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Lifewire / Zach Sweat
Premium materials and overall quality build
Sleek look works in professional or casual settings
Comfortable to carry all day
Expensive compared to competitors
Small capacity inside, little width
While expensive, the Timbuk2 Proof Messenger is a good bag for those who want a professional look and the best materials for a comfortable carry.
We purchased the Timbuk2 Proof Messenger Bag so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
It’s hard to go wrong with a Timbuk2 bag. If you’re searching for something that will last for years to come, the brand is almost always a solid choice, and their Proof Messenger is no different. Made with premium materials and an elegant, professional-minded look, the Proof might just be your ideal new laptop messenger … if you’re willing to spend the money for it. You know what they say though, “You get what you pay for.” And with this one, it’s worth the cost.
Out of all the messenger bags we tested, the Proof is perhaps the most elegant. Timbuk2 spared no expense when they designed this bag. Made from luxurious leather and waxed canvas, this bag is a beauty, blending the elements of a formal briefcase with a casual messenger.
At the front of the bag, there are two big felt-lined pouches for smaller items that are secured by the top flap. This flap uses two leather straps that slip into buckles to keep them in place, which seems like a weird design, but it actually works flawlessly. At the rear, there’s one large zippered pocket that runs the length of the bag. It’s lined with the soft felt found throughout the Proof and has a little strap for either securing it to a bike or your luggage. Up top, there is a nice leather top handle, a feature we loved, making it easy to carry the bag like a briefcase.
Made from luxurious leather and waxed canvas, this bag is a beauty, blending the elements of a formal briefcase with a casual messenger.
Inside the Proof’s main compartment there are a lot of organizers stitched into the walls for securing small items you don’t want floating around. Along the front, one big zippered pouch allows you to segregate larger items and keep them secured. The single main compartment inside the Proof is divided into two so that you can store your laptop or tablet separately from the rest of your load.
One thing to note here is that the sleeve is not very well padded, but should be fine for smaller tech. If you’re looking to bring a thick gaming laptop around, it will probably fit, but you’d probably be best putting it into a separate sleeve first for added protection. The last gripe we have is that there’s no zipper to seal this main compartment, though we didn’t have any issues with things slipping out from under the top flap (but you definitely could if you weren’t careful).
Thanks to Timbuk2’s slim and minimal design of the Proof Messenger, it’s quite comfortable, even when you’re lugging stuff around all day. The shoulder strap is plenty wide and sturdy, but it would’ve been even better with a padded strap for more cushioning. That said, this bag is so thin that you really can’t overload it too much. While that may be good for those who don’t need a lot of gear, if you do, we would recommend looking elsewhere.
Thanks to Timbuk2’s slim and minimal design of the Proof Messenger, it’s quite comfortable, even when you’re lugging stuff around all day.
Another noteworthy feature that we mentioned is the top handle for carrying. These are great to have when you need to pick up your bag or switch to carrying it by hand. While not found on every messenger bag, it’s a great thing to have, and the Proof’s is excellent.
With high-quality materials like water-resistant waxed canvas and real leather, it should be no surprise that this messenger bag is durable as hell and keeps your expensive tech safe from the elements without needing a rain fly. Most of the stitching here is top-notch and the riveted portions are sturdy and free of play. Inside, the dividers and organizers are topped with leather trim to keep them from fraying—a nice touch that will inevitably prolong the life of the bag. Timbuk2 has been perfecting messenger bags for many years now, and it’s clear that this expertise has been used when designing the Proof.
A quick note here for those who plan to use the bag on their bike. Some users have reported the bike strap snapping off while in use. While we did not notice this weak point (we actually removed it entirely), it’s worth mentioning.
This is one category that might make you reconsider your decision if you like the way this messenger bag sounds so far because it ain’t cheap. A quick search around the web for this bag will give you a range of about $140 to $180 ($159 on Amazon). This makes it the most expensive messenger we reviewed by a longshot.
This bag is built to last with superb materials and little touches that keep it from wearing out in areas that are prone to showing age.
For the money, you also don’t get a whole lot of goodies or extra features, and the bag itself is quite small in capacity compared to others. However, you will get your money’s worth. This bag is built to last with superb materials and little touches that keep it from wearing out in areas that are prone to showing age. If you’re willing to fork out the cash now, the Proof will undoubtedly serve you for many years to come. If you decide it’s too much and opt for something more affordable, you may find yourself looking for another if it wears out quickly.
One of Timbuk2’s competitors is Waterfield’s Vitesse Messenger. This West Coast company has quickly garnered a loyal fan base with its high-quality materials and stylish designs—much like Timbuk2.
These two bags are both made predominantly with waxed canvas and leather accents, cost roughly the same, and offer mostly the same layout. The Vitesse gets a slight edge to size, and its thicker body allows you to store a lot more gear. One minor difference is that the Proof comes with the bike strap, while the Vitesse will charge you an additional $10 if you need it. For some, that may not matter, but it’s worth noting. We’d also argue that the Proof feels a bit more professional, though that may come down to personal taste and preference. Both of these are great options, it really just depends on if the additional room appeals to you.
You can check out our list of the best laptop messenger bags on the market right now to see even more solid options that may fit your needs better.
A premium messenger bag worth its premium price.
If you like the feel of premium materials like leather, and a bag that fits in whether you’re wearing a suit or just a t-shirt, the Proof from Timbuk2 is a nice option for the urban commuter. It might cost a bit more, but you’ll look back years later and be glad you bought it.