Last Updated: July 10, 2019

Timbuk2 Command Vs. Commute (TSA Friendly Laptop Messenger Bags)

It’s really cool to see a messenger bag that has the functionality of a backpack and that’s exactly what Timbuk2 managed to make. Command and Commute are two of their best selling bags, and it’s easy to see why.

You probably already know that this brand knows how to make backpacks, and they know what features a person on the go needs. So, while backpacks are more convenient for the outdoors, messenger bags are a better option for work and day-to-day activities. That’s because they look sleeker and in general smaller, and so they are also more suitable for travelling. 

But picking the exact right bag for your specific situation can be hard, that is why I have gone super deep in this review to show you exactly what each bag has, sizes, space and more.

So, take some time to check out the whole review OR click on the Quick Navigation below to get to the section you want (if you want to jump right to my verdict/summary, click the last link!

See you inside :>

TIMBUK2 Commute Messenger Bag, Nautical, Small
TIMBUK2 Command Messenger Bag, Pike, Large

In General About The Timbuk2 Command And Commute Messenger Bags

It’s time to crunch the numbers first. You can see all the info about the dimensions, weights pockets and some other stuff about these bags in the table below. After that, we’ll get down to the details and talk about some more interesting things!

Timbuk2 Command Laptop Travel-Friendly Messenger Bag, Small, Diablo
TIMBUK2 Commute Messenger Bag, Nautical, Large

Dimensions

5.12 x 16.93 x 13.58 (S), 5.12 x 17.13 x 14.37 (M), 5.91 x 18.5 x 15.35 (L) Inches

5.91 x 15.35 x 11.81 (S), 7.87 x 18.5 x 15.75 (M), 6.69 x 20.74 x 13.39 (L) Inches

 Weight

2.62 (S), 2.71 (M), 2.69 (L) Lbs

2.43 (S), 2.2 (M), 2.82 (L) Lbs

Capacity

18 (S), 22 (M), 26 (L) Liters

11 (S), 13 (M), 15 (L) Liters

Device Size Compatibility

iPad+13" (S), 15" (M), 17" (L)

iPad+13" (S), 15" (M), 17" (L)

Pockets

8

12

As you can see, both messenger bags are available in three different sizes, and each size is compatible with a laptop of different size. In addition to that, each size of the bag has different capacity, naturally. That is something you should take into consideration when deciding on whether you are going to get the Command or the Commute.

It is also important to note that the Command is the bag that has the overall largest capacity. You can see that its smallest variant still has a bigger capacity than the largest variant of the Commute, which is a big deal. But, I can’t really say that one bag has an advantage over the other in this respect, because it largely depends on what kind of a bag you are looking for. And the capacity difference is mainly because of the pockets – the actual dimensions of the bags only vary a few inches.

So, with that in mind, we will now move on to the shared features of these Timbuk2 messenger bags, and we’re going to check out their respective differences a little bit later. Stay tuned!


Shared Features

There are some things that these two bags share, and we’ll talk about those first before we get into any details about features that are unique to each bag.

Overall Design & Size Variety

Both of these are messenger bags, obviously. Naturally, they both have flap closure, and buckles that will keep the flap in one place. And really, at first glance these bags looks incredibly similar, but once we get to the details you’ll notice the differences.

The design of the shoulder strap is also pretty much the same on them – both bags have a padded and adjustable shoulder strap that you can remove if you wish to. The strap can be easily adjusted with the buckle that locks and unlocks, and you can even do it on the go.

TIMBUK2 Commute Messenger Bag, Nautical, Small

With both bags, there is a size variety. You can choose from small, medium and large, and there’s a couple things you should consider when picking a size. The first is the capacity of the bag – naturally, the larger the bag, the larger its capacity.

The other thing is the size of the laptop compartment. You can see in the table above that the three sizes correspond to 13”, 15” and 17” laptops. So, you’ll also want to pick a bag that can fit your laptop comfortably.


