- Professional, streamlined aesthetic
- Versatile modes of carry
- Quality, water-resistant materials used throughout
- Better suited for flat items
- Front pocket can be tricky to access when main compartment is full
- Quick-grab pocket is small
17.7 in x 13.8 in x 2.4 in (45 x 35.1 x 6.1 cm)
Fidlock Hardware, YKK Zippers, Leather, Polyester, CORDURA® Nylon
Laptop Compartment Size
It’s business up front and party in the back. No, we’re not talking about the mullet. We’re talking about the Bellroy Duo Totepack. At the surface, this bag appears to be a professional tote suitable for business meetings. But hidden beneath the back panel are backpack straps—so when the business talk is over, you can throw this thing on your back and hit the town.
We’ve been testing the 15L Bellroy Duo Totepack for a few weeks in Detroit, Michigan. Spoiler alert—we’ve been digging it. If you need a bag to tote (get it?) your work essentials around, this bag is worth taking a look at. Why? Read on.
Materials & Aesthetic
As we’ve already said, the Bellroy Duo Totepack has a sharp aesthetic that will fit in at whatever professional events you have on the docket—the office, meetings, steak dinners with prime ministers, whatever. At the time of this review, it’s available in Moss (which is more gray than green), Ink Blue, Black, and Charcoal.
While every colorway features Bellroy’s signature leather accents—on the straps, logo tag, and elsewhere—the fabric differs. The Moss and Ink Blue are made from a tight-weave polyester, the Charcoal is made from recycled polyester (sourced from recycled plastic bottles), and the Black is made from CORDURA® Nylon. You should be good to go with any of the aforementioned, but the CORDURA® Nylon will be the most durable.
All of the fabrics are weather-resistant. Coupled with the YKK® AquaGuard zippers and the Duo Totepack should keep your stuff protected against inclement weather. To be clear, this bag is not waterproof. Don’t take it into the shower with you. But if it starts raining while you’re walking to the bus stop from the co-working space, you don’t need to panic.
The Duo Totepack doesn’t have a fancy harness system. You won’t find a hip belt, sternum strap, load lifters, or any of that good stuff—which is fine by us. At 15L (when expanded), this pack doesn’t need anything fancy.
The backpack straps are nicely made. They’re small but well-padded and oh-so-soft. Plus—as we’ve already said—they’re stowable. The straps tuck behind the back panel, which stays closed with a snap button. The back panel itself has nothing special going on—no air channels or mesh for breathability—but that helps this bag look sleek and tidy. Plus, you’re not likely to experience the dreaded #SwampBack with a 15L bag.
If you do start to get a sweaty back, you can always stow the straps and carry this thing as a tote. The leather top handles are soft and comfortable to hold (with the caveat that all briefcase/tote handles out there can get tiresome after extended periods of time or if you weigh down the pack too much).
Alright, who’s ready for some Zipper Talk? (You know we always are.) The beefy top zipper—which we already mentioned is water-resistant—feels really nice to use. And there’s an interesting design going on. The zipper can be snapped down on both sides, pressing the track against the body of the bag. But you can unclip the zipper and pull it straight, granting you better access into the main compartment. We like that it keeps everything looking tidy, while still allowing you access when you need it.
Inside the Pack
The two main compartments of the Bellroy Duo Totepack are suited better for flat items—folders, paperwork, notebooks, laptops, tablets, and other things of that nature. Bulkier items—large tech pouches, encyclopedias, and so on—won’t fit as well.
The front compartment, which goes approximately ¾ of the way down the bag, has two divider pockets (one of which is a soft, stretchy mesh designed specifically for your phone) and a pen pocket (which is wide enough for two pens). The compartment is rather small and it can be difficult to squeeze stuff inside of it when you’ve filled up the main compartment.
We tend to keep random accessories in this pocket—a luggage scale (so we can share with you the weight of all the bags we test), a microfiber cloth, facial towelettes (sometimes you just need to be refreshed), reusable utensils, etc. Stuff that’s nice to have on hand, but that you don’t need to access frequently.
Next up is the expandable main compartment. On both sides, there are magnetic buttons you can unclip to get that advertised 15L capacity. We love this feature as it allows you to keep a sleek, streamlined aesthetic when you don’t need the extra space. Plus, it’s quick and easy to expand/compress. You don’t have to deal with a bunch of unruly straps.
Inside, there’s quite a bit going on. Starting from the back, you’ll find a document sleeve for documents, folders, etc. Whatever you put in this sleeve will be pressed against your back, so keep that in mind. Then there’s the laptop sleeve, which has been designed to fit up to a 15’’ laptop. (We’ve found that it fits a 16” MacBook, too.) It has plenty of thick padding on both sides—we’ve trusted it to protect our laptop sans case. Something we don’t say too often.
In front of that is the tablet sleeve, which has a magnetic closure. We’ve been storing a USB-C hub and oversized headphones here, so it works for more than tablets.
On the opposite side, there are two zippered mesh pockets. We like that they’re mesh for solid visibility. They’re a nice spot for items you don’t want to get lost in the bottom of the backpack black hole—a mouse, extra battery, little dongles, chargers, and so on.
Beneath that is an elastic pocket, which is designed to hold a water bottle. We’ve put lens cleaner and Tide to Go Pen there instead. That’s because we keep a large wireless mouse in the zippered mesh pocket above it, which interferes with the water bottle pocket. If you have less bulky items in the zippered pocket, you shouldn’t have any problems.
The rest of the space is open for whatever else—a tech pouch, an extra shirt, a book, etc. Of course, the size of this extra space depends on if you’ve expanded the pack or not. We tend to keep it expanded so we can fit an 18oz YETI Rambler full of water and the 12oz YETI Rambler full of the nectar of the gods (coffee, obviously).
Both of these compartments feature a light gray interior lining to help you spot your stuff. Something we always appreciate.
Moving on to the quick-grab pocket at the top of the pack. It’s been designed for the items you want to grab quickly (hence quick-grab)—your keys, sunglasses, etc. We’ve liked using it for AirPods—you never know when you’ll need a quick jam session—and a charger. Note that this pocket is quite small. It will fit most smartphones, although plus-sized ones or phones with a hardy case will be a tight fit (if they fit at all).
Durability & Testing
We’ve been testing the Bellroy Duo Totepack as a daily driver in Detroit, Michigan for a couple of weeks now. It’s the perfect size for the business essentials, but you could also get away with using it as a weekender if you’re a light packer. Its slim profile means that it’ll be tough to use for longer excursions, but nothing is impossible.
Overall, the Duo Totepack has been a really great bag to use. It has a solid amount of organization, and we’re digging the minimal, professional aesthetic. Plus, Bellroy is known to make quality, durable gear, so we expect this thing to last a long while to come. So far, it looks as good as new.
- We’re digging the super-smart aesthetic and professional vibes this totepack is giving off
- There are lots of quick access pockets and internal organization
- This seems like it will work better with slimmer items like a laptop, tablet or documents
- Can be carried as a tote or as a backpack
Great organization in this bag. So far, we’ve only been using it in expanded mode since we like to carry a water bottle.