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Published on September 6th, 2011 | by Greg

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Timbuk2 Wingman: A Perfectly-Sized Carry-On

Through a few trips re­cent­ly, we’ve had a chance to put some new lug­gage to the test. Be­tween taxi rides, car trips, BART/sub­way treks, a fair bit of walk­ing, and about 2000 miles in plane trav­el, we took the lat­est from Tim­buk2 with us. Though we’ve long been fans of this lo­cal com­pa­ny- their fac­to­ry is ac­tu­al­ly with­in easy walk­ing dis­tance of our of­fices- we re­cent­ly were in­vit­ed to see some of their up­com­ing wares as well as tour their fair­ly new fa­cil­i­ty. One of the bags we heard about caught our at­ten­tion, as it seemed an in­ter­est­ing take on a large non-wheeled car­ry-on.

We pre­fer to call it the Wing­per­son, but the of­fi­cial non-gen­der neu­tral name is the Tim­buk2 Wing­man Suit­case. It’s list­ed as “medi­um”, but isn’t avail­able in any oth­er size. And though Tim­buk2 might best be known for their ul­tra-cus­tomiz­able mes­sen­ger bags- they prac­ti­cal­ly in­vent­ed the con­cept, and we still use the one re­viewed on a near-dai­ly ba­sis- the Wing­man comes in a lim­it­ed num­ber of op­tions (specif­i­cal­ly, three). We have on-hand the Portrero/Vi­o­let/Portrero mod­el, which feels a bit neu­tral com­pared to many Tim­buk2 col­or schemes, but is thus like­ly to be more of in­ter­est to cor­po­rate types.

And it’s def­i­nite­ly busi­ness and reg­u­lar trav­el­ers who are the tar­get mar­ket here. This isn’t a good fit if you’re check­ing a suit­case, or if you just need a small back­pack for a cou­ple of days. In­stead, this is about the max­i­mum le­gal car­ry-on size, and can hold enough for sev­er­al days of cloth­ing changes and gear. We man­aged to fit in a suit, ex­tra shoes, toi­letries, two pa­per­back books, an iPad and var­i­ous charg­ers, a swim­suit, and about four days worth of cloth­ing (to the fair­ly warm cli­mate of Hawaii, to be sure). And that was with­out mak­ing much use of the com­pres­sion straps- they can tight­en ev­ery­thing up, but weren’t re­quired (and might have wrin­kled things a bit more). Though it ships with the ex­treme­ly durable mes­sen­ger strap at­tached, we quick­ly ditched it for the back­pack straps and use it that way for trav­el.

In fact, it’s a bit large to use as a mes­sen­ger for most peo­ple- at 3.3 pounds, a bit heavy even on it’s own, much less when ful­ly packed. But there are sev­er­al oth­er con­ve­nient grab straps that made it easy to get out from un­der seats or over­head bins, and it fit nice­ly ev­ery­where we tried. The lap­top com­part­ment wasn’t re­al­ly big enough for our pur­pos­es- a 17-inch mod­el made it awk­ward and seemed a bit ex­posed- but the ex­ter­nal pock­et it per­fect for mag­a­zines or books and a tablet. Two side zip­pered com­part­ments are good for shoes and per­haps toi­letries or wet items, and we loved that the main com­part­ment opens up com­plete­ly, al­low­ing you to un­fold it for easy ac­cess and vis­i­bil­i­ty. No more reach­ing in­side of a tiny duf­fel and un­pack­ing or squish­ing ev­ery­thing to find that one item on the bot­tom.

In short, this is a per­fect soft suit­case for those who want to trav­el fair­ly light but with­out com­pro­mis­es. The lin­ing might not im­press, , but it’ll fit in any over­head bin or un­der the seat, and looks sharp- neu­tral, but def­i­nite­ly with a touch of Tim­buk2 style. Qual­i­ty is ex­cel­lent- zip­pers are big and hefty, and the ma­te­ri­al is a “re­fined weave” bal­lis­tic ny­lon that was tough to scuff and easy to clean. At $150, it’s a de­cent deal, and Ama­zon lists it for even less at $122.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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