Timbuk2 Rascal Belt Bag Review
The Timbuk2 Rascal Belt Bag is a durable and useful addition to the growing crowd of small waist packs, though the zipper can get stuck around corners.
- Comfortable as a sling or waist pack
- Good size to carry the essentials
- Durable materials protect your gear
- Zippers catch around corners
- Long key leash gets tangled with gear in front pocket
- Slides forward easily when worn crossbody on back
0.37 lb (0.2 kg)
4.33 in x 7.28 in x 1.97 in (11 x 18.5 x 5 cm)
Recycled Nylon, Recycled Polyester, YKK Zippers
Some pants have small pockets if they have any at all. It could be a factor in the skyrocketing popularity of slings, especially smaller belt bags. Carrying your passport, cards, phone, keys, and maybe a snack and hand sanitizer is convenient for everyday use and travel.
Timbuk2 has entered the arena with the Rascal Belt Bag. At 2L, it’s a nice size to carry what you need daily, and it has some organizational features that can come in handy. So how does it perform? Keep reading and find out!
With recycled nylon and polyester materials, the Timbuk2 Rascal Belt Bag is a sturdy little sling to keep the essentials close at hand. The thinner nylon is on the face of the bag, with the bottom and back the more durable polyester. Since those are the sides most likely to be set down, putting the thicker fabric there makes sense.
We’re testing Eco Black, an entirely dark colorway, but you can also get it in colorways we’ve seen on other Timbuk2 bags, like the Spirit Laptop Backpack: Eco Nautical Pop and Eco Gunmetal Pop. They have a base of navy and gray, respectively, with pops of color on the zippers and strap.
It has a 2L capacity in a small footprint, yet it doesn’t protrude as much as some other waist packs we’ve tested. It still sticks out some since the strap comes off the sides of the back panel. There are no compression straps, so the total capacity hangs off the strap.
Looking around the front, you’ll find a large strap with the Timbuk2 logo on the front. It’s the same method of branding we see on most Timbuk2 bags, and it can double as an attachment point if you need to attach a tiny travel accessory outside the bag.
The other notable design feature is chunky YKK Vislon zippers. They’re quite durable, yet the main compartment zipper is difficult to get around corners when opening and closing the bag. You can mitigate this problem by keeping the dual zipper heads at the top of the bag, but since the track travels a couple of inches down each side of the bag, it’s nice to be able to open it to see more fully inside.
The zippers have thin cords woven through the metal pulls, and there are hexagonal plastic cylinders at the end that are easy to grab and have the Timbuk2 name.
Flipping around to the back side of the bag, you’ll find two large triangles of polyester jutting out from either side of the bag, narrowing to where the soft webbing belt attaches. It adjusts with a slide, so you can shorten it to be a waist pack or lengthen it to wear crossbody. However, it doubles over on itself, so there is no extra strap dangling when you shorten the length.
On the right end of the strap is a chunky buckle which you can undo to take it off. While the buckle and adjuster are unbranded, they’ve worked well throughout testing.
The Rascal Belt Bag is pretty comfortable, whether you’re wearing it around your waist or across your chest. While it can flip around on the thin strap when you pull it over your head, it’s not that difficult to straighten out when it does, and then it stays put while wearing it.
We find it most convenient to keep it crossbody on the front to have easy access to our phone, wallet, and keys while shopping and exploring a new city. That’s because, should you sling it around to your back, it can flip back to your front if you lean forward, whether you’re taking a bumpy bike ride or trying to see fish swimming underneath a bridge.
The aesthetic matches many of the current batch of belt bags in that it’s very casual and more practical than pretty. Let’s cut to the chase: it won’t match most dresses or suits. However, it looks great with T-shirts, hoodies, and more casual fare. You know, the clothing you’re most likely packing for vacation.
Inside The Sling
Even though it’s a small sling, there are two compartments you can choose to fill. One zipper opens across the front to open a pocket where you can stash small quick-grab items. Obviously, in a bag of this size, pretty much everything can be a quick grab, but more slender gear works well here, such as a travel wallet and a battery bank.
An extremely loose mesh pocket divides the area. It’s topped with elastic but is so floppy that it doesn’t really act like a pocket and hold your gear in place. More often than not, we find that whatever we’re tucking in this front section ends up behind the mesh by default, but when everything goes on one side of a divider, it’s not aiding your organization much.
Behind the mesh is a long, neon yellow leash with a clip at the end for your keys. The length allows you to open doors without unhooking your keys from the bag, yet it tangles in the other gear you store inside and occasionally gets in the way of rezipping the pocket.
Moving on to the main compartment, it contains one zipper pocket against the rear of the sling. It’s a good place to stash a pack of gum, lip balm, cash, or a cord to recharge your phone. It barely accommodates a standard U.S. passport, so if you want to use it for that, we recommend storing it there after getting through customs so you don’t have to pull it back out until your return trip.
And that’s it for organizational features. You have another inch-and-a-half or so of depth to play with, although stuffing the main compartment will impact the capacity of the front pocket and vice versa. Still, you’ll have room for your phone, a minimalist wallet, a snack bar, and hand sanitizer. You know, the essentials.
So while it isn’t going to win any beauty contests, and it doesn’t top the list of our favorite slings, the Timbuk2 Rascal Belt Bag is a capable small bag that won’t take up much space in your travel backpack if you want to toss it in for daily adventures and explorations. It’s so light that it won’t weigh you down at the pub or market, so it may be the small travel companion you’re looking for.
- A good size for the essentials
- YKK Vislon zippers are very chunky
- Very long key leash
- Mesh pocket too loose to hold gear
- Appreciate strap design that eliminates dangling
- Quick to adjust strap from crossbody to belt bag