If you want a convenient travel backpack, but don’t need an actual travel backpack, the Timbuk2 Uptown Backpack might be something worth looking into. While it’s not perfect and it may not hold up against designated travel bags. the Uptown definitely has some advantages over an everyday backpack. Made for work and travel, the Timbuk2 backpack delivers in some areas and lacks in others. Let’s discuss why that is by taking a closer look, starting with, as always, the ways in which the bag does a great job.
What You Should Know About the Timbuk2 Uptown Backpack: Specs, Materials, and Features
Below is the general information of the backpack, paying attention to the exterior materials, features, and specifications. This info can help you decide if, on paper, the Uptown will be right for your needs. For instance, are these dimensions going to work for your travel purposes, or would you be better off with something bigger? Smaller? Here you can decide for sure if you’d be interested in the Uptown.
Specifications of the Timbuk2 Uptown
Dimensions: 19.49 x 6.5 x 11.22 inches
Accommodates up to a 15″ laptop
Weight: 2.4 pounds
Materials: Made with 400D Nylon Faille
Nylon is a typical material used in most backpacks, and it’s usually the cheapest option for manufacturers. While these types of backpacks do a good job of holding up, in the long run, you may experience wear and tear if treated poorly.
Features: Ventilated Back Panel to Keep You Cool
Bikers can rejoice at the fact that this backpack has a padded back panel. When a backpack doesn’t have padding, it can make it uncomfortable for riders. Not only will their backs get sweaty, but the spine will also be a bit awkward.
Features: Removable and Adjustable Sternum Strap
Here’s another comfort feature that I look for in a backpack, especially because I tend to bike everywhere. A sternum strap is meant to go in front of your chest to help offer your backpack more stability when loaded. For bikers, sternum straps help keep the shoulder straps in place while in motion. They also offer support to anyone doing long-distance walking.
Features: Bottle Opener Attached to the Shoulder Strap
Okay, while this isn’t entirely necessary in a backpack, it’s a pretty cool feature.
The Uptown Laptop Travel Backpack Comes Equipt With Plenty of Compartments
In order for a backpack to be good for work and travel, it needs to have enough organization possibilities to keep chaos at bay. It’s safe to say that the Timbuk2 Uptown backpack takes compartmentalization into great consideration.
Compartments: Small Vertical Front Zip Pocket
At the very front of the pack is a small vertical zip pocket to store all your smaller items. I personally think it’s great for holding your wallet, phone, and headphones.
Compartments: Padded U-Zip Front Organizer Panel
The next pocket is the padded front organizer panel. This compartment has multiple smaller pockets inside for organization. The padded feature is great if you want to slide a tablet inside, without risking any damage.
Compartments: A Mid- Sized Pocket
Right before the main compartment is a slimmer compartment, with room for a binder or other flat surface items. There are also three pockets for organization, including a mesh zippered pocket, and two open slots.
Compartments: Large main compartment
The large main compartment can carry your denser items like books, clothing, and other essentials. There is plenty of space in here for just about anything, which is why this is a travel-friendly pack. If I were to take this on a trip, I would put my clothes inside of packing cubes and organize them inside, biggest on the bottom. At the very top, I would place my toiletries for my trip and my liquids. This makes it easier to take out for screening.
Compartments: Stretchy Side Pocket
This small sized elastic side pocket can fit a small water bottle or U-lock if you bike. I just wish it were slightly deeper and bigger because I like to carry big water bottles with me.
Compartments: Small Fleece-Lined Top Pocket
I love a good glasses pocket, and this one by Timbuk2 is fleece-lined. It’s perfect for carrying sunglasses, glasses, or your smartphone. What’s great is that I don’t have to worry about my lenses or my screen getting scratched.
Compartments: TSA Friendly Laptop Sleeve
Finally, here’s why this backpack is awesome. For those of you who haven’t traveled with a carry-on backpack, you should know that you may be required to take your laptop out of your bag. Cumbersome, I know. Now, imagine taking out your laptop, and your outer articles of clothing, your shoes, your liquids, and your wallet and phone. It’s no wonder people lose or misplace their items in the airport! The Uptown travel backpack helps you with your laptop at least.
The laptop sleeve pocket in the back unzips all the way around. That way you can simply lay the back open, without having to take your laptop out. There’s also space for a tablet in case you wanted to bring it as well. The timbuk2 Uptown travel backpack can fit up to a 15″ laptop.
Issues With the Timbuk2 Uptown Backpack That You Should Know About
These are things that I personally feel are lacking in the pack. Now, others may have different opinions, and that’s fine. But after having the bag for a while I feel that I can offer a heads-up to people before they purchase the bag.
Water-Resistant, Not Waterproof
Let’s talk about the exterior material first. As I said before, the nylon fabric will hold just fine if you treat it well. However, given my past experience with this material, I feel I should warn you about how it holds up against rain. I feel that “water resistant” is an accurate description, and not waterproof.
While the site doesn’t claim the bag to be waterproof I always see people in the uptown backpack reviews talking about how they found a great waterproof bag, but that simply isn’t the case. I only point this out because there are people who want to make an informed purchase, and they shouldn’t be led on by other’s misleading comments.
To sum up, the Uptown pack fabric will become damp with prolonged exposure to rain, and will not keep items dry if rain persists. If you have a rain cover, I highly recommend bringing it with you.
Shoulder Straps Are Not That Well Padded
Some people don’t care to have thick padded shoulder straps, and that’s fine. But for others, padded straps are crucial for comfortable wear. Without padding, it becomes almost impossible to carry the pack on your back. I know this from personal experience with other backpacks that lack padding. I can maybe wear the bag for an hour before I have to take a break. Luckily for me, I don’t carry much in the Uptown and for only short periods of time. but if you’re someone who is looking to carry a backpack for a long amount of time, this may not offer you enough comfort.
Handle is Not Padded Either
The top handle is okay for quick grabbing, but not the most comfortable for prolonged wear. The side handle is a little bit wider, so that’s a good thing. But just a webbing handle isn’t going to be comfortable in the long run, which is unfortunate because the shoulder straps aren’t that comfortable either.
Sloped Bottom Makes It Difficult to Keep the Bag Standing
Timbuk2 has this tendency to make the bottoms of their backpacks uneven or sloped so that the back is longer than the front. I understand that it’s meant to prevent the bag from looking droopy in the front. However, this uneven slope causes the backpack to fall over when I try to stand it up.
Sternum Strap is Pretty Short
I’m not a hunky beef-cake or anything like that, so it came as a surprise when I clipped the sternum strap closed and maxed out the strap length. It fits me and I’m a size medium, but I can’t see this fitting someone bigger. It just isn’t long enough for every body type.