It’s hard to believe that Timbuk2 has been around for 20 years, because it seems like just yesterday that the San Francisco-based outfit’s simple yet stylish messenger bags were becoming all the rage with hipsters on the West Coast. There was even a point in time when owning a Timbuk2 bag was a badge of coolness, kind of like knowing how to find the newest hotspot in town. But unlike most trends that eventually fade away, Timbuk2 is as popular as ever, thanks not only to its expanding catalog of products (including luggage, iPad cases and more), but because the bags themselves are just that awesome.
Though most people looking to pick up a Timbuk2 bag will likely gravitate toward the classic messenger style due to its customizability, the company has recently released a series of limited edition jungle prints that are perfect for those who like to stand out from the pack. Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Why in the world would any self-respecting guy be caught dead carrying one of these around?” But while animal prints are usually reserved for little girls and women with questionable fashion sense, Timbuk2’s bags (available in a zebra, cobra and giraffe print, the latter of which was provided for review) aren’t nearly as tacky as you might think. It’s not for everyone, but I actually like the fact that they’re a bit more adventurous than the typical messenger.
Apart from the outside of the bag, which features a more stylish canvas fabric instead of the usual ballistic fiber, the Giraffe Messenger is practically identical to its bestselling forebear. The ballistic nylon boot ensures that you can put it down on any surface without worrying about the canvas getting ruined, and the waterproof TPU liner protects the contents inside from getting soaked in the rain. The two large Velcro strips and buckle clips that secure the outside flap also help prevent unwanted damage, but it’s not exactly a fortress like Booq’s line of laptop messengers. You can also attach an optional cross strap for added security, but unless you plan on wearing it while riding a bike (in which case it’s incredibly useful), the strap can be a little too tight for comfort.
If there’s any downside to the bag, it’s that it doesn’t have a whole lot of space. There’s a main compartment with a few internal pockets, an additional slash compartment great for a laptop, and a three-zip front organizer, but that’s it. Then again, if you’re looking for a bag to take with you on a business trip, Timbuk2 has plenty of other styles to accommodate your needs. The Giraffe Messenger is more of an everyday bag to take with you to and from work, and in that respect, it’s great to have something that’s both durable and lightweight. It still would be nice if they included some kind of compartment on the back of the bag, but the Napoleon side entry pocket (which is located on the front inside and can be accessed without even opening the flap) serves a similar purpose.
Minor complaints aside, you’re not going to get much better than a Timbuk2 messenger bag, even if they are a tad on the expensive side. There’s a reason they’re so popular, and it’s not just because they look cool. Timbuk2 has always done a great job of combining style with quality and functionality, and nothing has changed there. The only question you really have to ask yourself is whether or not this limited edition animal print is your cup of tea, because while it might serve as some nice camouflage on a real safari, out in the urban jungle, it’s guaranteed to make you the center of attention.