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Lifewire / Zach Sweat
Many useful features
Great organization and storage
Coated fabric is water-resistant
Struggles to stand up on its own
Timbuk2 is a well-known brand for all types of bags, but the Authority Backpack stands out from the rest of the lineup. With its useful features, solid organization, and water-resistance, it’s simply the best commuter laptop backpack available.
Well known for their durable bags that are a favorite among many travelers around the world, Timbuk2 once again delivers with the excellent Authority Backpack. In an overcrowded sea of cheap bags that crumble under the simple stresses of day-to-day use, it stands out for durability and useful storage features. All this comes at a hefty price, so we put the Timbuk2 Authority Backpack to the test to see how it fares for daily use.
Finding a backpack that works well for both professional and personal use can be a challenge. You don’t want something that looks like it’d only work in a suit, but you definitely don’t want to look like you just got back from the woods either. Thankfully, the Authority Backpack does a great job of meshing the two worlds into its design. It’s clean, simple and will look great whether you’re heading to work or out on a weekend adventure.
There are tons of nice small touches Timbuk2 added in, like the top-carrying handle with a foam grip, elastic gussets to keep small items from slipping out of open pockets, lots of organization inside, zippable pockets, bands to hold straps in place, and a sternum strap to help with a heavy load. Another nice addition is the compression straps at the bottom where you can stow a jacket, blanket or similar bulk item to free up space inside. The side of the backpack also has a neoprene pocket for bottles, but it’s a bit too small for anything more than your average plastic water bottle.
Well known for their durable bags that are a favorite among many travelers around the world, Timbuk2 once again delivers with this excellent pack.
Inside, you’ve got three main compartments and an external front pocket for small items. The front pocket also has a key fob for quick access when you need them. Starting from the back, the laptop compartment is lined with padding from top to bottom and is one of the better protected we’ve seen during testing. In an accidental drop, your laptop will be safe and sound inside. While it claims to fit laptops up to 17 inches, the pocket is slim and might have trouble with bulkier gaming laptops. That said, it worked fine for our 15-inch laptop and should provide more than enough room for a MacBook or Pixelbook.
The next compartment is the largest and has a handy pocket for papers, magazines or other items you don’t want to get damaged. One issue here is that the Authority Pack’s slim build makes the space inside rather skinny. This is definitely not the backpack if you plan to carry a ton of stuff, especially anything large or bulky. The last and smallest compartment near the front of the pack has lots of good storage organizers and places for items, but also suffers from a lack of space.
The general build quality of the Authority Backpack is as excellent as you’d expect from Timbuk2. The external material is coated in a matte, water-resistant finish that performs very well in the rain without the need for a removable cover. This is definitely nice to have and it’s worth noting the water-resistant material is on all the Authority bags, but is even better on the Fog color that we tested. Overall, the bag feels incredibly solid and sturdy.
In an overcrowded sea of cheap bags that crumble under the simple stresses of day-to-day use, Timbuk2’s Authority Pack is the lifebuoy you can rely on to save the day.
When toting around your backpack, looks and design are great, but comfort is key. The Authority Backpack excels in this realm and was one of the most comfortable backpacks we’ve tested. The shoulder straps are thick and padded with foam, featuring sternum straps to help shift weight. The portion that rests against your back is ventilated and mimics the same pattern of the straps, giving you an added cushion where the pack’s load rests on your body.
While fully loaded, the backpack remained comfortable, even when using it all day. However, due to the slim build, you’d be hard-pressed to actually fit enough stuff in the bag to make it truly heavy.
In terms of price, Timbuk2 products are definitely not cheap. The Authority Backpack is no different, and hovers around $130 unless you grab it during a sale, which can lower it to around $100. Over the years, Timbuk2’s competition has really stepped up, so there are definitely comparable bags out there for less. That being said, the bag is robust and durable—built to last its wearer for many years to come. With Timbuk2, you’re guaranteed for the bag to last a lifetime, and the warranty covers any issues you might face during its long-lasting service.
The Authority Pack was designed primarily for one consumer in mind—the commuter.
Timbuk2’s biggest rival online is probably Incase, another bag designer that produces excellent products with high-quality materials and durability. Incase makes tons of other laptop bags, but the City Compact is the closest competitor to the Authority Pack, and the two are closely matched.
At around $80 to $100, the City Compact provides a slightly cheaper alternative for anyone who’s in love with the Authority’s design and features, but not its price. Able to hold a 15-inch laptop, the bag is a bit smaller in laptop size-capacity, but the market for laptops larger than 15 inches has dwindled over the years, and is likely unnecessary for most consumers. One major difference here is that the City Compact does not offer water-resistance, which can become a big problem if you find yourself caught in the rain with your valuable tech in tow. It also has fewer features, like the external straps and key fob, but the lower price helps make up for these omissions.
Want to take a look at some other options? Browse through our list of the best laptop backpacks on the market today.
The commuter’s ideal laptop backpack.
The Authority Pack was designed primarily for one consumer in mind—the commuter. It’s tough, offers great protection from drops and bumps, keeps your gear safe from rain, and comes with a lifetime warranty. It’s not the fanciest bag out there with a lot of extras, but it gets the job done.