Tom Bihn Synapse/Synik Review

"Dad Bag Epic™"

One of the internet’s most beloved backpacks due to its accessibility, organization, build quality and capacity. Dad-bag looks tho.

Now available in two styles:

The “Synik” available in 22L and 30L, clamshell opening, new edgeless straps.

  • 22L is PERFECT for my daily carry needs (a little tight, I gotta get a little funky on the laptop setup, but it’s perfect for me). Highly recommended.
  • 30L is quite large for daily carry (larger framed people and folks with bigger loads to carry may not think so, tho), solid for travel (although I’d like something that’s a little smaller as a daily carry once I arrive).

The “Synapse” available in 19L and 25L, not clamshell opening, older straps. (Watch the Synapse Video.)

  • 19L is real minimal and light and great for day hikes.
  • 25L is epic for minimal travel and larger daily carry loads. Highly recommended.

Tom Bihn Synapse/Synik Now available in the upgraded

Now available in the upgraded "Synik" version. (Watch the vid.)

I personally am definitely more excited by the 22L Synik these days than I am with the 25L Synapse. Something about the smaller size (and the upgraded straps + handle + laptop compartment) gives it an even more delightful vibe.

But 25L Synapse is an absolutely legend daily carry bag for all the adventures.

It’s also very doable for minimal travel. Large enough capacity, and when you pack it for minimal travel all the clothes rest up against your back, so it’s soft and comfortable (compared to most bags which place the laptop against the back).

Tom Bihn Synapse/Synik Intuitive organization.

Intuitive organization.

There’s so much external access on this bag. The whole front panel is full of pockets! And the pockets are designed well. A delightful product in use everyday.

Tom Bihn also sells loads of accessories you can use with this bag. I use the laptop cache and a few of their pouches that connect to “O” rings inside the bag.

Tom Bihn Synapse/Synik USA build, materials and details.

USA build, materials and details.

Tom Bihn sweat the details in such great ways.

Their warranty is killer too.

As is the fact that they make everything by hand in Seattle, WA.

Tom Bihn Synapse/Synik Some love it. Some hate it. All respect it. #dads

Some love it. Some hate it. All respect it. #dads

The look can be a little normcore for some. Others find no issue at all.

If I could combine the functionality of this bag with the look of an Evergoods bag I’d be in heaven. That being said, I reach for this more often for those “quick, I need a bag I can trust” situations.


Material Choice:Sub-Par Satisfactory Excellent

Solid basics and a few "better than basic" fabric options. YKK zips. The new straps on the Synik are incredible.

Build Quality:Sub-Par Satisfactory Excellent

Made in the USA. Excellent durability. Stellar warranty.

Water Resistance:Sub-Par Satisfactory Excellent

All the YKK zips have an aquaguard seal on them, keeping the weather out of your goodies.

External Access:Sub-Par Satisfactory Excellent

Epic. External. Access. Everything's on the front!

Internal Organization:Sub-Par Satisfactory Excellent

The new Synik version adds a laptop compartment.

Capacity:Sub-Par Satisfactory Excellent

Lots of options for which size you want to go with. No matter the size you'll be surprised how much it can actually fit.

Carry Comfort:Sub-Par Satisfactory Excellent

The new Synik straps are some of my favorite of any bag ever.

Doesn't Look Weird:Sub-Par Satisfactory Excellent

It's definitely got some solid dad bag vibes. In smaller size, however, like the 22L Synik or the 19L Synapse, the look is much less "turtle shell" like. It's still a favorite grab and go bag for me tho.

Extra Score:Sub-Par Satisfactory Excellent

It's awesome to watch a company design and iterate over time based on user feedback. Extra points for TB!