Clamshell-opening rucksacks are popping up more and more these days, and you’ll either love or hate them. The Salomon Synapse Flow 30AW features an all-round zip allowing you to open as much or as little of the sack as you like. This allows you to access items in the very foot of your rucksack. But if the zip breaks or snags, your whole closure system is knackered, water can get in easier and if you forget to zip it up – as I did, embarrassingly – when you sling it on your back everything falls out! But the Synapse is still an accomplished sack and will appeal to lovers of stripped-down backpacking. Everything is cut lean to save weight, but while the compression straps and fabric are scrawny, the straps and hipbelt are still ‘proper’ and the back system is quite clever, featuring rumples of stiff foam overlaid with mesh. On, this rucksack hugs the back a little more than some, which not everyone will like – but the lean profile pulls your centre of gravity in and makes you feel a lot more balanced and streamlined. Features-wise, you get a top-mounted raincover, two (count ’em!) hip pockets, some flimsy but functional axe loops and compression straps, a top pocket, a very useful front pocket and two stretchy wand pockets. Overall the Salomon Synapse Flow 30AW is a nice sack to use though, and its quirkiness is pleasing more than annoying. But while pricy and fairly specialist, ‘fast and light’ devotees will love it.
Capacity 30 litres
Internal compartments 1
External zipped pockets 2
Wand pockets 2
Rain cover? yes
Back lengths three sizes (S, M, L)
Women’s version? no
Durability might be a concern, and the closure won’t appeal to all; but otherwise the Salomon Synapse Flow 30AW is very decent.
Review by Simon Ingram
First published in Trail magazine March 2014