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Owning high-quality travel bags is essential whether you have upcoming air travel and plan to use a carry-on or need a commuter bag that works as well in a coffee shop as it does in your corporate office.
You might not know where to start. In comparing Away vs. Timbuk2 vs. Baboon To The Moon, you will find three distinct styles with useful features perfect for any need.
Away, Timbuk2, or Baboon To The Moon?
While these three brands are very different, they each serve a unique purpose. Away luggage is perfect for the business traveler that needs a durable and refined bag to put in an overhead compartment on a plane.
Baboon To the Moon is for the adventurer that needs to pack a range of belongings for their next road trip or family camping excursion. Timbuk2 bridges the gap between Away and Baboon To The Moon.
Timbuk2 offers fun yet practical and professional travel bags you could stuff in an overhead compartment. Still, they really make a name for themselves with backpacks, slings, totes, and messenger bags that enable you to get through your everyday adventure.
The business traveler that uses Away to put in the overhead compartment may prefer a Timbuk2 bag as their personal item. Timbuk2 specializes in bags that work for bicycle or scooter commuting, so the adventurous spirit relying on Baboon To The Moon for adventurous road trips may also prefer Timbuk2 for everyday commuting.
Away Luggage - Modern Style
If you have spent much time traveling by air, you know what a pain it is to keep your phone charged while you are on the go. Some recently renovated airports have convenient outlets at every seat, but awkward charging stations are often added as an afterthought.
I have sat on the floor charging my phone and, on other occasions, sat staring at my phone plugged in 15 feet from my seat. No more. Away solves this problem with a battery built into their carry-ons capable of recharging your phone up to 4 times.
While this is a game-changer by itself, the best part is the battery is indicative of how thoughtfully designed the rest of the luggage is.Away luggage has standard features such as the interior compression feature and 360° spinner wheels and has unique touches such as the hidden laundry bag and custom matching luggage tag. We also love the aesthetic design.
While there are both neutral and bold colors available, the design of the luggage itself has a minimalist inspiration. The lines are clean, and every design element is functional. There aren’t any excessive pockets too small to fit any gear. The battery is positioned between the handlebars, so it isn’t even noticeable unless your phone or other accessories are plugged in.
The Away ecosystem is uniformly designed with minimalist inspirations, so when you purchase a new carry-on, you can also buy a backpack or duffle bag in complementary colors and styling. So how does it compare to the other options on our list?
Away luggage is beautiful and durable and is a fantastic option for multi-city travel involving traditional hotel stays. On the other hand, you may not choose Away for road tripping or camping since it has the most sophisticated feel of our three options.
Away Luggage Highlights
While the brand started with just a few pieces, they have steadily added pieces and personalization options. If you really like to travel in style, be sure to check out the Away aluminum edition luggage, which is not only durable but also profoundly sleek.
The Carry-On & Bigger Carry-On
Both The Carry-On & The Bigger Carry-On are designed with optional battery additions. Since the battery edition is the same price as the standard edition, we recommend considering purchasing the battery edition. There is nothing worse than scouting an outlet, only to sit on the floor next to a stranger.
The smaller Carry-On will fit in the overhead bin on nearly any airplane and is big enough to fit five to seven outfits or to last three to five days. The Bigger Carry-On may have to be courtesy-checked on small planes, but it is big enough to accommodate six to nine outfits for four to seven days.
There are also expandable versions of the carry-on bags and sleek aluminum edition carry-ons that look like they were designed in a Ritz-Carlton.
The Medium & The Large
The Away team keeps it simple with naming conventions, so their bigger luggage pieces are called The Medium & The Large should come as no surprise. These models are Away’s checked bag luggage line and are also available in expandable options and in through the aluminum edition series.
The one big thing to note here is that neither of the checked-bag sizes includes the optional battery pack, so if that is the feature you are looking for, go with one of the carry-on sizes. On the other hand, these pieces include the internal compression system and hidden laundry bag you expect from modern luggage pieces. After all, who wants their dirty clothes mixed with their clean clothes?
All of Away’s luggage comes in a variety of colors. We’ve seen as many as thirteen color variations, depending on which limited edition colors are currently in stock.
While the Away team’s original vision was for luggage, they have naturally expanded to include a full lineup of compatible travel bags. The complete portfolio is too large to list every piece, but suffice it to say they have everything you might need, from daypacks to weekender duffle bags. Most pieces have a sleeve that will secure any Away luggage (by sliding over the pull-out handlebars).They even have a compatible pet carrier! As a small example of how detailed each piece's design is, the pet carrier can latch to a car seat belt. The pet carrier sports sherpa bedding, a water-resistant lining, and ample storage pockets. So look, we understand most people don't need a pet carrier, but the Away Pet Carrier is an excellent example of how much detailed thought goes into Away's product.
