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Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag Review

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag

The Timbuk2 Classic – the original Timbuk2 workhorse

Timbuk2 is from San Francisco and they created the first messenger bags ever made! The first bags were made out of a garage in San Francisco. Today, most of their bags are produced in Asia with the exception of custom-made bags, which are still made in San Francisco.

One of the great features of buying a Timbuk2 bag is that they are fully customizable.  Basically, the company sells two types of bags, custom-made and pre-made. Pre-made bags are produced in Asia and you can only choose your colour, but custom-made bags are fully customizable and made in San Francisco. They have an impressive choice of features, colors and styles.    That being said, expect to pay 2-5 times as much for custom made, and you can’t return it for anything other than manufacturing defects.

timbuk2 classic bag
Image courtesy of

Looking for best price on Timbuk2 Classic Bag?

The medium priced bag is an excellent value at only $90.  It is a good all-around size that will be functional for anyone and everyone.

Timbuk2 bags come with a lifetime guarantee. Generally, you can expect that they will last you about 10 years.  They have a very compact and robust design. They are made out of ballistic nylon which makes it very durable and abrasion-resistant.

The variety of sizes that these bags come in is impressive.  Timbuk2 gives sizing information for both men and women, so you can see how this bag will fit on your body.

Timbuk2 bag sizing
Timbuk2 men’s bag sizing. Image from Timbuk2 website.

Sizing is also given for women:

Timbuk2 classic sizing - women
Sizing – Women. Image from Timbuk2 website.


The sizes and weights are as follows

Extra Small (XS)

  • Height 8.9 “
  • Depth 5.1 “
  • Weight 1.6 lb
  • Volume 8 L

Small (S)

  • Height 9.7 “
  • Depth 4.7 “
  • Weight 2.2 lb
  • Volume 14L

Medium (M)

  • Height 10.4 “
  • Depth 7.9 “
  • Weight 2.6 lb
  • Volume 24 L

Large (L)

  • Height 11.8 “
  • Depth 9.1 “
  • Weight 3.0 lb
  • Volume 36 L

Extra large (XL)

  • Height 13.8″
  • Depth 9.4 “
  • Weight 3.2 lb
  • Volume 56 L

The inner cover of the bag is coated with waterproof TPU, making the bag waterproof.  The newest version of this bag comes with a “napoleon” pocket, which allows you to access your keys, wallet cellphone without opening your bag. These items are kept inside securely but are not secured by zipper or velcro, if your bag is packed, the pressure will keep the items inside, however if it is loosely packed the items may fall out.

inside of the Timbuk2 bag
The bag, inside. Image from Timbuk2 website.

There is a laptop inner pouch in the back of the bag which allows you to slip your laptop, iPad or tablet, or magazines into it separately.  This section is not padded, so you wouldn’t want to drop the bag with your computer inside, as it doesn’t offer a lot of protection.  The front has a classic organization pouch: 3 zippered pockets on front, one on the side. The interior storage is basic and effective.  It has sleeves for pens and pencils.

Timbuk2 bag, open
The bag, open. Image from Timbuk2 website.

The strap is angled slightly to make it easier to use when riding – this handy feature is excellent when riding a bike but not needed when you are not bent over, walking.

To summarize, the best features of the bag are

  • Compact design
  • Impressive and great choice of colours and sizes
  • Ballistic nylon: a very robust, industrial-use material
  • Waterproof lining on lid
  • Hand buckle makes it easy to release the bag
  • Laptop inner pouch, a section for magazines, a tablet or iPad.
  • Sturdy, industrial strength velcro


Some disadvantages

  • Hard to carry when heavily packed, the adjustment system on the strap does not work great under weight.
  • Laptop sleeve isn’t robust enough: more padding would be helpful.
  • No grab handle, this is purely a messenger bag!



Overall this bag is an excellent value, and is hard to beat given it’s price.  For the money, you get a lot of messenger bag.  The medium size is an excellent, every-day all around size that anyone will appreciate.  The bag is sturdy and robust, and though there are “tougher” bags out there, at the price of the classic bag it is hard to get a better value.

Where to buy Timbuk2 Classic Bag

Looking for other messenger bags from Timbuk2? Check out the full selection of timbuk2 bags or look at other messenger bag brands

1 thought on “Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag Review

  1. Timbuk2 makes great bags but they did NOT “create the first messenger bags ever made”.

    Western Union had bike messengers 100 years ago and their messengers used heavy canvas bags.

    As far as who created what we now call a mess bag, that honor goes to Erik Zo, who as a bike messenger created the first messenger specific bag of the modern era in 1983. He handmade all his bags and they are revered by collectors. If you can find a Zo bag, expect to pay north of $1000!

    In the ’90s, Zoic & Timbuk2 were the first companies to begin mass producing mess bags, with Timbuk2 edging out Zoic with aggressive marketing & corporate sponsorships.

    Today Zoic makes bike clothes & Timbuk2 makes fancy messenger lite bags no longer suitable for the working woman or man on a bike as they are too small and have features we don’t need when we are rapidly transporting several boxes & envelopes!

    They do however, make great commuter bags, travel bags and alternative purses.

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