Timbuk2 is billing it as, “Work is just as fun as play with Timbuk2’s New 2017 Commute-Ready Transit Collection.” That might be a stretch depending on what you do for a living but at the very least, the Division Pack, Authority Pack and the Closer Case can make getting to and from work the most stylish and bearable part of your day.
Division Pack ($109) – With twenty-two liters of storage capacity, a ventilated back panel and a rear-access padded laptop compartment that can hold up to a fifteen-inch laptop, the Division pack is best suited for the smaller or more minimalist bike commuter.
There are a lot of things I like about this pack. It has a rectangular bottom so when it’s full, I can set it on the ground without the bag falling over. It has outstanding organization without being overkill. The straps are comfortably padded and don’t dig into my shoulders when in the riding position. A chest strap helps with stability but it’s mostly superfluous. I also appreciate how the laptop pocket is separate from the pack, allowing me more room inside the main compartment for clothes, lunch, etc.
The only downside to this bag is its side stretch neoprene pocket to hold a water bottle. You have to have a really skinny water bottle to work with the Division. Reflectivity could be improved could be improved too, as its only reflective elements are a small Timbuk2 logo on the back and reflective zipper pulls. Neither of which would do well in alerting a car to your presence after dark. Timbuk2 states on their website that the Division has a vista loop for attaching a blinkie light but my sample did not include one.
Authority Pack ($129) –With twenty-eight liters of capacity, the Authority pack is a bit richer on design and storage than its younger sib, the Division. Like the Division, the Authority has a comfortably padded pack panel that allows for some ventilation and a padded laptop sleeve that is separate from the main compartment. It also has a rectangular bottom, comfortable straps with plenty of padding that is well placed to prevent chafing or digging, and a chest strap to help with stability when on a commuter bike.
What I love about the Authority pack is its enhanced organization. It has three zippered compartments on its exterior (the Division has just one) and even when full, it’s still comfortable to wear both on and off the bike. Reflectivity is also a step up from the Division with a pair of wide reflective strips on the bottom compression straps to go along with the reflective logo and zipper pulls.
Closer Case ($159 -M) – This ten-liter pack is a more refined and sleeker version of Timbuk2’s classic messenger bag. The size-to-feature ratio is impressive to say the least. It offers six compartments – both zippered and non-zippered – to keep all your items neatly organized on the commuter bus or train. For airplane travel, a luggage pass-through flap can double as yet another compartment when not attached to a suitcase. A separate external laptop compartment holds laptops with up to fifteen inch screens.
While I did use this a couple of times on the bike, travel and bus commuting is where the Closer Case really excels. It’s very easy to access the interior of the bag without removing it, the shoulder strap pad is wide and comfortable and the back of the bag lays flat at my back with minimal movement. When I used the Closer Case for bike commuting I found that it slipped around on my back, likely due to the glossy fabric. However, it’s lightweight and well-balanced and doesn’t feel like it’s compressing my discs when wearing it for longer than thirty minutes. The metal clasps on the front give it a classy touch. The only annoyance I can find is in the water bottle pocket. Like the Division and the Authority, it is too narrow to hold anything other than a very skinny water bottle (e.g. the size of a small bottle of Aquafina).
Commuters come in many sizes and arrive at work via foot, bike, car, bus or train. The Transit Collection is designed for all of them. With fantastic organization, sheeny fabrics, sturdy metal buckles, smart looks, and a comfortable strap system under moderately heavy loads, Timbuk2 continues to impress. It’s clear they put a lot of thought into this line and the results reflect that. These bags also happen to look just as appropriate when paired with a suit as they do with a jersey and a commuter bike, adding a nice level of versatility too.
Plus, it’s Timuk2 so it comes with a lifetime warranty. These are bags that will be with you for many years of commuting to come.