Detour Laptop Case by Timbuk2

with help from David Weeks
Detour Laptop Case
Company: Timbuk2
Price: $100.00

It is with some irony we finally present our review of Timbuk2’s versatile Detour laptop case. Mark Dwight, company CEO, provided an attractive red Detour bag at last January’s San Francisco Macworld Expo. This was the first item we received for evaluation at the conference, and it’s one of the last to be written about here in We hope the wait was worthwhile.’s Owen Rubin wrote a detailed, lengthy discussion, weeks ago, on Timbuk2’s Commute XL, which we suggest you read when convenient.

John “Nemo” Nemerovski carried a 12” iBook and enormous quantity of brochures plus personal effects in Detour throughout the entire Macworld SF week. The bag performed well, with a couple of grumbles. See down below.

Upon return to Arizona, Nemo asked David Weeks to audition Detour. Here are David’s comments. Be aware that references to laptop sleeves from BOOQ are made because we were comparing these products together. Our BOOQ review is linked here.


“This is a backpack, Nemo, not a computer attaché case,” said David. He continues: “You better leave a note to yourself which pocket you put your gear in because it has so many flaps, compartments, crannies, and nooks you could have your stuff but forget where it is. While not as elegant looking as Mamba from BOOQ, you get capacity instead of style.”

David placed his new 15” AluBook into the primary computer compartment, and observed that Detour holds the PowerBook widthwise as a snug fit. There’s not any extra room in this well-padded carrier, but its pockets and flaps are bellowed for expansion.

“To me this is a first-rate backpack,” David said, “because it has sufficient room for accessories, including usable exterior pockets. Detour’s majority of compartments have bellows and extra smaller sections all ready to be stuffed without distorting the shape of this bag.”

David loaded the case and set it on its bottom. “See,” he remarks, “this is a user friendly pack for somebody leaving a dorm in the morning, taking along a computer, sandwich or two, and school supplies for the day going to class. Detour’s balance is good when fully loaded.”

He then put on the hidden, included backpack straps and carried the fully-loaded bag around for a while. He said, “Detour’s straps are integrated and fully padded. Very easy to adjust for comfort. With a computer in backpack mode it won’t hug my back, which is fine. Straps are wide, comfy, and easy to adjust. The fabric handle is decent, with its firm rubber padding. The extra shoulder strap is reasonably okay when used without any padding, and water bottle holders on each side are a nice touch.”

David Weeks’ style-aware closing remarks were: “I hope Timbuk2 has other choices of colors because this red, Nemo, won’t go with an executive’s Brooks Brother overcoat. Color notwithstanding, I give it a rating of 5 out of 5.”

See the Timbuk2 site for additional color options.

Here are John Nemerovski’s remarks:

Unlike David, I feel Detour’s greatest assets are in its handle and shoulder strap (hefty shoulder pad available for slight additional cost). Every weekday for three months, after spending a week to pounding the carpet at Macworld’s Moscone Center and the pavement in San Francisco, I used (and will continue to use) my red Timbuk2 case. Under normal conditions I carry an original “toilet seat” Blueberry G3 iBook with all its cables, plus two external hard drives, two IOGEAR portable USB mini mice, and a stack of paperwork.

When FULLY loaded like during Macworld, Detour had balance and access problems, which I don’t replicate in my work mode. Its backpack straps don’t fit me well, in spite of CEO Mark Dwight’s personal explanation of their specific attributes. The carrying handle is darn good, except for its two seams that must be eliminated for Detour to receive a top “Nemo” recommendation.

Versatility is Detour’s strength. Backpack, shoulder bag, briefcase? Yep. Expansion is ample, but the angled shape and design (difficult to explain, but easy to observe at every Apple retail store) work against overloading this case. The multi-mode features justify its $100 price tag, as do Timbuk2’s dedication to rugged construction and ample pockets-within-pockets.

My major gripe seems puny, but both Owen and I were annoyed by the bottom front clasp dangling far below the case when not in use. Timbuk2: please change or fix! A Macworld pal worried about the longevity of Detour’s velcro, but we’ll need years to decide if that’s a valid concern.

Taking our rating system literally, I’m comfortable ranking Detour at 4 out of 5, because it is “A very decent product. Worth the time and investment, but look for competing products.”

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