TSA Friendly Laptop Compartment

Both bags are advertised as TSA friendly, but I have to say that the Commute looks like a better option in this respect. That is because it has a separate laptop compartment that unzips fully and lies flat, similarly to many TSA friendly backpacks.

As for the Command, it also has a separate laptop compartment, but it opens up in a different way. And I think that it's not as convenient as with the other bag, but that's just my opinion, based on my personal preferences. 

On both bags, this compartment also has a sleeve for your tablet, but the Commute also has a pocket for your phone. However, the Command makes up for this with a different dedicated phone compartment, but we’ll talk about that a little bit later.

Commute Laptop Compartment

Stretch Side Pocket


Both of these Timbuk2 messenger bags feature an exterior stretch mesh pocket. It’s basically the same pocket you usually see on backpacks, but it’s very cool that they also included it in these styles of bags.

This pocket is great for keeping a water bottle handy – especially since it is exterior, and so you know that nothing can get spilled inside. Plus it’s very convenient for quick hydration on the go – more convenient than rummaging through the main compartment of your bag is anyway.

TIMBUK2 Commute Messenger Bag, Nautical, Small

Internal Zippered Pocket With Organizer

The main compartment of both bags is pretty spacious; however, the Command is overall the bigger bag. I guess this will be the deciding factor for most of you, especially because the Commute’s largest bag is still smaller than the smallest Command.

But there is something about the main compartment that these two bags share – the internal zippered pocket. The pocket is quite large on both bags, and it features an organizer on its outside. These few tiny slip pockets are great for your business cards, pens, chapstick or whatever you think you can fit in them.

TIMBUK2 Commute Messenger Bag, Surplus, Small

Luggage Strap

We talked about the TSA friendly aspect of these bags, and there’s one other thing that makes them very convenient for travel – the luggage strap. This feature allows you to put the bag on top of your suitcase and secure it to the wheel handles.

So, you can wheel the suitcase around the airport without having to carry the bag, or worry about it falling off. These bags are not just great for your laptops, but they also make awesome carry-ons. If you are looking for something versatile that you can use every day and even travel around with it, either of these Timbuk2 bags would make a great companion.

TIMBUK2 Commute Messenger Bag, Surplus, Small

Timbuk2 Commute: Unique Features

There are some things that are common to both these messenger bags, but it’s the details that really make you go for one or the other. In this section we are going to talk about the features that are unique to Timbuk2 Commute, so that it can be easier for you to decide on which one to buy.

But before we get down to the details, how about a little video introduction so you can see all of those features close up:


Internal Stretch Mesh Pockets

Even though the Commute is the smaller of the two, it has more compartments. This bag has 12 separate pockets, as compared to the Command’s 8. And two of those pockets are stretch mesh pockets inside the bag’s main compartment. If you read any of my previous review, you know how I feel about pockets! :>

If you ask me, these are great for your chargers or cables, or basically anything that is so small that will wind up at the bottom of the main compartment. This way you can put it in the side pocket, and then you won’t have to search for it among the contents of your bag when you need it.

TIMBUK2 Commute Messenger Bag, Nautical, Large

Multiple Exterior Slip Pockets

When you open up the bag, you can notice that there are several slip pockets on the exterior. And there are Velcro straps that are sewn into their outsides. For one thing, these pockets have the purpose of hiding the Velcro straps if you decide that you want the added security they provide.

But, they are also convenient for any items you want to keep separate, and they provide for better organization overall. So if you are the type that prefers to have a separate compartment for everything, then I think you can definitely benefit from the 12 pockets of the Commute.


Keychain Clip

I for one love this feature, because I am constantly searching for my keys, and they are usually at the bottom of my bag. Even when I have a 101 keychain on them, it can still take up to 5 minutes to find them, and on the occasions that I put them in a pocket, they somehow find up right next to my precious smartphone’s display.

