The author of this review Sky Ariella with the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag against a white wall

Topo Designs Global Travel Bag Review (An Honest Take)

If you’re looking for a straightforward Topo Designs Global Travel Bag review, you’ve found it.

I’ve traveled out of backpacks for months at a time. I know what I’m looking for when it comes to finding the best travel backpacks. With that knowledge in hand, I decided to make the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag my main travel backpack on a 3-month-long journey through Europe.

Now, I’m here to break down its unique features and the things I love about it. Along with sharing my qualms and what type of traveler might struggle with while using the Topo bag.

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Topo Designs Global Travel Bag Review Summary

The biggest thing that sets the Topo Global Travel Bag apart from other travel backpacks is its organization system. In a way, the bag has built-in packing cubes – it has a massive main compartment that opens up like a suitcase, a medium size section, loads of smaller pockets, and a laptop compartment.

For one bag, the Topo has a deceptively vast amount of space. The set-up also makes it possibly the easiest bag I’ve ever zipped up.

However, if you stuff the backpack to its full capacity, it throws off your balance and gives you a bit of a turtle shell. It also takes some crazy Jenga skills to figure out how to fit more than one pair of shoes inside. The Topo Designs harness system could also be better. 

The Topo Travel Bag is a reliable choice for certain kinds of travelers, such as minimalists. It has a smart design, but it still comes with some limitations.

Pros of Topo Designs Global Travel Bag

The author looking at the ocean in Portugal while carrying her Topo Designs Global Travel Bag
Overlooking the ocean with my Topo bag in Setubal, Portugal
  • Effective packing cube-like design with laptop compartment
  • Smart organizational features
  • Made from high quality, durable materials
  • Can be carry on luggage compliant
  • Nicely padded
  • Several color options
  • Comfortable backpack straps, sternum strap, and shoulder strap 
  • Three different ways to carry 

Cons of Topo Designs Global Travel Bag

  • Harness system needs improvement
  • Super bulky and difficult to carry if packed to its full capacity
  • Might be too big for carry on size if fully packed

Topo Designs Global Travel Bag is best for:

  • Minimalistic travelers
  • Short trips
  • People who love being organized

Topo Designs Global Travel Bag might not be a fit for:

  • Travelers carrying on large equipment or accessories 
  • Digital nomads
  • Trips longer than a month
  • Hikers

Topo Designs Global Travel Bag Full Review

The Topo Designs Global Travel Bag and an ocean on its background

Now that you have a brief overview, let’s get into the specifics of the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag. 

This bag is an answered prayer for people who love both traveling and being efficiently organized. The pack helps you organize with a genius multi-pocket arrangement to hold everything you need for a trip. 

It also has an adaptable carry system. You can carry it either in briefcase style or in backpack mode. Let’s break down the main aspects that you look for in top-notch travel backpacks:


Organization Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars

View of the packing cube-like interior of Topo Designs Global Travel Bag
The Topo Designs Global Travel Bag Packing Cube-Like Organization System

If there’s one thing the Topo Designs Travel Bag is good for, it’s organization. It had the best organization set-up out of all the travel bags I’ve ever used. 

It has one large compartment on the back panel and four smaller zippered pockets. Along with a padded laptop compartment, a quick grab pocket, and even small water bottle pockets. You could easily make an entire trip out of just this one bag. 

The organization system is smart. But it’s basically impossible to use it to its full capacity without toppling over from the bag being too full. 

Material and Design Quality

Material and Design Quality Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

View of the exterior design of Topo Designs Global Travel Bag

The Topo Designs Global Travel Bag is undeniably well-made. It’s crafted from a blend of 100% recycled nylon and made ethically. Additionally, the bag has YKK zippers. YKK Zippers are made to be super durable, so you never have to worry about the dreaded zipper break. All in all, you can rely on the Topo Bag’s design no matter where you’re going.


Comfort Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars

The author carrying her Topo Designs Travel Bag in Lisbon Airport
Rushing through the Lisbon Airport after an exhausting morning flight with my Topo Bag

Whether you’re traveling for a week or a year, your travel backpack should be comfortable above all else. When it comes to comfort, I rate the Topo Designs Travel Bag as adequate. 

It’s adjustable, and the straps are pretty comfortable. I never noticed it as being outrageously uncomfortable on my travels. But, it could get a little bulky if you have more than a week’s worth of clothes. 


Features Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Topo Designs Global Travel Bag comes with a lot of enticing features. From its multitude of pockets that are padded enough to keep a laptop inside, to the multi-faceted carry system that allows you to carry it any way you please. 

To get you more familiar with the Topo Designs Bag, here are some of its best features: 

Made With Recycled Ballistic Nylon

Close uo view of the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag that shows that it is made of recycled materials
Topo is proud to be made from recycled materials

It’s always nice to know that your products were made in the most ethical way possible. With the Topo Designs Travel Bag, you can have that peace of mind. The back panel is completely made from recycled materials that are sourced with care. 

Two Zippered Pockets on the Front

View of the open front zippered pocket of Topo Bag
The front-most zippered pocket is perfect for holding your travel documents

You never know how handy a front slash pocket is until you get a backpack that has one. I use my Topo’s front pocket to carry my passport and travel documents for easy access when I’m rushing through the airport. But, you can also store a book, snacks, or any other little items in the slash pocket. 

Behind this front pocket is a zippered pocket that’s fitted and padded for a laptop. But, I wouldn’t leave your laptop in there without its own case on it too. 

👉 Pro Tip: The front compartment of the Topo Bag is perfect for carrying your wallet, passport, and other stuff you’ll need while flying. However, don’t leave anything valuable in there if you’re putting your bag below a bus or checking it.

