The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Timbuk2 Rogue Review

This is a military styled design that will suit you better on the trails and on the go than in the office.
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Price:  $79 List | $79.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Water resistant, large and simple internal compartment, low price, durable
Cons:  Not the most comfortable, lacks laptop protection
Manufacturer:   Timbuk2
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 17, 2019
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63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 11
  • Laptop Protection - 25% 4
  • Comfort - 20% 6
  • Storage - 15% 7
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8
  • Water Resistance - 15% 8
  • Style - 10% 6

Our Verdict

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.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Timbuk2 Rogue
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $79.00 at Amazon$159.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$147.99 at Amazon$129.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$82.19 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Water resistant, large and simple internal compartment, low price, durableDurable, waterproof, cool features, stowable rain fly and helmet net, lots of storage, ultra protectiveGreat organizational capacity, effective use of space, comfortable, adjustable, separate laptop side-accessVersatile, great storage, water-resistant exterior, fantastic laptop protection, comfortable paddingFunctional, plentiful storage, water-resistant fabric, inexpensive, versatile
Cons Not the most comfortable, lacks laptop protectionExpensive, not super stylishExpensive, lacks cushioning on the bottom of the packProblematic fit, long torso, roll-down top is not stylishNot super stylish
Bottom Line This is a military styled design that will suit you better on the trails and on the go than in the office.Our favorite backpack geared for any bike commuter, student, or traveler.Our favorite for everything from lugging around electronics to going to the gym.A perfect option for the bike commute to work or tromping around town.This highly spacious laptop backpack offers functionality and value that is unmatched.
Rating Categories Timbuk2 Rogue Thule Pack 'n Pedal Commuter Incase Icon Thule Paramount 24L The North Face Borealis
Laptop Protection (25%)
10
0
4
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
Comfort (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
8
Storage (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Ease Of Use (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
Water Resistance (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
Style (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
5
Specs Timbuk2 Rogue Thule Pack 'n... Incase Icon Thule Paramount 24L The North Face...
Volume (L) 25 L 24 L 17 L 24L 28 L
Weight 1.8 lbs 2.4 lbs 2.1 lbs 2.2 lbs 2.7 lbs
Number of Compartments 1 2 4 2 2
Dimensions 18.9 x 12.2 x 6.3 in. 15 x 6.7 x 19 in 19 x 13 x 9 in. 11.6 x 10. 20.5 in 19.75 x 13.5 x 8.5 in.
Number of Large Pockets 1 1 3 2 2
Number of Small Pockets 7 2 14 2 9
Key Clip? No Yes Yes Yes No
Reflective Material? No Yes No Yes Yes
External Side Pocket(s) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
External Water Bottle Holder? Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Fits Laptop 15" 15" 15" 15" 15"
Hip belt No No No No Yes
Sternum Strap Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

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.

Performance Comparison


A look at the simple  lightweight  and inexpensive Rogue. Classic  water-resistant  but not very protective.
A look at the simple, lightweight, and inexpensive Rogue. Classic, water-resistant, but not very protective.

Laptop Protection


As one of the most barebones backpacks we've tested, protection is ultimately lacking.

This side-profile shows the flexibility of the back panel that offers little to no protection.
This side-profile shows the flexibility of the back panel that offers little to no protection.

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.

The back panel is thin and flexible. Be careful about setting your bag down as the computer sits right on the ground.
The back panel is thin and flexible. Be careful about setting your bag down as the computer sits right on the ground.

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.

The Rogue's super thin mesh laptop padding made it one of lowest scoring bags in laptop protection.
The Rogue's super thin mesh laptop padding made it one of lowest scoring bags in laptop protection.

Comfort


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.

The shoulder straps are nice and flat  offering a lightly padded experience.
The shoulder straps are nice and flat, offering a lightly padded experience.

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.

A look at the porous  but scratchy on the skin  backpanel.
A look at the porous, but scratchy on the skin, backpanel.

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.

The shoulder straps are nicely spaced with a sternum strap to help distribute weight.
The shoulder straps are nicely spaced with a sternum strap to help distribute weight.

Storage


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.

A look at the simple storage of the Rogue.
A look at the simple storage of the Rogue.

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.

Organizational capabilities are located in the front of the main compartment panel  while the laptop is towards the back.
Organizational capabilities are located in the front of the main compartment panel, while the laptop is towards the back.

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.

The front pocket can house a power cord  keys  wallet  or whatever you need quick access to. We also like the clip-on points if you feel like dangling things from the back of your pack.
The front pocket can house a power cord, keys, wallet, or whatever you need quick access to. We also like the clip-on points if you feel like dangling things from the back of 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.

While storage is decent  it's hard to access your computer when its loaded down.
While storage is decent, it's hard to access your computer when its loaded down.

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.

And... one of our favorite features ever. A built in bottle opener! Perfect for when there's an impromptu tailgate party.
And... one of our favorite features ever. A built in bottle opener! Perfect for when there's an impromptu tailgate party.

Water Resistance


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.

The overlay is fairly water resistant  but the backpack is far from waterproof.
The overlay is fairly water resistant, but the backpack is far from waterproof.

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.

Water pooling in the front pocket after these tests. Water also seeped into the main compartment.
Water pooling in the front pocket after these tests. Water also seeped into the main compartment.

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.

Style


It has a simple, urban style that many city-goers may appreciate.


Value


This backpack put on a fight for the Best Buy Award. This model is a high-value bag that is quite inexpensive. 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.

Heading out to work with this simple and inexpensive commuter laptop backpack.
Heading out to work with this simple and inexpensive commuter laptop backpack.

Conclusion


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