Timbuk2 built its base among the bike messenger set, where their bags are revered for their tough-as-nails construction, cycle-friendly ergonomics, and and on-the-go ease of use. We’re excited to announce that the San Francisco-based company recently updated their lineup with a variety of sustainable and eco-friendly fabrics, and we had a chance to try out their custom Bag Builder first hand! Read on for our first-hand impressions as we run a Lex Pack through the ringer.
The Timbuk2 Bag Builder
Ordering a custom-built Timbuk2 bag couldn’t be simpler. A snappy online interface guides you through a plethora of bag styles, sizes, fabrics, and bells & whistles, and does a great job of visualizing your creation every step of the way. I decided on a medium Lex backpack, and in a matter of 15 minutes I had completed my order and received an endearingly snarky email from the Timbuk2 staff:
“Thanks for picking us. Your new bag is gonna ROCK! Here is your order summary email. We suggest that you actually read it and like it because this is what you are getting and the Lucky One’s address below is where we are going to send it.”
I live in San Francisco, and it only took six days for them to stitch my bag from scratch and ship it to my house. Timbuk2 gets big kudos for their packaging material, which doubles as a pocketable waterproof bike map of the city.
Timbuk2 offers a great assortment of sustainably sourced textiles, although their eco-friendly fabric selection does tend towards the avant garde. I chose three different fabrics to get a good feel for the variety of weaves and styles they have available. The green panel is a 67% Hemp / 33% recycled PET fabric that is smooth, slightly knobby, and feels very substantial. The patterned center panel is Green Point fabric, and the Indigo panel features Timbuk2′s shiny ticker tape fabric, both of which are made from 100% recycled polyester. These two fabrics feel a tad less burly than the Hemp/PET material, although the entire bag hasn’t shown a stitch of wear in the 3 weeks that I’ve been testing it.
The bag’s interior features a vinyl-free waterproof TPU liner and a handy organizational panel with pockets for pens, a cell phone, magazines, and documents. The Lex Pack’s single wide-mouthed compartment swallows up pretty much anything I can throw at it, from a week’s worth of groceries to a new queen sized comforter, to a weekend’s supply of clothing and gear while traveling.
I’ve put the Lex Pack through its paces and have been thoroughly pleased with its construction and ergonomics. A smartly designed system of straps enables fiddle-free tightening and release, and the main compartment is easily accessible, fastening with two buckles and velcro closures. At 2563 cubic inches, it’s pretty incredible how much the bag can carry, and a padded back panel makes transporting heavy objects a breeze. I was particularly impressed with the pack’s performance while cycling – it evenly distributes weight over the entire length of the back, and having two straps makes it much more comfortable than messenger-style bags.
All-in-all, Timbuk2‘s pro-planet line offers a great set of sustainable bags. Since they have a single main chamber, they may not be the best option if you’re looking for lots of compartmentalized organization, but they’re eminently functional, extremely durable, comfortable to carry, and now they feature a great set of sustainably-sourced materials.