Topologie Haul Backpack Dry Review

The Topologie Haul Backpack Dry has great weather resistance and padding for laptop protection. However, we found it to be a bit heavy even when it isn’t full.

Our Verdict

7.5 /10
Good info

Form

87/100

Design

70/100

Value

70/100
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Pros

  • Heavy weather resistance
  • Mesh back panel helps with airflow
  • Main compartment organization is convenient for tech items

Cons

  • Bag can be heavy even when not fully packed
  • Can be difficult to see inside
  • Can be difficult to reach items at bottom of main compartment

Technical Details

92 %

Carry-On Compliance

View 133/144 Airlines

45 %

Like the Look

Polled on Instagram

  • Capacity

    20l

  • Weight (lb)

    1.96 lb (0.9 kg)

  • Denier

    600D

  • Dimensions

    16.5 in x 12.6 in x 5.91 in (41.9 x 32 x 15 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    Polyester, Polyurethane, Unbranded Zippers, Duraflex Hardware

  • Manufacturing Country

    China

  • Laptop Compartment Size

    15"

  • Warranty Information

    Topologie Frequently Asked Questions

Full Review

The Topologie Haul Backpack Dry is not a massive gear hauler or a dry bag, in case that’s what you were wondering. Although it does sort of look like a YETI soft cooler as a backpack, that’s not what it is either. It’s a suave daypack for everyday carry or short trips that’ll fit in whether you’re rocking a suit on your way to the boardroom or jeans on a weekend trip.

Topologie Haul Backpack Dry usage image
Topologie Haul Backpack Dry | Fashionable and functional.

It’s got several external pockets for quick-grab items with decent organization and a device panel to keep your everyday tech essentials in check. We did find, however, that it can be a bit heavy even with only a few items inside, which can be uncomfortable to carry long distances. We’ll get into the details of all of that and more in this review, starting with the materials.

Materials & Aesthetic

The materials used on this bag are both functional and fashionable. The black-on-black color scheme is aesthetically pleasing, and all the components come together to make one professional-looking backpack. The subtle branding helps with this, too.

The main material on the front of the bag is a 600D polyester with a PU coating. This is what gives the bag its weather resistance. Water pretty much rolls right off the bag rather than soaking through. We had quite a few rainy days during our two-week testing period, and nothing inside the bag got wet despite getting caught in the rain several times.

Topologie Haul Backpack Dry brand logo
Topologie Haul Backpack Dry | This material offers great weather resistance.

On the bottom and sides of the bag, you’ll find heavy-duty Ballistic Nylon. The reinforcement on the bottom of the bag offers excellent protection against scuffs while providing an extra buffer for your laptop inside. This is a highly welcomed design feature for two reasons. The first is that the bottom of a backpack is where you’re most likely to see the first signs of wear and tear since it’s frequently in contact with rough surfaces. The second is that laptops can literally be your life if you’re a digital nomad or someone who works remotely. We’ll get more into other laptop protection features of the bag later.

The back panel and shoulder straps feature some cushy padding and 3D Air Mesh. We’re not sure what exactly makes it more 3D than the mesh on other backpacks. We can say, however, that it is pretty darn thick. This is great for airflow, breathability, and laptop protection. However, we don’t use the word thick lightly. The mesh and padding underneath is chunky and, coupled with the thick materials, adds a bit of weight to the bag. Without anything inside, Topologie says the Haul Backpack Dry weighs around two pounds (890 grams). We found it to be straight-up heavy, and it only gets heavier the more you put inside. Your mileage may vary on what you consider to be heavy or not, but we experienced a bit of shoulder and back pain after carrying this bag around for a little while.

Topologie Haul Backpack Dry back panel mesh
Topologie Haul Backpack Dry | Good for airflow.

All around, this bag is made out of durable, thick, and rugged materials. The name made us think we’d be hauling around a dry bag at first, but it’s more like a bulletproof, heavy-duty backpack. With all that said, we were surprised to find unbranded zippers used on the bag. This is usually cause for alarm, as unbranded can mean cheap, and we’ve had issues with such mystery zippers breaking or pulling apart in the past. Thankfully, we haven’t any issues with the zippers on this bag, and they even have a “splash proof” zipper track to keep water and moisture out. We guess unbranded zips aren’t the end of the world, after all. Keep in mind, however, we only tested this bag for two weeks, so we can’t vouch for how long they will hold up. For that, keep an eye on the usage timeline at the end of this review.

Inside, the bag is lined with a much thinner polyester pongee fabric. It has a hiking trail pattern in a nod to Topologie’s tagline, “business backpacks made by rock climbers.” It’s a funky, thoughtful feature, but we wish the liner was just a bit brighter to help with visibility inside the main compartment. To be fair, the lining is dark grey, which is brighter than the black exterior. It’s just not bright enough to provide good contrast on the inside. Since the zipper only unzips at the very top of the bag, which makes it hard to see to the bottom, a brighter liner would have been helpful.

External Components

Topologie Haul Backpack Dry side by side
Left: Randiah Green, Height: 5’4” (162 cm), Torso: 19” (48 cm) | Right: Aidan Schieber, Height: 5’11” (180 cm), Torso: 19.5” (49.5 cm)

We’ve already mentioned how the densely padded back panel and shoulder straps add weight to the bag, but there are a few other features to check out back there. The sternum strap uses sturdy Duraflex hardware and is easy to adjust. It’s sewn in a loop around the shoulder straps, which allows you to slide it up or down to your desired position. This also means it’s not removable, and sometimes it can slide around and end up backwards when you’re not using it. It’s not hard to turn it back around to face the front of the shoulder straps when you want to use it, but it can be a minor inconvenience.

