Hands-on Gear Review

Timbuk2 Proof Review

This is a great messenger bag for casual business use.
Timbuk2 Proof
By: Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 1, 2018
Price:  $228 List  |  $228.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Nicely made, durable, organized, good for electronics
Cons:  Pricey, less versatile
Manufacturer:   Timbuk2
66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 10
  • Comfort - 25% 6
  • Packing & Organization - 25% 6
  • Electronics - 15% 7
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8
  • Wear & Tear - 10% 8
  • Volume Weight Ratio - 10% 5
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Top Pick Award

Our Verdict

The Timbuk2 Proof is a messenger bag that is well suited to more formal environments and business uses. Due to its shape, it carries rectangular items better—such as a laptop, tablet, notebooks, binders, folders. It has thoughtful features that are streamlined and useful—not too much, but enough to stay organized and have a professional look when you arrive at a meeting. The bag is also durable and weatherproof enough to keep your electronics dry for the occasional dash through the rain. This model cannot be overstuffed, which makes it a specific-use bag, but optimized for urban and office uses. The Proof wins our Top Pick Award for Business for the above reasons and more.

If you're looking for an all-day bag for a variety of adventures and don't mind the louder appearance, check out our Editor's Choice winner, the Patagonia Black Hole. The Black Hole gobbles up your gym clothes, office supplies, and lunch Tupperware like, well, a black hole.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

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Performance Comparison


The Proof has just the right amount of pockets and organization.
The Proof has just the right amount of pockets and organization.

Comfort


The Proof is a relatively comfortable, business-focused messenger bag from Timbuk2. It is not designed for carrying comfort, yet it is comfortable for its size and design. As such, it scored above average but not at the top for this category.


This model has the traditional (removable) cross-body stabilizing strap customary on messenger bags. This helps stabilize the bag, mainly when cycling. The shoulder strap is wide and soft, though it has no pad, which makes it comfortable but not designed for longer carries or commutes. For smaller frames, adjusting the strap can put the buckle on the shoulder. With no pad to slide over that buckle, this can be uncomfortable for longer carries—however, the bag itself is small enough that we rarely had heavy enough loads to make this a problem.

The cross-body stabilizing strap is removable but useful if you choose to bike with this bag.
The cross-body stabilizing strap is removable but useful if you choose to bike with this bag.

Packing/Organization


The Proof has several pockets of different styles. It is well designed for office use with a laptop sleeve, several small pockets for pens and some for cords and headphones.


There is a relatively large internal zippered pocket for small cords or slimmer items like notebooks and folders. There is an additional zipper pocket in the back of the bag for slender items. On the front, two deep, hand-sized pockets easily hold a phone, wallet, or other loose items.

The Proof holds rectangular  officey items well  but not your helmet  gym clothes  or shoes. In the OGL Test Load  the Proof did not impress with the highest capacity but fit our laptop and tablet nicely.
The Proof holds rectangular, officey items well, but not your helmet, gym clothes, or shoes. In the OGL Test Load, the Proof did not impress with the highest capacity but fit our laptop and tablet nicely.

The bag is simple but orderly. It is optimized for office use with its ample pockets for electronics and space for a laptop, tablet, folders, notebooks. It is not large but holds a laptop and a notebook without feeling overstuffed. The shape is much more rectangular than a traditional messenger which keeps your rectangular contents neat and secure.

The Proof is conveniently organized and holds electronics securely with padding in crucial places.
The Proof is conveniently organized and holds electronics securely with padding in crucial places.

Electronics


The Proof is suited for professionals and their gadgets. There is a padded laptop sleeve that fits a 15-inch laptop (in size Medium, and 13 inches in size Small). The organization theme accommodates electronics well with slender, square pockets for your cords and a large zippered pocket for unruly larger cables or slender loose items. There is a padded divider in the main compartment for your laptop, but there is no laptop "seat belt" or zippered compartment to keep it firmly planted in place—therefore, this messenger is our first choice to hike up high across our backs and hop on a bike. The laptop might slide around. But if you're going to be walking with the bag mostly horizontal, it is secure. Plus, the main compartment is slender and rectangular, and the flap fits snugly enough that it keeps things in place.


The main compartment is also relatively waterproof. The flap closure ensures water doesn't leak in from the top (as in other messenger bags with a zipper on top), and the edges fold in in a way that pinches them closed and keeps light precipitation from getting inside the bag. This makes a great laptop bag and can be thought of as a soft briefcase.

