Published on September 11th, 2012 | by Greg0
Timbuk2′s Customizable Commute: Darn Near Perfect
Messenger bags aren’t just for messengers anymore. Once mainly the bag of choice for delivery drivers and couriers, folks who biked around urban environments, they have now become increasingly common in even finance and law offices, where everyone needs to carry a laptop and the old-school leather briefcase has given way to something a little less conspicuous and stuffy, better suited to subway trips and more flexible.
Timbuk2, the San Francisco-based company that makes some of our favorite luggage- like the previously-reviewed Wingman carry-on- has offered a wide range of messenger bags in a variety of sizes for a very long time. In fact, they’re one of the original popularizers of the style. And now, their Commute Messenger bag has been updated for 2012, and is available to customize using their cool system. This results in a bag hand-made in San Francisco, in their very cool factory that we got a chance to tour last year.
We took to the internets and assembled a custom bag online (you can see our design here), picking colors and fabrics from their fairly extensive collection. Options include Performance fabrics, like reflective, recycled, and polybond, as well as specialty designs like peacock and zebra patterns for that personal touch. Each of the three panels can be adjusted, and their nifty system allows you to see an integrated view of how your bag will look when complete. Limited body and strap options are the only real limitations; the liner, logo color and even the binding (edges) can be adjusted.
Ours took only a few days between purchase and shipment, and the entire process is easy and seamless. The bag arrived in perfect condition, and we immediately took to the streets- it’s now been to five countries and four states. Comparing this one to other messengers is a bit silly- there are so many features that it leaves most any other bag that we’ve tested in the dust. Solid straps and construction, excellent zippers, and the excellent laptop or tablet internal padded compartment are just the basics; a TSA-compliant separate additional laptop section that unzips and folds out wasn’t even noticed during the first few trips. We greatly appreciated the carry-on luggage pass-through, allowing it to sit on the top of your wheelied suitcase.
The Timbuk2 Commute 2012 includes a waterproof front flap and waterproof bottom, protecting your gear from the elements, and it has so far held up to several fairly serious storms. Two internal mesh pockets keep your power cords and cables contained, and there are pockets layered atop pockets, meaning that you can devise a scheme for hiding your keys, wallet, passport, extra credit card, cash- and keep each of these things in an individual pocket if you so desired. It’s not particularly lightweight- but it’s a fair trade for durability. And with several thousand miles on it so far, we can attest: Timbuk2 bags hold up to even the most hardcore tests, whether it’s taking thousands of dollars in electronics out in the rain or holding up when loaded with gear and swung around by the shoulder strap (do no try these at home).
Available now, online only, and starting at $120- ours ended up at $194 including our customized fabrics and options. Why settle for a boring bag, or one that everyone has, when you can make your own, one-of-a-kind version thanks to Timbuk2?