– The Topo Designs TravelBag is a 30 or 40 liter, heritage-style looking pack depending on the size that you choose.
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Let's jump right in to the Topo Designs' Travel Bag.
[upbeat music playing] Overall this pack has areally strong heritage vibe, and it kind of reminds me ofbags that were made in the 70's, or something like that -with the bright colors and the boxier shape to go along with it.
At the time of this review the Travel Bag comes in three different colors.
You have Ballistic Black, Olive, and Navy – what we have going on right here.
Typically we would travel with black since it's a little bit more subdued, but all the colors goingon here feel totally Topo.
And you can see based on alot of their other products, they have a lot of bright andsaturated colors going on.
So if you like that look, great! If not, there is a black version as well.
From a branding perspective, we have a white logo onthe front of the pack, which is pretty classicto Topo Designs.
So a lot of their products will feature this little white tag on a lot of the areas.
And a small Topo tag on the interior.
Also if you want to usethe messenger strap, there is a logo there as well.
Overall we think this pack is slick, and it achieves the lookthat it's going for.
However aesthetics are alwaysin the eyes of the beholder.
So we polled our Instagramaudience over at Pack Hacker, and here are the results.
From a materials perspective on the exterior, the mainfabric is 1000D nylon.
It's important to notethat the 1000D nylon here is not Cordura.
And you will see Cordura used on a lot of other Topo Design bags; especially the onesthat are made in the US.
Then towards the bottom here, we have kind of aballistic weave going on.
So that's going to add alittle bit more durability, as you're setting thispack down on the floor.
Also included is 400D nylon pack cloth.
And then the liner is a 210D pack cloth, with a brilliant fluorescent color – you can really see your gear and what's going on inside the bag – which we definitely dig.
Some of the colorways alsooffer 1680D ballistic nylon, which is kind a different look and feel, than this ordinary 1000D nylon.
All the zippers on this bag are YKK, and the main compartment offers a really beefy #10 zipper.
You really can't get much better, on the durability and quality front there.
Also Woojin and Duraflex hardware are used in the plastic bits across the bag – at the strap adjusters wherethe harness system attaches, where the sternum strap attaches – so they've chose somereally quality hardware across the entirety of this bag.
And as we mentioned before, Topo produces a lot of their bags in the USA.
However, this travel bag hasbeen produced in Vietnam.
Kicking it off with theexternal components, let's start with the harness system.
And as you can see from right now, everything is completely hideable.
So you just unzip this, and it's quite easy topull the straps out.
So the straps attach with thisDuraflex clip, right here.
So to be honest thisharness system is so-so.
We have a couple of nitpicks with it, so let's get right into it starting with these straps.
Overall these are decently comfortable – there's some thick and padded foam here.
However we have seen foam on the market that is a little bit more dense.
So it's not 100% ideal, although it definitelyis really comfortable.
There are also some loadlifters at the top here which are really great to pull that load closer to your back; it's ideal on a pack of this size.
So anything about 35 liters and up, we start to look for those load lifters.
On the straps you also haveD-rings at the bottom for additional attachment options.
And then you have this Molly-like material, just two little Molly pieces here, that can be used to attachadditional accessories.
So that is really awesome – a ton of room for modularity and customizability on theTopo Designs Travel Bag.
Also on the straps there's anoption to attach, and remove, a sternum strap.
We're not 100% set onthis type of attachment, because it's easy to pull off.
We typically prefer a morepermanent attachment point – whether it be a buckle or something else – because we have lost acouple of sternum straps while testing bags other than this one, with a similar set up.
As we mentioned earlier, this entire harness system is hideable, which is super great and convenient.
And perfect for airtravel when you don't want a ton of those additionalstraps whacking around, or you want to check this bag.
There's one little 'gotcha'with the clips though – make sure to not twist them up.
And make sure that the Duraflex clip, the opening is faced towards the inside, so towards you.
Also below there is a hip beltthat is non-detachable.
However it is hideablewhich is really great, as Topo gives you the option to do this.
We think anything 40 liters and up should at least have anoption for a hip-belt, and we are super excited thatTopo has included it here.
You will find strap keeperson the hip belt to manage much of those excess straps, however you will not find strap keepers on the shoulder strap adjusters.
So just note that.
And one last gripe withthe harness system is the frame sheet, or lack thereof.
When wearing a bag of this size we definitely prefer a bit more structure.
Although popping your laptopin the dedicated compartment will help with thatstructure a little bit, this is overall a little bitmore of a bag than a pack.
With that being said, there are three differentways to carry this thing.
And the first one is the harness systemwhich we just covered.
Next are the three grab handles on three of the four sides of this bag – really makes it a lot easier to carry.
And the straps aresomewhat padded as well, so they're comfy.
Lastly you can carry this thing as a messenger or duffel.
This method of carry may be why Topo didn'tinclude a stiff frame sheet.
A lot of us at PackHacker prefer backpacks.
However if you like tocarry bags of this size – in a messenger or duffel style – please let me know in the comments as to why you like thator you prefer that, a little bit more than backpack carry.
We'd love to learn from you, and why that system works for you.
On the front of the pack youhave two strips of daisy chains going down here foradditional attachment options, plus you get that pop of color.
And lastly, you have two attachment points to attach other smaller Topo bags to this bigger travel pack.
Our day pack fits well here; however, it makes everything quite large.
And without a solid frame sheet, or a more robust harness system, the carry isn't quite ideal – especially if you have afully packed additional bag, on the back side of this.
You're going to start runninginto weight issues, that should be handled by a harness that's a little bit more robust.
