Gear Review: The Mighty Timbuk2 Especial Tres Backpack
“Why were you exceeding the speed limit?”
“Well, I guess I just wanted to get out of the rain.”
“Son, you should know getting rained on is part of the trip when you’re on a motorcycle.”
Spoken like a roadside Buddha. Officer R. of the Pennsylvania State Police had a point and as he handed me my speeding ticket in the pouring rain pretty much the only comforting thing about that moment sitting there on the side of the road was looking back and seeing my Timbuk2 Especial Tres Backpack mocking each raindrop.
I told my friends at Timbuk2 that I was going on a 2 week, nearly 2,000 mile motorcycle trip through Canada and the USA and was interested in trying out one of their bags. I told them I was going to need a tough bag, a waterproof bag that could take a beating. Being a travel blogger my laptop goes everywhere with me and is my most prized possession so the last thing I can afford is it getting wet or destroyed. I needed the best bag I could get my hands on to protect and preserve my computer and that’s what I told them. In return they gave me their Especial Tres Cycling Backpack.
I’ve liked Timbuk2’s bags for a while and always wondered if their superior performance with bicycling could transfer to motorcycling; it seemed like a natural transition to me. So, I tested the Especial Tres and then I tested it some more. I put it through hell.
The last thing you want on a motorcycle trip is bad weather, but you always have to prepare for it; victory through preparation is the old saying. When I set out on my trip from Cincinnati, Ohio USA to Toronto, Canada around the great lakes and down through Philadelphia and Washington D.C. and then back to Cincy the last thing I expected was a tropical storm to pass through. That is exactly what happened to me on the middle leg of my trip. When I was heading south from Toronto I hit the aftermath of Tropical Storm Andrea. For the next three grueling days I drove soaking to the bone on my motorcycle through torrential downpour. Even with rain gear there was no part of me or my motorcycle that was dry including inside my saddle bags where I had packed my clothes.
Yet, through all the buckets and buckets of rain the interior of my Especial Tres never once was even damp. The bag performed magnificently and I stand by that. Each day I’d stop and hang out all my things to dry and not once did I have to worry about my laptop, the Especial Tres did it’s job. You want to talk trial by fire, let’s talk about trial by flood, because that is what I put this bag through. It went from the hot dry fields of Ohio to the brisk north of Canada to the soaking wet Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania and it never batted an eyelash. There was no training period for this bag as I threw it right in and trusted it would do the job and it did that and more.
Finally, on the last day of riding the skies cleared and the sun kissed me the whole way home, but that was the easiest day I afforded this bag on the back of my bike. From this experience I learned a few things about Timbuk2’s bags:
1.) When Timbuk2 says waterproof they mean it. Three days of riding in the rain, non-stop, and this bag never failed. I did everything but throw it in the Ohio River and it kept its’ contents dry like a champ.
2.) Timbuk2’s bags work as a good on a motorcycle as they do on a bicycle. I rode almost 2,000 miles with this bag on my bike and I never had to worry either about its ruggedness or ability to protect what was inside. I’ve ridden all over the world with dozens of bags and this one is easily one of the best I’ve had the privilege to use.
3.) A cool black Timbuk2 Especial Tres bag looks as badass as I thought it would on the back of my motorcycle. As a graduate of one of the top design programs in the US I can say with a smirk and some experience that this bag looks good on me. It can perform, but it is also one sleek mother. Additionally, it looks good with a bottle of top shelf bourbon peeking out the side pocket.
All in all, the Timbuk2 Especial Tres Cycling Backpack (now motorcycling backpack) is a tiptop bag. I took a big gamble taking this on a long trip hoping the waterproofing would hold up and I’m hear to tell you the gamble paid off in spades. I’ve used other “waterproof bags” and have gotten screwed, but this baby left me sleeping easy with no worries. This bag is without a doubt 100% Shameless Traveler approved. I recommend this bag for cycling, motorcycling, and backpacking as it comfortably holds 35-45 liters and is a swanky mean little rugged bastard. It looks good in black and kicks ass, just like the Batmobile. If you are looking for a rugged, dependable, mid-size, sweet looking backpack, look no further, Timbuk2’s Especial Tres has arrived to answer all of your prayers, just like it did mine. Until next time, may your riding be dry, your bag be extra Especial, and your traveling be shameless.
P.S. Always wear your helmet and do your best to follow traffic safety standards, I don’t condone speeding even though I tend to have a lead foot. Remember, safe riding means the trip gets to last a little longer. All right, I’m done mothering you, ride on travelers.
P.S.S. For more info about Timbuk2’s line of high quality bags and other products check out their Facebook page for updates on all their cool happenings out in San Fran.
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