Summary

Pros for the Swig:

  • Compact
  • Decent number of pockets and organization options
  • Fits a 15” MacBook Pro with sleeve
  • Plastic buckles/no velcro

Cons for the Swig:

  • Not very comfortable when fully loaded
  • Potential for water coming in through fold top
  • Not a lot of storage space overall

Details

The Swig has a simple straightforward design which is what drew me to it in the first place.

Back of the Swig while unloaded
Back of the Swig while unloaded

The biggest issue I had with the Swig was the overall storage space. It has a 16 liter capacity, which managed to fit the bare minimum I need for commuting, but nothing more.

Main compartment filled about as high as I can load it
Main compartment filled about as high as I can load it

This is the bare minimum cargo that I need for commuting. Unfortunately, I cannot fit anything more than this. No shoes, no sweatshirt, no lunch, no beer if I’m going to a friend’s house after work, no variable gear that I might need to grab on errands. It just fits the bare minimum for me, which is rather limiting.

Commuting cargo unloaded from the Swig
Commuting cargo unloaded from the Swig

The flap on top buckles over the main compartment, but is not a rolltop. I found that the flap did a good job of covering the compartment, but it seems that if I’m not careful, there’s space at the corners of the flaps where rain could get in if the material is folded at an odd angle.

The flap folds over well, but I see how water could sneak in
The flap folds over well, but I see how water could sneak in

The top flap on the black version of the Swig has a bright neon lining. It seems like this is a water-resistant material, but nowhere on Timbuk2’s website does it say anything about waterproofing or water-resistance for this bag. I’m not sure how well I trust this to protect my expensive laptop from the elements.

The top flap on the black version of the Swig has a neon green lining
The top flap on the black version of the Swig has a neon green lining

There are several zipped pockets along the front of the bag. It’s a tight squeeze to reach in them when the bag is loaded to capacity.

Several pockets line the front of the bag
Several pockets line the front of the bag

A zipper running along the side of the bag from bottom to top allows access to the laptop pocket off the main compartment. I had to angle my 15” MacBook Pro to get it in and out of that zipper, but it did work.

Zippered side access to laptop
Zippered side access to laptop

I found that the bag felt fairly uncomfortable when fully loaded. Although it’s not clearly bulging, it certainly felt that way against my back.

Side view of loaded bag
Side view of loaded bag

The straps are comfortable enough. When the bag is fully loaded the straps stick out a bit and do not contour well to my shoulders and chest, but when the bag is unloaded, the straps and back are reasonably comfortable.

It’s only at full capacity that I really notice any discomfort, but based on my cargo load, that’s bad news for me. I tried adjusting the straps and sternum strap in several configurations, but nothing seemed to work as well as I’d hoped.

Back of the Swig. One of the straps has a built in bottle opener
Back of the Swig. One of the straps has a built in bottle opener

I don’t care much about internal organization and pockets, but there are a reasonable number of slots and internal organization options.

Internal organizers and pockets
Internal organizers and pockets

It’s nice and compact, but I do not think it suits my needs for bike commuting based on the overall lack of storage space. If it was slightly larger and felt more comfortable on my back I would be a better fan of it. As it is, I think I could only use this when taking the train to work or walking somewhere nearby.