Comfortable Backpack Straps

View of the padded shoulder straps of Topo Designs Global Travel Bag
Padded Shoulder Straps and Compressions Straps

The harness system is my biggest issue with the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag. However, it’s not a fatal error or anything as the shoulder straps, backpack straps, and hip belt are all nicely padded and quite comfortable. 

What makes it uncomfortable is the backpack doesn’t have a very advanced suspension system besides a couple of load lifters, the sternum strap, and the hip belts. I think it limits the feel of the Topo Bag on long walks. But, once again, it’s not that bad. 

Built-In Packing Cubes Organization System 

View of the built-in packing cubes on the interior of Topo Designs Global Travel Bag
Topo’s built in packing cubes

My favorite thing about the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag is its internal organization system. It makes it totally possible to take everything for a week-long trip in just a carry-on. Several pockets of different sizes are built to handle everything you need for shorter trips. 

Large Main Compartment

View of the main compartment of Topo Designs Travel Bag Bag
The Topo Designs Travel Bag Bag perfectly holds multiple packing cubes in its main compartment

The roomy main compartment stores 2 to 3 packing cubes stuffed to the brim. Then, there are four smaller pockets for things like toiletries, intimates, or anything else. The other side of the back also opens up into another big storage spot. 

Be warned, though. If you fill both large compartments, the bag with being awkward to carry. 

Smaller Organizational Pockets and Mesh Pockets

View of small pockets of the Topo Designs Travel Bag
The zippered compartment on each side of the bag helps organize it tremendously

These little organizational pods might seem like they wouldn’t impact your packing experience too much. But, they can work wonders for storing all types of things you may need on a trip. I used them to hold a small bag of makeup, undergarments, contact lenses, and any trinkets I picked up along my travels. They really come in surprisingly handy. 

Removable Shoulder Strap and Side Panel Carry Handles 

View of different ways on how to wear a Topo Designs Travel Bag

There are three different ways to wear the Topo Designs Travel Bag. It has a strap with attachment clips to sling it over your shoulder, handles on the top and side of the bag to carry it briefcase style, or you can also wear it as a backpack using the straps. It depends on what is most comfortable for you. 

The Topo Designs Travel Bag also has expandable water bottle pockets. No bag is complete without water bottle pockets. Staying hydrated while you’re exploring the world is key. 

Technical Specifications 

  • Weight: 3.65 lbs (1.65 kg)
  • Dimensions: 14 inches x 22.5 inches x 7.5 inches (35.5 cm x 57.1 cm x 19 cm)
  • Material: Recycled nylon blend 
  • Color Options: Black, Clay, Navy, Olive, Charcoal
  • Warranty & Guarantee: Lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship (Not damage by accident or wear & tear)

Topo Designs Global Travel Bag Alternatives

If the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag doesn’t sound like it’s the right fit for you, don’t worry! Here are some amazing alternative backpacks to consider:

Osprey Farpoint 55

The author carrying her Osprey Farpoint 55
Me a few years ago getting ready to go to Asia with The Osprey Farpoint 55

For people that need a little more flexibility when it comes to how much they can pack, I’d highly recommend the Osprey Farpoint 55. Osprey is basically the holy grail of travel backpacks. It has a more advanced harness system than the Topo bag. It distributes the weight of your pack evenly, no matter how much stuff you have. 

For more, see my full article explaining how I tested the Osprey Farpoint 55.

The Backpacker Salkan by Salkan

Author of this travel blog with the Salkan backpack
Travel Lemming’s founder Nate with The Backpacker by Salkan

Another good alternative to the Topo Bag is The Backpacker by Salkan. The Backpacker has the added advantage of including a super useful daypack. The Backpacker combo is designed to fit your every traveling need with just one bag.

This isn’t just an empty claim, either. We tested the Backpacker and found that it lived up to those lofty expectations!

Homiee Hiking Backpack

The last travel pack that I would recommend if you’re not feeling the Topo is the Homiee Hiking Backpack. It’s a much more budget-friendly option than the other backpacks mentioned here at $45 as of September 2022.

 However, it’s still big enough to carry your entire life and high quality. It might even make for an ideal travel gift idea

FINAL VERDICT – Is Topo Designs Global Travel Bag Worth It? 

The author of the post Sky Ariella with the Topo Designs Global Travel bag, overlooking a hillside in Portugal
Me with the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag in Portugal

The Topo Designs Travel Bag was made with a great deal of care and consideration for the traveler. It makes organizing your things in a minimalistic way and packing for a trip a total breeze. So, it’s the perfect pick if you’re packing for a weekend trip or a quick getaway. 

However, it might not be a good match for people who will be carrying a lot of bulky stuff like camera gear or a large wardrobe for lengthy adventures. Stuffing this travel pack too much makes it bloated and difficult to carry. 


You’ve finished my in-depth, full-length review of the Topo Designs travel bag. If you’re still not sure about the Topo bag, check out our full list of the best travel backpacks.

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Topo Designs Global Travel Bag

The Topo Designs Global Travel Bag is a well-organized travel backpack with many useful pockets and a dedicated laptop compartment. It features comfortable backpack straps and a thick hip belt that helps to distribute the bag’s weight.

Product Brand: Topo Designs

Editor's Rating:


  • Super smart organizational features
  • Three different ways to carry
  • Comfortable padding
  • High quality, durable materials


  • If packed fully it may not be carry on compliant
  • Harness system needs improvement

One Comment

  1. Interesting take! From the description, I take it you tested the 40 liter bag, which implies that they are “larger on the inside” and maybe the 30 liter bag is a more optimal size. For context, I usually take long-weekend trips, although we are going from the west coast USA to Europe (Paris/Prague/Katowice) via New York City, almost 3 weeks in all. I can manage a weekend in a 32-liter North Face if I am careful…

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