Updates are available at the end of the article.
I travel for my job, so I need to be able to carry a lot of personal belongings. I’ve had that taken care of for quite a number of years. I have always carried my laptop with me in the typical laptop carrying case. Since the size of my laptops over the years haven’t changed much, I’ve been able to reuse the carrying case, only replacing them due to wearing out.
I acquired another laptop in the past couple years for the purposes of trying different Linux Distros AKA Distrohopping. The laptop was staying at home until last fall, which is when I started doing reviews for the Distrohoppers’ Digest Podcast. I would pack the laptop with my clothing for protection because I didn’t have a case for it. That was a workable solution and kept the laptop protected.
This past March I purchased a new laptop, a System76 Pangolin. My first impression review is available via this link. It is 15.6 inches in screen size; my existing case only supports screen sizes up to 14″. So I started looking at new cases. My first thought was to get the same brand of case I’ve been using. I saw many other good options while browsing online. The next day while working I started to think about how I would carry another laptop case. Then I thought about my other laptop that doesn’t even have a case. I surely am not going to have 3 laptop cases hanging off of me.
That evening I looked at the System76 website to see what accessories they have. I noticed they had some carrying cases. Personally I didn’t care for the design. I saw they were selling the Timbuk2 brand. Having never heard of them, I looked at their website. They had quite a selection; I narrowed my choices to the backpack style of laptop cases. I read through some reviews on their site and others.
Well, after looking for a couple more days, I decided I would give them a chance. The specific model is 1825-3-1358. As of the date of purchase – March 25th, 2021 – the price was $139.00. I was a little surprised at the price, as I have never paid that much for a backpack or laptop case. Actually if you added up the cases I’ve had the past 20 years, I don’t think it would add up to $139.00.
- Product Style Pack
- Total Volume (liters) 28.00 L
- Weight (lbs) 2.4 lb
- Avg. Laptop Fit (in) 15”
Further details are available from this link.
The material has a smooth but textured feel to it. They mention using Canvas, Twill, Polyester and other Polymer based material. Timbuk2’s craftsmanship doesn’t look or feel cheap. Stitching is neat and tight, all of the zippers have pull tassels and use
nylon metal teeth. They move freely with minimal effort of one hand. I was able fit my 15.6″ System76 Pangolin in the rear sleeve and my Lenovo ThinkPad T430 in the middle compartment sleeve. There is plenty more room for a 8″ or 10″ tablet along with notepads and books. I put the power adapters in the bottom of the middle compartment.
There is a front zippered pocket with a lanyard which has a clasp for keys. Below is to allow the width of the pack to expand.
On the back you can see the padding and the adjustable shoulder straps. There is a clasp that can cinch the two strap closer together. In the bottom third you can see a horizontal piece sewn into the backpack; this is for attaching the backpack to a rolling piece of luggage, where you would slide it over the handle of the luggage.
There is an expandable pouch on the right side.
There is nothing on the left side to mention.
Here is the front compartment. There are pockets sewn in with a zipper compartment 5 or so inches deep. In front of the sewn pockets, there is a deep pouch that could hold notepads or books. A 14″ laptop would fit but anything smaller would move around slightly.
Here in the middle compartment there is a sleeve; I keep my 14″ Lenovo ThinkPad T430 in there. There is more space in the pouch in front of it. Keep in mind that anything you put in the front compartment, though separate, shares the same volume as the middle compartment. Flat items such as books or notepads would work best.
Here is a view looking into the middle compartment. You can see the ac adapters for the two laptops laying in the bottom.
This is the rear compartment. The main laptop sleeve is located here. There is only room for the laptop. The laptop pictured is my 15.6″ System76 Pangolin. It is a pretty snug fit and takes two hands to slide it out.
Another feature I like is the handle on top of the backpack, which has a nice firm but spongy feel. It makes lifting the backpack fully loaded very comfortable. The underside of the shoulder straps are padded the same as the back of the backpack. The top side is a stiff but flexible canvas type material. The adjustments are at the bottom of the straps. I wore backpacks all through school without ever having an issue with discomfort other than having 20 to 30lbs of books and notepads to carry around. Fast forward into my mid 40’s and my occasional back pain due to hours of driving over the years. I may not be the best judge of comfort when it comes to backpacks. With that said, I will say that the Authority is decently padded. I personally would have liked a little more.
Overall I am pretty happy with the Authority. I can carry and protect two laptops. Along with other items I didn’t have space for in my roll-able luggage. The upright form factor of the backpack is easy to stow away, while still having access to the compartments without needing to move it. This is in comparison to common laptop bags. I have no concerns about it not protecting the contents; it is decently padded through out the backpack. So far my only complaint is the nylon teeth of the zippers (See update below). They function well and don’t snag while being used, but my concern is after many years of use, they might wear down and not mesh completely, resulting in the zipper track separating. That can make moving the zipper’s slider difficult if not impossible. That has been the failure of laptop bags, clothing, and toiletry bags I’ve had in the past. I have found metal teeth to be more reliable and last for many more years. I will write a follow-up review of the Authority in 6 months and possibly a year to see how it is working.
I emailed Timbuk2 to inquiry about the material used in the zipper. They informed me that the zipper on the Authority and Authority Deluxe are made of metal. They did not specific what type of metal. I know it is not a magnetic metal. Because I tested a magnet on the zipper. That only leaves aluminum, brass and nickel. With nickel it depends on how it was made to determine if it is magnetic.
Personally the zipper doesn’t feel metal to me. As I stated in my conclusion the material feels like nylon or a polymer based material. Perhaps they are coating it with something for weather protection. That may make it feel like nylon/polymer based material..