Away’s bags are mostly made from durable nylon material, and the designs are thoughtfully considerate of frequent traveler needs, such as detachable and padded shoulder straps and spacious main compartments.
Away vs. Timbuk2
When it comes to traditional travel, Away offers far more buying options. Away sells standard luggage in all formats. On the other hand, Timbuk2 focuses on smaller travel bags, including backpacks, totes, and messenger bags (all bags where you might need a laptop pocket or laptop compartment).
Timbuk2 sells a line of small luggage bags that are perfect for weekend trips, but for more extended travel, Away is the better option for traditional travel. If you need a bigger bag but don’t want to go with Away, reconsider Baboon To The Moon.
Is Away Luggage Worth It?
Away luggage checks two major boxes: It is durably made and thoughtfully designed. When you consider that the Away Carry-On and Bigger Carry-On can be purchased with a detachable battery pack,Away luggage is a no-brainer for frequent air travelers.SUMMARY PROS
- Optional battery pack on carry-ons
- Too refined for some
- Thoughtful and sleek designs
- Durable materials
- Bags designed attach to luggage
- Perfect for air travel
Timbuk2 Luggage - Urban Commuting & Travel
Timbuk2 luggage and bags have the most urban feel of the three brands. If your adventures will include trains, subways, general public transportation, or even some biking, then Timbuk2 is just what you are looking to find. The sleek design is completely functional but has a few small touches that help Timbuk2 stand out from the crowd.
The wheels on the roller luggage look like they were taken off of a skateboard, and they are much more durable than the cheap and plastic-looking wheels you are accustomed to from your old luggage. This also provides a smoother ride down the streets or through the airport.
The handlebar is unique too. The company says the handle system is bike-inspired, but its grip is similar to what you would find on a baseball bat or golf club. This makes it comfortable in your hand and adds a better grasp when you are in a rush and weaving through other jet setters.
Timbuk2 Luggage Highlights
While our favorite luggage piece from Timbuk2 might be a roller, don’t stop your search there. If you are looking for suitable luggage for urban travel, you might consider the Impulse Travel Backpack Duffel. It’s no match for Baboon’s duffel, but if you are taking an overnight trip, Timbuk2’s lineup is hard to beat. The Impulse is slightly bigger than a backpack but functions the same with shoulder straps.
Timbuk2 has suitable laptop backpacks and messenger bags that match the rollers’ styling if you are traveling for work. I traveled for work with a Timbuk2 roller and messenger bag combo for years and loved every second of it. Buy Timbuk2 if your travel frequently includes urban journeys lasting a few days.
If you plan to travel first class from LA to London, Away luggage fits the bill more than Timbuk2. Of course, that’s no knock on Timbuk2. The brand is durable and functional but is more San Francisco than Los Angeles. Timbuk2 has a more laid-back, road-trip vibe, and they don’t sell larger luggage pieces (unless you count the duffle bags).
We’ve used the Timbuk2 Copilot Luggage Roller as our main carry-on for years, and it has no discernible wear and tear. It’s hard to argue with the value Away’s luggage represents; however, if you look for something a little more understated, Timbuk2’s luggage roller is an excellent way to go.
We also like the Timbuk2 Wingman Travel Backpack Duffel. It’s not as big as other duffel bags, but if you mainly need an overnight bag, the Wingman features a secondary pocket perfect for shoes or dirty laundry.
But that’s pretty standard and really just the beginning. One reason we love Timbuk2 is they stuff their products with extra features. The Wingman has TWO laptop pockets, detachable shoulder straps, mesh compression panels, and concealed water bottle pockets.
Messenger Bags & Backpacks
My affinity for Timbuk2 all got started with one of their messenger bags. As a young professional, I traveled by air monthly. I didn’t want to look like a college kid wearing a backpack to work, and I didn’t want to lug around an old-school briefcase.
Enter the messenger bag. It is excellent for office professionals that take their laptops to and from work with them, and it has every pocket and little detail you might need. For example, I loved the key ring clip inside a secondary pocket because I could put my keys there for the week when I was out of town for work.
The company has water-resistant messenger bags, work messenger bags, and bike messenger bags. The bike messenger bags have unique add-ons like a waterproof laptop compartment, magnetic buckle closure straps that pull the bag snuggly against the body, and reflective pieces that help ensure you are seen.
