Timbuk2 2015 Aviator Convertible Backpack Review

This is not a sponsored blog post, just a piece of travel gear that we bought ourselves, ended up loving, and want to share with you! All thoughts are our own. An Amazon Affiliate link is included if you decide you want to buy the same bag.

Seeing as how we have really embraced the whole traveling thing while living in Germany, we are always on the hunt for the perfect bag. At first, we used an old rolling carry on with a busted zipper. It worked well, but it had definitely seen better days. And after taking a number of short trips (anything 4 days or less), we had narrowed down some of the things we were looking for in a bag. Well, Aaron did. I have some different priorities in what I look for.


So what, exactly, did we want out of a bag? For starters, we wanted something that was big enough for the two of us for a couple of days, carry on sized, and had decent quality. Aaron wanted a backpack style, which is actually really nice for walking around Europe; the cobblestones and roller bags do not often play nice together. The perfect bag would also ideally have a pocket with easy access to store our liquids in when we travel by plane, a convenient and easily accessible pocket to store our travel documents in, and be weather resistant (we're talking being able to handle a light shower here and there, not a monsoon). We found all of this in the 2015 Timbuk2 Aviator Convertible Backpack.

Timbuk2 is perhaps best known for their iconic messenger bags. In fact, we have one of them to use as a diaper bag (but, since it has not actually been used as a diaper bag yet, we cannot say whether or not we like it). But, they also make a wide range of other bags - from suitcases, to backpacks, to tote bags. The quality is excellent and the styling is minimalist without being boring.

Let's start at the top. There is a large pocket making it the perfect place to store liquids if you are traveling by air. It is separated from the rest of the bag, so if there are any leaks, they will be contained. It has a double zippered and buckle to close it, making it extra secure. On top of the opening flap is another small pocket, perfect for holding train tickets or other travel documents and allowing for super easy access on the go. All the zippers are YKK with sewn on pull tabs. Many of them also feature a small ''pocket'' to slip the zipper in to, meaning it's less likely to work itself open in transit.

The top pocket has a double zipper and a buckle to close it

Generous opening for the top pocket making it easy to pack and unpack

Tumbuk2 paid attention to the details of the bag

The pocket size is "unzippable" if you need more room in the main compartment.

The main compartment is fairly large. It opens completely, allowing easy access for packing and unpacking. It is unstructured, which makes it nice to customize. Some people might prefer more pockets, but we feel the unstructured gives us a little more freedom to customize packing the way that suits us best. The compartment features a double zipper to close, and then four adjustable buckles than can further compress the compartment. On top of the flap for the main compartment is another slip pocket, perfect for sliding in a magazine, newspaper, or e-reader.

The unstructured interior lets you customize how you pack

another slip pocket on the front is perfect for a magazine, tablet, or E-reader

an additional pocket on the opening flap is included for separation of dirty clothes, toiletries, etc.

The main compartment is secured by a double zipper a 4 buckles that also act and compression straps, helping to reduce the overall size of the bag

The backpack has generous padding on the back for comfortable carrying. The straps are adjustable and it comes with both a chest strap and a cummerbund to make it even easier to carry a heavy pack. There is still another slip pocket behind the padding for more secure storage of travel documents, laptop or other flat items. The carrying straps are removable if you end up having to check the bag or prefer to use it more like a duffle bag. There is also extra webbing and attachment points on the straps to clip things on to if needed.

Generous padding on the back makes it more comfortable to carry

The back features a slip pocket to store documents

adjustable chest straps help keep the bag from uncomfortable pulling your shoulders back

The exterior of the bag features an additional two mesh pockets. In these, we were able to fit a water bottle on one side and two miniature umbrellas on the other. There are grab handles on the top and each side, making it easy to hoist into an overhead bin or overheard storage on a train.

Two umbrellas fit in one of the outer mesh pockets

Side grab handle


Top grab handle


Overall, we have been very happy with this purchase. And the best part is that Timbuk2 has a lifetime guarantee on their products! So if anything happens, I know we are covered. I like that fact that this bag is large enough for us to pack everything we need for two people for a long weekend, but small enough to be a carry on and easily maneuver through narrow European alleys. The only downside to the bag is that it looks like it is currently only available to purchase in the US. Perhaps in the future, Timbuk2 will open a European shopping option!