Founded in 2008, Topo Designs makes versatile and durable backpacks along with apparel, outerwear, and accessories.
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Tools of Men is independently owned and operated. We have been around since 2015 and have been serving men with quality and unbiased reviews of the most popular brands and products.
For this review, we purchased the Rover Pack Classic with our own money.
We do have an affiliate relationship with Topo Designs. If you click a link and purchase a product from the Topo Designs website, we receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps to cover production costs for future articles.
You can read more about our editorial policy here.
Rover Pack Classic Review
From packaging to performance, here’s an in-depth look at the Rover Pack Classic:
The packaging of the Rover Pack Classic is no-frills and straightforward:
All that was included in the box was the Rover Pack Classic and a sticker:
Lastly, here’s a look at the tag that was attached to the backpack:
Rover Pack Classic Design Details
For the details on this backpack, we’ll start from top to bottom.
At the top, you have an easy to access zip pouch:
The top pouch can fit a few essentials such as a smartphone, passport, small book, and a few other handheld items:
As you can see, there is also a clip on the inside for your key chain.
Expanding the width of the Rover Pack Classic, the bottom pocket can store a few extra essentials:
However, unlike the top pouch, the bottom pocket is deceptively small. For context, we tried to squeeze in a pair of headphones, and the zipper was not able to close completely:
This is because the bottom pocket is flat and has no room for expansion. However, do know that the headphones could slide into the top pouch easily.
One of the shining features of the Rover Pack Classic is the interior pocket. It’s just one large pocket where you can store all of your stuff:
As you can see in the image above, the back of the interior pocket features a laptop sleeve. For context, a 14″ laptop was able to slide into the pouch with some extra room (the Topo Designs website states that the Rover Pack Classic can hold up to a 15″ laptop):
However, one disappointing feature of the laptop sleeve was the lack of padding on both sides. It is featured as having a padded laptop sleeve; however, its only padded on the side closest to your back and not from anything you may be carrying in the backpack itself:
While this may not be a problem if you have only clothes inside the main compartment, should you be carrying rigid or valuable gear like a DSLR, tablet, gaming controllers, etc., some damage could occur if you tend to toss your bag haphazardly around.
To keep everything on the inside pocket secure, Topo Designs smartly added a zip-tie to the top of the bag:
With the contents secured under a two-buckle closure:
Both sides of the Rover Pack Classic feature a pocket for water bottles. Here we were able to slide in an 18oz Klean Kanteen water bottle with no problem:
As you can see, each side pocket can expand slightly for larger water bottles:
The side pockets also have an exterior strap to keep contents secure:
This can be helpful if you are carrying other items in the pockets, such as hiking poles, a small roll-up air mattress, etc.
Back & Straps
Each of the back straps offers plenty of padding:
Additionally, the backside of the Rover Pack Classic has moderate padding thanks to the laptop sleeve.
Notably absent from this bag is any sort of torso or waist strap. Instead, all you have is two shoulder straps:
The bag features two chunky and easy to grip zippers, which make accessing the pockets effortless:
The large top strap is also a nice touch making it easy to pick up the bag quickly.
Another detail you won’t notice until holding the bag is that the bottom half of the bag feels like it is made from a much more durable material. This is great to see as it should prolong the life of the bag significantly.
Country & Material
Per the two tags deep inside the main compartment, you will find that the Rover Pack Classic is made from 100% nylon:
And was manufactured in Vietnam:
Note: Only a few years ago, Topo Designs made all their bags in Colorado (source). However, as evident in the picture above, this is no longer the case.
Size & Comfort
Here we look at the size and comfort of the backpack:
To give you a better idea of the size, here’s how the Rover Pack Classic Looks when wearing the bag while it is empty (for context, I’m 5′ 9″):
And here’s how it looks when filled to the brim:
As you can see, the size of the bag is still relatively modest and won’t be too bulky or get in the way when traveling in cramped cities, stores, etc.
Thanks to the padded shoulder straps, the bag doesn’t feel too uncomfortable, even when loaded to the brim. The straps displace the weight nicely and don’t dig into the shoulders.
However, given that this is only a 20L backpack, it will likely never carry excessive weight simply due to the size constraints.
The bag shouldn’t be too unwieldy if you are traveling to and from the office or school.
One of the primary reasons why I selected this bag over other computer bags, such as the North Face Commuter Pack and the Patagonia Arbor Roll Top Pack, is because the Rover Pack Classic has a simple design with minimal pockets. While subjective, I thought it looked a bit better than the competition.
