The Timbuk2 classic messenger bag: a review

As part of my birthday jamboree week a while back I bought a couple of things to try an fill the void in my life where meaning should be. And so, why not pass on some of that info to the internet?

I needed a bigger bag and I was sick of backpacks. I looked around on the internet and came across this company Timbuk2 by way of amazon. They have some premade, and a bit cheaper there but I found that on the <a href=””>timbuk2 website</a> they have a webapp thingy where you can customise a bag — and that’s even better than actually having the bag.

I’ve been trying to think long-view with buying a few things lately, and so thought it might be worth it to pay a bit extra and get it in the colours that I really like. I was (and still am) hoping that the extra cost, compared to budget branded messenger bags, will be worth it in the end. So far, so good. It’s nice that they make their products in (large 1st world country) too . I’m sure the giant roles of nylon that it’s all made from are manufactured in the chines but you gotta expect that.

<a href=”” title=”Hear the funky drummer by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”320″ height=”320″ alt=”Hear the funky drummer”></a>

I got the large size, mostly with this here laptop I’m tappin’ on in mind. It’s large. I actually wonder if a 15″ screened laptop like this would’ve fit in the small sized bag, regardless of what they recommend on the website. It’s heavy duty nylon, and the shoulder strap is heavy duty. I got the ‘grab strap’ thing so I can hold it ‘like a brief case’ but with the large size at least it doesn’t really work. The bulk of the bag makes it misshapen in a way that makes the hand-holder seem like it’s in the wrong spot. Either that or the weight of the bag when stuff is in it make it not feel appropriate to be using the hand holder since I almost never use the plastic clips to properly close the lid. There’s velcro there too, and for me, so far, that’s enough for keeping it closed. Although the velcro will die in the long run.

<a href=”” title=”Hear the funky drummer by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”Hear the funky drummer”></a>

Since it often ends up sitting like this (open) at home, I wonder about the durability of the inner lining (here, orange) too, but it seems stong and not likely to go brittle and rip the way some plastics of this kind do. They have some neat ideas that’ve bubbled up from real-life cyclists like the cross-strap and the quick-release buckle. And while I’m not game enough to ride a bicycle in this city, I’m sure the bag would do well for cyclists as much as pedestrians. The hidden bonus for me is that the total length of the bag is the same as a subway seat, ie. wider than me sitting down. So when I have it sitting on my lap on the subway and some joker tries to invade my personal space with their elbow or leg then they brush against the chunky strap or the nylon of the bag.

If you start messing around with that design a bag thing you’ll probably end up buying one.

update: I found that there is a retail outlet for Timbuk2 stuff in Seoul. It’s in the shopping complex bulit over the top of wangshimni station on the green subway line. Unfortunately I can’t recommend it. The staff are rude arseholes. Two young guys in a shop the size of a shoebox. Sure, it’s one thing to not know English. I don’t judge shop-assistants on that. It’s another to immediately treat customers suspiciously and like they’re an inconvenience. It seems to be a fairly common thing in these shops where someone has bought into a franchise as an investment: bought the rights, signed a shop-lease, stocked up on merch and then installed a couple of university dropouts who invariably come with the attitude that they’re too good for retail. They get no commission and they don’t understand that they’re writing their own redundancy slips when the shop goes tits up because of lack of customers. Lazy boss, lazy employee.

Plus, the stuff there was _expensive_. There’s no financial benefit in buying there. Buying directly from the Timbuk2 website, including shipping is narrowly cheaper than what you’d pay in this shop. The only diff is you’d have to wait a week for it to arrive.

Update 2 (20/10/12) I liked the bag so much I bought the company.  No, wait, I just bought another bag. For my sweety, for her birthday.  I mentioned the idea of earth-colors and she liked it. So I went chocolate-red devil – barley. Interestingly, I had to just look it up again because I couldn’t remember the exact middle colour, and ‘in the flesh’ the red devil colour looks darker — more like plum. Whatever it is, it looks quite nice. I like the three colours and I think if I could redo my own blue-yellow-blue I would go for three different panels. Hers is the small size, and of course the first thing she tried to do was ram her 15″ brick IBM laptop in there — it just fits but makes the whole bag a bit tight for other stuff. When choosing the size I didn’t think she was going to use it for a computer.

Also, because it was a gift I tried using the little function they have on the webpage where you can attach a personalised message, but the message wasn’t included with the bag. Don’t know what happened there.

<a href=”” title=”New bag by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”New bag”></a>