Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 Review

The Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 is a well-organized everyday carry bag that also works for travel, but a narrow opening slows access to the main compartment.

Our Verdict

7.4 /10
Good info






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  • Boxy shape stands upright
  • Lots of organizational options
  • Sleeves for both a laptop and tablet


  • Bottle pocket obstructs main and laptop compartment zippers
  • Difficult to access all main compartment space
  • Potentially too many pockets—not all get used

Technical Details

86 %

Carry-on Compliance

View 125/145 Airlines

68 %

Like the Look

Polled on Instagram

  • Capacity


  • Weight (lb)

    2.1 lb (1 kg)

  • Dimensions

    18.5 in x 11 in x 5.12 in (47 x 27.9 x 13 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    Recycled Nylon, Polyethylene, Polyurethane, YKK Zippers, Unbranded Hardware

  • Manufacturing Country


  • Laptop Compartment Size


  • Warranty Information

    Lifetime Warranty Repair

Full Review

When a bike messenger starts a bag company, you might assume they’ve taken steps to ensure products include thoughtful organization and a comfortable carry. A daypack is certainly easier to carry on the go than a stiff briefcase, that’s for sure.

Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 Side Profile
Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 | It’s organized for life on the move.

With the Q Laptop Backpack 2.0, Timbuk2 says it’s aiming for a new and improved version of an already-popular bag. They designed the 20-liter pack for commuters and students, but how does it work for travelers and digital nomads? Let’s find out.

External Components

At first glance, you’ll see a lot going on around this laptop bag, with plenty of pockets and zippers running up, down, and around the backpack.

Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 Brand
Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 | The exterior fabric is a thick and durable recycled nylon.

The exterior fabric is recycled nylon from pre-consumer materials and is fairly thick and coarse. It also attracts dirt, though it brushes off easily. We’ve got the Eco Nautical colorway, a navy blue, but it also comes in Eco Black and Eco Gunmetal, a lighter gray. There’s a webbing loop at the bottom with a Timbuk2 patch on it; you could probably stick a bike light here to be visible while riding in the dark if needed.

Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 Bottle Opener
Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 | A bottle opener, because you never know when you need to pop open a cold one.

The only other nod to branding is Timbuk2 debossed on a metal bottle opener attached to the right shoulder strap. It’s for “party tricks and quick refreshment,” and a lark it would be if you cracked open a cold one with your bag still on your back.

Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 Side Handle
Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 | There are carry handles at the top and side of the bag.

Along with a large webbing carry handle at the top, there’s also a side carry handle on the right and a luggage pass-through on the back panel to make it easier to get through the airport with rolling luggage. It’s nice to have options, and what’s even better is that—except for the top carry handle—it all lays flat to stay out of the way if you don’t use it.

Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 Zipper
Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 | YKK zippers are easy to grab.

As we mentioned above, there are plenty of zippers around this bag, and we’re happy to report that they’re all YKK. There are thin cords woven through the metal pulls that end in a barrel-shaped rubbery grip. It makes them easier to grab and cuts down on the jangling from the metal zippers slapping together. The only other hardware is the plastic adjusters on the shoulder straps. We can’t find any visible branding on them, but they work as expected.

Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 Strap
Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 | There’s padding on the shoulder straps, but it’s thin.

Speaking of the shoulder straps, let’s chat about the harness system. The straps have thin padding with breathable mesh on the underside, and they connect with flexible webbing about an inch below the top of the pack. That allows the straps to move freely around different body types, which we like.

There are keepers to contain the extra strap, which we like, but the elastic is so tight that we struggle to squeeze it around double or triple thicknesses of the straps. Once you get it on, they stay in place, but it, honestly, takes some time and effort to get it around.

Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 Back Pad
Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 | A luggage pass-through and breathable mesh padding are on the back panel.

The back panel has more padding than the shoulder straps, so you don’t typically feel your laptop through it while wearing the bag. It features the same breathable mesh to reduce the likelihood of a sweaty back.

There isn’t a sternum strap or hip belt, but we don’t miss it with this size bag.

Fit Notes

Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 Side By Side
Left: Kristyne Defever, Height: 5’5” (165 cm), Torso: 17’ (43 cm) | Right: Eric Hergenreder, Height: 6’0” (183 cm), Torso: 18.5” (47 cm)

The Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 is a casual bag, no doubt. It will fit nicely in a classroom, on your back as you commute, and as a personal item bag for the plane. The straps and the back panel are a bit stiff, however. They’re not uncomfortable, per se, yet you can feel them pulling a bit at your shoulders. Additionally, the back panel can feel rigid when you put in your laptop, and, depending on the length of your torso, it can be a bit long.

