Topo Designs 2018 Updated Travel Pack 30L Review

Topo Designs (based out of Colorado) has come out with an updated version of their travel pack. It comes in two sizes: a 30L and a 40L. The main changes seem to be in the design of the front, smaller compartments. I purchased the 30L and have since taken it out for a spin for a two week trip to Europe. If you're looking for an option to one-bag travel while keeping a stylish profile, this bag is a great low-profile option.

How it Packs
The travel pack has all of the features of a great carry on backpack -- it is front-loading, has waist straps, a separate laptop compartment, and is carry on complaint (this one actually even fit under an economy row seat!)

When you first look at the pack, it looks fairly simple, but it actually has an extensive number of pockets to help you organize all of your travel goodies.

First, when opening up the main compartment, you'll notice a nice, big, open space for packing cubes. Here, I was able to fit 2 packing cubes (I just have simple ones from eBags) and a bag with shoes. On the side of this compartment are two zip mesh compartments, perfect for chargers, cables, and any odds or ends you might not have a bag for.

Now onto the front compartments. There is a secondary pocket that is large enough to hold another slimmer packing cube if needed, but I used it to hold things like my kindle and an extra jacket.

In front of this, there is an even slimmer pocket, perfect for stowing your travel itineraries and anything skinny.

I would save my passport and sensitive information for the hidden side pocket.

The laptop compartment can hold up to a 15" laptop with no problem.

Lastly, throughout the front panel you'll find loops that I've found helpful to attach a travel pillow, empty bottle, or even a small daypack too (like this Topo Designs Quick Pack -- review coming soon!)

The Good

  • Aesthetic: the overall look and feel of this bag feels sleek, updated, and travel-friendly. Unlike some of the popular Osprey bags and Pacsafe options, it does not look like a backpacking pack. 
  • Design: travel-forward zipper designs allows you to keep your pulls snug into your pack, preventing pickpocketing.
  • Durable: this pack is made of 1000D ballistic nylon (1680D for the black color!), so you can be sure it will last.
  • Spacious: I could easily pack 2 weeks worth of clothing in here for a summer trip without being too picky. 

The Bad

  • Heavy: At 3.5oz for the 30L, it can feel a bit heavy. But, you're trading off weight for material, so it depends what is most important to you. 
  • Waist Straps: The waist straps of the 30L feel flimsy, and definitely took a toll on longer treks when navigating cities. The 40L boasts a more robust strap option, so I would look into that one if support is a priority. 

Packability Verdict
Overall, this pack was definitely packable for a weekend trip. definitely packable for a week long trip, and mostly packable for a multi-week trip. At $189, this is one of the more fairly priced options for the quality you're paying for. If you're interested in the pack, check it out here!


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