Topologie is an interesting brand.
Inspired by rock climbing gear, Topologie’s designs are modern yet feature enough outdoor elements to make the bags unique in both form and function. You can see the rock climbing inspiration in small design details like the use of climbing cord as zipper pulls and outdoor inspired grab handles and trim while focusing on an overall clean aesthetic that rivals those of more popular minimalist bag makers.
This backpack review will focus on the Topologie Haul backpack - a unisex convertible backpack tote that blends climbing haul bag elements with a clean urban carry design. Let’s take a closer look and explore the Topologie Haul’s finer details.
Features at a glance
Dimensions: 17.3” (H) x 12.99” (L) x 5.9” (W)
Materials: Water repellent washed Nylon Taslon with PU coating, Polyester Pongee lining and splashproof zippers
Padded sleeve for laptop up to 15”
Internal water bottle pocket
Available in Navy, Black and Green colors
Pockets and Carry
Let’s start with a quick review of the Haul backpack’s pockets and carry features.
The Topologie Haul has a generous carrying capacity of 22 liters thanks to its large main compartment and smaller pockets sprinkled throughout the design.
What fits inside?
The main compartment measures 16.5” inches in height and is large enough to carry multiple large textbooks and binders. It’s also large enough to use as an overnight or gym bag by comfortably accommodating 1 change of clothing and a pair of shoes.
Inside the main compartment is where you’ll find the laptop sleeve that can comfortably fit a laptop or tablet up to 15-inches.
As an everyday carry backpack for work, school or commuting the laptop sleeve will be perfect for most people who just need to separate their laptop from the rest of the contents inside the bag.
What the Topologie Haul laptop sleeve is lacking however is thick padding and a false bottom. A false bottom creates a gap underneath the laptop sleeve to prevent the laptop from hitting the ground if it were to ever be dropped. The lack of a false bottom is worth considering if you are rough with your backpacks and are concerned about extra laptop protection.
Besides the laptop sleeve, the only other pocket inside the main compartment is a water bottle pocket/umbrella pocket. What’s interesting about this pocket is that it can be easily accessed through a side zipper. This side zipper goes straight into the main compartment to allow you to access the water bottle pocket or things at the bottom of the bag without having to open up the main compartment zipper from the top. It’s a smart design feature that Topologie does really well.
On the outside of the bag you have two zipper pockets. The first zipper pocket can be found on the front of the Haul backpack.
The front pocket is a large open pocket with no organizers inside. An idea for improvement would be for Topologie to add some organizers to this pocket for extra small items like pens, charging cables, lip balm and other personal effects.
The second zippered pocket can be found on the back of the backpack underneath the shoulder straps. This allows for safe storage of smaller items like a phone, passport or wallet.
When it comes to pockets and organizers the Topologie Haul backpack offers great options for secure carry of small and large items alike. Our only complaint is the positioning of the water bottle pocket. The way it’s currently positioned results in awkward carry of large books and binders. This could be prevented by moving the pocket to the other side of the main compartment.
What we really like about the Topologie Haul is it’s overall simplicity. The Haul will not overwhelm you with an array of hidden pockets and compartments that would make the bag feel over-engineered when used. Simplicity is a theme that runs throughout the Haul’s design and pocket placement - which translates into an intuitive everyday backpack that feels as practical as it is stylish.
One of the Topologie Haul’s best feature is it’s ability to be converted from a backpack to a single hand tote bag. This is possible thanks to two nylon clips that allows you to stow away the shoulder straps behind the back panel.
When it comes to comfort - the back panel and shoulder straps are decently padded with the shoulder straps measuring in at a little over 2 inches in width. The Haul’s comfort is due in part to the backpack’s wide tubular body that does a great job at distributing weight on your back and shoulders. The Topologie Haul is also incredibly light which adds positively to the overall comfort and carry experience.
Although the Topologie Haul is a unisex backpack it seems better suited for people with smaller frames and shoulders. The gap between the shoulder straps is about 3 inches apart which is great for anyone with smaller frames but can be a bit uncomfortable for people with broader shoulders. If you are most comfortable wearing men’s backpacks that feature wider shoulder strap than you might want to reconsider if the Topologie Haul can offer a comfortable fit.
Materials and Construction
According to Topologie’s official specifications the Haul built from:
Body: Washed Nylon Taslon with splashproof PU coating
Lining: Polyester Pongee fabric
Zipper: Splashproof zippers
Hardware: Duraflex nylon buckles (shoulder strap clips)
All of the materials are incredibly lightweight which add to the backpack’s comfort as touched on before. Like most lightweight backpacks, the Haul itself is not structured (outside of the foam back panel) giving it a casual look that we associate with many nylon bags.
Splashproof Materials and Zippers
One feature Topologie emphasizes is that the Haul is “splashproof.” Let’s see if we can shed more light on that.
The Topologie Haul features “splashproof” PU coating on the outside materials which makes it water repellent. Essentially, you can pour water on the backpack and it would form beads and run off before it got a chance to soak into the bag.
The zippers are also advertised as “splashproof” which deserves some clarity. The zippers used on the Haul include these small rubber lips that cover the actual zipper teeth underneath and gives water a chance to roll off before getting a chance at soaking through.
It’s important to note that these zippers are not waterproof but water resistant. They do a much better job at preventing water from getting into the backpack than your average zippers but water can still get in if these zippers become soaked.
How does this translate to real life? Well, you can wear the Topologie Haul during a light rain or snow but it may not stay dry if you were ever to get stuck in a heavy downpour.
This backpack isn’t for your if you are specifically looking for a waterproof backpack for college or work but it does a better job than most at protecting you from light rains and splashes. For most people a water repellent backpack will be enough protection for daily carry.
When it comes to overall design and function the Topologie Haul is an impressive daily carry backpack tote with lots to offer. Its urban design is sleek enough to wear to the office yet roomy enough to use as a school, travel or gym backpack. Its versatility is actually one of its biggest selling points.
The only cons we could find was a lack of organizers for smaller items and the placement of the water bottle pocket inside the main compartment. But these things can be overlooked thanks to the Haul’s intuitive pocket design and clever features like side access to the main compartment and hidden pocket beneath the shoulder straps.
Not many brands can manage to incorporate rock climbing aesthetics into a minimalist bag and the results so far have been impressive. The Haul backpack is unique yet unmistakingly modern and we are excited to see what else Topologie has to offer in the world of carry.