Random review: Timbuk2’s awesome messenger bags

Ever since I returned from studying in Europe — where I had to carry most everything I brought with me in an uncomfortably full backpack — I have been obsessed with backpacks, messenger bags and the like. Back in 2004, I started looking for a replacement for my aging backpack (which Andrew later destroyed in less than a year of school — don’t ask). I’m such a planning freak that I researched bags for months. I looked at all of the big ones, from backpacks by The North Face and Columbia Sportswear to messenger-style bags from Chrome and Crumpler.

I finally settled on Timbuk2 for several reasons: I liked that each bag was handmade at the company’s San Francisco home (no child labor issues here), I liked that you could use the company’s Web site to custom design your own messenger bag and I liked that most of the company’s bags were waterproof (important for Oregon’s infamous rainy winters). And the bag I settled on, the Commute, even offered backpack straps that could be zipped inside the bag when I wanted to use it as a messenger. Great for when I walk instead of ride my bike.

The bag was spendy, but it turned out to be a perfect fit. I can easily fit my Macbook Pro and all its peripherals, a few magazines, a novel, my lunch, a 1-liter bottle of water and a legal pad for notes. Plus all of my work stuff — keys, badge, BlackBerry, etc. — in the spacious bag, and the waterproof interior liner and heavy-duty velcro closures keep everything nice and dry during soggy bike rides or, more likely this past winter, long walks to the car.

The Commute has survived all of the abuse I have thrown at it. I managed to break the single clip (newer versions have two clips) after only a year, but I haven’t needed to replace it because the velcro closure is so strong. I also managed to tear a few small holes in the waterproof liner (the result of carrying way too many books with sharp points). But it still keeps rocking.

If you are looking for a new, heavy-duty messenger bag or backpack, I would highly recommend Timbuk2. And if you have other recommendations for bags, please share them in the comments. You never know when I will get the itch to upgrade. 

This is a newer model Commute. It isn\'t as deep, and it has two clips on the front vs. the single clip the original model had. Same colors as mine though.

This is a newer model Commute. It isn’t as deep, and it has two clips on the front vs. the single clip the original model had. Same colors as mine though.


~ by amarvin on Monday, April 14, 2008.

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