Timbuk2 Light Bright Messenger bag

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Riding to work. Sounds like a wonderful idea now the sun is out, doesn’t it? Less appealing in the middle of winter though. A waterproof courier bag is a thing of joy when it’s cold and wet – it’s an extra layer of protection against the weather to your back, and makes sure that you have dry socks to put on when you get to the office. Win win.

While many commuters (and the physios of those commuters) now prefer an ergonomically balanced, backpack-style bag for lugging their work stuff back and forth, there are also plenty of folk like me who have used a courier bag for a decade and still find it perfectly comfortable.

There are some nice details on this one – the reflective red stripe all the way around the body of the bag works extremely well and is also the colour UK drivers expect to see on the rear of a road user. A white/blue/black version is also available if you want to confuse things but I’d rather make it as simple as possible for drivers to figure out what it is that’s lit up in front of them, if it’s alright with you… There are little Velcro tabs which close off the ‘envelope’ gaps at the corners of the flap that water can trickle in through on my other courier bags, and a Napoleon pocket which allows easy access to keys/wallet without opening the bag completely – when I remember it’s there.

It only comes in a medium size, which isn’t big enough for me, though Timbuk2 does many, many bags in many, many sizes so there’s bound to be one that would work; we just didn’t get it to test. As it is, ‘Medium’ sits in an awkward position somewhere in between ‘phone, wallet, a clean t-shirt and a book rattling around in a gloomy bucket’ and ‘rather a tight squeeze with shoes, laptop and a pint of milk in there, and definitely too tight to fit the cat food in on top’. Odd as it sounds, it has too many pockets, making it far too easy to lose the house keys.

And: why do bag designers always put the laptop sleeve right at the back of a pack? Even the most rigid of cyclists has a spine which is many degrees more flexible than a laptop. For a bag to be comfortable and stable, it needs to be able to conform to your back – after several fidgety commutes I learned to stuff the sleeve with soft goods, swapping the laptop to the front and incurring fewer bruises in the process. Yes, the laptop is less protected from impacts, but it’s still better off than it would be vibrating away in a pannier.

If, like me, you still have a bag from back in the day when Timbuk2 still manufactured in San Francisco, then you might not like the plasticky feel of the coated nylon fabric used throughout. It’s lighter than ballistic nylon and is definitely as weatherproof as you could ask for, but though it’s holding up reasonably well overall after six months of daily use, small holes appearing at points of flex and I’m doubtful it will last as long as my decade-old Cordura Classic.

Overall: For an off-the-peg bag it has its plus points but it’s not as good as a ‘proper’ Timbuk2. Go custom!


Review Info

Brand: Timbuk2
Product: Light Bright Messenger bag
From: Timbuk2, timbuk2.com 01572 772508
Price: £90.00
Tested: by Jenn for A winter and a wintery spring
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Comments (0)

    Another advantage of going custom is that you get to specify a bag without a laptop sleeve and get a separate sleeve (I endorse the orange ballistic nylon/grey cord sleeve) and put it wherever you want in the bag.

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