Tom Bihn Synapse 25

The Tom Bihn Synapse 25 Is a Multi-Purpose Backpack You’ll Own for Life

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A staple in the Tom Bihn product line is without a doubt the Synapse 25. It’s a “carefully calculated, supremely organized backpack, designed for day hiking, everyday carry, and ultralight travel” as stated so beautifully in their product description. It’s a bag I’ll never leave home without, ever again. Let’s talk about why.

Tom Bihn Synapse 25 Review
The Tom Bihn Synapse 25 (right) sitting strong next to its bigger travel bag brother (left), the Aeronaut 45.

Build Quality

Two things you’ll notice immediately when you pick up any Tom Bihn product: the meticulous attention to detail and high-quality materials. From the Japanese-made YKK Aquaguard water-repellent zippers, to the 525 Ballistic nylon body, to the foam back with mesh that keeps you dry, to the foam shoulder straps that keep you comfortable, everything about this bag screams hand-made quality—and that’s because it is hand-made, in a small building just outside of downtown Seattle, WA.

Tom Bihn Synapse 25
All Tom Bihn products are made by skilled hands in Seattle, WA.

The bag we reviewed is their 2lb 525 Ballistic nylon version, so it’s a bit heavier duty than some thinner backpacks sold at regular department stores, and it offers some features you won’t likely encounter anywhere else. Inside the bag you’ll find a strong, lightweight Halcyon material treated with urethane that works beautifully with the water-repellent exterior. (Nikwax is recommended to keep water repelled for the bag’s lifetime.)

Enhancing this quality workmanship, Tom Bihn offers a lifetime guarantee on everything. It covers defects in materials and workmanship, but repairs due to normal wear and tear will incur a small charge.


Tom Bihn’s O-ring system helps keep things both easily accessible and secure. The Synapse 25 comes with 9 different O-rings that, when combined with their small pocket pouches, are perfect for keeping Joy-Con straps, game cards, ID, cash (or anything else) just inside any of the pockets. This bag’s capacity is 25 liters (the same bag is available in a 19 liter version), so the O-rings are crucial for keeping your valuables where you need them to be. The laptop pocket inside the main compartment may be the best part of the entire bag. It doesn’t rest against your back, so your back can keep its natural slight curve—something that saved my back from aching on a two-week long trip. The zipper pouch pocket at the base of the bag is absolutely perfect for carefully storing and transporting your Nintendo Switch. Even my bulky WaterField Designs CitySlicker case fits snugly inside!


When it comes to pure quality I can’t imagine finding another brand that will ever match Tom Bihn’s complete dedication to the craft. Materials sourced with a conscious, a skilled team that seems more like a family than a company, and a wide range of designs available at pretty reasonable costs make for an outstanding product line. Coming in at $200, the hand-made Synapse 25 is the last backpack you’ll ever purchase. Prepare to be a Tom Bihn customer for the rest of your life.


If you have any additional questions about product specifics reach out to the fine folks at Tom Bihn:

@TomBihn on Twitter
+1-206-652-4123 / 1-800-729-9607

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