I have fond memories of my first Timbuk2 messenger bag. It was 1994, 5 years after the company was founded, and I worked for HotWired—the first commercial online magazine, and sister to Wired. Employees all had Timbuk2’s Classic Messenger Bag in black, with either Wired or HotWired emblazoned on the front. I don’t remember when I stopped using that bag, or where it is now, but recently I decided to get a newer version.


That version is the Timbuk2 Lightweight Flight Messenger Bag. I spend a week with a friend, and her earlier version of this bag got me nostalgic. I’m always trying to pare down my carry-on routine, and it’s like learning all over again after more than a year of not traveling by plane.


The bag’s three sizes (extra small, small, and medium) allow you to choose just how much stuff you want to carry along. I ended up with the small, which seemed just right for my desire to minimize, but not so drastic that my laptop would be left out of my editing. There’s an internal slash pocket that’s optimal for storing laptops, tablets, or files/paperwork/magazines. Be sure to check the dimensions of the bag you choose to make sure your electronics will fit.


Tons of pockets help you organize your gear. Aside from the slash pocket and roomy main compartment, the small version has two interior bottle holders, a large organization panel with two drop-in phone-sized pockets, two drop-in pen-sized pockets, and a big zippered pocket. On the exterior (but beneath the flap), there’s a zippered pocket that you can access from the top, another one you can access from the side, and a drop-in pocket.


The fully adjustable shoulder strap comes with a comfortable air-mesh strap pad, and two grab handles on the bag help you pick it up and stow it away in that overhead compartment or beneath the seat in front of you.


The Lightweight Flight Messenger Bag comes in three sizes: extra small ($89), small ($99), and medium ($109). Colors for each size depend on availability, but range from jet black to nightfall (dark blue), scout (khaki green), and granite (blue gray). All are for sale on the Timbuk2 site.