The Timbuk2 Command is a large laptop backpack with multiple storage compartments and pockets. It is a run-of-the-mill backpack that includes everything you would want and has features that work as they are designed to. That said, this is not a bag that makes you go "wow." It received average scores in almost every category, making it one of the lower ranking backpacks in our review. It's not that this is a bad backpack, it's just that it doesn't really get us excited.
Timbuk2 Command Pack Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Large, lots of storage, good organizational ability
Cons: Poor water resistance, only average comfort and laptop protection
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Timbuk2 Command is only average when it comes to comfort and laptop protection, the two features that we thought were most important in a laptop backpack. While it looks ok, it doesn't exactly wow in the style department either. What it does do well is carry lots of stuff and keep it organized; however, its array of compartments and pockets are more suited to work or school and not versatile enough for play, in our opinion. Unfortunately, it was one of the worst scorers in our water resistance testing.
We awarded the Command a 6 out of 10 for laptop protection, our most important metric. It has a separate laptop compartment against the back plate that opens all the way around with two zippers, a feature that allows you to lay open the whole compartment for airport security. In our experience, the shoulder straps got in the way of opening the back the whole way, and we don't think we would want our pack traveling through the airport security belt that way anyway. For us, it was only barely big enough for our 15 inch laptop, although we liked that it had a securing strap. While it does provide good padding, it also failed to secure our small 11 inch laptop or even smaller tablet, and we weren't thrilled with the design which failed to suspend our laptop off of the floor of the pack. This means that if set down upright on the ground or other hard surface, the laptop only has about a quarter inch of foam padding absorbing the shock of the blow, and repeated many times or done even once carelessly, we feel that this is a point of potential laptop damage.
The Timbuk2 Command is simply middle of the road when it comes to comfort. While it is preferable to the Arc'teryx Blade 24, it is about the same as the Timbuk2 Rogue, that is, large, square, and stiff. The back plate has lots of foam padding, but is pretty inflexible, and while the shoulder straps attach to the top of the bag decently far apart, we still found that they dig into the shoulders while carrying heavier loads. Lastly, this pack has a sternum strap for stability purposes, but no waist strap.
Organization & Storage
Dakine Explorer or The North Face Surge II Transit. Storage is where this pack shines, it can really hold a lot. Besides the large laptop compartment, it has two other large zippered compartments, along with an assortment of exterior pockets and organizational tools. If you need to carry a lot of things daily, this pack is a great option for you.
Because of its large carrying capacity and many different compartments, the Command is a relatively versatile pack. It also features dual straps underneath the bag which remind us of a sleeping pad carrying system, but in the context of laptop backpacks can really only be explained as coat straps. In general though, its lack of comfort, and the fact that its compartments tend to be really tall and narrow, somewhat restrict its versatility, and we wouldn't really choose to use it for outdoor fun.
Osprey Pixel, but certainly above the school-bag looking Dakine Explorer or The North Face Recon. But when it comes to something like style, all we can really say is its subjective, you be the judge.
The Timbuk2 Command was a bit of a disappointment when it comes to water resistance. While it does have a durable water resistant (DWR) coating applied to the outside of it, its zippers do not have flaps to protect against water entry, and in general are very exposed pointing up towards the elements. In our tests, little amounts of water did manage to enter the main compartment in less than 30 seconds of exposure.
This bag is designed as a large and functional laptop carrier. We recommend it for use around-town use and to and from the office or school. We do not really consider it to be versatile enough for outdoor daypack usage.
At a low low price of only $77, the Command is the second most affordable bag in our review. Since the cost is almost the same as the higher scoring Rogue ($79), we would recommend opting for that pack instead.
The Command is a well-rounded backpack that adequately does everything you might want from a laptop carrier - it is large, has good storage and organizational capabilities, and is comfortable enough. However, for any given rating metric there were certainly backpacks that we liked more, and the general feeling when contemplating owning this bag is a bit "ho-hum." It's hard to beat the price, but at the same time if price is the biggest concern, it is probably worth checking out the other affordable Timbuk2 bags as well.
— Andy Wellman