Finding the perfect backpack can seem like a never-ending search, but Lander has created an almost perfect backpack with their TIMP 20 Liter; let me explain.
If I had to build my perfect backpack, it would have a sleek exterior without a lot of bulging pockets, but it would be surprisingly roomy on the inside; it would fit well under an airplane seat, and not look out of place in a business setting. My perfect backpack would be lightweight, made of water-resistant fabric, and it would have a substantial, comfortable handle for when I needed to pick it up. It would have mesh on the back so it would be cool in muggy climates, and it would have comfortable non-slip adjustable shoulder straps. It would have an organized interior with padded pockets that could hold my laptop, iPad, and Kindle for travel, and it would have zippered pockets for loose items that I don’t want to chance losing; it would be stylish without being too feminine or masculine. It would allow overstuffing when necessary, but it would look good even when it wasn’t full.
The Lander TIMP 20 Liter Backpack almost meets every one of my criteria.
The Timp bags flaunt a lightweight, minimalist design that strikes an ideal balance of style and function for urban living or off-grid adventures. These bags were designed for convenience with well-placed stowaway pockets, padded shoulder straps, front webbing for accessory attachments, and adjustable sternum straps.
The TIMP 20 Liter Backpack is composed of weather resistant TPU coated rip-stop material; it is black, slick, and sleek. It looks like it could repel a deluge, and the zipper tracks are covered by an overlay to help keep the elements out and away from the bag’s contents. The front of the bag has a total of six loops for those of you who like to attach things to your bag; I don’t, but the thin strip of webbed loops doesn’t detract from the bag’s looks when it’s not in use. There is minimal branding on the front: a reflective screen-printed logo is at the top of the bag, and there is a red TIMP20 logo on the bottom right.
The bag measures approximately 16″ tall by 13″ wide by 6″ deep, so it is large enough to carry up to a 15″ laptop easily; empty, the bag weighs about a pound, so it definitely meets my “lightweight” criteria.
The zippers all have a red cord pull that’s been coated with black rubber; they won’t come undone, and they are easy to grasp. There are ~.75″ wide handles on the top, bottom, and sides; the handles are stiff and substantial, but they aren’t quite padded. I’m reluctant to dock the bag any points for non-padded handles, because these are better than a flat piece of leather (or faux leather), and they make for decent handles from any angle.
The comfortably padded shoulder straps are about 2.5″ wide nearer the top, and they are backed with mesh fabric so that they won’t make you sweat as bad when you are carrying the backpack in humid or hot climates. Best of all, these adjustable length straps will not slide when the bag is overloaded and you hoist the backpack on your shoulder; this is one of those things that you don’t realize matters so much until you buy a backpack that doesn’t properly do this (guilty). The entire back of the TIMP 20 Liter is covered in cool mesh, so that’s a huge selling point; the backpack is cooler to wear, as you won’t trap heat between your back and the bag.
The only zippered pocket on the bag is the ~6″ wide by 13″ deep “Quick Tix Pocket” on the rear; I love hidden pockets like this because they are a great place to stash your passport, plane tickets, or anything else that you need to keep easily accessible for you without making them easy targets for pick-pockets.
The interior is lined in a bright red nylon that makes it easy to see everything inside. There is a single unpadded 13″ wide by 8″ deep slash pocket on the front panel; I keep my iPad Pro there, but I do wish the pocket had some light padding. On the inside wall, there is a 13″ wide by 16″ tall padded pocket for your laptop; there’s no closing system to fumble with, and depending upon whether you’d prefer your laptop to be more secure you’ll either love it or hate it. In front of the laptop pocket, there are three cubbies labeled for a tablet (it will work well for an iPad mini or a Kindle), a pen, and your phone (it hold my iPhone 6S Plus with a Ztylus case on, so it will hold larger smartphones in their cases). There is also a detachable red nylon key fob.
The rest of the bag is a large pit that you can fill with chargers, spare batteries, books, a change of clothes, shoes, or whatever else you might want to carry. On the one hand, I love all of this open space because it means I can stuff the heck out of this bag and it will hold almost everything; on the other hand, there’s no real organization to this area, and it isn’t padded, so you couldn’t drop your DSLR in there without worrying. The interior of the bag is easily large enough to carry a water bottle (or two), but there is no elastic loop on either side to keep that bottle in place.
I like that the Lander logo on the front is reflective, as are the two Illumaweave strips on the top of the bag; if you ride your bike at night, these will help make you more visible to traffic coming up behind you.
There are several camera organization inserts that could be bought from other companies to go into the bottom of this bag since it is so roomy; if you are hauling delicate electronics, that would definitely be an option worth exploring.
I like how sleek this bag is, and how lightweight it is. The handle on the top isn’t quite as thick or padded as I might like, but it doesn’t cut into my hand when the bag is full, and the additional handles on each side of the bag make it convenient to grab from any angle.
While I do wish that there was at least one zippered pocket on the inside, and it would be nice if the bag was available in colors other than black, these aren’t necessarily deal breakers. The Lander TIMP 20 is lightweight, sleek, weather-resistant, and extremely well constructed. It is great for travel and for daily commutes.
The Lander TIMP 20 Liter Backpack retails for $99.99, and it is available directly from the manufacturer and from other retailers including Amazon [affiliate link].
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Extremely sleek; Composed of water-resistant material with covered zippers to keep out the rain; Reflective logo and strips on the front for night visibility; Multiple handles for grabbing the bag from any angle; Mesh on back and straps to keep the wearer cool in hot and humid climates; Large interior can carry a lot of gear or other items; Zippered pocket on the back is a great place to stow travel documents and ID
What Needs Improvement: There are no interior zippered compartments for small loose items; If you carry a tablet larger than an iPad Mini, it will have to go in the unpadded front slash pocket; No padding on the bottom or sides of the bag, so items in the large interior do not have drop protection; Large open interior will be great for many uses (including a change of clothing or shoes), but it can be a bit cavernous for other gear