Topologie Brick Pouch Review
Carrying a water bottle with a crossbody pouch is a big benefit of the Topologie Brick Pouch, even though it impacts pocket space.
- Integrated water bottle or umbrella storage area
- Removable strap for varied carry styles
- Organization sized for transit cards and travel documents
- Water bottle storage cuts into main compartment space
- Storing bulky gear can be awkward
- External pockets are difficult to buckle
5.64 oz (159.9 gm)
9.05 in x 3.93 in x 2.56 in (23 x 10 x 6.5 cm)
Polyester, Polyurethane, Duraflex Hardware
If you’re the type of person who likes to keep a water bottle on hand because you often get parched while you’re out on the town, you’re gonna want to listen up. The Topologie Brick Pouch is a uniquely slick crossbody pouch that has a designated space for a water bottle or umbrella. This gives you some of the storage benefits of a larger bag without lugging around a higher capacity than necessary.
Topologie is a brand that designs and creates rock climbing-inspired gear that blends outdoor durability with city aesthetics. This pouch is part of their dry collection, which consists of polyurethane-coated bags that are sleek but can hold up in the elements. But how did it hold up during our testing? That’s for us to know and you to find out. Like, right now.
Materials & Aesthetic
Aptly named, this rectangular pouch resembles—believe it or not—a brick. We consider it more of a crossbody than a sling because of the length of the straps, though it’s similar to a sling in terms of size and storage. Two separate zippered compartments are connected at the top of the pouch by a strip of fabric that’s used as an attachment point for the handle and crossbody strap. It looks kind of like a saddlebag that you’d find on a horse, except instead of a horse, you put a water bottle between the compartments.
Adjustable bungee lashing at the base keeps the two compartments together, but it also acts as support to keep a water bottle or umbrella in place. This pouch is as bulky as you make it, expanding as you add gear or staying flatter if you’re more of a minimalist packer.
At the time of writing, this pouch comes in three colors: Black, Army green, and Midnight blue. Each colorway features two sets of branding, with Topologie text on one side and a red Topologie patch on the other. The red isn’t quite as subtle, but we like the contrast it adds to the pouch, and it’s easy to hide by flipping the pouch around to face the other way.
Its shell is made with polyester and coated with polyurethane, adding weather protection on top of the taped zippers. Though the zippers are unbranded, they remind us of YKK Aquaguard zippers, and we found them to be pretty smooth to use. More familiar is the UTX Duraflex hardware, which adds extra confidence in the Brick Pouch’s construction.
The pouch has a polyester lining with foam panels on the inside wall of both compartments, though they’re only used in the outside wall of one. We aren’t sure why they didn’t add any to the outside of the other; the foam helps sustain the boxy shape when it’s filled with awkwardly shaped gear. Our only guess is that the lack of structure allows you to pack out the pouch even more, but we’d almost rather have the support. It’s a small design nitpick, though, and we wouldn’t say it’s enough of a turn-off to make the Topologie Brick Pouch any less handy while out and about.
We have to admit that the style of this pouch had to grow on us. It looks a bit odd, with its angular design that gets bigger the more gear you add. However, after only a few uses, we were extremely thankful for the water bottle feature.
Though it’s technically one bag, it’s a 3-in-1 deal. Two separate zippers give you access to two separate compartments, while the open space between them acts as additional storage if and when you need it. All you need to do is loosen the bungee straps a bit and slide in your water bottle or umbrella. However, this can only be done on one of the pouch’s sides because the other has an attached strap that acts as a catch. Our bottle felt pretty secure in this pocket, but we like the idea that there’s something on the other end that keeps it from falling out.
It can be a little tough at first to get a water bottle in, but once we adjust the bungee straps and the gear inside each compartment moves around to accommodate the size, we have no issues getting the bottle in and out whenever we want a drink. This particular pocket is what makes this pouch unique from other crossbody bags like the Bellroy City Pouch, which holds small amounts of gear but leaves you without a place to keep your hydration.
One thing to note is that since the water bottle sits horizontally in this pocket, the water audibly sloshes around. That being said, we got used to the noise, and the benefits of this pocket still outweigh this very slight inconvenience in our eyes. Also, though we didn’t encounter any intense rain, it’s nice to know that if we had to bring along a small umbrella for a portion of the day, we’d have a place to store it once the skies cleared. Overall, this pocket was an asset rather than a nuisance.
