A versatile backpack around the city or for carry-on travel – Timbuk2 JetPack!

As a long-time resident of San Francisco, I’m a fan of the local bag company Timbuk2 who made messenger bags popular in The City and worldwide. I’ve had several of their bags over the years and they are incredibly well designed and made – and they look cool, too! When I browsed their hometown store, I spotted the Jetpack and couldn’t resist buying this laptop backpack for shorter trips or as carry-on companion to a check-in luggage!

LuggageFacts Timbuk2 JetPackLuggage Facts: The Timbuk2 Jetpack is a versatile laptop bag with a great organizer up front and a large main compartment for anything from gym gear to your travel clothes. With measurements of 48x31x18cm it is well within the limits of a carry-on, but too tall as a personal item. While I had no problems with it as a “personal item” flying business class on network carriers, it will not fit a sizer for Basic Economy on United or on low-cost carriers. The solid materials and sturdy construction add up to a weight of 1.3kg / 2.8lbs, at the high end for this size bag. The price of $129 reflects the style, material quality and craftsmanship, but is certainly higher than other carry-on or personal items I have reviewed. 
Below, you can see a photo in comparison to the CabinZero 28l, which meets the personal item restrictions!

LugRev Timbuk2JetPack comp C0Design & Features: What makes the Jetpack a better luggage than other backpacks or bags is its design: It has a rectangular shape and doesn’t narrow at the top, giving you maximum volume for the size. And it has a clamshell design with a zipper all the way to the bottom, allowing it to open on the front like a luggage and making it easier to load and to access your clothes while traveling. The main compartment has a mesh cover to keep your things from falling out (or people seeing them while it’s open) and to compress loose items (somewhat). There is a separate, full-size zipper pocket in the lid, great for shirts and other flat items.
LugRev Timbuk2JetPack insideIn the back is a separate laptop pocket with a zipper down the side, making it easy to access, yet safe from theft because it’s right on your back. It fits my MacBook Air 13in easily and the padding on the back as well as the clothes inside the bag will protect it.
LugRev Timbuk2JetPack laptop cOn the front is a slim compartment over the full size of the bag with a great organizer for all your little things, including two zipped pockets. Even a tablet or magazines will fit. Another slim pocket is on the front, with a side zipper.

LugRev Timbuk2JetPack organizerThe Jetpack is a really flexible design – it’s great as an office backpack with room for your gym gear or as a personal item to go with a larger checked or carry-on luggage – or even as your only luggage for a shorter trip!

Materials & Quality: The Jetpack is made of solid materials, all the zippers run well and seams are strong. The carrying straps as well as the handles on the top and side are sturdy. The light padding is good enough to carry for the day, but I wouldn’t go hiking with this bag. Timbuktu offers a lifetime warranty for any issues of material or workmanship and I have no doubt it will last me for a long time.

What can you bring? The clamshell design and the size between a personal item like the CabinZero mini and a carry-on like the CabinMax Metz gives you enough space for a weeklong trip. I was able to pack 2 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of shorts, 9 shirts (1 long buttoned, 2 short buttoned, 2 polo shirts, 4 T-shirts), 8 pairs of socks & underwear, a pair of sandals/sneakers, a 1-quart toiletry bag, my 13inch AppleMacBook Air, compact camera, cables and assorted personal items into the bag – and there was still room left. Check out the photos below to see how it works (or check my Top 10 Tips to Pack Light for more). The full weight is just under 7kg, good for all the airlines listed above and most others.

LugRev Timbuk2JetPack packed cBottomline: The Timbuk2 Jetpack is a stylish bag I wouldn’t be embarrassed to carry into a business meeting or a luxury hotel. I love how well organized it is with the perfect laptop compartment in the back, the organizer up front and the mesh-covered main compartment.While it’s too big for a personal item on low-cost carriers or Basic Economy fares, it’s great as a carry-on for shorter trips. It can even double as an office/gym bag at home. Add in the great quality and lifetime warranty, and it’s worth the price.


A versatile backpack around the city or for carry-on travel – Timbuk2 JetPack! — 6 Comments

  1. Hey — thank you for the review, especially as it includes pictures of the actual inside main compartment. Amazing how many reviews leave out that rather important aspect of luggage!

    One note — in the dimensions, you listed 20L but Timbuk2 states this is a 30L. (Realistically it’s in between.) You may want to update the specs.

    • Glad the review & photos were helpful. Thanks for catching the volume error – you are correct that the website shows 30l and also that it is probably less.
      Based on the external measurements on the website, the maximum possible volume the bag could have would be 26.8l, interior should be still less. I’ll update the table!
      Either way, I’ve traveled up to a week with the bag (sunny climates only!)…

  2. I wonder if theJet pack is actually too big for Basic Economy. I have seen the Jet pack at REI and it seems to me that it is a soft-sided pack and close enough to Basic Economy size that it could typically be “squished” down to fit Basic Economy requirements. It should be possible to do this unless the pack is absolutely filled to the gill with hard items that don’t compress. If you were worried about airlines being too strict about this, you could always cinch the bag down to size at the boarding area using compression straps that cost a few dollars.

    • I have good luck with “squishing down” bags that are technically too large to meet specifications (like the JetPack), like you are suggesting. I just returned from a trip with the JetPack as my “personal item” and had no problems.
      But I’ve also head “gate/check-in dragons” that would not allow an inch or an ounce above the allowed metrics, so I list the measurements of any luggage I review as they are. If you try to “squeeze by” – your luck my vary!

  3. Good review, but my Jet Pack fit a sizer for basic economy on United. Being soft sided may have had something to do with that. Also the Jet Pack easily fit under the seat in front of me.

    • Great that it worked – that’s why I usually recommend soft-sided bags as carry-on. You can always squeeze them in, if needed!

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