Plus it obstructs youfully opening the bag, when the smaller pack is attached.
Kicking it off with thededicated laptop compartment on the exterior – this thing is seriously small.
Sure you can fit most15-inch laptops in here – and we've tested witha 15-inch MacBook Pro – however it is a little less than ideal as you have to kind ofdiagonally shove it in, and then shimmy the laptop in, in order to get the right fit.
Once it does go in, there is ample space inside of the pouch and the pocket itself; however just the zippered opening area is a little bit too small.
Moving on to the front of the pack – we have a quick grab's organization pocket that is vertical.
There's some really great stuff going on in the interior here.
So you have two zippered pockets that fill out the bottom half.
And then you have a keyringfor keys on top of that.
And then this whole pouch, not to mention, has a lot of room in it, and can be used as astand alone pocket itself.
Maybe you want to shove acompressible jacket inside, or just any type of thingsthat you want quick access to.
One thing to note here are these zippered compartments.
And this is an excellent call, especially when you have avertical pocket like this.
So on a lot of other bags, you'll see some type of organization here that's not zippered.
And a lot of the times your gear can fly around inside of the pocket if it's just a free-floatingpocket or pouch, especially if it's on the side.
So we like that Topo has included additional zippered pocket options here.
And behind that front pocket there is a big horseshoe compartment opening going on here as well, with some additional organization inside.
This is also a #10 YKK zipper, so a super-durable zipper.
And also to mention here, that paracord can beweaved through a loop to make it a littlebit harder for thieves, and people with grabby hands, to access your stuff quickly.
There's a zippered pocket towards the top, which is great for situating flatter items like documents or larger notebooks.
Then you have a 1/3 and2/3 partition pocket here, for additional organization.
Onto the main compartment of this bag – we also have #10 YKK zips which are super strong and durable.
All the zippers on this pack also have zipper pulltabs you can grab on to as you're unzipping the bag, which makes it a lot easierto tear open quickly.
The bag fully opens upin that horseshoe style, and you're greeted with acouple of mesh partitions here on the front.
So these are great for socks, underwear or just any other flatter, smaller-like items that you want to compartmentalize.
And there's one sneakything on the back here – this entire area opens up, offering a separate compartment as well.
So that's super handy.
There's a lot of compartmentalization, and partitions, goingon inside of this bag.
Then moving on behind the top flap – you have an additionaldivider partition here, with two of these 210D packcloth pockets going on here.
And on the interior they stillhave the red zipper pulls.
However it is thinner paracord than what's found on the outside, to keep things a littlebit more minimal and slick, on the inside.
And now we can open up this divider to the main compartment here.
So basically, it opens up to a giant bucket on the inside.
The zippered partition here is nice – and it kind of acts as astand alone compression system that protects the space onthe other areas of the bag, and all those other dividerpockets that we've seen, and already walked through.
So if you want to jam your clothes in there and compress it down that totally works.
However we always recommendusing packing cubes – especially because it makes organization of a larger pocket like this a little bit easier.
And the partition is totally optional – so if you don't want to use it, it's easy enough to kind of roll up, and stow towards the bottom of the bag.
We love the way the Peak DesignTravel Backpack handles this, as they have a similarfeature going on here.
But you can roll it up and stow it inside of a dedicated pocket, at the bottom of the bag.
So it's overall a really slick system.
It's fine with the way Topo does it.
However you're just going tohave some excess fabric, that could potentially flaparound, as you're trying to organize the interior of your pack.
As for packing cubes, any will do.
However Topo offersa couple of different sizes, that'll fit nicely in here as well.
Be sure to head over to packhacker.
com – we have an entire guide on packing cubes.
So be sure to check that out, if you're looking for what to get.
The last thing to mention here is the boxier shape of the pack.
So if you like that look on the outside – great, definitely roll with it.
If not, just know that there'ssome great functionality to a pack of this size and shape as well.
So with more of the corners, it makes it easier to optimizeevery little piece of space inside of this bag, versus other packs thatcurve a little bit more.
Those aren't quite as space optimized, as we see here with the Topo travel bag.
At the time of this review, I've been testing the TopoDesigns Travel Bag for two weeks – mostly as a daily driver on the bike, and going to and fromthe co-working space, and of course, loadedup with a ton of gear.
Overall I've really enjoyedthe organizational features that this pack offers, even if the frame sheet and harness system is a little bit lacking.
There are no durabilityissues to report as of yet, except for a small fraying piece of fabric on the Topo logo here.
And we have seen this crop up with a couple other of their products.
Other than that, we don'treally have any concerns around anything that affects the usage, or how long this thing is going to hold up.
So we have great confidence that it's going to continue to perform, as we use it and test it for longer.
So to wrap this thing upwith some pros and cons – the Topo Designs Travel Bag offers some really greatand thoughtful organization.
Topo uses quality materialsand construction throughout.
The fluorescent liner on the interior makes it easy to spot your gear, and really turns the lighton inside of the bag.
For some of the cons – the harness system is subpar, especially for a bag of this size.
The laptop compartment isa little bit too small, and you need to shimmy 15-inch laptops, just to fit them inside.
Lastly the sternum strapdoesn't permanently attach, which increases thelikelihood of you losing it.
Overall the Topo Designs Travel Bag offers some great organization, thoughtful design features, and a pointed heritage aesthetic.
If you can get past the laptop compartment not being an ideal size, and have no problem with the less-than-optimal harness system – there are a ton of prosgoing on with this pack, and it could serve your one-bagtravel needs very well.
Thanks for taking a look at our review on the Topo Designs Travel Bag, see you in the next one.