One side of the pouch is completely free of any external storage, so if you’re into a clean look, you can leave that side facing out. The other side features two buckled pockets, which are sized to fit credit card-style transit cards. We guess you could put actual credit cards in there if you wanted to, though we don’t recommend keeping your banking info in external pockets just in case. The buckles can be difficult to snap back together on the go, so we often left the pockets unsecured.
As for how you actually keep this pouch on your body, you’ve got a couple of options. We mostly wore it as a crossbody pouch, keeping it behind us and swinging it to the front whenever we needed to get to our water bottle or any gear inside the compartments. Adjusting the strap is a bit of a hassle; whenever we add or remove length, we have to move the buckle and then push down on the looped buckles on the pouch itself, as the fabric doesn’t smoothly travel through that hardware and requires a bit of help to balance back out.
If you don’t want to deal with straps at all, remove them by pressing on the G buckles to release the metal hook and slide the buckle out from the loop that’s attached to the pouch. To put the straps back on, slide the G buckle back into its designated spot and resecure the metal hook. It’s a pretty quick process, and we like that the straps are easy to remove because that means we can use the pouch as added organization in a larger bag if it tickles our fancy. The carry handle stays close to the pouch’s profile, but it’s easy to grab when you need it. You can also grab the pouch by the water bottle catch between the two compartments, but it’s a bit awkward to do any long-term carrying this way.
So now that we’ve touched on the outside of this pouch let’s get into the compartments themselves.
Inside The Pouch
Both compartments have an almost full clamshell opening. One zippered side starts and stops underneath the pouch, while the other starts and stops on the side of the pouch instead. This allows you to keep all of the dangly bits in one spot, and the zipper pulls neatly fall alongside the bungee adjustment underneath. Having the zippers stop halfway down the other side adds a little security to the pockets, so you can fully unzip them on the go without worrying about needing to set it on a table first to avoid gear falling out.
Only minor storage differences separate the two compartments from each other. They both have one long elastic pocket along the back panel—one is tight mesh, the other solid polyester—which is great for holding long, skinny items like a smartphone or keys. The polyester pocket has a key strap with a plastic hook that keeps your keys safe and sound, while the side with the mesh pocket has two pockets of differing sizes on the opposite panel. These are great for holding smaller items like chapstick, headphones, or a thin wallet.
Other than that, you’re pretty much on your own. There’s plenty of space in the pouch overall, 1.4L according to Topologie, though it’s worth noting that the shape of this pouch butts heads with the water bottle storage a bit. As you may already know, water bottles are round, which is pretty much the opposite shape of a rectangle—groundbreaking information, right there. But, what this means for the pouch is that when there’s a water bottle in the center storage area, it naturally cuts into the pouch’s compartment storage.
The rounded shape pushes against the inner sides of the pouch, and though there are foam panels to help maintain the boxy silhouette, it’s not particularly strong, and the roundness still comes through. While it’s not a huge deal, it does impact whatever is in those elastic pockets. We found that if a phone was inside the elastic pocket, it jutted out since it can’t curve with the bottle. Also, if we had bulkier keys attached to the key string, they would often pop out of the pocket entirely, and we had a lingering worry that we’d accidentally set off our car alarm by bumping against the pouch the wrong way.
All that being said, we still think this pouch is a super clever way to carry small amounts of gear without losing the ability to stay hydrated. We think the pouch looks equally great with and without a water bottle inside, and it came in handy while running errands or walking around for long periods of time. Keeping both hands free is important—you never know when you’ll pass by a dog who really needs a two-handed scratching.
- Outer polyester fabric is well-coated for weather-resistance
- A water bottle or umbrella fits snuggly in the middle of the bag
- Zippers are also quite weather-resistance
- Handy to have a place to store a water bottle without carrying a larger pack
- The pockets are tighter and have less wiggle room for gear when a water bottle is inside
- After adjusting the crossbody strap, the adjusted length stands out until you fix it with the buckles at the edge of the handle
- Strap is secure but easy to remove when needed
- Water in the bottle sloshes around when it’s not full since it’s horizontal in the pouch