With the keychain clip of this Timbuk2 messenger bag, you won’t have to search for them ever again. The clip is attached to the upper part of the bag, and when you need the keys you just need to pull out the string. Quick, simple and incredibly convenient.


External Zip Pocket

I for one love this feature, because I am constantly searching for my keys, and they are usually at the bottom of my bag. Even when I have a 101 keychain on them, it can still take up to 5 minutes to find them, and on the occasions that I put them in a pocket, they somehow find up right next to my precious smartphone’s display.

With the keychain clip of this Timbuk2 messenger bag, you won’t have to search for them ever again. The clip is attached to the upper part of the bag, and when you need the keys you just need to pull out the string. Quick, simple and incredibly convenient.

TIMBUK2 Commute Messenger Bag, Nautical, Large

Timbuk2 Command: Unique Features

There are a few things that are unique to this Timbuk2 messenger bag, and I think you’ll really appreciate them. Scroll down to see which features the Command has and the Commute doesn’t. But first, here’s a video that will tell you everything you need to know about this messenger bag:


Several Exterior Zippered Pockets

This one I really liked. Or not one – all of them. First of all, there are three zippered pockets on the exterior or the bag, and they are all very well hidden. In fact, I didn’t even notice them at first glance, but when I did I was very impressed. And second of all, you can access all of these with the flap down – so no need to open up the bag at all.

These pockets are perfect for your smartphone, wallet and other precious smaller belongings. There is one pocket on the flap, and you can access if from the side, another pocket on the side but it’s on the body of the bag, and the third and final pocket is also on the body of the bag, but on the opposite side. If you can’t visualize what I’m talking about at all, I highly recommend that you check out that video above – the pockets are all shown in the first 20 seconds. :>


One Internal And One External Slip Pocket

Oh how the tables have turned. So, where the Commute has three exterior slip pockets, the Command has only one. But they both kind of have the same purpose – to hide the covers of the Velcro straps when you are using them.

But, the Command also has an internal slip pocket, and it is rather large. This compartment is great for a notebook or something that is of similar size, because it will fit perfectly.

Timbuk2 Command Laptop Messenger Bag

Timbuk2 Command Vs. Commute: The Verdict

Okay, I have to admit that this is a hard one. My first instinct was that the Commute was the better bag, because it appears to be built with better materials, the electronics compartment is much more convenient to use and it has more pockets overall. It does have a smaller capacity, but when you look at its actual dimensions, it’s not really that much smaller than the Command.

I would say that this bag is great for anyone who is looking for something sleek and modern, and ultra TSA friendly. Its electronics compartments unzips and lays flat, which will make going through TSA checkpoints a breeze.

TIMBUK2 Commute Messenger Bag, Nautical, Large
461 Reviews
TIMBUK2 Commute Messenger Bag, Nautical, Large
  • Pockets: 10 interior slip, 1 interior zip, 3 exterior

Like I said, that was my first instinct. When I started to examine the details, I have to say that the Command really bought me with all of its exterior pockets. There are so many different compartments for all your gear, and you can really use every single one. And the best part is that they are so cleverly incorporated into the design that you can barely even notice them if you don’t know they are there. So, it’s a bag that looks very minimalistic, but it’s everything but.

Timbuk2 Command Laptop Messenger Bag
10 Reviews
Timbuk2 Command Laptop Messenger Bag
  • Durable oxford nylon fabric feels smooth and has a subtle sheen.
  • Waterproof TPU liner and Classic Messenger fit.
  • Classic Messenger fit.
  • Improved compliant external laptop compartment unzips and lies flat for going through security without removing your laptop.
  • Crater laptop sleeve: superior foam protection with twice the ventilation.

Anyway, you are the one making the decision, and I really hope I helped you with that. If you managed to pick just one of these awesome Timbuk2 messenger bags, head over to Amazon and check out their prices!

About the Author Roger Timbrook

Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!

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