First Impressions

Synapse backpack, how do I love thee . . . the fabric, the fit, the pockets. My kids keep asking me why I am carrying a backpack and the answer is easy . . . everything fits and looks great to boot! The Synapse that I have been using is black with a white grid pattern. It looks urban and stylish without looking like a student pack. The narrow shape accented by the curved side zippers gives the bag a very defined look that avoids the boxy shape of many backpacks.


With this pack, it is hard to know where to start on a feature review. First, the large interior pocket is spacious and divided. Yeah! Two places to stash things and keep them organized and separated. I recently took the Synapse on a trip and easily packed an iPad, two magazines, a book, bottle of water, wallet, and some snacks in the roomy interior.

Materials: Dyneema nylon
Weight: 1 lb 8 oz
Volume: 1160 cu in

The top horizontal pocket is also a wealth of storage. I tend to pack my phone in here as it feels easily accessible. Usually, maps, tickets and other paper items that I need to be able to grab easily also go in this pocket. There is a smaller horizontal pocket below the larger—a phone can also fit easily in here. The two vertical pockets on the side offer a wealth of storage options.

I love the key strap in the right side pocket. This pocket also has an ultra suede pouch sized for a iPhone of similar device. The phone fits perfectly in the pocket, but I prefer the accessibility of the larger top pocket. The left side has 3 slots for pens/pencils but they are large enough to easily hold most lip balms or a lipstick. I usually stock this pocket with travel size pain reliever, hand sanitizer, etc. The bottom horizontal pocket is super roomy and would fit lots of different items. I don’t use it as often, but could see it holding a lightweight windbreaker or other small clothing item.


The Synapse backpack has a great fit. It slings easily on the shoulder and can be carried with one strap or two, depending on how heavily it is packed. The straps are easily adjustable and lightly padded for comfort. I love that the chest and waist straps can be removed. They are unneeded for my uses and made the pack feel sloppy when flopping around. Once removed, the sleeker look worked better for me.

Final Verdict

I love this pack and will use it for years. The range and size of pockets makes packing and organizing the bag easy. It holds an enormous amount of gear, but looks sleek and professional. In addition, the lightweight fabric and the lightly padded straps make the pack feel light, yet strong. I have carried the pack for weeks, slinging into the backs of cars and under airplane seats with no harm to the fabric. Because the pack feels light, it seems much less cumbersome than most other backpacks and feels suitable for urban as well as outdoor adventures.

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Thanks for reading another gear review from GearGuide. And thanks to Tom Bihn for providing product for this review.