rolled up.
Accessories I use for the Tom Bihn Synapse bag.
When I first got the bag, I didn’t have any accessories, but I discovered that both helped a lot. The Cache is used to hold a laptop computer. It comes in various sizes to fit different laptops, and is lightly padded to provide a little extra protection. Without a Cache, I found that my laptop didn’t sit very well in the bag, but with the Cache, it rides very well. Tom Bihn bags use a unique system of clips for attaching items. In my case, this could presumably be used to pull laptop from the bag without taking it out, but with PreCheck, I don’t have to bother.
I also bought a Freudian Slip, to add more organized storage pouches inside the bag. I use this to store pens, paperwork, snacks, etc.
One minor issue I have with the bag, is that the top loop for picking it up is just a nylon strap. I find it very uncomfortable, and it digs into my hand whenever I use it. To fix this, I just bought a padded strap cover which makes it much easier when carrying the bag this way.
The Tom Bihn Synapse 25 as I have it configured is $290. That a lot for a backpack my most measures. Not for everyone, but it really works well for me. On countless trips this year, I’ve been pretty impressed with the bag. It looks basically like it did when I received it. I mostly use it for business travel, but I’ve also used it as a daypack when out and about, and it works admirably for that as well. The bag is well designed, and has held up very well. I’m glad I have it, and would heartily recommend it to others looking for a similar bag.