Timbuk2 Patrol: Possibly the Perfect Laptop Backpack
by Mike Richard | February, 2010
A few months back, I spent the better part of a day in search of the perfect laptop backpack. After hours and hours of reviewing customer testimonials, product photos, and specs, I decided to give the folks at San Francisco-based Timbuk2 a go.
They claim, “For 20 years, we’ve been building bags and accessories for urban adventures with a simple philosophy – create good-looking, tough-as-Hell bags you can truly make your own.”
Enter the Timbuk2 Patrol laptop backpack …
First, the bullet points (via Amazon.com):
- Day pack for holding books, clothes, shoes, and laptop
- Tuck-away shoulder straps and organizer pockets
- Fits laptops as large as 17 x 11.5 x 1.5 inches
- External compression straps; internal zippered pockets
- Measures 14.5 x 19 x 8 inches (W x H x D); weighs 4.1 pounds
… and a little more in-depth:
Some people don’t do rolling bags, believing they have the strength to carry the world–or at least their life–on their shoulders. Enter the Timbuk2 Patrol backpack, which is roomy enough to store books, clothes, shoes, and even a laptop.
The Patrol backpack includes a large main compartment, several internal pockets, and a laptop sleeve.
Ideal for the urban backpacker or day traveler, the Patrol includes a large main compartment, a separate laptop compartment, and several internal zippered pockets. The pack is also airport friendly, with tuck-away shoulder straps and organizer pockets to help you easily pass through security checkpoints. And you can pack the Patrol heavy or keep it light thanks to the external compression straps. Other features include a grab strap for easy lifting and an external water bottle pocket.
So how does the Timbuk2 Patrol stack up?
The exterior is a straightforward, no-frills affair – black with a noticeable Timbuk2 logo. That’s it.
Other color options include brown/red and army green/green. While these other options are quite eye-catching, I opt for stealth. I’d rather not let on that I’m carrying a brand new shiny laptop bag full of overpriced electronics and photography hardware. I am of course, but why advertise it?
It boasts a remarkably well thought out interior. The laptop compartment is not merely a zippered enclosure attached to the strap-side of the pack. It’s a sleeve that allows you to pack your clothes “around” it for added protection.
Dual handles on the outside allow for easy carrying and tossing around in either “landscape” or “portrait” format.
The compression straps also mean that you can pack as heavy or light as you like with the confidence that all your possessions will remain snugly in place inside the Patrol.
Ripstop nylon – heavy, amazingly durable. Let me put it this way: I never check my bags. Ever. But if I did need to check the Patrol, I would have absolutely no worries that it would return to me in one piece. Yes, I don’t think even the TSA could ruin this little beast. And that’s saying something.
Not too small, and not too large. The size is perfect for a weekend away or a trip around the world. I have a closet full of duffel bags, suitcases, and wheeled luggage. Since acquiring the Patrol, they’re all sitting in my bedroom closet quietly wondering what their purpose now is in life. It’s become my go-to pack for literally any trip. I’ve no need for any other.
On sale now from Amazon.com (from $225).
At more than $200, it ain’t cheap. But flashpackers always ask: does the quality warrant the cash? For the Timbuk2 Patrol Bag, the answer is a resounding, Hell yes! Just right sizing, bullet proof – almost military-grade – construction, and smart pocket design make this the perfect laptop travel bag at almost any price. Highly recommended.
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About the Author
Vagabondish founding editor, Mike Richard, is a Rhode Island native, professional web designer and travel junkie with an unhealthy addiction to backpacking, hiking and seeing the world. He enjoys knit hats, small, declarative sentences and speaking in the third person. His professional credits include "Woman's World magazine contributor" and having once been interviewed by Tyra Banks (seriously).