I have a shameful confession to make: I’m a horrendous packer. My guiding philosophy, which can be summed up with the phrase more is more, has resulted in numerous excess baggage charges (that full-size bottle of conditioner? Yeah, I wash my hair a lot! Those over-the-knee stiletto boots for a weekend trip to Napa? Hell, you never know!) and countless hours cooling my heels by the baggage carousel when I could have been well on my way out the airport. So when I heard our editor-in-chief say that all she took on a 10-day trip to Italy was one carry-on bag, I was inspired. If Nancy Novogrod can do it, so can I!
I am officially obsessed with this bag. Discreet and utilitarian, deceptively compact, it fits under the seat in front of you when folded down, but expands to a roomy 11.8” x 20” x 7” when full. The ballistic fabric is handsome and stylish in a stealth kind of way; the straps are padded so they feel comfy on your shoulder. The best part is that the bag has all sorts of crafty hidden compartments, like a flap you could use for a yoga mat, and pockets to stash your water bottle both inside and out. Don’t you just love when a product feels well-made and really, truly, thoughtfully designed?
Here are a couple more products I’m loving from Timbuk2’s new Hidden series:
A wallet-size pouch of recycled rip-stop fabric that unfolds to a handy backpack ($28) for groceries.
Along similar lines, a hideaway shopping bag called the Basket Liner ($20) that would complement a vintage bike cruiser nicely. Perfect for those weekend morning runs to the farmers’ market.
Clearly, Timbuk2—a company I’d associated more with San Francisco bike messengers than sophisticated world travelers—is on a roll to reinvent itself. Credit apparently goes to product manager Margie Benford, who spearheaded the new Travel line, and lead designer Tae Kim (below), a fascinating-sounding individual who grew up Eskimo in Alaska (yep, that means in an igloo).
Stay tuned for news on Kim’s other project: the cool company Alite Designs, which makes fun and funky camping-related products for proud non-campers like me.
Irene Edwards is special projects editor at Travel +Leisure.