Timbuk2 Uptown Laptop Backpack Review

While I’ve always been picky about which phone, laptop or other electronics I use, I usually don’t give a second thought to what I carry all that around in. For years, I didn’t bother with using a backpack: if I had to take my laptop somewhere, I’d just take it as is. If I needed to take my charger with me, that was being dragged along in the cold, unforgiving world as well. Last year, I finally bought a simple little backpack because I was attending a one month professional development class. The backpack worked well enough, but I’d need something bigger if I had to pack a change of clothes.

While that backpack still functions perfectly fine, I wanted a little bit more space this year. I wanted something that would be slim and compact when it’s just my laptop, but also have a lot of compartments if I need to expand. One manufacturer I kept hearing about is Timbuk2: the company is located and manufacturers all its bags in San Francisco, CA, and they have a variety of bags to meet anyone’s needs. I decided to try the Uptown Laptop Backpack. The normal retail price for this bag is $120, but I was able to get it used on Amazon for $60.

The standout feature is the laptop pouch: it sits in a compartment against the wearer’s back, keeping it as safe as possible. This also makes the bag very TSA friendly: unzip the back compartment, lay the bag flat, and pass it through the x-ray at the airport. No worrying about digging your laptop out and putting it into a separate compartment. Once it’s through, just zip up the back compartment and the backpack is ready to wear. This back section also has a second compartment for a tablet or e-reader.

The Timbuk2 Uptown next to my old backpack

The straps are easy to adjust, and feature a reflective strip to make the wearer easier to see at night. The biggest compartment doesn’t have any internal pockets, so it’s great for stuffing large amounts of items in. I use this to store a change of clothing, and the compartment has no issues holding a pair of jeans, a pair of underwear, a shirt, a change or two of socks, a towel and a toiletry kit. Moving forward, there is a small pouch at the top of the backpack for sunglasses or other quick access items.

The next compartment is about the same size as the main one, but this time with pockets and pouches to keep smaller items organized. I usually use this compartment to store my battery pack, various cables, digital camera, headphones, mouse, and Nintendo 3DS. The front most compartment has even more pockets and pouches, but I don’t have anything I put into this compartment. There is also another quick access compartment on the front.

The Timbuk2 Uptown, fully loaded

While the bag held all of my clothes and gear, none of it was hard to get to. I don’t go out enough times to have a designated pouch for each piece of equipment, but the option is there if need be. With just my laptop in the bag, it doesn’t look or feel any larger than my previous bag, but when I need to expand I am able to. Finally, there is an elastic pouch on the side for bottles.

Timbuk2 makes a variety of bags for different types of users, and everyone I know that’s used one of their bags has sung their praises. Even though I haven’t had the bag long, I can tell it’s going to last me a very long time, both due to the versatility and the quality of the bag. While Timbuk2’s bags aren’t cheap, they are designed to last forever. On the off chance it does fail, the company offers a lifetime warranty to repair or replace the bag.