StuffPaul McAleer

Topo Y-Pack: Several Months In

StuffPaul McAleer

In July I shared with the WWW my decision to change out my daily messenger bag for a backpack and it blew up: at least 6 people read it. Given I chose the Topo Designs Y-Pack and it's been a few months, I thought an update would be in order.

In summary, I still love the bag – and other people do too. I've gotten more than a few compliments about the bag's style and color and, to be honest, I've seen perhaps one or two out there in the real world. Those are bonuses for me.

Daily use & organization

The Topo has just one big pocket on its top flap, so I had to switch over to a “bags within bags” approach to storing my things. This has worked out pretty well: on a regular basis I toss in my work laptop, my water bottle, and my lunch in the main compartment. In the event that I need to bring a sweater to the office, I can fold it and put it in the main compartment too.

I have three mini-bags in my Topo regularly. One is devoted to small toiletries, and the other is devoted to electronics (cables, headphones, Bluetooth presentation pointer, et al). Originally I kept both bags in the main compartment. Those bags both sank to the bottom of the bag and were never heard from again. But a rescue mission was undertaken and I put the bag for electronics in the main Topo pocket. Yep: a pocket in a pocket. It's like the opposite of any women's clothing ever.

The top flap pocket now has two purposes: holding the electronics, and holding my frequently-accessed stuff like pens and Field Notes. It works out well!

I've had no real problems nor qualms with the pullstring closure nor the small latchy/strap closure. Both are great and have held up perfectly.

And while I do take care of my bag, it's worth noting that the thing shows no signs of wear at all. Nice, quality material.

Travel use

The Topo has been with me on quite a few trips, and it is a great travel companion too. While my usage isn't all that different when I'm traveling, it's worth noting that it fits brilliantly under airplane seats and is portable and lightweight enough that it doesn't bother me at all as a backpack. Looking back on my original post, I feel the Timbuk2 – while a really lovely bag – would have been overkill for my real needs.

On professionalism

One of my friends on Twitter wondered if backpacks aren't “professional”. I get it. I've had this backpack in super-profesh client environments so far (where I was wearing a suit, for instance) and it hasn't truly bothered me. I think part of this depends on one's personality, to be honest. I feel I can pull it off, and wear this bag with confidence, so I do.

So far, so great

All told I really love this bag. It's something I don't have to think about much, but makes me happy when I use it. It's a very Colorado bag and, thankfully, it's a very me bag as well. Highly recommended.