Timbuk2’s Messenger Bags

Timbuk2 is one of the leading brands in recreational outdoor, and travel friendly bags. The company was founded over 25 years ago by bike messenger Rob Honeycutt in a garage in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Since its inception in 1989, Timbuk2 has designed quality bags, like the Timbuk2 Commute Messenger Bag, packs, and accessories that are built to last a lifetime, evolving from the original bike messenger company to a pioneer of made-in-America customization and an industry leader in forward-thinking, sustainable manufacturing.Timbuk2 Commute Blue and Black

The relentless drive to inspire urban mobility, enable individuality and promote responsibility has propelled Timbuk2 forward as it continues fusing passion and style to create durable, functional products informed by the company’s longstanding cycling roots and today’s vibrant city landscape.

The high quality and durability of this bag make it a leader in the industry. It is quite simply the best classic laptop messenger bag for hauling your laptop, iPad, lunch and layers to class, the office or that meeting two time zones away.

The Timbuk2 Commute Messenger Bag is an iconic three panel messenger bag made by Timbuk2 for a broad variety of people. It is extremely versatile and can serve as a briefcase, backpack, diaper bag, or purse, and is suitable for all genders.

What we’ll talk about

In our review of the Timbuk2 Commute Messenger Bag, we will discuss the style and design of the bag, it’s quality and durability, it’s comfort and ease of use, it’s special features, and both the good and bad of the bag. At the end of our review we will summarize the main points with an easy to read comparison so you may decide your final verdict.


Timbuk2 Commute Messenger Bag Style

The Timbuk2 Commute Messenger Bag features a sleek, yet functional, hand sewn design. It boasts 14 lined pockets for carrying many various items such as: a smart phone, car keys, laptop, tablet, books, binders, sunglasses,  water bottle, wallet, pens/pencils, business cards, headphones, and a lunch; pretty much everything you would need for a day at school or the office.  The pockets include 10 interior slip pockets, 1 interior zip pocket, and 3 exterior drop pockets.

The bag itself is also waterproof, making it ideal for everyone, including bicyclists, bus or train commuters, or people who have to be outside at any point during the day. Because of its multi-functional uses and plethora of pockets, this bag would also make a great gender-neutral diaper bag, perhaps for a father desiring a more inconspicuous option.

The Timbuk2 Commute Messenger Bag comes in three different sizes; small, medium or large and nine different color variations. The colors are listed as:

  • BlackTimbuk2 Commute Surplus
  • Black/Black
  • Dusk Blue/Black
  • Gunmetal
  • Gunmetal/Adobe
  • Jetblack
  • Nautical
  • Surplus
  • Grey

Each color is available (in limited quantity) in each of the three sizes.  Each size helps to accommodate different types of devices, such as iPads, laptops, and books. The dimensions, as well as allowable maximum device size, material type, shipping weight, and style name are all listed below:

Commute Messenger Small – S

  • Maximum Device Size – iPad/13” Laptop
  • Item Dimensions – 16.3 x 12.2 x 5.7 inches
  • Material Type – Nylon
  • Weight – 2.2 pounds
  • Volume – 16 liters
  • Style Name – Commute Messenger Bag (Small)Timbuk2 Commute Gunmetal

Commute Messenger Medium – M

  • Maximum Device Size – iPad/15” Laptop
  • Item Dimensions – 18.5 x 13.4 x 7.9 inches
  • Material Type – Nylon
  • Weight – 2.4 pounds
  • Volume – 23 liters
  • Style Name – Commute Messenger Bag (Medium)

Commute Messenger Large – L

  • Maximum Device Size – iPad/17” Laptop
  • Item Dimensions – 20.1 x 13.4 x 8.7 inches
  • Material Type – Nylon
  • Weight – 2.9 pounds
  • Volume – 24 liters
  • Style Name – Commute Messenger Bag (Large)

We found the sizing to be very true to size on Timbuk2’s website. This may differ from what other retailers list but we went straight to the source to get these numbers.

