What is this old Timbuk2 messenger bag?
May 6, 2019 10:36 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone ballpark a year or name for this older Timbuk2 messenger bag? https://imgur.com/a/cNZOLs3

I got it at a thrift store and cleaned it up. The cam buckle looks a lot different from what they use now, but I can't find any pictures like it online (mostly because people usually hide that side of the bag) -- and the logo on the little fabric tag is unfamiliar, too.

I asked Timbuk2 corporate but they just kind of shrugged and told me it's one of their bags and it's old. (Duh?) I have had a giant Courier Ware messenger bag for 25 years and love it, but this little one is pretty darn handy for everyday. It juuuuust barely holds a 15" MacBook Pro if there's nothing else in the bag, so I would guess it's 14" wide.

I am curious what the name is (small Classic Messenger, maybe?) and a stab at the year. I'm not planning to use your expertise to help me sell it online: I am honestly curious.

Thanks for any clues!
posted by wenestvedt to Shopping (14 answers total)
 
I believe that's the small Classic Messenger, yeah, and based on the yellow logo, it was probably custom colors. I had one almost exactly like that made perhaps four years ago, so I'm guessing around it's from around 2014 or 2015.
posted by holborne at 10:40 AM on May 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Looks like mine except mine’s blue and gray. 2012.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:42 AM on May 6, 2019


What's that tag between the velcro say, below TIMBUK2?
If it helps narrow it down, my (Medium? Messenger) bag also has that cam buckle thing and I got it in 2008, I believe. (I don't know when they moved away from that, but.)

It's also worth looking at the inner lining, since at some point they moved from a rubbery-feeling waterproofing layer to something more translucent and plastic-y.
posted by CrystalDave at 10:42 AM on May 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


I have a larger Timbuk2 messenger bought in the 2000-2002 period and I'm 99% sure the cam strap adjustment on my bag does not have the molded logo that yours does. My bag also lacks the D ring you have opposite the cam adjuster. I ordered mine in custom colors via their fancy (for the time) website — was very pleased with myself for muting the bright yellow swirl logo :-)
posted by exogenous at 10:50 AM on May 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Looks exactly like the one I bought in 2005, same colors, same cam buckle. The D ring on the opposite site was used to connect a waist strap or cross strap. The only thing I'm not sure about is the two line tag below the front pocket between the velcro.

When I bought it, it was called the Commute bag. I was using a 12" Powerbook at the time and I recall that I had plenty of room for it, but it wasn't getting lost in the laptop area, so what you've got is probably something very close to what I bought.
posted by devinemissk at 11:51 AM on May 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Looks very similar if not identical to a small Classic Messenger that I had custom built in the early '00s, maybe 2003 or 2004. Near your thumb in the second photo is the attachment for the optional bike strap that went across the chest. It attached to that buckle then latched/unlached to the D-ring to secure the bag against your back—very handy when riding a bike.
posted by cyclopticgaze at 12:35 PM on May 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


The only thing I'm not sure about is the two line tag below the front pocket between the velcro.
...and...
What's that tag between the velcro say, below TIMBUK2?

It says "DESIGNS"....but -- DUN DUN -- it's upside down. That and the inelegant cam buckle made me think it's pretty old.

... at some point they moved from a rubbery-feeling waterproofing layer to something more translucent and plastic-y.
Yeah, this has the rubbery, gray waterproof lining. It's still in good shape, too!
posted by wenestvedt at 1:28 PM on May 6, 2019


Yes, that’s the commute bag I think! I had that’s one in grey and black through my undergrad, which was like 2002-2005ish.
posted by katypickle at 2:37 PM on May 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Here's some photos of my bag (please ignore the dirty floor). Unadorned cam strap lock lever (which is awesome IMO - never slips and easy to work with gloves on) but same logo tag as you. Same lining it sounds like (people talked about putting beers and ice in there and it wouldn't leak). It came with the removable reflective tags that clip in.

Mine was definitely made in the 2000-2002 span. I remember where I was living when I got the thing but I don't have a physical or email receipt, so that year range is the best I can do. Based on the other responses, it sounds like your bag is newer.
posted by exogenous at 4:48 PM on May 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


This is kind of oblique to the question, but regarding the strap lever: you might want to tighten it to keep the bag in place on your back while you lean over the handlebars and loosen it to move the bag to the front of your body to get stuff in and out of it, so it can be nice to have the quick-release aspect. The skinny, clip-able strap that runs orthogonal to and slides along the main strap will accomplish the same thing but is much more awkward to use.

Fond memories of bombing all around NYC with this thing before they had many bike lanes there. Youth and adrenaline.
posted by exogenous at 4:58 PM on May 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Here are mine. The blue/gray one is from 2002ish, it's a medium size classic messenger bag. I got the brown one in 2008ish, it's a different model with a built-in laptop sleeve, an extra bottom panel with compression straps, and made from heavier material. I don't know what it was called or when it was made, it was a giveaway at a bike event so it was probably unsold inventory donated by a bikeshop. They both have the same unembossed cam buckle like exogenous' bag.

By 2010 they changed the strap adjustment cam to a different design with a buckle and quick adjust and changed the "TIMBUK2" branding, and again in 2014 they updated the adjustment cam with a webbing strap to allow one-handed operation. So your new bag is at least 10 years old. Nice find.
posted by peeedro at 7:42 PM on May 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


It doesn't show up in the pictures, but mine both have the same rubbery gray waterproof liner. In 2010 they switched to a black material.
posted by peeedro at 8:03 PM on May 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


I am going to accept the 2002-2005 range as when this bag was made, and call it a Timbuk2 Small Messenger. (There's no tote handle on the top edge, so I don't think it's a Commute.)

Thank you so much to all of you who taught me more about this bag. I also have a big (39-liter!) Jansport backpack for toting my laptop & papers & cables & lunch & other junk to and from work, with puffy straps and a clever belt and many pocketses. I love bags (and coats), much to my wife's amusement, but I don't let her get me down and so I'll be adding this usefully-small bag as my walk-about-town for bring Kindle & coffee cup & FAK & pen, and anything I might find at RISD 2nd Life on my daily walk.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:07 AM on May 8, 2019


Looks like the one I got in 2001. I know I bought it before I met my wife which was in April 2002.

I loved them and the ability to mix and match colors!
posted by terrapin at 11:49 AM on May 8, 2019 [1 favorite]


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