There’s a couple of new backpacks that have come out that I feel are worth mentioning to fellow backpack nerds.
The first is the Synapse 25 from Tom Bihn. This is a larger version of the current Synapse 19, meant to be of equivalent size as my beloved1 Smart Alec. The key difference seems to be that the Synapse 25 is a more pocket friendly bag.
While the Smart Alec is basically one large cavern, the Synapse seems better for those that like more pockets. I would also note that the Synapse is designed for the Cache style laptop sleeves, which are not as protective as the Brain Cell style that the Smart Alec uses. That in no way is a deal breaker, but should be noted if you want maximum protection. The Synapse is a bit heavier, but I would guess that both bags weigh close to the same when they are loaded with laptop sleeves and such.
Next up is the Goruck SK26, this is essentially the GR1 (which is a great bag) without all the military detailing on the outside of the bag. Molle straps and velcro are gone, and the bag looks fantastic.
The GR1 is a very odd backpack. I love it, but I prefer the Smart Alec in almost every situation. Having said that, if I could, I would trade in my GR1 for this bag right away. It looks better, and I would feel far more comfortable traveling with it overseas instead of the GR1 (due to its less aggressive looks).
Overall two very nice new bags, it’s going to be hard resisting the new Goruck. As for the Synapse, I have no doubt many will prefer it to the Smart Alec, but I’m not so sure I will be one who would prefer it.