By Judy Leand

As travel becomes increasingly hectic, expensive and hassle-filled, Timbuk2 aims to make life on the road a little easier with its new Timbuk2 Travel Collection of luggage. The San Francisco-based company, renowned for its bicycle messenger bags, has designed its new line using a “one-bag strategy” that highlights capacity and functionality.

Key attributes of the six-piece line include external laptop access, stealthy “Ninja” compartments that allow quick access to travel documents and personal electronics, a variety of storage pockets, and colors that stand out on baggage conveyor belts, yet blend with consumers’ style sensibilities. The collection also features two rolling bags, the Checkpoint and the ExPat, that boast a bike-inspired chassis with removable skate wheels. Four accessory pieces-the Inflight Case, Travel Wallet, Clear Zip Pouches, and a reusable, clear
1-quart zip organizer-can be used with the luggage or on their own. The luggage is retail priced from $110 to $250, and the accessories are $30 each.

“Travel was always a piece of Timbuk2’s DNA from the beginning,” says Perry Klebahn, CEO of Timbuk2. “Nine months ago, we did a posting on our website and we found that consumers really associated the brand with travel-particularly in the outdoor and bike markets. We saw two themes: consumers wanted a one-bag solution, and they wanted something that could handle a lot of stuff.”

So far, Klebahn reports, retail response has been good. He notes that the distribution strategy includes luggage stores and outdoor specialty shops. “We have gone through Timbuk2’s existing specialty bag and luggage retailers, but we don’t want to go through too many channels at first,” he says. “We will also sell online on our Timbuk2 site starting in January, because it’s important to show the whole line in at least on place on the planet. We will also share sales data from the site with our retailers.”

Overall, “It’s fun to be a small company doing this because we can be closer to the market and can react to the new needs and demands of travel consumers,” says Klebahn. “These days, travel just blows, and consumers were saying, ‘Please do something to help us. So we did.”