The back pocket is not weatherproof  and rain drips in as easily as it falls from the sky. Since you'll often be walking with the back of the bag against your back  this is less problematic  except in a torrential downpour. If you want to be sure your things stay dry  put them in the main compartment -- the top flap does a much better job of sealing out the elements.
The back pocket is not weatherproof, and rain drips in as easily as it falls from the sky. Since you'll often be walking with the back of the bag against your back, this is less problematic, except in a torrential downpour. If you want to be sure your things stay dry, put them in the main compartment -- the top flap does a much better job of sealing out the elements.

Ease of Use


The Proof keeps things simple. The slim design and straightforward features make it a breeze to use, undoubtedly refined over the years Timbuk2 has been making messenger bags. The simple flap closure system is easy to open and close, keeps your items securely inside, and keeps most precipitation out. The unique closure system is smooth with no moving parts, and though it isn't adjustable, this was appropriate for the intended uses of the bag: this is not a messenger bag to ram full with gym clothes, electronics, lunch, your bike lock, and all of the essentials for the day. Instead, it's a dressed up version of the classic messenger bag designed for a more formal day at the office or an important (but perhaps still somewhat casual) meeting.


Wear & Tear


The Proof is made of highly durable materials, including leather trim. The fabric had a matte finish which gives it a casual business look—more dressed up than your average messenger bag, but not too formal. The leather also makes it durable, if a little heavier.


In the weather test, items in the main compartment stayed dry due to the flap closure. The zipper pocket in the back is not weatherproof and allowed water to get in, but because it is often next to your body when carrying it, it is less likely to be exposed to precipitation when you're walking in the rain.

For the Weather Test  we tossed the Proof out on a snow bank in the springtime rain. It performed very well  especially for a dressed up messenger bag. Only the back zippered pocket let water in.
For the Weather Test, we tossed the Proof out on a snow bank in the springtime rain. It performed very well, especially for a dressed up messenger bag. Only the back zippered pocket let water in.

The craftsmanship of the Proof is excellent and up to the high standards of Timbuk2, a tried and tested messenger bag company from San Francisco.

Volume/Weight Ratio


The Proof is ideal for "mobile office" days.
The Proof is ideal for "mobile office" days.
This business-savvy model is not the lightest messenger bag in this review for its volume. It is made of heavy, durable materials, including leather, which adds a fair amount of weight. The bag is also designed for carrying a few flat items, like laptops, tablets, binders, and notebooks, so it is rectangular in shape and low in overall volume.


Best Applications


The Proof is an excellent business-casual messenger bag. Timbuk2 advertises it as a dressed-up take on the everyday messenger bag. It is more rectangular than a classic messenger bag, making it feel more like a soft briefcase, and meaning it is not as well suited to overstuffing with your gym clothes. This is not a versatile messenger bag; rather, it is well suited to more formal settings, meetings, and for carrying around your electronics.

The Timbuk2 Proof in size Medium is smaller than several Medium sized models we tested. The reduced size adds to its business looks.
The Timbuk2 Proof in size Medium is smaller than several Medium sized models we tested. The reduced size adds to its business looks.

Value


This messenger is a very well made, slick-looking messenger bag, and is priced as such. It is not a bargain, but if it suits your needs, it will last a long time due to its durable materials and excellent craftsmanship. In this way, it could be a good value if it is the right fit for you. With Timbuk2, we know that you get what you pay for, and this high-quality bag is no exception.

Conclusion


Overall  the Proof is a very well made  elegant  business casual messenger bag.
Overall, the Proof is a very well made, elegant, business casual messenger bag.
The Timbuk2 Proof is a thoughtfully designed, office-friendly messenger bag for those reluctant to carry a briefcase. It is relatively comfortable, well organized with features for your electronics, durable, and nice looking enough for business use. It is simple and streamlined, making it easy to use and ensuring your notebooks and documents stay neat and dry inside during your trip to the office or a meeting. It is as well made as we have come to expect from Timbuk2, with a pleasing and streamlined design making it competitive enough to usurp our previous business winner, the Timbuk2 Command. Timbuk2 simplified their business concept with this bag, making it more enjoyable to use, easier to carry, and nicer to look at, earning a place as the new Business Use Top Pick.
Lyra Pierotti

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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Average Customer Rating:  
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