Timbuk2 ‘Denim’ Messenger Bag


Timbuk2’s “Customize a Bag” program has long been a staple for the San Francisco pioneer of bike messenger bags. Online, via a user-operated module, you pick bag type, panel colors, and fabric blend to create a one-of-a-kind messenger bag or bike backpack.

New this year, Timbuk2 offers a unique fabric option to its list, a nylon-based pseudo-denim that looks and feels like what might make up the legs on a pair of Levi’s. But the CORDURA brand material, called simply Denim Fabric, has a few upgrades from its all-cotton cousin.

Timbuk2 Denim Messenger Bag

We had a denim bag built to test it out. Via the “Customize a Bag” program, we picked the Timbuk2 Classic Messenger bag style and went through the steps to have the bag made. To begin, you pick bag size, panel colors, and fabric types from the online module.

The base price of the Classic Messenger was $130 for a size Large. Adding the CORDURA Denim Fabric is a “specialty fabric” option, and it increases the price tag by $45. There are a number of no-added-charge “ballistic basics” fabrics, which are standard nylon blends as well as a couple dozen other “specialty fabric” options that also cost $15 a panel ($45 for the full bag).

Screen shot: “Customize a Bag” program page

The advantage to the Denim Fabric, beyond a unique look, is its resistance to wear. The company cites four times more resistance to abrasion than standard cotton denim. Like all Classic Messenger bags from Timbuk2, it is resistant to rain — or setting down on wet ground — with a vinyl-like waterproof liner that coats the inside of the bag.

The Timbuk2 Denim Messenger Bag is not cheap — the $175 price tag gets you the basic bag build with the specialty denim fabric, though no extra dividers, pouches or straps are included. Add in a laptop divider, a handle, and a pouch for your phone and the Timbuk2 bag easily passes the $200 mark.

Timbuk2 Messenger Bag, open and shut

But the company’s messenger bags are built to last. The beefy CORDURA Denim Fabric will only add to that equation. And as a backup, the company offers a lifetime guarantee on this product, so the Timbuk2 Denim Messenger could literally be commuting with you for decades to come.

—Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.