As of last Tuesday, I’m the proud owner of a Timbuk2 Commute bag. I anxiously waited for the UPS man to bring me my new bag. I can definitely say that after a few of days of carrying it around, I’m very happy with it.
Timbuk2 is a San Francisco company has been making messenger bags since 1989. They started by making bags for urban bike messengers. All of their bags are built tough. The stitching is solid, it’s made out of quality ballistic vinyl with a water-proof liner, a thick rubberized bottom, and it has a thick comfortable strap.
Timbuk2 has a lot of variations on their messenger bags. The one that I purchased is called the Commute and it’s part of their laptop line of bags, which means it has a built-in laptop pouch (they also sell a separate laptop pouch for their other non-laptop bags). The commute is a good-sized bag with plenty of room for all the junk that I normally carry around. It fits both of the laptops that I’ve put into it (a 15″ Powerbook and a Dell Latitude). With the computer there is still enough room for a couple of thicker notebooks, a few file folders and my umbrella (you never know when it’s going to rain!) in the main pocket. With all that, the bag is pretty much full. There is a little more room in the flat pocket on the back, but not for too much more, maybe just another notebook and some files. There are a lot of smaller pockets all over the bag. There are two for water bottles on both sides of the bag and several zipper pockets all over the place for whatever little pieces of randomness you like to carry around with you.
The bag is comfortable to carry. The shoulder strap is thick and it balances the weight pretty evenly. I’ve been carrying it around for a few days and it’s actually more comfortable than the laptop bag I was carrying before. The back is has about an inch of padding, which is good for your laptop and also good for your backside. Timbuk2 messenger bags all come with an additional strap for stability. The commute strap is actually a waist strap, which is different than the typical stability strap that comes with the other messenger bags. I didn’t really know how it worked at first. Even the Timbuk2 FAQ is a little misleading. After looking at the strap that was included with my bag, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how it would possibly work. I was just about ready to write an embarrassed, “Oh-my-gosh! I don’t know how my new bag works!” e-mail to Timbuk2. I then discovered in their extra parts section with the waist strap which is what my bag came with. OK, after all that waist strap description… I’ve never worn it, so I don’t really know how comfortable it is. I suppose if I was one of those urban bike messengers and was carrying big tubes of architectural plans around downtown New York City I’d probably need it (but I’m not… so I won’t). Otherwise this is a really comfortable bag to carry.
So if you can’t tell, I’m really happy with the purchase. I don’t have to carry around two bags any more (one for the laptop and one for the other junk). Timbuk2 makes a good solid bag that may cost a little bit more, but carries a lifetime warranty and will probably outlast me.