These days I don’t concern myself much with being mistaken for a college kid, so I have opted back toward the backpack. I loved my messenger bag, but on days that I spent hours traveling, the weight of the bag pulling toward one hip started to get uncomfortable.
Fortunately, Timbuk2 has plenty of options here as well. They have more than ten backpacks to choose from, so whether you are headed to the classroom or on a plane, there is a style that will meet your needs.
A Messenger Bag With Padded Laptop Sleeve?
For Timbuk2, the messenger bag is a cornerstone product.
Every detail of the Timbuk2 Messenger Bag has been refined for 30 years. For instance, take something as simple as the shoulder strap. The shoulder strap is designed with padding, which increases comfort when you have heavy loads.
The removable crossbody straps add stabilization. Remember, Timbuk2 bags are designed in San Francisco, where these messenger bags are often worn on a daily commute. The messenger bag works as a modern briefcase replacement for those doing a traditional commute, but the adjustable straps make this a great bag for anyone commuting on a bike.
And this is where other messenger bags just can’t compete. Other bags may be fine for carrying a laptop on a car commute and for everyday use, but you need more than an updated briefcase if you live life on the go. This is especially true if you commute via bicycle or scooter.
Regarding commuting, the Timbuk2 Messenger Bag also features a vista loop to which you can attach blinking bike lights. There is no better choice if you plan to commute with a messenger bag.
Functional Messenger Bag with Good Organization
Still, the Timbuk2 Messenger Bag is plenty functional. The main compartment is spacious, and the separate laptop pocket is easily accessible. The front of the bag, under the front flap, features multiple zippered pockets. The primary zippered pocket includes a clip for your keys, so you don’t have to worry about losing those.
You will find additional pockets and slots for interior organization inside the main compartment. For instance, there is an internal pocket where you can put water bottles, and the front wall of the main compartment features organizers for pens, business cards, loose coins, cough drops, or whatever other supplies you might need throughout the day.
The organizers for supplies were previously in a separate compartment, so the streamlined design makes this messenger bag much more simplistic than a traditional laptop backpack.
The exterior pockets still give you a place to put your wallet or phone and other items you want to secure. Still, the Timbuk2 team has eliminated unnecessary internal dividers that added bulk.
The front flap is secured via a snap closure system, which can be adjusted based on how full your bag is. Timbuk2 now offers the classic messenger bag in multiple sizes, too, so if you have a larger laptop, or need a large capacity, give extra consideration to the multiple bag sizes that are available.
While Away and Baboon To The Moon are great brands, they probably aren’t direct competitors in most instances. Away is a little more refined, and Baboon To The Moon focuses on duffle bags with a vast main compartment, perfect for extended travel.
Chrome bags are a direct competitor, and Tumi makes a wide range of bags, including more traditional travel bags. Tumi isn’t as fancy as Away and offers more direct competition with a broader product range.
Timbuk2 vs. Chrome
Chrome bags are designed for the busy entrepreneur, and the Chrome Hondo backpack is trendy. It has a padded bottom panel to help protect your bag contents, and the padded laptop sleep will keep your computer or tablet safe.
The main pocket on the Hondo backpack offers space to stash your belongings, but not too much space. The backpack is a great backpack but features a streamlined design that, like the Timbuk2 Messenger Bag, is great for commuting.
If you prefer a messenger bag, Chrome has a broader range of options than Timbuk2. Its bags feature an ergonomic design and a quick-release buckle, but we still like the organization and continually refined design of Timbuk2’s messenger bag.
Is Timbuk2 Luggage Worth It?
We recommend starting with Timbuk2 if you are looking for a better way to lug your laptop and other personal belongings around. The brand has a hip flair, but more importantly, it gets the job done. I have never used any luggage or laptop carrier with more conveniently designed pockets and other helpful features.
The Timbuk2 Messenger Bag is incredibly durable but now made from 100% recycled polyester derived from post-consumer materials. The messenger bag is available in neutral colors such as black if you prefer more classic styling, but the bag is also available in bright colorways.SUMMARY PROS
- Easy organization
- Limited travel options
- Unique design features
- Performance durability
- Great for bike commuters
Baboon To The Moon - Bold Duffle Bags
Baboon To The Moon’s lineup is in many ways the most versatile, even if it is the most simplistic. Whether you are doing cross-continental traffic and staying in 5-star hotels or driving to the mountains for some family camping, Baboon is equally appropriate. That’s why we love Baboon. It is luggage made for any exploring.
