The 2013 Life Reengineered Minimalist Packing Guide
“Words cannot describe the love I have for the Tom Bihn Synapse backpack, but I will give it a shot. I affectionately refer to this 19 liter marvel of backpack engineering as “Marry Poppins” because of its astounding ability to hold an almost endless amount of items in a limited space. Everything you see on this list fits snugly into this bag. It’s incredibly comfortable – nice wide straps with a shoulder clip hold the bag firmly in place, and it has a waist clip as well if you ever needed to run with the bag. I have an 8″ metal plate in my left clavicle from a snowboarding injury, which the doctor said some backpackers complain about, but I’ve hiked through the jungle for 5 days with this bag on and shoulder pain was not an issue.
The bag is also waterproof – it has sealed zippers that do as good a job as possible at keeping the water out. In rain, it performs admirably, keeping my camera and computer dry. However, if you fall off a kayak while wearing this bag it may let a little water in. I know from experience. If you have your camera in the upper middle pouch, it will survive. The added benefit of having a waterproof bag is that you do not have to carry around a large bag cover, which takes up a lot of volume in the average bag (and the bigger the bag, the bigger the cover).
The structure of the bag makes everything incredibly accessible – I keep all my small electronics, sunglasses, flashlight, etc in the side pockets for easy access. An added benefit of the pocket structure is that it makes it so that there is no need to carry smaller packing cubes for organizing these items. The bag also doubles as my day bag. So when I am all checked into the hostel and my computer and other items are locked up I can take this bag out to carry my camera, water, headphones, and jacket. I don’t have to have a second “day bag”.”
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