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Here at we are always on the lookout for amazing products and great companies to showcase.  Thus the Timbuk2 popped on our radar with the Timbuk2 Especial Tres Commuter Backpack.

Recently I started commuting to work by bike and over the years amassed a large assortment of commuter backpacks, one of which was the Timbuk2 Especial Tres.   After using several to commute to downtown Austin, I have found the Tres to be optimal for me.  It has a ton of storage, feels good on the back and seems perfect for commuting.  The Timbuk2 backpack combines bomb proof construction with light weight reflective materials.

Timbuk2 is known world wide for their outstanding cycling messenger bags.  Located and founded in San Fransisco, California back in 1989 by a bike messenger named Rob Honeycutt, they have continuously manufactured in the city’s Mission District ever since.

The Timbuk2 Especial Tres Backpack is a culmination of years of experience in making the worlds best cycling specific backpacks and bags.

There are a lot of things to like about the Tres including

  • A huge carry just about anything pocket,
  • Multiple smaller easy access pockets
  • U-Lock holder
  • Mesh water bottle holders
  • Misc organizer
  • Computer pouch
  • Reflective/Safety material
  • Way cool bottle opener
  • Safety light loops
  • Zipper pulls


When the Timbuk2 Especial Tres arrived it came in a map looking package.


Opening it up revealed the Tres backpack in plastic with 2 tags.


Discarding the the plastic wrap showed exactly what we received.



The Tres is made from Cordura, a really heavy duty material that IMO is basically bomb proof.  I bought a jacket made from Cordura back in the 90’s and it is still one of my favorite/warmest winter jackets.  It just doesn’t rip.

The grey triangle sections and the front piping are reflective, giving this backpack some major Kudos for safety at night.

The Tres come with 4 main compartments and 1 laptop compartment and 1 organizer compartment.    On the front of the backpack there is a flip top compartment that has an organizer in it for pens and smaller items.  It has enough room to fit an iPad.


Another pocket is located on the side of the front flap pouch.  It’s roomy enough an iPhone, wallet and keys.


On the back of the Tres, there are 2 other pockets.  One gives you access to the large capacity roll-top pocket, for easy access without having to unroll the top and a smaller hidden pocket to store valuables like a wallet.



The backpack comes with 4 points of adjustability including 2 on the shoulder strap, one chest strap and a waist strap.  Both the chest strap and waist strap are removable should you desire that.




To be honest, the bottle opener sold us on the bag.  I saw a picture of the Tres and thought the bottle opener was very cool.  It’s doesn’t get in the way, so those who prefer not to have it, really shouldn’t mind.


Timbuk2 refers to their backpack cooling system as their Backbender flexible cooling panel.  It helps keep your back from getting as sweaty.  We found it does help keep your back a bit cooler than other backpacks we have tried as well as reduce a little tension on the spine.


One of the really nice touches Timbuk2 uses for their zipper pulls are their own exclusive zipper pulls.  They certainly make opening and closing zippers much more fun and easier.


The rolltop is another really important aspect to the backpack.  In rolled up mode the contents of the rolltop pocket are virtually impervious to the elements.  To open the rolltop you simply un-clip the two plastic buckles on either end and open it up.  Inside there is a very deep compartment and a pocket laptop holder.

One of our favorite aspects to the Tres is the ability to carry a 15″ laptop in the rolltop laptop pocket.  It’s padded on both sides and has a nice gap between it an the bottom of the bag.  By designing it in this way, Timbuk2 virtually eliminates any worry about the computer ever getting banged up when the backpack is set down on it’s bottom or side.

Lastly the price point of the Tres isn’t at all out of range of other bags in it’s category.  With a retail of $209, the Timbuk2 Especial Tres isn’t cheap, but it certainly isn’t too expensive.  Another really great perk with Timbuk2 is the Timbuk2 lifetime warranty.  Should the bag’s materials or workmanship ever fail, Timbuk2 has you covered.

Bottom Line

Timbuk2 Especial Tres Backpack – Overall Impression

Timbuk2 delivers on their Timbuk2 Especial Tres Backpack, literally.  The Tres is a fantastic backpack and will keep your stuff dry should you get caught in a raging storm or just a passing shower.  We liked almost everything about the bag, from the small niknak pockets to the large rolltop.  There a lots of little touches (bottle opener, zipper pulls, organizer pouch) that make this backpack standout from it’s design to it’s overall usefulness as a daily commuting backpack.

The only thing we would modify on the Tres would be to add some shoulder adjustability on the upper part of the straps.  This was our only contention with the backpack.  We felt that 2 extra adjustable shoulder straps at the top would have been welcome.  Another possible modification would be to beef up the waist belt.  While it certainly didn’t feel bad, we felt extra padding might have improved the overall fit and feel.

Another cool addition would be incorporating some wicked cool buckles similar to what Chrome uses with their bags or possibly a Cobra buckle or two.  Obviously these options would increase the price point of the backpack.  While the functionality would essentially be the same, the cool factor would go up.

To get the full scoop on the Timbuk2 Especial Tres, check out the Timbuk2 website (


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About The Author

Tom Crandall

Tom has been writing about photography, cycling, running and fitness since 1988, covering everything from the product reviews to the latest in fitness trends. Tom is the Editor-in-chief of,,,, and a few other publications, he began racing in college while getting an Information Resource Management degree at George Mason University. Based in the photography and cycling-crazed city of Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen and pug Olaf, Tom enjoys running, walking or riding most every day.

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