Timbuk2: Still Blazing Trails, 27 Years After the Messenger Bag

The Messenger Bag has come a long way since bike messenger Rob Honeycutt founded Timbuk2 in a Mission District garage way back in 1989. A pioneer in sustainable manufacturing, Timbuk2 is currently the second largest manufacturer in San Francisco (second only to Anchor Brewing, for what it's worth), and a powerhouse in personal portage and accessories. The company just announced its new Fall 2017 line, proving this trailblazing global lifestyle brand is not content to skate by on past achievements.

With three new bags and updates of two old favorites, the Lifestyle Collection showcases function and purpose with militaristic style. The Rookie Pack ($79) is a straight-up, no-frills 18x9-inch backpack, with simple lines and solid colors. The Forge Tote (above, $99) is essentially a large tote bag — but with shoulder straps, so it can be slung over the shoulders like a backpack. We applaud the versatility. And, it’s got that signature Timbuk2 roll-top closure. The Tripper ($99) is a military-inspired duffel with a large bottom zip pocket that just might be our new favorite weekender. As for the updated bags, the Mini Ramble Pack ($79) is a backpack with a plethora of small, zippered stash pockets inside and out. And the Carbon Coated Tuck Pack ($99) is a waterproof version of Timbuk2’s classic roll-top backpack, with an extra coating of cotton twill sheen to keep the moisture out.

Clean cut and austere design featuring lightweight nylon faille for a quick-drying sheen, all three packs in the new Transit Collection are ideal for commuters. The Division Pack ($109) is a flat-bottomed, everyday backpack with a laptop compartment and plenty of room for your lunch and extra shoes. The Authority Pack ($129) is a full-sized work tote, perfect for laptops, files, and much, much more. It features outside zip pockets and extras galore, like bottom compression straps, reflective panels, and inner compartments. The Closer Case (shown) is a work-appropriate messenger bag that’s effectively a top-notch, weather-resistant briefcase with classy touches like metal hardware; it comes in two sizes, small ($149) and large ($159).

All of the above bags are available now, or will be soon, at Timbuk2 retail outlets or online at Timbuk2.com.

Coming later this summer are two all-new lines from Timbuk2. The Travel Collection combines a streamlined sensibility gleaned from cycling with practical luggage capabilities. Whether you carry it as a duffel or wear it like a backpack, the coated nylon Quest Duffel is ideal for quick getaways. At the airport, the small ($99) and medium ($129) Quests can be carried on; the large ($149) must be checked. The Quest Rolling Duffel (shown, $199 and $219), a wheeled and handled version of the Quest, is more of a classic carry-on. As for packs in the Travel line, the Blink ($119), Blitz ($139) and Wander ($179) promise minimalist style and maximum function for over-the-shoulder carries. Also coming out later this summer, the brand new On-The-Go Collection is the most comprehensive women’s line Timbuk2 has ever produced, with five bags designed by alumni of swanky handbag makers Coach and Vivienne Westwood including a tote, a crossbody, a duffel, and two smaller packs.

None of these strike your fancy? Like the bag but not the color? Like the color but not the material? Timbuk2’s Custom Shop can make any bag you want out of any material you’d like, in most any color, from $99. Pick a design, pick a material and a color, and Timbuk2’s team in San Francisco will make a custom backpack, duffel, or messenger just for you.

Finally, if you’re the kind of guy who takes his tiny dog everywhere, you need Timbuk2’s Muttmover Light ($159; large, $179). It’s a lightweight version of the original Muttmover (below), a backpack designed specifically for the portage of pooches. In our opinion, though, anything larger than a Jack Russell ought to be trotting along beside you.