In this day and age, we spend most of our times on our laptops and smartphones. We use them for work, for school and for entertainment, and most of us carry them wherever we go. Because of that, it is important to have a good piece of equipment that you can carry your electronic best friend in, and the Timbuk2 Spire and Rogue backpacks are just perfect for the job.
They are both backpacks designed primarily for laptops, but they have a few features that make them very versatile. They have a very similar design and also similar features, but one of them does come out on top. But I don’t want to spoil anything, and if you want to find out which one that is, you are going to have to join me in this detailed comparison of the Timbuk2 Spire and Rogue backpacks!
I promise to tell you about all the cool features of these two backpacks, and show you photos wherever I can. But first I have to tell you about their basic specifications, so that you have a clear idea of what it is that you are buying. So check those out in this table:
12.4 (W) x 18.7 (H) x 5.1 (D) inches
12.2 (W) x 18.9 (H) x 6.3 (D) inches
Laptop Sleeve Dimensions
11.4 (W) x 15 (H) inches
12.2 (W) x 16.5 (H) inches
Water-resistant TPU and aluminum hardware
You might think that since these are both laptop backpacks, they’re going to be pretty much alike, especially since they look quite similar. But that’s not the case here; yes there are some similarities between the packs, but there are also a few differences, and we’re going to check them all out.
To begin with, you should know that the Spire backpack was designed specifically for Apple. So, if Apple’s ecosystem is already a big part of your life, this pack would be a pretty cool addition to it. But, just like anything Apple, the Spire pack has a higher price tag than the Rogue.
But it also has a larger capacity than then other backpack, even though it has smaller dimensions – apart from the width, obviously. And it’s also the heavier backpack, by half a pound, which is something you should take into consideration when deciding which one to purchase.
Was there a good reason for Timbuk2 to make the Spire more expensive, or was it just because they designed it specifically for Macs? Well it’s time to find out, and we’ll start with that these two Timbuk2 packs have in common.
The first thing you’ll probably notice about these two packs is that they look very similar. It’s the same silhouette and overall look, so naturally there are some features that these two backpacks both have. We’ll check out those first, and then we’ll move on to those features that are unique to each pack.
The packs aren’t made of identical materials, but they are both made of materials that are water-resistant. And that is particularly important since these are both laptop backpacks, and we all know how important it is for our laptops to stay dry.
You can have some peace of mind knowing that your laptop is going to be safe and dry even if you get caught in rain. This is also very beneficial for all of you that go places on your bike, and are accustomed to dealing with all types of weather.
Whatever type of backpack you’re shopping for, you should always prioritize comfort. It won’t matter if it’s the most functional or beautiful backpack on the planet, if it has a crappy back panel that will ultimately make your back and shoulders hurt.
So, I’m happy to say that both the Spire and the Rogue will keep you comfortable throughout the day. They have a back panel that is not only padded, but also ventilated. So, either pack will feel soft and comfy on your back, and at the same time keep it cool and dry when it’s hot outside.
This is an almost indispensible feature of high quality backpacks. A sternum strap is the buckle that connects the two shoulder straps, and you can see it in the photos. It’s a useful little thing, but its main purpose is to keep both your shoulder straps on your torso at all times.
That means that one of them won’t be able to slip off accidently, and also that no one will be able to just snatch the pack off your back – if you are carrying it with a buckled sternum strap. The strap is also removable, so if you don’t particularly like it or find it useful, you can always take it off.
The Spire is a little bit wider than the Rogue, but all of its other dimensions are smaller. So it would be logical that the Rogue is the backpack with the larger capacity, but that’s not the case. In fact, the Spire backpack has a capacity 5 liters larger, but it’s not because of the main compartment.
We’ll talk about the capacity difference in the next section, because both packs have a pretty spacious main compartment. And it’s almost exactly the same in its dimensions and size. Additionally, both backpacks have a zippered pocket with an organizer in this compartment, which is perfect for all your cables and chargers.
As you can see in the photos, both the Spire and the Rogue have an exterior front pocket. It’s a great compartment for all your smaller items, such as spare cash, ID, earbuds etc. I wouldn’t really put an entire wallet in it because of its location – a thief could access it while you are carrying the pack, and you wouldn’t feel a thing.
