When I travel for business I need a bag that can transport my suits and deliver them at my destination wrinkle-free. When, however, I an traveling for pleasure, I don’t need to think about taking suits. In such cases I need something that holds a ton and is easy to carry. That’s where the TIMBUK2 Wander Pack comes in.
The TIMBUK2 Wander Pack is a $179 “high volume, easy packing, convertible backpack duffel.” And while $179 may seem a bit pricey, this backpack duffel is incredibly made, holds a tremendous amount, is well-organized and comes from one of the best companies in the business.
The Wander Pack is made from water resistant 420D ripstop nylon and includes a padded compartment that can handle, and protect, up to a 15” laptop.
Here’s what TIMBUK2 has to say about it:
If you go far, Wander this way. Our cut at a legitimate backpacking pack, the Wander is a high volume, well organized travel machine. Its extra cushy backpack straps feature hidden suspension for a sleek, comfy carry up top, and an airmesh ventilated back panel keeps things breezy in the back. Inside you’ll find total laptop protection and simple, helpful organization for small stuff. And should you need a last-minute synch down through security, the Wander unzips all the way for easy packing and features both internal and external compression straps. Grab it by a grab handle and go go go.
As one might expect from TIMBUK2, the Wander Pack is incredibly well made.
The seams are straight and tight, the materials are top-notch, the zippers are tough enough that they will last the lifetime of the bag, and the design is incredibly smart, especially if you are an OCD traveler who likes everything to have a place.
The main compartment zips completely open, providing the easy access one expects from a duffel. It has plenty of space.
In fact, when I used it the first time I was actually shocked by how much I could put inside. If this was just a huge empty duffel, however, it would not be worth mentioning. Fortunately, it isn’t just a duffel. Inside are compression straps so you can load the bag up and then lock it down. This not only lets you fit even more into the space but it also helps make sure the items you place inside stay put.
Inside, the flap opens to reveal the duffel space with two internal mesh wall pockets.
They are large enough that, when I use the bag, I put my socks, underwear and undershirts inside. It is a great bit of extra organization that doesn’t feel like “too much.”
At the bottom of the pack is another zipper secured by two zipper pulls. It opens to reveal a sizable space that is ideal for keeping an extra pair of shoes or sneakers. It is lined with waterproof material so it is not only perfect for use as a shoe compartment but, if needed, it can double as a wet pocket and keep damp items from messing up your clean dry clothes. When I travel with the pack I use this as the place to put my dirty clothes.
At the top of the pack is another zipper that opens to reveal a smaller space for toiletries or electronics. A mesh pocket inside this flap is perfect for cables, chargers and batteries.
And at the front of the bag is yet another zipper that opens to reveal a space for additional small items.
Along the top of the pack is another zipper. As with all of the other zippers, it is secured by two pulls so it is easy to open. (I love the fact that every single zipper has dual pulls!) It opens to reveal a padded space that is large enough for a 15” laptop. When I’ve used the pack it is perfect for both my 13” MacBook Pro and my 10.5” iPad Pro.
Two straps on each side extend from the front to the back of the Wander Pack. These secure along each side in two places and can be used to compress the contents inside and make carrying the bag a bit simpler. They have the added advantage that if you, as I do, overfill bags, it takes pressure off the zippers.
The Wander Pack is a flexible travel accessory that can be used either as a backpack or as a duffel.
Wanter Pack as a backpack:
The Wander Pack has two padded straps that have a slightly rough material inside so the straps won’t slip when you are wearing it and moving. The back panel is mesh with a slight bit of padding. No, this isn’t the most padded backpack rear panel I’ve seen on a backpack but this isn’t the type of pack that needs such padding. It is noteworthy that this rear panel is divided into three parts with the smaller middle part adding a bit of comfort since the backpack won’t press as much on your spine as it would were the panel a single piece of material. One of the straps has an anchor to which you can clip a flashlight, small portable speaker or any number of other items. Of course, the Wander Pack also has a sternum strap for added comfort and security.
Wanter Pack as a duffel:
The real beauty of the Wander Pack is that you can hide the straps and turn it into a duffel.
To do this you simply disconnect the shoulder straps for where they are secured at the bottom, TIMBUK2 used an ingenious easy-release connector on the bottom, and stash the straps into the opening at the top of the bag.
The straps disappear from view and give the bag a clean look.
Now, of course, if you hide the straps away you’ll need a way to still carry the Wander Pack. TIMBUK2 took care of this by adding hand straps to both the side and the top of the pack. They have just enough padding to make them comfortable without adding too significantly to the weight.
The TIMBUK2 Wander Pack is a fantastic bag. It has plenty of room for a weekend trip, has smart, but not overwhealming, organization built into it, can function as either a duffel or a backpack, moves between the two modes of use within seconds and, of course, is well made since it comes from TIMBUK2. I’ve already used it a few times and can see myself using it for trips that don’t require me bringing a suit for years to come. Check it out here.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the TIMBUK2 Wander Pack
What I Like: Well made; Plenty of carrying capacity; Smart but not overwhelming organization built into it; Can let you carry and protect up to a 15” laptop; Converts between duffel and backpack in seconds; Double zipper pulls all around
What Needs Improvement: Priced like the quality bag it is; Straps and back panel are not super padded