Ways To Secure Your Bag to Rolling Luggage

Some of our bags — such as the Cadet, Synik, Pilot, and Co-Pilot — have built-in rolling luggage handle pass-through slots. But what do you do if your bag doesn’t have a pass-through, or you have rolling luggage with a very thick, wide handle that can’t fit through the bag’s built-in pass-through?

There’s two solutions we can offer:

Option #1 Use the Webbing Waist Belt On the Bag You Have

Using the Gatekeeper waist strap to secure the Synik to rolling luggage

This is admittedly a bit of a hack, but if you have one of our bags, you might already have what you need for it and, in that case, it’s free!

1. Remove the Gatekeeper Webbing Waist Belt that’s included with most of our larger bags.
2. Connect the two Gatekeeper clips together: now you’ve got a long strap with a buckle closure.
3. Use that strap and wrap it around the middle of your Synik, Synapse, Pop Tote, Tri-Star or other bag as it’s sitting on top of your rolling luggage with its back against the handle of the luggage.
4. Clip the buckle around the rolling luggage pole.
5. Cinch the strap down.

Option #2 Use the optional Simple Rolling Luggage Lash Strap

Using the Simple Rolling Luggage Lash Strap with the Synik 30

Don’t have a Gatekeeper webbing waist belt, or don’t want to remove it from your bag because you use it? We made a purposeful version of the strap that effectively does the same job: the Simple Rolling Luggage Lash Strap.

What We Like About This Strap-Around-The-Bag Solution

It’s simple and easy to use. And let us be clear: this is not some smart or revolutionary invention. It’s a pretty obvious, low-tech solution. If and until we invent something more clever, this is it. It’s possible that you’ve already discovered this solution on your own, and if that’s the case, kudos.

In our experience, the bag — Synik, Pop Tote, Tri-Star, Synapse, Guide’s Pack, whatever pack we offer, or even possibly a pack from a different brand — is effectively secured to the rolling luggage in such a way that it won’t spin around or slide off. It feels stable.

It feels more stable than a webbing or elastic band sewn to the back of the bag because it’s holding the center of gravity of your bag and all of its stuff against the rolling luggage handle. This is also the reason that it works better than using the sternum strap and waist strap on one of our backpacks to secure the bag to the rolling luggage.

It’s a solution that’s not built-in to the bag: you can use it when you need to use it, remove it and stow it in one of the pockets in your bag when not in use, or leave it at home when you don’t need it at all. (In fairness to the rolling luggage pass-through pockets on the Synik, Cadet, and other bags: they don’t add any bulk and are dual-purpose.)

Note: these solutions work with two-pole handle rolling luggage; they won’t work that well with the less typical one-pole handle rolling luggage.

We asked members of our Forums to help us test these methods; here’s the feedback they shared.

If you use either strap method, we want to hear how it works for you: feedback@tombihn.com

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Our Thoughts On Load Lifters

TOM BIHN Wild Limpet Backpack (early 1980's)
A design of Tom’s from the early-mid 1980s that had load lifters: the Wild Limpet. In use, Tom found that the load lifters didn’t do much for this pack (except distorting the shape of it) because it didn’t have a frame.

Load lifters are somewhat ubiquitous on large internal frame and external frame packs and, on those packs, can be useful; their application or utility on smaller packs is, in our opinion, of dubious merit.

From a guide to backpacks:
“Load Lifters – Part of the shoulder strap and is used to lift the pack’s weight off the shoulders.”

There’s something akin to a “sky hook” in this concept of how load lifter straps function: how, exactly, does the load get “lifted”? Where’s that weight going? Who, if not the wearer, is lifting this weight? Who, if not the doer, is performing the action? Does free will exist? We digress.

With a large capacity external or internal frame pack, there can be some advantage gained by cinching the top of the load closer in, towards the user’s shoulders, and thus closer to your center of gravity, and some folks swear by load lifters on the big packs they carry.

With an entirely frameless pack, there’s nothing rigid for the top end of the “load lifter” to pull against, and when you tighten these straps you end up simply distorting the soft, unstructured top portion of the pack, distending it over your shoulders to no avail. That applies to packs like the Synik, Guide’s Pack, and Synapse as well, where the internal frame ends roughly where the padded shoulder straps attach and does not continue any higher up (as a frame/frame sheet typically would in a larger pack intended primarily for extended backcountry use).

Our backpacks have a shorter internal frame because they’re fairly small daypacks: if we added “load lifter” straps to our daypacks, they wouldn’t really help “lift” any weight – it’d just distort the soft top of the pack and would do little or nothing to keep the pack’s weight closer to your center of gravity. On the other hand, if we made the internal frames used with our packs longer (taller), extending it higher than the top of the shoulder strap attachment point, it would, in our opinion, start it down a path of becoming a backpacking pack, rather than the travel, EDC, and day-hiking packs we intend them to be.

We’re open to your experiences, thoughts, and feedback; post here in the comments or send a note to feedback@tombihn.com

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Coming Soon: The Synik 22 and Synik 30 Backpacks


An earlier version of the Synik. Photo taken in April 2019.

Over the past week or so, the updated pack design Nik has been working on for the past year has been (somewhat) revealed. It’s named the Synik (here’s why). The Synik is a version of our Synapse 19 / 25 backpacks that includes many of the features some of you have been asking for; we added some additional features as well, which include:

Full clamshell AKA panel zipper opening
Removable internal tie-down straps
Two-point access suspended laptop compartment
Our new Edgeless EV50 1/2” shoulder straps
Fully integrated yet removable internal frame with aluminum half-stay
Rolling luggage handle pass-through
Updated grab handle
Label moved to lower right corner

Timeline for release:

August 6th
Pages for the Synik 22 and 30 go live. The pages will have an abundance of information — description, specs, photos, videos, an FAQ — to help you decide whether the Synik is the right bag for you (or not).

August 13th
Pre-order opens / remains open until 08/20 unless either size of Synik sells out. See our Pre-Order FAQ if you’re wondering how our pre-orders work.

August 20th
Pre-order closes.

Late October
Pre-order Syniks ship.

Learn more:
Synik 22 / Synik 30 Questions & Answers

External Reviews:
All Spoken Hands on w/the Synik 30 and a comparison of the Synik 30 vs 22
Pack Hacker
Spencer’s Synik Unboxing
mrbrown
Ryan on YouTube as LivingOneHanded
JonC on Dynamic Bento
Jon on (No)Mad Creative

Reviews posted on the TOM BIHN Forums by:
dan
bchaplin
tuskegee7294
imagineez
Cristina
bartleby
Aloha’s Synape 19/Synik 22 compartive review
G42’s Aeronaut 30/Synik 30 (and Smart Alec) Comparative Review
heygreggie

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News Briefs

We’ve created a new page that invites you to “order” free materials that we can’t make use of but maybe you can:
Free Materials for DIY Projects

We’re retiring Iberian and Wasabi 200d Halcyon, as well as Nordic 400d Halcyon. More here.

Restocked this week: our Brain Bag and Synapse 25 backpacks and the Side Kick sling/waist/shoulder pack.

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