Timbuk2 Swig Backpack

overall Rating:

2

planets

Lili Huang
10/3/2020
A rare number of companies are capable of being entirely sustainable in every step and aspect of their production, and few are willing to even try. For Timbuk2, I can see their intention and conscious implementation of corporate responsibility and consideration with the complete life cycle of their product (even after it leaves the store), and it gives me an additional reason to love the company aside from just their finished product. In the future, I would like to see Timbuk2 explore how they can dedicate more of these same conscious and careful decisions into the materials of their product, and explore whether their backpacks’ durability and biodegradable characteristics can complement, rather than juxtapose each other.

what it's made of:

1

REI.com, a carrier of the Timbuk2 Swig backpack states that the backpack is made of _Nylon_ (https://www.rei.com/product/136579/timbuk2-swig-backpack), but from the appearance of the backpack itself, it seems it could contain other materials aside from Nylon as well. However, Timbuk2 does not publicly disclose any materials for any other styles of their products, so even if the Swig backpack was not discontinued, the site still likely would not offer any information about its materials. It is especially concerning that Tikbuk2 is not transparent about their materials used, as from what you’ll see later on in the review, they are exceptionally transparent about the rest of their supply chain. As for what we do know, nylon is a synthetic plastic created from crude oil, meaning it is derived from an unsustainable material, and takes hundreds of years to decompose (it is a non-biodegradable material). This may be great in terms of quality and durability of the backpack during its time of use, but bad for the earth once it is to be disposed of.

how it's made:

2

Though Timbuk2 does not explicitly state what their bags and backpacks are made of, they do disclose that they source their materials from _Bluesign_ (https://www.bluesign.com/en) certified mills. On Bluesign’s site, they state that their criteria for mill certification includes having a high degree of safety for the consumer, manufacturing at the lowest cost possible for people and the environment, and using resources responsibly. I had a hard time leveraging the weight of these criterion and the overall validity of a Bluesign certification, because the rest of the site (aside from the front page) was written in German and I could not verify quantitatively or qualitatively how these criterion were applied. Timbuk2 produces their backpacks in San Francisco, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Their custom orders and custom repairs are done in San Francisco within 48 hours after the order, but their stock products (such as the Swig Backpack) are produced overseas. Timbuk2 is very transparent about which factories they use, and they list the _Google Map Locations_ (https://www.timbuk2.com/pages/corporate-responsibility-manufacturing) of their factories on their website. These Google Map locations also show reviews left by other merchants for the factories. All Timbuk2 backpacks have a lifetime warranty with Timbuk2. Though Timbuk2 advertises this lifetime warranty as if it was lifetime insurance for their products, their warranty only covers defects in the product from manufacturing, and not repair from damage or use of the product. In my eyes, the “lifetime” part of this guarantee is misleading, as only guaranteeing repairs on manufacturing defects does not encompass repairs resulting from lifetime use. On the bright side, Timbuk2 does offer replacement parts for their products and encourages their consumers to fix their existing products before deciding on purchasing a new one. They also offer repairs outside of their Lifetime warranty, but it is not clear on their site whether that would incur an outside cost. In the case that your backpack does need to be replaced, Timbuk2 offers a recycling program program with their partner _The Renewal Workshop_ (https://renewalworkshop.com/), who will take in the backpack and upcycle it into a new sellable product on their site.

who makes it:

3

The Timbuk2 _Code of Conduct_ (https://www.timbuk2.com/pages/corporate-responsibility-manufacturing) is publicly disclosed on their website. It is extensive, and outlines specific criteria including forced/child labor, minimum wage, discrimination, women’s rights, and even details for migrant workers. In addition to their factory workers, Timbuk2 also states they they deploy multiple corporate employees from their office to their overseas suppliers long term to continuously monitor the report the conditions and process of their supply chain.

sources:

https://goodonyou.eco/material-guide-nylon/_ (https://goodonyou.eco/material-guide-nylon/) https://www.timbuk2.com/pages/give-a-damn_ (https://www.timbuk2.com/pages/give-a-damn) https://www.timbuk2.com/pages/warranty-repairs_ (https://www.timbuk2.com/pages/warranty-repairs) https://renewalworkshop.com/pages/howrenewalworks_ (https://renewalworkshop.com/pages/howrenewalworks) https://www.timbuk2.com/pages/corporate-responsibility-manufacturing_ (https://www.timbuk2.com/pages/corporate-responsibility-manufacturing)