You can also notice from the photos that the pocket on the Spire is taller than the pocket on the Rogue. Since the two packs are nearly identical in height, you can notice that the Spire’s pocket is then significantly larger, and I believe that partly accounts for the larger capacity of this backpack.
First of all, I was a little surprised to see the loops on these two backpacks that are primarily designed for the urban jungle. But then I also realized that I was also delighted, because it just makes them better and more functional.
For one thing, the daisy chain webbing takes up less space than a traditional side pocket, and it’s also lighter. So, Timbuk2 cleverly reduced the weights of these packs, but increased their functionality.
Another thing is that these make the backpacks much more versatile, because they allow you to attach all of your hiking or mountaineering gear to the backpack. Well, you can basically attach anything to these vertical loops, as long as you strap it on a carabiner.
Both of these Timbuk2 packs have a single pocket on their side, and it is elastic. It’s designed for a water bottle, but you can use it to store whatever you like – provided that it can fit inside it.
With most packs you’ll get two of these pockets, so it is a bit strange that these backpacks have only one. However, when you consider the previous feature I talked about – the daisy chain webbing – then it makes sense. They scratched that pocket so that they could incorporate plenty of other attachment points for your gear, which ultimately just makes the packs more functional.
How many times have you found yourself desperately needing a bottle opener, but it’s nowhere to be found? I for one remember a similar situation; only it involved a broken bottle and a scratched radiator when I was unable to find an opener. If only I had one of these packs with me then.
So I think the bottle opener is a very cool and thoughtful addition. Everyone will need it at one point or the other, and with these packs you are guaranteed to have it. If you don’t like it you can just take it off and throw it away. Or just sell it online and earn a few bucks.
I’ve told you in the beginning that the Spire is the more expensive backpack, and if you guessed that that is because it has more features, you were right. There are a couple more things that give it an edge over the Rogue. And we’ll take a look at those features in this section.
Both packs have a compartment for your laptop, but there are some differences between them. First, the sleeve on the Rogue is bigger, and could fit larger laptops than the Spire could. However, the Spire was designed specifically for the MacBooks, and it’s undeniable that they are usually slimmer and smaller than your average HP or Dell.
The other thing where they differ is the accessibility of the sleeve. On the Rogue pack, the sleeve is inside the main compartment, and you can access it only through it. On the other hand, the Spire also has an interior laptop compartment, but you can access it also through a zipper on the back panel. This means that if you want to take out just your laptop, without touching anything else on the pack, you can.
The Spire features an additional exterior pocket, which is another thing that adds to its larger overall capacity. The pocket has zippered closure on the side of the backpack, and it’s barely noticeable. I honestly didn’t notice it at first, and I was pleasantly surprised when I did!
The pocket is significantly smaller then the other front pocket that I talked about, and so you can’t really fit anything large in it. But it’s great for your sunglasses or phone, or whatever you want to keep inside it.
Since the Spire was designed exclusively for Apple, it makes sense that it will have a compartment for all of your favorite Apple products – apart from the iMac, of course. So, it’s logical that the Spire features an extra iPad sleeve inside the main compartment.
And it doesn’t have to be an iPad – it can be any tablet you own, as long as it fits in the compartment. If you like to carry all your electronics with you, then I think you will love all of these different sleeves and pockets of the Spire.
Well, if I had to pick just one, I would pick the Spire backpack. I love how it is actually the smaller of the two, but at the same time it has a larger capacity. I also really like all of its different compartments and sleeves, as I prefer to have my gear organized, rather than keep everything in the same compartment.
However, it is the more expensive backpack, and you are going to have to shell out about $100 for it. So, if you are on a budget, I think the Rogue would be the better choice for you. It has many identical features as the Spire, and only lacks a few. And it has a much more attractive price tag than the Spire – you can get the Black one for less than $50.
But, ultimately it is going to be your choice, and you should get the backpack that you find suits your own needs best. Pick one of these Timbuk2 backpacks and head over to Amazon – I bet you won’t find a better deal anywhere else.
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!