Additionally, I don’t intend ever to use this backpack for multi-day hikes or extensive trips. Instead, it is mainly used as a commuter backpack or one that I can quickly toss on when running errands. The streamlined design doesn’t stick out too much, so I never have to worry about bumping into other people, whether in a store or on a subway.
What We Liked
The bag works well so long as it is for a specific purpose. It’s not the largest of backpacks, and that’s okay. If you are looking for additional capacity, consider the Rover Pack Tech (24.3L), Travel Bag 30L, or Travel Bag 40L.
The simple design allows you to get to your stuff rather effortlessly. Moreover, two exterior pockets allow you to access small items such as sunglasses, headphones, phone, keys, etc., in a hurry.
The design blurs the lines between a traditional camping backpack and a lightweight school backpack. With this careful design choice, it will likely not go out of style anytime soon.
What We Didn’t Like
The biggest miss of the Rover Pack Classic will undoubtedly be the laptop sleeve. Why it’s not padded on both sides seems like a glaring oversight.
Additionally, items stored at the bottom of this bag will be difficult to access quickly. So, be sure to take a minute or two to think of your packing order before loading up the bag.
Ultimately, the Rover Pack Classic is a well-made and designed backpack. Whether you are looking for a backpack to wear for a light hike or back and forth to work or school, it is functional and should complement your daily lifestyle. In addition, the small details throughout make it effortless to use.
Review of Topo Designs as a Company
Of course, when buying a product from a relatively new brand, it’s always important to do some due diligence – especially given the prevalence of crummy products that flood online marketplaces.
Here’s what we found out about Topo Designs:
About Topo Designs
Topo Designs was founded in 2008 by Jedd Rose and Mark Hansen. To our knowledge, both founders remain with the company – which ensures that the same careful craftsmanship and passion remain with each product made.
Here are a few other key facts about Topo Designs:
- Headquarters: Denver, Colorado
- Company Size (per Linkedin Aug. 2021): 11 to 50 employees (source)
- Glassdoor Rating (as of Aug. 2021): 2.7 out of 5.0 (source)
- Funding: No outside investors (source)
What Else Does Topo Designs Sell?
Topo Designs has grown exponentially over the past couple of years and currently offers a wide variety of apparel for men and women, along with outerwear, hats, and much more.
The apparel tends to skew more rugged and is intended for light hiking or backpacking.
Of course, not every product will be a homerun – therefore, it’s essential to know your return options before buying.
Topo Designs has a decent return policy. They offer a 30-day return window on unused and unwashed items. Additionally, Topo Designs provides a pre-paid return label to cover the shipping costs.
We always love when a company stands by their product. It’s something that, unfortunately, not enough companies do nowadays. For their backpacks, Topo Designs offers a lifetime warranty. However, it does come with a few caveats, as mentioned on their website:
Topo Designs offers a reasonable lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. Our warranty does not cover any damage caused by neglect, improper care, accident, or normal wear and tear.https://topodesigns.com/pages/warranty-and-repairs
Corporate Social Responsibility
The New Outdoor is all about utility, inclusivity, sustainability, and relevancy. Whereas the MAP Pact focuses on how Topo Designs has given back to the community.
Additionally, they also have a page on their site about the importance of Inclusion & Diversity and their commitments as a company thus far.
Lastly, Topo Designs also offers a Repairs Program to help reduce the amount of waste put into landfills.
Where can you purchase Topo Designs bags?
If you want to see a product before purchasing, Topo Designs is stocked at select stores across the United States. Visit their Find a Retailer page to see if a store has Topo Designs products near you.
Topo Designs is also stocked at popular online retailers, including Backcountry, REI, Nordstrom, Huckberry, Zappos, and many more.
Topo Designs Discounts & Promo Codes
Rather than listing off expired codes like spammy coupon sites, we like to search for legit deals that actually work.
When visiting the Topo Designs site, scroll to the footer. There you will find a few different ways to save a bit of money on your next order:
You can save the following ways:
- 10% off by signing up for their email list
- Through their Refer a Friend program; here’s our friend link that’ll save you some money 😉
- 10% off through their Student Discount program
Topo Designs is a growing outdoor apparel company that puts together a wide range of products. While we fell in love with the Rover Pack Classic, they offer several other products that are worth checking out.
We hope that this in-depth review gave you a better understanding of Topo Designs as a company and the products they make.
Shawn Burns is the founder and senior editor of Tools of Men. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. Shawn’s expertise includes in-depth product reviews and how-to articles. Shawn was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise.