REVIEW: Timbuk2 Commute Messenger Bag

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Date: Tuesday, August 15th, 2006, 08:00
Category: Luggage

timbuk2-commute-xl-06-1.jpgOf all the types of bags out there I like messengers the best. It’s true that backpacks are usually more comfortable and practical, but there’s something to the shape and configuration of a messenger bag that particularly works for me. They’re easy to whip on and off, can be worn in several different positions on your body and they’re easy to re-configure on the go.
Today I want to take a look at the Commute messenger bag from Timbuk2.
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timbuk2-commute-xl-06-1.jpgOf all the types of bags out there I like messengers the best. It’s true that backpacks are usually more comfortable and practical, but there’s something to the shape and configuration of a messenger bag that particularly works for me. They’re easy to whip on and off, can be worn in several different positions on your body and they’re easy to re-configure on the go.
Today I want to take a look at the Commute messenger bag from Timbuk2.
Timbuk2 began building bags in 1989 for bike messengers in San Francisco. The company has since built a great reputation for quality bags amongst non-messengers as well.

Many Timbuk2 bags are worn daily for a decade, or more, accompanying the owner through all sorts of defining life events. True to our legend of “indestructibility”, it’s not uncommon for a Timbuk2 bag to outlive jobs, personal relationships, even pets. This is the Tao of Timbuk2.

timbuk2-commute-xl-06-2.jpgThe Commute Computer Messenger (US$100) is a smartly designed three panel bag with large, adjustable shoulder strap. The one thing I wish they’d include is a shoulder pad to cushion heavier loads – it’s a US$10 option instead.
The sleeve in the XL fits the MacBook Pro 15-17″
The sleeve in the Medium fits the MacBook 13″ and PowerBook 12-15″. The Commute is available in five color combinations including brown/burnt orange/brown (pictured).
For the ultimate in creativity you can build a similar bag (the Laptop Messenger) on Timbuk2′s online Bag Builder. Just pick from a palette of 22 colors of Ballistic Nylon (16 in Cordura) for each of the three panels, add your accessories and you’re done.
Other features include:
- Rugged ballistic nylon exterior
- Molded padded back panel for added comfort
- Double padded, waterproof, rubberized bottom
- Extra padded carrying handle
- Quick-adjust removable shoulder strap
- Plush corduroy-lined computer compartment
- Internal organizer panel with cell phone and MP3 pocket; key ring tether
- Heavy-duty stitching
timbuk2-commute-xl-06-3.jpgThe strength of the tough ballistic nylon is just the start with this Timbuk2. It can take a beating without ripping and stains are easily removed with a damp rag and some liquid dish detergent.
Storage-wise its loaded with five outside pockets and two elastic-pockets for drink bottles. A thick, quick-adjust shoulder strap attaches to metal D-ring on the bag, but it doesn’t come with a shoulder pad – a recommended US$100 option on their site.
Inside is a built-in laptop sleeve, lined in corduroy, that’s about a quarter inch thick on all sides and a velcro tab keeps your notebook in the sleeve. There’s no flap on the sleeve, which is what I prefer anyway because I usually end up tucking it inside for faster access.
Also inside the Commute is a flap with 10 different pockets (two zippered) for things like pens, business cards and small papers. There’s also a velvet lined pocket that will fit most (non-PDA) mobile phones.
The padded rear panel keeps your notebook safe but it also protects your back from other cargo that you may be carrying.
timbuk2-commute-xl-06-4.jpgDifference between the commute and the Laptop Messenger (US$100)

The Commute comes with a full-size padded back panel, outside water bottle pockets and the rubber bottom. The Laptop Messenger Bag has an internal organizer pocket, more internal volume than the Commute, but it does not offer as many external pockets.

Pros
- Tough design, cool colors
- Quality YKK zippers with stylish pulls.
- Reflectors sewn onto the main closure tabs.
- Waterproof, rubber bottom protect contents and allow it to sit upright on the ground.
Cons
- The top handle feels a little too far back (toward the rear) but I rarely use it anyway.
- Should include a strap pad for extra padding (US$10 option).
If you’re looking for a messenger bag that looks cool, can take a beating and protect your investment you should check out the Commute from Timbuk2.
Commute (L or XL) US$100
Timbuk2
333 Alabama Street
San Francisco, CA 94110 USA
1-800-865-2513
www.Timbuk2.com

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