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Timbuk2 Commute Messenger Bag Review

First Impressions

Timbuk2 – based in San Francisco – is synonymous with the messenger bag and played a big role in popularizing the urban style of gear hauling. From their Classic Messenger to the hipster Command Laptop, the company now makes nearly 20 different messenger options along with a range of backpacks, rolling bags and accessories. For this review, we chose the Commute Messenger (size medium), a bag designed for much more than your average trip to and from work, thanks to a TSA-friendly laptop compartment and other features.


Here’s the rundown on the Commute Messenger. Under the main flap, Timbuk2 places essentially three compartments. The main – located to the rear of the bag – is a large open space capable of swallowing nearly 1000 cubic inches of gear. In front of that is a divided section with one large zippered pocket and four small storage pockets and a set of pen pockets. Ahead of that, Timbuk2 locates five additional pockets (including one zippered and housing a red key lanyard). Depending on how you count, that’s 10 or more, and that’s plenty.

Materials: Ballistic nylon, water-resistant bottom fabric
Weight: 2 lb 14 oz
Main compartment capacity: 864 cu in

At this point, we haven’t even mentioned the laptop storage. Timbuk2 locates that on the rear of the Commute Messenger. It zips open and lays flat allowing you to not remove your laptop for traversing TSA checkpoints. I tested this on a trip recently and the Commute – and my 15-inch notebook – made it through the airport perfectly. I never had to remove the computer from its protective sleeve, just unzip the compartment, lay it on the conveyor and go. An additional interior pocket for flat items sits inside the laptop compartment as well.

Construction quality of the Commute Messenger is top notch. Heavy ballistic nylon makes up the bulk of the bag. The bottom is covered in a water-resistant rubberized material, and Timbuk2 lines the top flap is lined with water-resistant material as well.

Two additional features to note. There’s a pass-through sleeve for your rollaboard handle and an exterior water bottle pocket, both very useful when traveling.


The Timbuk2 Commute is very comfortable to carry either via the shoulder strap or handle. This latter component was very intelligently placed by the bag’s designers. Most traditional messengers feel awkward when grabbing the carrying handle, but not so with the Commute. It feels perfectly balanced.

The shoulder strap is also easily adjustable for a custom fit thanks to Timbuk2’s special clip.

Final Verdict

Fantastic adaptation of the classic messenger. The Timbuk2 Commute Messenger is an ideal companion for the daily trek from home to office. It also delivers when heading out on wider pursuits through security checkpoints, airports, train stations and wherever your travels take you. Recommended.

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