We like that the bag’s structure allows it to stand upright whether it’s packed or not, so you don’t have to worry about it falling on its front when you set it down next to you.

Inside The Pack

As we alluded to above, there is a lot going on around the outside of this bag. On the left is a travel water bottle pocket that accommodates most size bottles and holds them tightly thanks to a combination of pressure from the main compartment and elastic at the top. The pocket itself isn’t stretchy—it’s the same material as the outside of the pack—but you can get extra room by shifting your gear to the opposite side inside.

Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 Water Bottle
Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 | The zipper track runs into the bottle pocket, so your hydration can block access.

There are a couple of annoyances to mention: the elastic on our sample flips up nearly all the time, so you see some black against the blue colorway, and the main compartment zipper track runs below the edge of the bottle pocket. So, if you zip it all the way to the left side, it’s hard to slide a bottle past the large zipper pulls, and if you do manage to, the bottle traps them, so you can’t unzip it without pulling the bottle out.

Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 Tech Compartment
Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 | Store laptop accessories here to use them on the go.

Moving on, there’s a rectangular pocket at the bottom of the front panel designed to hold your wall charger and cord. It saves you from digging through the main compartment to find them when you pull out your laptop. Inside are two slip pockets and a bright yellow key leash with a swivel clip at the end. Stashing your cord and mouse in here will make it convenient to work as you wait to board your plane since you can leave everything else packed up while you do, although the zipper can get hung up as it goes around the corners when you try to open and close it one-handed.

Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 Pocket Front
Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 | Open the vertical zipper to reach the frontmost pocket.

Above that, a vertical zipper on the right side opens a sizable quick-access pocket. Usually, we’d be happy to see this (and don’t get us wrong, it’s nice), but there are so many other places to store small gear, most with extra organization, that we didn’t use it at all. As winter moves to spring and summer moves to fall, it could be a good place to stash a pair of gloves and a hat to have them just in case, or a few snack bars so you don’t get hangry throughout the day, but nothing too thick will fit in this pocket.

Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 Front Organization
Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 | Store pens, note pads, cords, and other accessories in the admin panel.

The main reason we don’t use that pocket much is that the remainder of the front panel opens with an upside-down L-shaped zipper to reveal a dedicated admin panel. It includes three narrow slip pockets for a mouse, a small phone, and headphones, three pen slots wide enough for a stylus, and a larger zip pocket behind all those where you can toss tiny travel accessories. There’s space in front of them, too, where we toss our glasses case and a notebook because they’re just easier to access here than in the frontmost pocket. And while the zippers aren’t waterproof, this one does slide into a little garage at the top, so you shouldn’t get moisture seeping through the end.

Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 Laptop
Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 | Up to a 17-inch laptop fits in the rear compartment.

Flip around to the back, and you’ll find a large back pocket for up to a 17-inch laptop. It swallows a smaller device, like a 13-inch MacBook Air, but has plenty of padding and a shiny nylon liner to prevent anything from happening to your computer. Both it and the main compartment open in a J-shape, with a dual-sided zipper going down further on the left side (down to the bottle pocket) than on the right, where they meet the side carry handle. How you feel about this is more about your preference than anything else; you can get a pretty good look inside but obviously not see as much as you would with a complete horseshoe opening.

That’s less of an issue with the laptop compartment than with the main compartment, which seems like it should have a lot of room but doesn’t easily allow you to use all of it. Against the bag’s rear side is a large padded sleeve where you can slip an iPad or tablet if you’re a two-device user or folders and papers if you’re more of an analog person.

Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 Main Stuffed
Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 | The narrow opening makes it difficult to pack the main compartment.

The rest is open space, and while Timbuk2 says you can fit books, lunch, and a travel jacket in here, we have more luck going with two out of three. If you make good use of the admin panel, it juts into the main compartment, as does the bottle pocket, so a lot of usable space gets eaten up fairly quickly. And because of the way the area opens, it’s hard to wedge something thicker to the bottom, even though it looks as if it should fit. Your best bet is to lay the pack down on its back and hold the main area open as wide as possible, sliding things in one at a time, but it’s still not perfect.

That said, if you’re looking for a well-organized everyday carry bag that could still serve you well while traveling, you may like the durable, divided nature of the Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack 2.0.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • Looking forward to using all the organization
  • Super thick back panel padding
  • Unique features include a bottle opener on the shoulder strap
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • Hardly ever use the quick-access pocket
  • Seems like it should carry more than it does
  • External organization makes it a good personal item bag
By Kristyne Defever
Created June 8, 2023 • Updated July 11, 2023
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