The best travel daypack for Photographers. The Tom Bihn Synapse a review.

Wow this post has been getting a lot of hits so I thought I would expand my review and update it as time allows.

Old meets new the Tom Bihn Synapse backpack at work.

My search has finally ended. I have a huge collection of day packs which I use both day to day and more importantly when traveling. I have tried many dedicated photo day packs but have never been happy as they never have the room or pockets for the non photo gear I have with me.

My new Tom Binh Synapse day pack fits the bill perfectly. Small with a low profile and no external straps to get hung up on when in tight space like on crowded buses and planes. It allows me to carry all kinds of stuff and a DSLR and a compact camera with ease. Made in the USA with the highest quality materials this is one sweet bag. Apart from all it’s pockets that are so easy to access, I love that the bag is fully lined with Dyneema Ripstop fabric in a contrasting colour making it simple to find things.

Note this is not a padded camera day pack. I have over the years tried Crumpler, Lowepro and Kata and they have all been bulky and never had the room for all the other goodies that one travels with. If you are a pro and need such a beastie so be it but this is a bag for the serious traveler who also carries a camera or two.

What’s great about this bag:

  • Highest quality fabrics and zippers
  • Completely lined with Dyneema waterproof and durable fabric
  • Multiple pockets that are easily accessed
  • Quiet YKK splash proof zippers
  • Front water bottle pocket has room for a compact camera such as the x100 or MFT system
  • Main compartment has room for a raincoat, lunch, water bottle and a DSLR with lens attached
  • Bottom pocket has room for a compact umbrella or cables or gorilla pod
  • Small front pocket is perfect for a smartphone or batteries and memory cards
  • Two side pockets, one has pouch for glasses the other slots for pens, lip balm, sunscreen etc.. even a waterbottle
  • It has no external straps which means it will not get caught up on anything
  • Lean clean design
  • Comfortable for carrying all day long
  • No fancy logo

Oh and did I mention that it is super compact! Displayed here on my 5 foot friend Ly Nay.

I carried this bag for four weeks in Vietnam from days around the city to a few weeks in the mountains and found it to be a great companion. If you travel with a camera and all the other stuff that travel involves then you should check this bag out. If you are worried about your camera’s protection in an un padded bag such as this, well I crashed and burned ( still have the scars and bruised ribs to show) on a motorbike in the mountains on the same trip and all my gear was fine.

What’s not to like:

  • Only available from Tom Bihn’s website

It really is a powerhouse of a bag that rocks it’s comfortable and compact… plus it has heaps of add ons available for a tablet,laptop or even for organizing your travel documents. I give it 6 stars out of 5!!! Check out the whole Tom Bihn range here.

Here is a video overview of the Synapse from Tom Bihn by Maverick a total Tom Bihn fan. It really is amazing what you can fit in it. Yes Maverick like you I am a convert now!

6 thoughts on “The best travel daypack for Photographers. The Tom Bihn Synapse a review.

  1. Pingback: Camera Obscura: Synapse best travel daypack for photographers - TOM BIHN Blog: We make travel bags in Seattle, Washington

  2. This review is just a tease?
    If you have had such a tough time in the past and have been inspired by this bag then PLEASE go into some detail about how and why it is different.

    • Hi Ed,
      Yes good idea I was just so happy how this bag worked on my last trip I had to write about it so I will expand the review over the next few days!

  3. Thanks for the video but I am only a tiny bit confused. It was listed as a photo back back. I use the Fuji X cameras and lenses, or the Olympus OMD and a few lenses. I do not see where that size photo gear can fit in the bag. Am I missing something? It is however a very nice bag and I do know my bags, owning about 50 of them.

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