Timbuk2 Datadump Laptop Backpack: Hands-On Review

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Thanks to senior editor Sean Carroll for this post!I love this bag. And to judge by the many compliments I got while carrying it, so did nearly everyone around me. Comments ranged from: “I lust after your bag,” from a total stranger on my train to “I love your bag, you ***,” from an apparently jealous Laarni Ragaza (a frequent Gearlog contributor) who burst into my office and offered that by way of a morning greeting.


The TimBuk2 Datadump is a terrific bag (it’s in the fall/winter line so not available yet, but check back at the site for details). It’s great looking, well designed, and a pleasure to carry, whether you’re loading it up for a long weekend or just carrying your laptop and daily junk back and forth to work.Lots of well-designed details make the Datadump desirable. The top zippered opening, for example, is an enormous wide-mouth that gives easy access to your stuff but snaps down to the sides for a sleeker look when closed. Inside the capacious main compartment is an MP3 pocket with a headphone port that leads out the top of the pack, as well as a net compartment that holds the cable sack. On the exterior are two lightly padded side pockets with a variety of interior pockets, pouches, tethers and so on designed for credit cards, keys, cell phones, and even 32-ounce water bottles. Finally, the large laptop compartment is easily accessed via a side zipper, and it’s well padded, with a corduroy lining. I actually found the bag more comfortable to carry with a laptop, as it lent the bag a certain additional rigidity.

Few bags are that well made. The Datadump is made from ballistic nylon with well padded contoured shoulder straps and a rigid padded carrying handle that’s also handy for getting the bag onto your shoulders, if you’ve got it loaded up for a longer trip. If you’re doing some serious traveling, you’ll appreciate extras like the waterproof rubberized bottom, the attachments loops on the shoulder straps (they let you dangle more junk off the pack) and the nicely padded back panel with an air channel cut into the center. There’s even a removable waist strap.The bag isn’t cheap, at $100 MSRP, but you really have to look at this as a serious day pack that happens to have a laptop compartment, and not just another laptop bag. It comes in black and gray, brown and burnt orange (the color scheme that I carried), navy and slate blue, and soft green and silver. I’d recommend this bag. In fact, when they’re available later this year, I’ll probably buy one for myself.

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