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Timbuk2 Swig Backpack

*Est. $80 and up
August 2012
by ConsumerSearch
Timbuk2 Swig Backpack

  • Messenger bag styling
  • Much bigger inside than it looks
  • Side-zip access to laptop sleeve
  • Waterproof
  • Users think the small is too small, medium a little too big
Where to Buy

The Timbuk2 Swig Backpack for laptops is a messenger-style backpack with thinner, padded straps. Users say the straps are surprisingly comfortable, though they may start to cut into your sides if you carry the bag fully loaded for a long haul. Reviewers praise the bag's side-zip access to the laptop sleeve, voluminous interior space, padded back and waterproofing. It comes with a bottle opener on one strap.

Durability: Rugged construction, quality materials.

Reviewers say they like the construction and details on the Timbuk2 Swig Backpack, which is waterproof, lightweight and holds up to abuse.

Comfort: Padded bag with thin, padded straps that are surprisingly comfortable.

Users say they were cautious about the Swig Backpack's thinner straps, but found them surprisingly comfortable in use. A few say that if the bag is heavily loaded and you're carrying it for long distances, the straps can cut into your sides. The bag itself is padded and does not shift in use, making it very comfortable.

Appearance: The look of a messenger bag in a backpack style.

Users say they receive compliments on the bag, which has a top flap that looks like a messenger bag, but styling and straps like a backpack. Nine standard color combinations are available, a number that increases considerably if you're willing to pay for a custom-made version.

Warranty: A limited lifetime warranty that users generally don't need.

Timbuk2 offers a limited lifetime warranty on the Swig Backpack, but users don't report using it. Those who have to interact with customer service for one reason or another generally say it's a positive experience.

Features: Expensive, but well made.

The Timbuk2 Swig Backpack isn't going to win any low-price competitions, but reviewers say the quality construction and thoughtful features are largely worth the extra expense.

Bottom Line: A stylish, smaller-sized backpack that fits a ton inside.

Reviewers are consistently surprised by the amount they can fit in the Timbuk2 Swig Backpack, perhaps as a result of the near-total lack of compartments inside. The laptop sleeve and its side zipper receive a lot of praise, as does the bag's waterproofing. Most say they like the styling, and the price tag, while high, is judged to be worth the quality and construction.

Where To Buy
Timbuk2 Swig Laptop Backpack, Black/Black/Black, Small

 (71 reviews)
Buy new: $89.00   4 New from $89.00

In Stock. Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping


Our Sources


More than 50 users weigh in on Timbuk2's site with an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars for the Swig Backpack. About 98 percent would recommend the pack to a friend. The bag is comfortable, attractive, durable, lightweight and roomy, most say. Complaints include its relatively small size and lack of external pockets.

Review: Swig Backpack, Contributors to


John Biggs calls the Timbuk2 Swig Backpack handsome and weatherproof, though he says it's a bit small for him. He likes the bold colors and comfortable construction, but not the price tag.

Review: Bag Week Review: Timbuk2 Swig Backpack, John Biggs, Nov. 18, 2011


About a half dozen users review the Timbuk2 Swig Backpack for laptops on this page with an average score of 4.5 out of 5 stars. On product pages for various sizes of the bag, it receives 4 stars out of 5 from 17 users and 4.5 stars out of 5 from another half-dozen. Reviewers debate the sizes (small is too small, medium is too big, etc.), and say that they wouldn't trust the bag for hard drops with a laptop inside, but overall they love the strength and styling of the Swig.

Review: Customer Reviews/Timbuk2 Swig Backpack, Contributors to

4. awards the Timbuk2 Swig Backpack 3.5 out of 5 stars, noting that a medium-sized back can hold a 17-inch notebook. It's customizable and easy to load up, the review points out, but Joel Santo Domingo wishes for more zippered compartments and better padding. The Swig Backpack is "basically an oversized messenger bag with backpack straps."

Review: Timbuk2 Swig Backpack, Joel Santo Domingo, Aug. 21, 2009

5. does a hands-on comparative review of a number of packs, giving the Timbuk2 Swig Backpack an Editors' Choice designation, calling it "the best all-purpose laptop bag" and awarding an overall score of 79 out of a possible 100. Editors like the simple design, pockets, side access to the laptop, colors and sizing, though they note it can be small for some people.

Review: Timbuk2 Swig Review, Max Neale, Aug. 24, 2011

6. declares the Timbuk2 Swig Backpack Rated Best of the Best based on customer scores, which average 4.8 out of 5. About 20 customers unanimously say they would recommend the bag to a friend. A few wish for more pockets, especially on the outside, but all say they love the design and roominess of the bag. The outside zipper for the laptop is a popular feature.

Review: Timbuk2 Swig Laptop Backpack, Contributors to


Jeff Guerrero tests out the Light Brite version of the Timbuk2 Swig Backpack, which features a highly reflective stripe. He notes the waterproof-coated nylon is incredibly light but effective, even with the padded back panel and strap. "In addition to riding in the rain, I stuffed the bag full of paper and took a shower with it. The paper came out perfectly dry," he writes. It's big enough to hold a 17-inch laptop, but on the small side overall.

Review: Timbuk2 Light Brite Swig Backpack, Jeff Guerrero, May 3, 2011


Jacquelyn Farris calls the shiny black Xpac version of the Timbuk2 Swig Backpack "slim, stealth and sexy." She likes the side zip on the laptop sleeve and the fact that items inside don't shift while riding, and enjoys the padded straps, which she says are surprisingly comfortable despite their low profile.

Review: Timbuk2 Swig Xpac Backpack Review, Jacquelyn Farris, Nov. 29, 2010

9. Wired

Wired's Kelsey Hazlewood calls the Timbuk2 Swig Backpack "not too wide and never too bulky," but says testers can stuff a lot into it. "Is this bag comprised of hammerspace? It was unreal the amount of stuff we stuck inside," Kelsey Hazlewood writes. She awards 8 out of 10 stars, noting that the straps can dig into your sides over the long haul and that it's difficult to get into the bag without removing it.

Review: YouHaul: Three Sturdy Backpacks Tested and Rated, Kelsey Hazlewood, Aug. 5, 2009


About two dozen reviewers award the Timbuk2 Swig Backpack an average of 4 stars out of 5. Reviews praise the construction of the pack, noting that the medium size is larger than they expected and that the thin straps are more comfortable than they look. It could use more pockets, some say.

Review: Timbuk2 Swig Backpack -- Medium, Contributors to


Eric Miller likes the messenger-bag styling of the Timbuk2 Swig Backpack and its roomier-than-it-looks interior. He praises the side zipper for the laptop sleeve, but notes that it's very difficult to get open while the backpack is on your back. The pack keeps contents dry during a couple of small rainstorms. Small items tend to get lost at the bottom of the bag, he writes, and it'll make your back sweaty over a long haul.

Review: Timbuk2 Swig Backpack Review, Eric Miller, Oct. 13, 2010

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