Still, since the duffle bag is the brand’s cornerstone product, Baboon To The Moon is best used for road trips, camping, and pre-packing a hospital bag when you have a new baby on the way.
Regarding the rest of Baboon’s lineup, if you are looking for a matching fannypack, backpack, gym bag, or luggage organizer, Baboon has you covered. We recommend Baboon if your adventures are just as likely to take you to the beach or the mountains as they are to take you to Paris or New York.
Baboon To The Moon Product Highlights
The first thing you might notice about Baboon To The Moon is the prints get a little crazy. That’s ok because they have neutral black, gray, and navy tones too.
Before dismissing the brand as a random duffle bag company, remember that their main duffle bags use an OM Stardust Ballistic material with double-stitch construction. This isn’t a brand made for easy travel. This brand’s products are built to withstand your craziest adventures.
Duffle Bags (Go-Bags)
The duffle bag is the Baboon lineup centerpiece, coming in a mini 32L size, a small 40L size, and a larger 60L size. The Go-Bag - Mini and Go-Bag - Small are TSA-approved carry-on luggage. The Mini bag is big enough for a few days worth of clothes, while the Small bag will hold three to five days’ worth of clothes. The duffle bags feature internal mesh pockets, an internal organizational pocket, and an exterior pocket.
The Go-Bag - Big accommodates five to seven days’ worth of clothing and would be most appropriate as a checked luggage piece if you travel by air.
While the duffle bags don’t have wheels available on some other options, they are much more convenient to grab and go. There are enough strap configurations that you can carry the duffle bag as you would expect or with crossbody and backpack-type straps.
Some duffle bags lack any organizational features, but Baboon To The Moon delivers here too. There are plenty of organizational pockets, and they sell optional organizational bags if you want more.
You won’t have to worry about digging through your clothes to find your deodorant as you rush out the door. Our only gripe is there isn’t any place to separate dirty gym clothes, but few duffle bags have solved this concern.
Baboon To The Moon Go-Bags come in neutral colors like Black, Navy, and Grey, but if you like to travel in style and with some personality, you need to check out all of Baboon’s options. Consider the ‘Black + Dog Dreams Creamsicle’ colorway.
And by the way, these duffel bags come with a lifetime warranty, which is hard to beat.
If you thought fannypacks went out of style, you were wrong. Or maybe you were right, but now they are back in style. Either way, fannypacks are an incredibly convenient way to keep up with your personal belongings. They are easier to hang onto than a purse and are as cumbersome as a backpack.
The fannypacks are made with an extra durable nylon shell with a durable water repellent (DWR) coating. The crossbody strap is made from a reinforced nylon seatbelt webbing, and most people wear it with the crossbody style rather than around the waist.
The Baboon fannypack also has a lifetime warranty, so it is an investment worth making. These are great to use as everyday products or for secure tourism travel.
The Baboon To The Moon Org Bags are great as a companion to the duffle bags or for stand-alone use with a junk drawer or an electronics organizer. The heavy-duty Dopp Kit comes in one size and is made with a heavy-duty ballistic shell material.
The Baboon Monomesh Pouch Set is a set of two bags (one small and one big) and are made from a durable mesh-like material. Like the Dopp Kitt, the Monomesh Pouch Set is great as a companion for the Go-Bag duffle bags (think toiletries) or whatever other use you can think of. Some people use them to hold loose change, makeup, etc.
Duffle Bag Alternatives
If Baboon To The Moon is a little too bold and bright for you, then you could also consider the Away duffle bags. Still, you might be thinking of something a little more rough and rugged when you think of duffle bags, and we totally get it. Brands such as Patagonia, The North Face, and Columbia make great duffle bags; however, none may be as tough as Baboon To The Moon.
Is Baboon To The Moon Luggage Worth It?
Their duffle bag is one of our favorite products we have reviewed. It is functionally simple but versatile and fun. I also appreciate Baboon To The Moon’s lifetime warranty.
Lastly, as someone who has spent his fair share of time in airports, I love the ergonomic fit of shoulder and crossbody straps. Baboon to the Moon is worth the investment.SUMMARY PROS
- Lifetime warranty
- Duffle bag is main option
- Functional simplicity
- Versatile - Do anything luggage
- Abundant design options
- Ergonomic straps
So, Which Luggage Should I Choose?
Away, Timbuk2 and Baboon make incredible luggage, ensuring you can find just what you need to meet your specific needs. Whether you need luggage for cross-continental travel or cross-country road-tripping, these three brands offer great options. As one last reminder, here is where each brand shines:
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