In addition to all the pockets and cargo space, the bag also has different strap options. There is a nicely padded handle for a briefcase-type carry, a roller luggage adapter for carefree traveling, and a cross-body strap with air mesh padding for shoulders. Each strap allows the carrier to hold the bag at different points, making it very versatile and user friendly.

Another one of the most impressive traits of this bag is its TSA compliance. This means the bag can be sent through TSA checkpoints and scanners at airports with all devices still inside. There is no more removing laptops, cellphones, tablets, etc. – just set the bag on the conveyor belt and enjoy the ease of traveling without the hassle of unpacking and repacking your bags.

The Overall Rating of Timbuk2 Commute Messenger Bag Style and Design gets 4 out of 5 stars. This messenger bag has quite a beautiful and simplistic view to it. And although the bag comes in a number of colors, the reason it gets 4 stars is because the colors are mostly shades of black. I would have liked to have seen other options and this is the only reason why the Commute messenger bag isn’t perfect in terms of design and style.


Timbuk2 Commute Messenger Bag Comfort

Because the Timbuk2 Commute Messenger Bag is designed for the commuter and/or traveler, comfort and ease of use are very important characteristics. The bag is actually designed to be extremely comfortable and easy to use, and most people we’ve talked to tend to agree.

The shoulder strap has a thick, sliding air-mesh pad that keeps the strap from digging into your shoulders. This pad can be easily moved into place so each person can fit it to their own personal preference. There is also a hand buckleTimbuk2 Commute Inside that can release or easily lock the strap length into place, so it is compatible with people of all statures and builds.

One of the great things that customers will enjoy is the balance that this messenger bag has. It balances well with or without a laptop in it that way it will not tip over when set on the floor. This is always a pet peeve of mine.

The Commute messenger bag features a great and comfortable handle that doesn’t dig into your hands, all the pockets you need and especially good for couriers the messenger bags are extremely lightweight!

The bag is also lined with Tarpaulin fabric so it is waterproof and easy to clean if spills happen to occur. There is not much else that could make this bag more comfortable or user friendly.

The Overall Comfort Rating of Timbuk2 Commute Messenger Bag gets 5 out of 5 stars. You would have a hard time find other messenger bags that are as comfortable as this messenger bag. However, if you look to the Classic Messenger or Command Messenger by Timbuk2 then you’ll find equally comfortable bags.


Timbuk2 Commute Messenger Bag Durability

The Timbuk2 Commute Messenger Bag is hand sewn, so some small imperfections are expected and actually a beloved part of owning a well-made, locally produced product. Because these bags are responsibly made and sourced in the United States, they are very durable. We’ve talked with other owners of this messenger bag and the consensus is that that Timbuk2 bags are sturdy and high quality.

Most people we spoke with have had nothing but great things to say and we have to echo that sentiment. Overall this is a very well made bag and I think anyone who decides to purchase this messenger bag would be a happy customer.

Other’s we have spoken with mentioned that they have carried similar models of messenger bags, most notably Timbuk2 Commute FullEddie Bauer, and said that the quality of this messenger bag is about four times better. That’s a bold statement!

All Timbuk2 bags come with a lifetime warranty. It is valid when the Timbuk2 product is purchased through Timbuk2 directly, via their website or one of the brick-and-mortar retail stores, or through an authorized reseller.

The warranty will cover any defect in the materials or workmanship, but not damages resulting from abuse, normal wear and tear, cosmetic damages that do not affect the functionality of the bag (such as scratches or stained fabrics). While it is admirable of the company to offer a warranty, some people have reported issues with getting the company to respond when asked about certain imperfections.

While obviously this is not great PR for Timbuk2 we found these incidents are isolated and for the most part, getting in touch with Timbuk2 customer service is not really an issue.

For the most part, the Timbuk2 Commute Messenger Bag is a high quality, durable bag. However, as with any product, there are imperfections.

The Overall Durability Rating of Timbuk2’s Commute Messenger Bag gets 5 out of 5 stars. This messenger bag is crafted with durability in mind and will survive even some of the toughest conditions for years to come! Plus it doesn’t hurt that it comes with a lifetime warranty. This messenger bag will live up to its billing when it comes to durability.


