Topo Designs Global Travel Bag Review
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Topo Designs Global Travel Bag
|Price||$229.00 at Evo|
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|Pros||Distributes weight nicely, highly organized structure, comfortable & removable straps, sturdy handles||Comfortable, feature rich, sturdy, great for camera gear||Airplane-friendly shape, comfortable harness system, thoughtful pocket placement, lightweight, versatile design||Lightweight, very spacious, backpack straps, waterproof, super durable||Protective and durable shell design, affordable, good harness system, useful clips and straps|
|Cons||Too many pockets for minimalist travelers, does not fit under an airplane seat, not the best for loose/large items||Heavy, expensive, bland design||Does not sit upright, laptop sleeve unpadded, may not fit under an airplane seat||One open compartment, limited organizational pockets, can feel slouchy when not full||Protrudes from back, may not fit under airplane seat|
|Bottom Line||A stylish and slim 40-liter three-way travel backpack with stellar organization and a comfortable harness system, perfect for a weekend warrior||This thoughtfully-designed, comfortable pack will have the weekend getaway enthusiast, business traveler, or avid photographer swooning||With a spacious and thoughtful design, this is a versatile bag meant for airplane travel and outdoor adventures alike at an affordable price||A duffel-style backpack with an unmatched weight to volume ratio and excellent durability that is well suited for multi-day vacations or expeditions||This travel backpack is easy to pack, organized, and very durable, though a little bulky for quick trips|
|Rating Categories||Topo Designs Global...||Peak Design Travel 45||REI Co-op Ruckpack 40||Patagonia Black Hol...||Osprey Porter 46|
|Packing and Accessibility (25%)|
|Volume to Weight Ratio (15%)|
|Specs||Topo Designs Global...||Peak Design Travel 45||REI Co-op Ruckpack 40||Patagonia Black Hol...||Osprey Porter 46|
|Volume of Main Compartment||40L||45L||40L||55L||46L|
|Measured Weight||3.65 lbs||4.51 lbs||2.10 lbs||2.57 lbs||3.23 lbs|
|Volume to Weight Ratio (bigger is better)||10.96||9.98||19.05||21.4||14.24|
|Dimensions||22.5" x 14" x 7.5"||21" x 13" x 6.5"||24" x 13" x 10"||26.7" x 15.7" x 11.8"||21" x 14" x 12"|
|Carry-on Size Compatible? (22" x 14" x 9")||Yes||Yes||No||Yes, if squished||Must be cinched down|
|Measured Stuffed Dimensions||22.5" x 14" x 7.9"||21" x 10" x 14"||22" x 9" x 14"||27" x 16" x 12.5"||22" x 14" x 12"|
|Fabrics||1000D recycled nylon, 400D recycled nylon, 210D recycled nylon, 1680D recycled ballistic nylon||400D nyon and polyester||Recycled nylon ripstop and recycled polyester lining (bluesign approved)||900D recycled polyester, 200D recycled polyester||420D nylon hex diamond ripstop, 420HD nylon packcloth|
|Frame Type||Foam with nylon padded backpanel||Foam padding||Ventilated mesh||None||Stiff foam|
|Access Type||U-Zip||Top and panel loading, zips all the way open||Top loading||Clamshell||Panel loading, zips all the way open|
|Number of Pockets||External: 2 large zippered security, 2 water bottle
Internal: 1 laptop, mesh organization
|6 zip, 2 watter bottle||6 zip, 7 no zip, 2 water bottle||Internal/external zippered side pocket, interior mesh lid,||7 zip, 8 no zip|
|Waist Belt Type||Removable||N/A||Padded||None||Padded|
|Sternum Strap||Yes||N/A||Yes||None||Yes, whistle|
|Different Sizes Available?||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Volume Options||30L, 40L||45L||18L, 28L, 40L, 65L||40L, 55L, 70L, 100L||30L, 46L, 65L|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The comfortable Topo Global Travel Bag can easily accompany you on a multi-day road trip, through the hustle and bustle of trains, planes, and automobiles. The thin but tall shape makes it easy to carry all your necessities at once, and the retro design fits in like a normal, everyday backpack. This pack allows for seamless integration with Topo's other travel gear, comes with built-in security measures, offers a spot for most belongings, and can be carried in multiple fashions.
The Global Travel Bag offers an extremely comfortable harness system, and the tall slim build distributes the weight nicely across the entire upper body.
The harness system comes with padded shoulder straps and load lifters that sit comfortably out of the armpits. The adjustable sternum strap distributes weight evenly across the shoulders, and the removable waist belt is nicely padded.
While the harness system is both comfortable and convertible, the overall shape of the Global Travel Bag is what sets it apart from the rest. It is tall and wide but shallow, which keeps the weight very close to your body. This makes carrying heavier items like a laptop or books effortless. The light foam in the main compartment and back panel also offers both structure and cushion.
