When we last caught up with Colorado's Topo Designs, they had just released a slim sling bag for daily commuting. Now, nearly two years later, the vintage Americana-infused brand has set their sights on longer journeys with the introduction of the Travel Bag and Trip Pack; a semi-modular backpack series to keep you covered whether your next trip lasts a few days or a few weeks. Made in Topo's LEED-certified Colorado factory, the two bags are constructed of heavy duty 1000d Cordura with a high-visibility nylon liner to help keep track of even the smallest essentials.
"The great thing about traveling is that the environments you're in are often changing," explains Topo co-founder Mark Hansen on the inspiration of the series. "What may make sense for the few days of air travel may not make sense for the excursions once you've arrived. So having a modular travel system allows you the flexibility of using those pieces best suited for the moment, whether it's attaching them together to make a break to catch the train, or just using a small pack for a leisurely day tour around a city."
The backbone of the set is the aptly named Travel Bag, which is a sizable carry-all that can be worn on the back or carried like a duffle. "The antithesis of the usual ball-and-chain, brick on wheels," as Hansen puts it, the carry-on certified pack features a three-sided zip for quick and easy access, water bottle side slots and an exterior pocket with room for your laptop, iPad and notebooks. Then there's the significantly smaller Trip Pack. Ideal for day trips, the 8.4L pack is essentially a slimmed-down version of their handsome Daypack. On top of its own portability, its stout size allows it to be combined with the Travel Bag to create a single travel system.
The two bags connect using a top and bottom integrated loop and hook system. While it may look slightly cumbersome at first, once on the back the two actually meld nicely to distribute weight accordingly. Both bags rely on a relatively uninhibited interior, and work well with Topo's soon-to-be-introduced Pack Bag, which is essentially a removable divider pouch. Grab a couple of these zippered pouches and use them to separate socks and underwear or laundry accumulated during the trip. Toss in their triangular Dopp Kit and you've got nearly every category covered with your best Russian Doll impression.
Images by Graham Hiemstra