Topologie has a lot to offer in the world of work backpacks. Their leading example is the Topologie Satchel Backpack Dry, a unisex backpack that takes its inspiration from classic trekking bags and business satchels. The end result is a modern backpack with much to offer in terms of pocket placement and weather resistance.
We recently did a hands-on review of the Topologie Haul backpack - a water resistant backpack tote with a generous 22 liter compartment. The Topologie Satchel Backpack Dry takes a different route by streamlining the outside for a more minimalist design and a smaller carrying capacity of 15 liters. What we get is a modern work backpack that has everything you need for a full day of carry in a sophisticated profile.
In this Topologie review we are going to get hands-on with the Satchel and explore it’s waterproofness, carry capacity and comfort.
Features at a glance:
Dimensions: 16.5 x 10.8 x 4.7 inches
Materials: Polyurethane-coated 600D Polyester, Polyurethane-coated poly-canvas, PU
Padded sleeve for laptop up to 15”
Internal water bottle pocket
Hidden back pocket (for phone/passport/wallet)
Materials and Construction
The Topologie Satchel Backpack Dry is made out of a combination of water resistant and waterproof materials. The body itself is made out of polyurethane-coated 600D Polyester and poly-canvas. Although these materials are not completely waterproof they are water resistant thanks to their polyurethane coating. This means water will form beads on contact and roll off the fabric before it gets the chance to soak in.
The top lid is made out of waterproof PU. It’s a thick material with a rubbery texture. This design allows the backpack to be protected in rain and snow as moisture hits the top of the backpack when worn.
You can also see this waterproof PU used in the front backpack detail and shoulder straps. The PU on the shoulder straps acts as a waterproof barrier to prevent the shoulder strap padding from getting too soaked and uncomfortable if you were ever to be caught in the rain.
On the back of the backpack is where you will find a hidden zipper pocket. Topologie was thoughtful enough to add a water resistant zipper to this pocket.
If you look closely you can see that the zipper itself is covered by PU “lips” that prevent water from soaking through the zipper on contact. It’s important to note that this zipper is not waterproof, but the PU does prevent water from soaking into the zipper on contact.
Pockets and Compartments
As mentioned above, the only exterior pocket is a hidden back pocket that is large enough for items like a phone or passport. Other then this pocket Topologie has opted to contain all other pockets and compartments on the inside of the bag.
To gain access to the main compartment you will have to undo the front metal utility hook. Underneath the lid you’ll find two magnetic closures that help keep the lid in place.
Inside is where you will find a plastic key clip, 15” laptop sleeve, separate document sleeve and three smaller slip pockets for organizing personal items.
What is lacking are the usual specific organization pockets for small items like pens and business cards. But the included smaller slip pockets can be used for these items without issue.
The document sleeve is a welcomed addition. Since the laptop sleeve and document sleeve rest against the back panel it does a good job at keeping your business papers safe and prevents them from being damaged when carrying. This is the “work satchel” part of the backpack that works quite well.
The last pocket on the inside of the main compartment is a water bottle pocket located on the one side. This gives a water bottle or umbrella it’s own spot so it’s not just floating around inside the backpack.
The one con we found is with the laptop sleeve itself. Anyone who is rougher with their backpacks and are worried about laptop protection may be disappointed by the lack of padding on the laptop sleeve.
What fits inside the Topologie Satchel Backpack Dry?
The backpack has an internal carrying capacity of 15 liters which is a great size for a commuter or work backpack where you just need to carry daily essentials like a laptop, tablet, business papers and a few personal items.
To give you an idea of what fits inside, you can carry:
Room to spare for additional small items such as large headphones
You could also fit two 1-inch binders and a large textbook with room to spare for your laptop and smaller items inside the slip pockets.
As you can tell the 15 liter capacity isn’t enough for the Satchel to be used as a travel backpack but it’s great for urban commuting and to carry a few daily essentials.
Fit and Comfort
One design element we appreciate about the Topologie Satchel Backpack Dry is that it is unisex and can be worn by just about anyone. This is mostly due to its small/medium size and shoulder strap placement.
The backpack measures in at 16.5” (L) x 10.8” (W) x 4.7” (D) and the shoulder straps are a little over 4 inches apart. This shoulder strap placement is a nice middle ground for people with both broad and narrow shoulders.
The shoulder straps are adjustable using metal buckles. Much like a belt, you can adjust the length of the shoulder straps via the punched hole placements on the shoulder straps. This allows the shoulder straps to stay in place once adjusted but they don’t provide the same fine tuning you would normally get from a plastic adjuster seen in most other backpacks.
The shoulder straps are also padded. It’s not very thick padding but the bag itself can only hold 15 liters worth of stuff. So even when the backpack is full it never really gets that heavy.
The back panel padding is also on the thinner side but it’s padded enough to still be comfortable. Part of that reason is how the inside compartments are designed. The back panel shares the same padding as the laptop sleeve. So you have your laptop or documents resting against your back. This design prevents objects from poking into your back when wearing the Satchel and helps give it an attractive flat profile.
Overall the backpack is very comfortable when worn. The shoulder straps and back panel are padded enough to provide a comfortable experience when the backpack is fully loaded with heavier items like books and a laptop.
For a commuter or work backpack this is all you really need in terms of comfort features. Because of its size it would have been overkill to add more straps or padding since 15 liters is already a modest carrying capacity.
Overall the Topologie Satchel Backpack Dry provides a good and comfortable carry experience and we do recommend it if you are on the hunt for a slim, modern and minimalist backpack for work, weekends or commuting.
Its waterproof and water resistant materials makes it a great choice for daily commuters who want the added waterproof protection during sudden rain showers. The satchel-inspired design also ensures it won’t look out of place in an office or more professional settings.