Timbuk2 Lightweight Launch Backpack Is Ready to Go

Raina and I are getting ready for a trip to the Galápagos Islands next month. We are doing our best to pack wisely, and that begins with our backpacks. The Timbuk2 Lightweight Launch Backpack is the first of two backpacks we’ve received for review; the $129.00 backpack is light and ready to go.

The Timbuk2 Launch Pack is a fully featured, capable 18L backpack. It is larger enough to hold a 13” laptop along with a ton of different gear. Despite being a no-compromise backpack it is surprisingly light and weighs just 1.3 pounds. That’s because Timbuk2 used Tyvek in its construction. It is super tough but incredibly light.

Timbuk2 describes the Launch Pack as “a lightweight pack made from Tyvek for everyday use.” That pretty much sums up this awesome travel item that can also serve as your everyday backpack.


The backpack straps have a decent amount of padding. It isn’t super thick, but it doesn’t need to be. After all, this is a daypack and not something you will be using for a long, multi-day hike.

The sternum strap can be adjusted to one of five different positions. That means it can be comfortable regardless of how tall or short you might be. As an additional bonus, the adjustment points on the straps can be used to secure other gear. For example, if you have a phone pouch that has a strap you can connect it to one of the points and have access to your phone on the go.

A grab handle at the top of the pack makes it easy to pick it up.

A zipper sits along one side of the back and opens to reveal a laptop compartment. The inside of the laptop compartment, like the backpack itself, is made from a bright yellow material. It makes it even easier to find the items you have inside.

The zippers are sturdy, and the zipper pulls are long and made from a reflective material that makes them easy to grab.

A small zippered pocket sits along the lower third portion of the back. It too has a long, reflective zipper pull.

Inside there is a lanyard for keys. That way you will always know where they are.

A short length of ribbon material sits on the outside of the pocket and has the Timbuk2 name. This strap, like the sternum adjustment points, can be used to attach other gear.

On both sides of the backpack, there are bottle pockets that are ready and waiting for water bottles.

The main compartment of the backpack is also made from a bright yellow material that makes finding items a bit easier. There is a main storage area, two small open pockets and, at the rear, a thin pocket that can also take a laptop or tablet.

At the top of this large space is a drawstring that can be used to secure the items inside and keep them dry if you are suddenly caught in a downpour.

The top cover of the backpack fits entirely over the top opening and clips securely closed with plastic buckles attached to adjustable straps. The design of the cover helps keep rain out and works with the drawstring to keep rain out.

Not willing to waste any space, Timbuk2 built another pocket into the cover.

As the company explains:

Made from incredibly strong and light Tyvek, the Launch Pack is a highly functional, super versatile pack with minimal structure and a lot of style. A drawstring closure keeps moisture out, side zipper laptop access keeps you moving, and matte finish zipper looks sharp. Dress it up or dress it down, the Launch Pack can go anywhere.


  • Water Resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Water Bottle Pocket
  • For Everyday
  • Super light and strong TYVEK fabric
  • Drawstring closure for water resistance
  • Side zipper access to laptop and files
  • Adjustable shoulder strap with daisy chains for accessories
  • Silver reflective zipper pulls
  • Bag is covered by our lifetime warranty.

Finally, it is worth noting that Timbuk2 struck a good balance between comfort and weight when it came to the padding along the back of the Launch Pack. Lots of padding can be comfortable but can add substantially to the weight of a backpack. Too little padding can be uncomfortable for reasons that should be obvious. For the Launch Pack, Timbuk2 added enough padding that it is comfortable to wear all day without making the pack uncomfortably heavy. It is a backpack Goldie Locks would be proud to use!

I like this $129.00 lightweight, water-resistant backpack. While it doesn’t offer a ton of drop and bump protection for your laptop and electronic gear, it does a great job of holding, organizing and providing access to whatever you put inside. It strikes just the right balance and, as a result, is, I suspect, the backpack I will likely be taking with me for our trip to the Galápagos Islands this July.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the Timbuk2 Launch Pack

What I Like: Well made; Plenty of organization; Water resistant; Amazingly light; Comfortable

What Needs Improvement: To keep the weight down, the company didn’t build a lot of padding into it. So long as you are aware of that, this backpack is fantastic

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.