Timbuk2’s made in San Francisco small Classic Messenger bag has been in my arsenal for the last week or so. This post won’t be a review, but rather a quick tour via several quick, handheld shots. This is the Timbuk2 “Classic” Messenger, size small, in black/black/black (1680 denier ballistic nylon) with the logo in Citron.  Also pictured is the “Tough Tek” rubberized strap pad:

Inside, the bag is equipped with the  “Laptop Loveglove;” you can see the leading edge of my MacBook Air peeking out. The Loveglove is a molded foam sleeve that’s suspended from the sides of the bag; as you can see, it features molded studs or dimples, which provide a little extra isolation and protection. The interior color (you can see a bit at the top of this shot) is “Old Gold,” by the way:

On the front of the bag are three zippered compartments which are handy for all manner of small items:

On the right (leading) edge of the front panel is the zipper to a hidden compartment that’s handy for boarding passes, or a (how quaint!) checkbook; you can reach under the bag’s flap and locate this zipper fairly easily, once you’ve tried it a few times:

The locking cam hardware performs the same function as those found on the offshore-manufactured Timbuk2 bags, but is a bit more sophisticated in appearance:

How is the cam lock helpful? Most times, if you’re using the bag as a daily bag, you’ll simply wear it over your shoulder, resulting in a large loop of extra strap material, as shown below. But for extra security and stability (say, you have to carry a large box, or a shopping bag or two), you’ll want to wear the bag messenger style, with the strap on your opposite shoulder. Just release the cam and the excess shoulder strap material is instantly released, making the switch to over your head/on your other shoulder easy:

A full review will follow in a week or two; for the moment, I’m really enjoying this bag. See it at the Timbuk2 site: Timbuk2 Small Classic Messenger

The custom Timbuk2 bags are all made in San Francisco; off the shelf bags, like the Freestyle I reviewed a few weeks ago, are made offshore. When you opt for a custom bag, you can specify the bag’s colors, accents, and features to exactly suit your needs; a dizzying array of materials and colors is available.  I’ll do some direct comparisons between the custom and off the shelf bags in my full review. Stay tuned.

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12 Comments on Quick photo tour: Timbuk2 custom small classic messenger bag

  1. Jeff Mac says:

    Interesting bag, looking forward to your full review…can you give us an idea how much you can put in the bag?

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Jeff,

    I’ll cover it in the review, but as pictured it holds my MB Air in the sleeve, a spiral bound 8.5 x 11″ notebook, a manila folder with travel itineraries, and a couple of print magazines; there’s A LOT of room left over.

    Capacity is 14.5 liters. The Freestyle I reviewed earlier is, in Timbuk2’s nomenclature, an “Extra Small” messenger bag.

    [Reply]

  2. Brian Newman says:

    I tightened up the big loop below the cam using that other buckle thing.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Doing so negates the function of the cam lock, however. If you want the strap longer so you can wear it messenger-bag-style, there’s no quick way to do so.

    [Reply]

    Brian Newman Reply:

    I wear my bag pretty “high and tight” so the loop was 20″ big. When the cam would catch on something, the bag would fall down below my ass. I tightened it up so there was only about 10″ of travel.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Got it; makes sense. Thanks for the clarification.

  3. Mavericke says:

    Are you replacing your Brenthaven Case with this Timbuk2 LoveGlove? Did you find any problems with it / what’s the reason for the replacement?

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Mavericke,

    No. I actually am using the Brenthaven case in concert with the LoveGlove in the T2 bag. It’s overkill, but I don’t see any point in risking damaging the MB Air. Of course, when it’s out of the sleeve, it’s entirely possible I could drop it… but I’m very careful with it.

    [Reply]

  4. Michael W. says:

    It’s funny how bike messenger bags, which were originally designed for cross-body carry for real bike messengers, have evolved into shoulder bags for urbanites.

    I think it is a good thing, actually.

    Cross-body carry was favored by messengers for a couple of reasons: you could rotate the bag around from back to front for quick access to contents, and quick-access shaved a little time off deliveries. Second, while most deliveries were of normal sized documents, sometimes there were plans and drawings in long tubes. The cross body carry style gave a scoche more length for the tube (compared to a back pack) and you could always let the tube stick out the top.

    Besides, messenger bags were simple to design and produce. Backpacks are tougher. The simplicity of design and production allowed for home-made (USA) construction in small start-up shops run by ex-messengers, while backpacks would be prohibitively expensive to produce in the USA (witness the cost of Tom Bihn and RedOxx, made in USA backpacks).

    Messenger style bags appealed to me back in the 80’s because I was carrying my daypack on one shoulder anyway, and figured single strap carry on a messenger should be fine (although I had to hunt for non-slip shoulder straps). Messenger bags also looked rugged compared to the daypacks of that era which had too many bells and whistles and came with luggage-style “handles” and rubberized “bucket bottoms.”

    Well flash forward to the present and messenger bags have shrunk down to useful sizes, while adding just enough organizing features to beat most daypacks at their own game.

    And I’ve finally figured out that being able to convert to “long strap” for cross-body carry is a real plus. I’d previously avoided adjusting strap length like the plague because it was always tricky to adjust back to my favorite length.

    But the new dual buckle design on the Timbuk2’s lets me unsnap a single buckle to carry cross body instead of on my shoulder; then instantly and painlessly (no readjustment required) convert back to shoulder carry by snapping the Fastex-style buckle back together.

    So now I have the benefits of shoulder carry (quick on and off getting into the car) and cross-body carry (absolutely, positively no risk of slipping off the shoulder when overloaded with grocery bags).

    Thanks for reminding me how darn good bike messenger bags are. Now if I could find one that isn’t too bulky or heavy for stuffing in my travel luggage for use as my local bag.

    [Reply]

  5. Alfee says:

    Looks nice and well-built but I think it’s a tad too small for me. A medium sized one will fit me better.

    My only concern is that the Timbuk2 screams of valuable things inside. Can be a theft target.

    [Reply]

  6. Jay says:

    Why did you switch from redoxx?

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Its appearance, the laptop sleeve, numerous small pockets, more comfortable shoulder strap…

    [Reply]

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