Timbuk2 Bike Backpack

By STEPHEN REGENOLD

It doesn’t have a roll-top closure. Velcro and two buckles snap it shut. But Timbuk2, the San Francisco-based maker of messenger bags, touts its new Lightbrite Swig backpack as “waterfall waterproof.”

That’s a slight exaggeration. In an actual waterfall, water will get in. But this bag was built for biking, not canyoneering, and it’s made to protect from road spray, sleet, and even down-pouring rain.

Timbuk2 Lightbrite Swig.jpg

Timbuk2 Lightbrite Swig backpack

I have been testing the Lightbrite Swig for three months, including on the bike and for casual use. I like its simple, sleek design. The bag is made of a thick nylon. It has a clean look with a shimmery red strip on back that adds reflectivity for cars and style points when you’re out just walking around.

Inside, the pack has a padded laptop sleeve, a big main compartment, organizer areas for small things, and a single zipper pocket for valuables. There’s a pouch on the outside for a U-lock. The bag opens from its main flap or on the side, where access is granted to your laptop via a waterproof zipper that runs vertically up the pack’s edge.

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Lightbrite Swig, front and back view

It is a medium-size messenger pack, measuring about 12 (width) x 17 (length) x 5 (girth) inches. It can do a small grocery run and manage about two bags worth of food if stuffed tight and full.

For use on the bike, the pack can be a tinge unwieldy when loaded with a lot of groceries or gear. There is no belt or sternum strap, and the slick nylon does not grip onto a jacket or clothing on your back. The pack can slide around some while you’re pedaling.

But for lighter loads, and for everyday use, the Lightbrite Swig ($130, www.timbuk2.com) is solid. As stated, I like the pack’s simple, clean design. It has all the main features I need, some style, and nothing more. It keeps gear dry while riding. Just avoid waterfalls and you’ll be fine.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.

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