When it comes to weekend traveling, being a guy has its advantages. We can get away with loading all our stuff into one single bag. Our wives and girlfriends, on the other hand? Come on, fit all their cosmetics and clothing into just one bag? You must be joking.
So, while she’s busy playing Frustrated Luggage Tetris and trying to find exactly the right orientation to store her nine different skin care products, you can load up the Global Travel Bag from Topo Designs and be ready to hit the road in mere minutes.
This thing is a beast. Topo Designs hooked me up with the 30L variant, which afforded me more than enough space for back to back weekend trips in June.
It’s a modern, urban looking bag with a unique profile, compared to say, the more tactical look of a GORUCK or an obviously outdoor journeyman like a Mystery Ranch pack. Topo Design’s bag cuts a path all on its own, with a sleek, rectangular shape, generously sized zippers, and a slightly shimmery exterior that gives it that extra visual flair. It’s right at home in the airport, on the subway, or striding down the block.
Not to say this bag is ill-suited for the outdoors. On the contrary, this is a true Topo Designs bag, with all the outdoor-capable features you’d expect from the brand. It’s constructed of a combination of durable recycled nylon of various thread weights, up to 1680-Denier, which means it can withstand the elements and take a beating on hikes and camping excursions.
What truly makes the Global Travel Bag unique is its plethora of customization options for carrying it exactly how you want. There’s three different ways of carrying it—like a traditional backpack, slung over your shoulder, or hefted like a briefcase with one of three sturdy grab handles. I prefer the traditional backpack mode, but when packed to the brim with gear for longer trips, the shoulder strap is the way to go—just tuck in the backpack straps so they’re out of the way. The grab handles (one on the top and one on each side) are useful for pulling it out of overhead storage bins. There’s always a way to haul this bag, no matter how full you’ve packed it or how far you’re traveling with it.
Internally, the bag continues to impress, essentially combining the talents of a day-pack with a traditional duffel. The main front compartment has a U-shaped entry, revealing a zippered sleeve for a tablet or a laptop up to 15 inches. Two sleeve compartments are generously sized enough for a notebook, documents, catalogues and such, and the quick-access compartment on the very front of the bag includes easy access for pens, a phone charger, a book, or any other EDC items you need to quickly grab in mid-travel. It’s always nice to retrieve items from the bag without having to unpack the whole thing.
The largest compartment in the Global Travel Bag is where you can store clothing and shoes for your journey. And when combined with the PackFast™ Travel System (sold separately), the bag really starts to show off its talents and compression capabilities. Add one or two Pack Bags to it, Accessory Bags, and the all-important Dopp Kit for toiletries (a must, in my opinion), and you can organize your entire trip’s worth of essentials into one easily accessed bag.
The Global Travel Bag truly encourages overpacking, too. I’ve never been a fan of backpacks and luggage that are obviously incapable of pushing the limits of their storage capacity, with their flimsy, meager zippers that threaten to burst open if they’re even slightly taxed.
Not this bag. These zippers are sturdy. On my last trip, I had to take several pairs of shoes with me. Those, combined with all the clothes I had to bring, and this bag was filled to the brim. But zipping it closed took no effort at all. Grabbing hold of the sturdy nylon pull tabs with one hand, then the corded YKK zippers with the other closed up those compartments with no complaint.
I consider the Global Travel Bag by Topo Designs a durable and capable road warrior, an ideal companion for both single day outings and week-long expeditions. It’s got a sharp and unique modern look, sits comfortably on the back or over the shoulder, and gives me more than enough room to carry all my stuff and keep it organized.
Plus, even if I’ve got it packed to the brim, there’s always some room leftover for whatever my girlfriend can’t fit in her bag.