How Many Cans

I did a post somewhere a while back about how many cans fit in various bags, along with a screenshot of a spreadsheet. I’ve now added some more bags to my collection, and created a google spreadsheet with the the stats.

Here’s the summary:

Cans Bag
27 Tom Bihn Synapse 19
34 Northface Diad Pro 22
38 Chrome Citizen
39 Chrome Bravo 2.0
43 Goruck GR1
45 Direct Action Ghost
46 Tom Bihn Synapse 25
47 Tom Bihn Smart Alec
48 Timbuk2 Especial Medio
48 Timbuk2 Large Classic Messenger
55 Osprey Spin 32
56 Mission Workshop Fitzroy (40L)
57 Mission Workshop Shed Messenger 32
60 Mission Workshop R6 (40L)
72 Timbuk2 Especial Tres

Tom Bihn Synapse 19 – 27 cans

I borrowed my wife’s synapse for this. I tried filling it a couple different ways. It’s well known that the Synapse bag has a lot of pockets and the bag is designed to allow you to use all the pockets without impacting the others. For instance, you can stuff the main pocket, but still get things in and out of the outside pockets.

But, I was only able to get 27 cans into the bag, regardless of which way I packed them:

  • 24 main compartment
  • 2 side pockets (1 each)
  • 1 bottom front pocket


  • 3 bottom front pocket
  • 2 side pocket (1 each)
  • 4 center woter bottle pocket
  • 18 main pocket

Measuring the capacity of a smaller bag (like this one) with 12oz. cans is a bit unfair. You can see from the photo below that the side pockets were not fully utilized.

Tom Bihn Synapse 19
Tom Bihn Synapse 19
Tom Bihn Synapse 19

Tom Bihn Synapse 25 – 46 cans

This is my new/current main bag. I bought the Tom Bihn Smart Alec first, because I thought it had more capacity, based on online photos. It’s not really the case. The Synapse 25 and Smart Alec are nearly exactly the same size, at least as measure by 12oz. cans. The Smart Alec fit 1 more can than the Synapse 25, and I’d chalk that up to the fact that the Synapse has more organiztion.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 5 bottom front pocket
  • 5 center water bottle pocket
  • 3 side pockets (1 left, 2 right)
  • 33 main pocket

By cans, the Synapse 25 is 70% bigger than the Synapse 19. By rated liters, it’s 37% bigger. Any way you slice it, the 26 is really a large step up in size from the 19.

Tom Bihn Synapse 25
Tom Bihn Synapse 25
Tom Bihn Synapse 25

Chrome Bravo 2.0 – 39 cans

  • 1 side water bottle pocket
  • 10 front expand portion “organizer” pocket
  • 28 main pocket

The surprise with this bag is the front “organizer” pocket, which is actually expandable and can hold 10 cans, basically 25% of the bags full capacity.

Chrome Bravo 2.0
Chrome Bravo 2.0
Chrome Bravo 2.0
Chrome Bravo 2.0

Timbuk2 Large Classic Messenger – 48 cans

Messenger bags are generally more suitable to this kind of measurement, since they usually have a single very large place to put everything.

This messenger bag seems almost designed to fit 12oz. cans optimally. It’s not visible in these shots, but all the cans inside are neatly stacked and the whole bag just stands there perfectly.

Timbuk2 Large Classic Messenger
Timbuk2 Large Classic Messenger

Mission Workshop Shed 32 – 57 cans

I actually could have gotten more cans into this bag and gotten it closed. The bag is named with 32, but the specs on the web page say 35 liters. But it really is nearly as capacious as the 40L backpacks. This messenger bag can hold a lot of stuff. That said, I’m afraid it would be really awkward to carry this full. (I’m not talking about the weight. I mean just the awkward shape when it’s this stuffed.)

Mission Workshop Shed 32
Mission Workshop Shed 32

Mission Workshop Arkiv – 60 cans

I got 60 cans into the main compartment of this “40L” bag, without problem. I suspected that this bag is a little larger than the Fitzroy, also rated at 40L. Previously I fit 56 cans in the Fitzroy, so I’d say it is a smidge bigger.

But, when adding accessory pouches to the Arkiv bag, it clearly has more capacity than the Fitzroy.

  • 60 backpack
  • 3x2 zipper side pouch
  • 5 tool pocket

So, just with the accessories I have, there is room for another 11 cans.

Mission Workshop Arkiv R6
Mission Workshop Arkiv Side Pouch
Mission Workshop Arkiv Tool Pouch