Timbuk2 Power Commute Laptop Messenger Bag Review
I’ll get this out of the way up front and say that the Timbuk2 Power Commute Laptop Messenger Bag is one of the best travel companions I’ve ever had. The Power Commute is a versatile and functional piece of travel gear that can help eliminate one area of hassle from your trips. The feature list is extensive and I seemed to find a use for every part of the bag. Timbuk2 has been in the messenger bag game for a while now and they have learned a lot in that time. The Power Commute has an extra trick up its sleeve and features a rechargeable battery pack for on the go power when your cell phone or other small device dies and there is no convenient outlets.
The Timbuk2 Power Commute is a traditional messenger bag style in that it is meant to be slung over a shoulder using the adjustable strap. The strap is easily adjustable for a wide range of body sizes and wearing preferences. I do wish that the strap included was better padded but it gets the job done. The main compartment of the Power Commute bag is under a large flap that has multiple strips of Velcro allowing it to close securely, regardless of the fullness of the bag. Two fastening straps allow for further security in closure. I feel like Timbuk2 designed the Power Commute to have as much capacity as possible while still fitting comfortably under an airline seat and they did a flawless job with this task. You can load the bag up with all your travel entertainment necessities and still have room for a change of clothes or two in the bag. They’re are two small Velcro patches on the internal sides of the bag that allow it to expand further into a more rectangular shape.
To get an idea of how much can fit comfortably in this bag, here is a list of its contents on my last trip:
- Barnes and Noble Nook E-Reader
- Cell phone charger
- Apple Macbook Air laptop
- Laptop charger
- Bose noise-cancelling headphones in their case
- Two magazines
- Two boxes of pastries from a bakery (yum)
- Business cards
- Canon G11 large point and shoot camera
- Camera charger
- 3 prescription medication bottles
- Light sweater
- Water bottle
The best part is that there is plenty of organizational features to keep that all from feeling like a mess. The front of the bag (under the flap when closed) has a couple of fleece lined pockets that are great for putting your cell when you go through security and your glasses if you forget a case. There is also a zippered pocket there that I use for my wallet when I am going through the airport. Another pocket up front fits my Nook E-Reader perfectly. The inside the main bag compartment is lined with pockets that serve various functions as well. Two of the four are occupied by the included battery and its charging cables but those can be removed or relocated if you want. I stuck my phone charger in one of the other pockets and my medication bottles into an internal mesh sleeve that could also hold a beverage bottle. Along the back side of the main compartment is a full-length sleeve with a velcro fastener that is good for magazines and papers. All in all there are a lot of storage options to take advantage of with the Power Commute bag.
Timbuk2 knows that most people travel with laptops these days and they made a special compartment designed for that purpose. A lightly padded compartment on the back side of the pack has a sleeve for laptops up to 15 inches. My 13 inch Macbook Air fit great. A thoughtful part of this design is that the laptop compartment is easily accessible with a large zipper for taking your computer out to please TSA at the security checkpoint. The laptop compartment also has plenty of space for more magazines and files. Rounding out the feature set is a well-designed sleeve for attaching the Power Commute bag to a luggage pull handle to save your back when rolling a suitcase.
Now comes one of the more interesting features of the Timbuk2 Power Commute Laptop Messenger Bag. Timbuk2 partnered with Joey to include a solution to the cellphone-age problem of never being able to find a power outlet when you need one. They accomplished this by fitting a low-profile and light weight rechargeable battery pack into a dedicated pouch in the bag that includes a USB outlet for charging a cell phone or other small electronic device. A micro-usb cable is included for charging most non-Apple smart phones and for charging the battery itself from a powered USB port. For iPhone users, you will need to either use the cable that came with your phone or purchase an additional one. My phone has a huge battery (about twice the size of an iPhone 5’s) and I was able to just barely get a full recharge out of the Joey before it died. This leads me to believe that iPhone users should be able to get at least a charge and a half out of it. One thing to note is that the charging voltage is very low and it takes a lot longer to recharge than a wall outlet does. On a similar note, it takes a while to recharge the battery itself when it goes dead. On the whole I found the convenience of having the battery to be a great feature of the bag and on multiple occasions I was very happy to have it there. While it’s true that there are a number of battery products on the market that you could add to any bag, buying them bundled like this makes a lot of sense and works well.
I will wrap up how I began and reiterate that the Timbuk2 Power Commute Laptop Messenger Bag should be on any frequent travelers short list of carry on bag options. Smart features and excellent capacity make it a great choice for a wide range of needs. The inclusion of a rechargeable battery pack seals the deal and made this bag a true workhorse for me. The Power Commute Laptop Messenger Bag is available for an MSRP of $199.