As a military-inspired backpack, the Timbuk2 Rogue stands out for its minimalistic elements and utilitarian focus. Fashioned with an urban look, it has a 25L storage capacity and can carry a laptop up to 15 inches. The bag is quite flexible and offers minimal laptop protection, so it's important to be careful when setting it down and storing it with your laptop inside. The tarpaulin fabric used in its construction is water resistant, but the bag is not waterproof in a heavy downpour. As an inexpensive option, it offers high value and is built for those that appreciate minimalist construction and an affordable price tag.
Timbuk2 Rogue Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Water resistant, large and simple internal compartment, low price, durable.
Cons: Not the most comfortable, lacks laptop protection.
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Our Analysis and Test Results
A military-inspired backpack, it is minimalist, simple, and functional. While it doesn't offer the best laptop protection, its exterior fabric is water resistant with a 25L storage capacity. House your laptop up to 15 inches and a plethora of other stuff easily. This bag is an excellent option for commuting or travel, especially for those that appreciate a low price and minimalistic construction.
As one of the most barebones backpacks we've tested, protection is ultimately lacking.
There is no suspension system to keep the laptop off the ground, nor is there cushioning along the sides. It can fit one laptop up to 15 inches. The thin back panel offers a decent amount of protection, but you have to be careful putting your bag down with the Timbuk2 Rogue.
Inside the pack is just a simple mesh system that holds the laptop in place with a big Velcro strap. It's a little flimsy, but it works. Another mention of protection is the flap-top on this backpack. While the buckles and Velcro flap sufficed and were easy to use, we thought a zipper would make things a little more secure and protective overall, keeping the laptop sealed from water and the like.
Comfort comes in the form of lightweight materials and minimal cushioning in both the back panel and straps. The back panel is constructed of a porous yet and breathable material that allows airflow.
The panel itself doesn't have distinct channels for airflow, so it's not as breathable as other options, like The North Face Borealis. Against the skin, it's a little scratchy and not as soft as others like The North Face Kaban.
The straps are pretty minimal. They attach via a piece of webbing to the main backpack and placed pretty far apart. The adjustability of the height makes this an excellent option for those small to large. The sternum strap is adjustable and slides up and down the strap itself, allowing you to position appropriately for weight distribution.
While this pack is comfortable, it lacks a ton of cushioning in the back and on the shoulder straps. Thus we wouldn't wear it for hiking or extended periods where it might be fully loaded, or you demand better performance. While it can perform, there are more comfortable options out there.
If you love minimalism and less compartmentalized storage, this laptop backpack is a fantastic choice. The main compartment offers 25L of storage and houses some the organizational compartment and the laptop itself.
As a top loader, it opens up nice and wide so you can easily throw everything you might need in for the day. We managed to get our 15-inch laptop, lunch, clothes for the gym, and more in this basic backpack.
It also features a handy, easy access pouch in the front that is zippered and large as well. Here, we easily stored our keys and cell phone. It also comes with a plethora of attachment points if you like to clip things to your pack.
Ease of Use
This backpack offers top access that is super simple. You need to unbuckle the flap top, throw things in, and take them out. When it's fairly empty, you're able to access your laptop with ease.
However, when fully loaded, you need to dig through your things to get to your laptop or the organizational compartments, which was sometimes a pain. We do like the water bottle holder on the side of the pack, which is expandable and still functions well when the bag is completely loaded down. We also love the built-in bottle opener that came in handy more than you may expect.
The outer tarpaulin fabric on this pack is pretty water resistant and does a good job repelling humid conditions or the odd rain shower. In our shower tests, we got to see the extent of protection. After putting the bag in the shower for over a minute, there was no water percolation through the fabric.
Unfortunately, like most laptop backpacks, the zippers aren't completely sealed, so when we took it out, there was a pool of water in the front pocket. The bottom of the back has a heavier and seemingly more water resistant fabric, which did protect reasonably well in our tests.
No water seeped through the bottom of the back, which we can appreciate. However, in the main compartment, we saw a little dampness and water that percolated in through the top where there are gaps in the flip top lid. If this were zippered off, this bag would be far more water resistant. Overall, if you're in heavy rainstorms, your laptop will probably be fine, but if you want to be sure, put a rain fly over the top.
It has a simple, urban style that many city-goers may appreciate.
This model is best for somebody who appreciates a lightweight backpack that lacks on features. We think it has utility around the city and while traveling. Since it lacks comfort elements, we wouldn't recommend it for difficult journeys where it's completely loaded down. While it can't completely roll up, it's easy to pack away and is a good option for travel where you might need to stash your bag away. Versatile and minimalistic.
While this is certainly not as high performing as The North Face Borealis it did compete for a Best Buy award. This model is a high-value bag that is quite inexpensive with a retail price at $79. Of the packs tested, it's the cheapest, but also one of the least protective and minimal options out there. One thing to note is some users online have mentioned that the water-resistant tarpaulin exterior rips after a few hard uses. But after lugging it around with us for a few months, we didn't see any of these issues.
This minimalistic and bare-bones laptop backpack offers a high value but lacks protective features. Its a favorite for those who travel or commute, don't like specialized pockets and need about 25L of storage. It's one of the least expensive options out there, and seemingly durable.
— Amber King