Timbuk2 Commute Messenger Bag Features

Timbuk2’s Commute Messenger Bag comes loaded with lots of features. For a messenger bag it is quite impressive actually and great for many different users of the messenger bag. Aside from the stuff that you would expect with a messenger bag there are a ton of pockets to keep everything organized, self-sealing Velcro which keeps water out and even a Velcro silencer if you need it.

There are many more features to this messenger bag but instead of boring you with each one individually just take a look at a list of the most iconic features of the Commute Messenger Bag:

  • Weatherproof fabric;
  • Abundance of pockets inside and outside of the bag;Timbuk2 Commute Model
  • Dedicated pocket for a smart phone on the outside for easy access;
  • A soft lined pocket for sunglasses or other fragile cargo;
  • Attached key lanyard so keys are easily accessible;
  • Fold over flap for security;
  • Self sealing Velcro at the top corners of the bag to help keep water out;
  • Industrial grade Velcro in the front for security;
  • Velcro silencer if needed;
  • Two reflective hits on the buckle flaps to help protect the carrier;
  • Hand buckle for easy adjustments;
  • Air mesh padded shoulder strap;
  • Padded laptop sleeve;
  • Water bottle pocket;
  • Rolling luggage adapter;
  • Briefcase handle;

The Overall Features Rating of the Timbuk2 Messenger Bag gets 5 out of 5 stars! There are a ton of features that come with this incredible messenger bag and although you may or may not use them all, it makes it a product that is useful to many people or in numerous different situations.






Value for the Price

The Timbuk2 Commute Messenger Bag is not a “cheap” bag, in the sense that it is not cheaply made, nor inexpensive. It is simply well built, and thus, worth more money. These bags are sustainably hand made in the United States, so naturally they are worth more than mass produced, poorly constructed bags. The lifetime warranty also adds value because if you received a faulty bag, they will fix or replace it for you on their dime. It seems that in general, people think their Timbuk2 Commute Messenger bag is well worth the money.


The Good and the Bad about Timbuk2’s Commute Messenger Bag

Timbuk2 Commute Messenger bag has its flaws, but there are a lot of advantages and benefits to make up for the few areas of concern. Obviously it’s not flawless but the flaws for the most part are minor and the benefits far outweigh the few issues. Let’s check out what’s good and bad about it:

The Good about Timbuk2’s Commute Messenger Bag:

  • Can fit many different devices and items
  • Weatherproof
  • Easily cleanable
  • Comfortable padding
  • Different carry options
  • Sturdy and well made
  • Sustainably made in the U.S.
  • Three sizing options
  • Nine Color options
  • Velcro AND buckles for security
  • Key lanyard attached so you don’t lose your keys
  • Reflective hits

The Bad about Timbuk2’s Commute Messenger Bag:

  • Fairly expensively priced
  • Slight imperfections in design due to them being handmade
  • Shoulder pad can slide off shoulders
  • Different sizes may be a little confusing if you cannot see the bags in person


The Final Verdict

Timbuk2 is a company based out of San Francisco, California in the United States. They produce handmade and sustainably sourced bags designed for a wide variety of people. The Commute Messenger Bag was created with the traveler or commuter in mind.

This weatherproof bag boasts 14 pockets so you can hold almost everything you need for a day at the office, school, or a business trip two time zones away. It is TSA compliant, so you do not have to remove laptops, tablets or smart phones that would normally need to be unpacked at TSA checkpoints. It can be held like a briefcase, attached to rolling luggage, worn like a purse over one shoulder, or like a messenger bag across the body.

Because this bag is so versatile, it does not need to be limited to business men or women. Its waterproof liner makes it an excellent diaper bag for parents, or backpack for people going to school – the possibilities are endless!

Although some would say this bag is a little pricey, it is responsibly made and durable, so you get what you pay for. Yes, other bags will be cheaper, but they are probably mass produced in a warehouse somewhere by a machine. When you purchase a Timbuk2 bag, you get a lifetime warranty so you can feel assured you are getting the best quality. The Timbuk2 Commute Messenger bag gets 4.5 out of 5 stars. That right there speaks for itself!