The briefcase strap has a small amount of padding, which is comfortable for short carries, but this bag is a little large to carry over one shoulder. This style of carrying is great for quick transitions but is rather useless for extended wear.
The Global Travel Bag has everything from mesh pockets to a laptop sleeve to external daisy chains and key clips. The additional features offer stellar organization and don't take up much space or add too much weight.
The two sturdy daisy chains, found on the front of the pack, are great for clipping items like hand sanitizer, a hat, or some climbing shoes. The security loops on the two main zipper compartments help prevent theft, although they are rather cumbersome to use. The convertible shoulder straps can be tucked away neatly, and the large, sturdy grab handles on the top and sides make stowing the bag easy.
The Global Travel Bag comes with a series of PackFast Clips for attaching a daypack. These daypacks are sold separately, and all the little straps and clips take a moment to navigate, but they are covert, and most of them tuck away neatly. Our biggest issue in this metric is that there is no clothing compression strap in the main compartment. This issue is easily solved with a couple of packing cubes, but a strap would be appreciated for those that don't have cubes.
Packing and Accessibility
The Global Travel Bag has a main compartment, two smaller compartments, a laptop sleeve, and two water bottle pockets. The quick-grab pocket has two smaller zippered pockets and a clip for your keys. The second-largest compartment comes equipped with a security loop to help mitigate theft. There are a few pockets in this compartment, one with a zipper that is perfect for your daily planner or spiral notebook. The main compartment is large and minimal. There is a divider with two zippered pockets on one side and two zippered mesh pockets on the other, offering a little extra organization that won't get in the way if left unused.
While the outward-facing pocket is spacious, it doesn't provide that small, necessity-items-only storage we often like to use when traveling. You have to access the pocket from the side rather than reaching in and down from the top. So, if you leave your keys, wallet, and phone in this one area, they all slide down and jumble together and are more difficult to see or reach from the side than if you could look down from the top of the bag.
While 15 pockets may excite those who love to compartmentalize their gear, we spent more time zipping, unzipping, and re-zipping the pockets to find our spread-out items. The excessive storage options were ultimately overwhelming when using the full breadth of storage — unless you have a perfect memory and can always remember where you placed your tiny tube of chapstick.
The minimalist vibe paired with the option to open the bag up clamshell-style makes packing a breeze, but it's much easier when paired with packing cubes. The foam gives the bag a little structure, but clothing straps in the main compartment would go a long way. The elastic water bottle pockets, found on both sides of the pack, are surprisingly accommodating for larger bottles. Although one hang-up we noticed while boarding a plane is that when the water bottle pockets are full, the bag cannot fit through an airplane aisle without hitting patrons, so we had to hold the bag by the handle when walking through the aisle.
Because this pack is so slim, it is not great for irregularly shaped items, so wear your chunky boots and pack your sandals. Even though taking your boots off for TSA might be a bit more of a hassle, it will save you space in the long run. The Global Travel Bag is best for the minimalist weekend warrior who plans to leave most clothes and large items in their duffel or roller bag.
Volume to Weight Ratio
This 40-liter pack weighs 3.65 pounds when empty, making it relatively lightweight for its carrying capacity.
Despite the name, the Global Travel Bag will not take you across Europe for a month, but it will take you through the busy New York City subways or off to Guatemala for a week. The outermost fabric consists of 1000D nylon and large YKK zippers, both of which are very durable. Heavy-duty fabric can result in a heavy product, but Topo does a great job of pairing the heavier-weight outer layers with a lightweight 400D nylon packcloth and 210D nylon packcloth liner inside the bag.
During our time with the Global Travel Bag, we didn't experience one zipper jam, external blemish, or popped stitch. Even the mesh on the inside held up well. After researching the material used to make this backpack, it's no wonder why it still looks brand new after the abuse we put it through.
The stitching on the daisy chain and carry handles is heavy-duty. This is made clear by simply looking at it, but we also loaded the bag up with heavy items and swung it around by its carry handles to make certain — it passed the test with flying colors. The extra-large YKK zippers live up to their reputation and are easy to clean if they get gunked up. The outer shell is made of 1000D nylon, which is exceptionally strong. The rest of the pack, including the liner, is made up of 400D and 210D nylon, which both hold up nicely. This pack is clearly built to last, but if something does happen, Topo has a warranty and repair program to help you out.
Should You Buy the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag?
Topo Designs is not known for making inexpensive clothing and gear. That said, the Global Travel Bag is fairly priced and well worth the purchase. Between its durable materials, minimalist design, and chic aesthetic, we feel this pack performs great for a variety of travelers and travel needs. It's a great option for the vacationer or business traveler who enjoys staying organized and compact, whether on planes, trains, or automobiles.
What Other Travel Backpacks Should You Consider?
If you think the Global Travel Bag is for you, you will undoubtedly also gravitate towards the Tortuga Outbreaker 45L for its tall, slim structure and organizational properties. The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L is another bag to consider for its many pockets, security loops, and ability to open up like a suitcase for full-spectrum packing.
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