At the very bottom of the back panel, there’s a luggage passthrough that’s great for jetting off on a trip on Friday after work. Even more interesting is the quick access security pocket that’s hiding back here. It’s easy to miss if you didn’t know it was there, so you can thank us later for letting you in on the scoop. This tiny security pocket is the perfect size for your phone, passport, or travel wallet. That’s why it’s called a security pocket—it secures all your essentials that you don’t want lost or stolen.

Topologie Haul Backpack Dry back pocket
Topologie Haul Backpack Dry | Fashionable and functional.

Moving up to the top of the bag, you’ll notice compression straps on each side. These are less to compress the capacity of the bag and more so to keep the main compartment zipper from flaring out. Otherwise, the zipper sticks straight out, giving the top of the bag a nearly square shape. It almost looks like an insulated bag you’d pack a work lunch in with a zipper sticking out of both ends.

Topologie Haul Backpack Dry side closeup
Topologie Haul Backpack Dry | Use these straps to give it a more round profile.

The compression straps connect to small tabs on each side of the zipper track via hooks. When you attach and then tighten them, it pulls the zipper track down and closer to the bag. This gives the bag a more traditional, round silhouette. While you can keep these ends compressed when opening the main compartment, doing so will make it even more difficult to see inside. We recommend unhooking the straps before unzipping to make your life easier. Above that is a pair of handles made from thick nylon webbing. These are convenient for grabbing it off the floor or out of an overhead bin, but they do stick out of the top quite a bit.

Flipping the bag around to the front, there are two more pockets. Both are fairly long, but since one is on top of the other, you may have some space issues if you’ve got them both full. The first pocket is big enough to fit a large notebook or wallet and has a short key leash inside. It doesn’t have any organization, so we usually ended up dumping quick-grab items in here. The second pocket is directly behind the first and spans almost the entire length of the bag. We ended up not using both pockets at the same time since their capacities compete for space.

Topologie Haul Backpack Dry front pockets
Topologie Haul Backpack Dry | Both front pockets have a large capacity but they compete for space when full.

The final feature on the outside of the Topologie Haul Backpack Dry is a water bottle pocket. It’s made out of the same sturdy Ballistic Nylon as the bottom and sides and has a gusseted zipper opening that you can expand to make space for a bigger bottle or umbrella. You can also shove a scarf, gloves, or hat inside if you’re traveling in the winter. However, when zipped, the water bottle pocket still sticks out a bit far from the bag.

Inside The Pack

As we said before, this bag has quite a long profile. Despite only having a 20L capacity, it feels like you can just keep shoving things inside to no end. It’s almost as if there’s a black hole at the bottom. The problem with this, however, is that the items at the bottom of the bag are incredibly hard to reach.

Topologie Haul Backpack Dry interior
Topologie Haul Backpack Dry | It can be difficult to see all the way to the bottom of the main compartment.

Oftentimes, we ended up unpacking the bag to get to our gear at the bottom. You can make this less of a hassle by packing your most frequently used items last, but you’re going to have to get to those bottom-dwellers eventually. Maybe just make sure that your private or potentially-embarrassing items are at the bottom so you don’t have to pull them out in front of anyone.

Besides a black hole main compartment, this bag offers an excellent organization panel near the back. At the very bottom is a small built-in pouch with a snap closure. This makes a good spot for extra underwear, toiletries, socks, or any other delicate items. Above that are a few pen slots and two small pockets. One of the pockets here has a built-in elastic band, which is helpful for keeping cables in check. This whole organization panel is perfect for tech gear and writing utensils and pretty much eliminates the need for a tech pouch if you’ve only got a few staples to carry. We found a laptop charger, cables, pens, and earbuds work great here during everyday carry. If you’ve got more tech gear than that, you’ll probably want to use an additional tech pouch.

Topologie Haul Backpack Dry interior organization
Topologie Haul Backpack Dry | It offers great organization for everyday tech gear and padded laptop protection.

Behind all that organization is a device sleeve with two slots. The first is big enough for a tablet or size A4 documents, while the second can accommodate up to a 15” laptop. This was really made for the traveler who means business, whether that means you’re going on a short work trip or working remotely from a poolside with shades on. This device pocket is also well padded and suspended to protect your laptop from harsh drops when you put the bag down on the floor.

Overall, the Topologie Haul Backpack Dry is a stylish bag for the traveler jetting between meetings and bustling downtowns. Its capacity is suitable for weekend trips and everyday carry, with great internal organization for tech items and a laptop. We dig the protection the thick padding offers, but it comes at the cost of making the bag heavy and uncomfortable to carry long distances.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • The back panel is generously padded
  • Stands well on its own
  • Lots of liner pockets inside for organization
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • Bag is a bit heavy even when not fully packed
  • Material has great weather resistance in light to medium rain
  • It can be a bit hard to see all the way to the bottom of the bag
  • Great internal organization for tech items
mm
By Randiah Green
Created December 1, 2021 • Updated December 1, 2021
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