Short Version: The Commute 2.0 is from Timbuk2′s new TSA friendly generation of messenger bags. Essentially this means that they’ve added some commuter friendly features to a standard messenger bag.
Timbuk2 (originally known as Scumbags) was founded in San Fransisco in 1989 by a former bicycle messenger. The creator’s background really shows in the construction of the bag. The finish and stitching is of the highest quality, and there is a definite sense of purpose about this bag. It is designed for someone who travels, and needs to move quickly through TSA checkpoints.
The Commute 2.0 has several standard messenger bag features that you’ve come to expect. The organizer panel, the water bottle holder, keyfob – all there. Where it gets a little more interesting is the commuter and TSA friendly stuff. There’s a pass through for your luggage handle, a pocket for your airline tickets, and the laptop pocket folds out and lays flat, which allows you to send the whole bag through the xray machine without taking the laptop out of the bag. I for one, love that feature. One thing that was a big odd was the rubberized bottom of the bag. To be honest, I see the necessity of having it for weatherized, but the texture is a bit strange at first. I’m sure if I’d been using the bag for more then a few weeks I’d get used to it, but it was a bit awkward at first.
The bag also comes in multiple sizes, so you can get one that fits your laptop, versus the typical “one size fits all.” The small will hold a standard 14-inch system, the medium holds a 16-inch, and the large works with a laptop up to 17 inches. The one they sent to us to review was the large, and it held the 17 inch laptop in the pocket with relative ease. The problem came from the power brick. The laptop side of things seemed to be designed for systems with smaller peripherals. The laptop I put in the bag was quite large, and so the brick made the bag bulge in a rather uncomfortable way. The padding around the laptop was also a little bit thinner then I’d like. I’m sure it works, and I acknowledge the need to trade padding thickness for size, but it just seemed a little thin to me.
For my dollar, the Commute 2.0 is an ideal messenger bag. It’ll hold your documents, magazines, cell phones, keys, chargers, and laptop with no problems. And you can’t beat the price. The medium will set you back $100, the large is $120, and the small is not currently listed for sale on the Timbuk2 website.