How To Choose Your Daily Carry

All of our Topo Designs day packs feature laptop sleeves, highly durable, highly water-resistant materials, and classic go-anywhere styling. So, how do you choose which one makes sense for you? 

To help, we’ll walk you through some of our best EDC (Everyday Carry) options, pointing out some of the key features, highlighting best use cases, and adding a dash of personal experience.

This guide was originally published on .

Step 1: Front loader or top loader?

Topo Designs pack lineup is designed so that most top loaders have a front loader counterpart and vice versa, so this can be an easy way to narrow things down.

Generally speaking, front-loading packs tend to work best for people who prefer a sleeker look or anytime gear straps (the two lengths of nylon webbing that close with buckles) will get in your way more often than they’ll help you. In other words, indoor or casual outdoor use.

Top-loading packs typically feature top flap pockets, gear straps, cinch closures, compression straps, and/or multiple external attachment points, which dramatically increase their storage capability. They tend to work well when you have awkwardly shaped gear items (think fishing rods, tripods, climbing ropes, snowshoes, etc.) that are best carried outside your pack or if you’d like to access certain items without even opening your pack. In other words, frequent outdoor use.

Keep in mind: both front and top loaders work well for work, travel, and outdoors, so it really does come down to personal preference.

Step 2: What else will you be using your pack for?

Do you travel often for work? Do you coordinate your pack as part of your #ootd? Does it need to blend into a corporate work environment, or are you more concerned about its functionality for your outdoor sport(s) of choice on weekends? Some questions to think about as you consider your options.

Step 3: Get to know our packs.


It’s a good urban commuting bag and definitely a good travel bag because of the extra moisture protection with the weather-resistant zippers. If you work in a city and ride your bike to work, this will be perfect for you. Not having gear straps means it’s easy to get in and out of and looks sleek while on. It’s got an external laptop sleeve, expandable water bottle pockets, and with weather-resistant zips and 1000D nylon across the exterior for durability, it really has no weaknesses. Plus, it has an axe holder. You know, just in case.


This is kind of an all-around, all-purpose option. It won’t be quite as dialed for work because it lacks some of those work-specific features, but it may transition a little better to outdoor use because of it. It also gives you way more color options to choose from. It’s a little smaller, but unless you need to carry bulky items, it’s just the right size for any usual day activities, and it’s very sleek.


Similar to the Daypack Tech. The only difference is if you prefer a top loader or a front loader. The Rover Pack Tech is handier when traveling because you have that top pocket for easier access to essentials and the gear straps for a neck pillow or extra layer, which also provides an extra layer of security because there’s more than a zipper people have to get past.

It’s a bit more spacious than the Daypack Tech if you need a little extra room for lunch or need the rectangular shape to accommodate pack bags. (Or if you don’t need the extra room, side compression straps give the option to cinch it down.) The compression straps are really useful – you can, for example, stash two fly rods in the water bottle pockets and strap them down with the compression straps.


It’s so hard to choose between the Tech and the Classic. But we love Classic even as a work carry. There are tons of different colorways to choose from, so it feels really individual. When going to happy hour after work, it can be more of an accessory to your outfit than just a utility item.

The nice thing about the internal laptop sleeve (versus the Tech’s external one) is that it can be used to carry a hydration bladder on the trail. The pockets aren’t hyper-specific, so you can use them for whatever you need them for. It’s also more compact than the Rover Tech or even the Daypack, so it’s great for smaller bodies.


The Global Briefcase has a compartment for your laptop and notebooks and a compartment for just stuff – layers, chargers, photo/hobby equipment, etc. It holds everything you may need except for a water bottle. You have to put your water bottle inside or just carry it. It’s definitely a work-first pack. The cyclists love it for biking to work because the backpack option means it doesn’t swing around, the load is really compact, and the big pockets on the front make essentials super accessible. (They fit small Accessory Bags perfectly.) It’s also great for travel because of the pass-through sleeve that attaches it to your roller when you’re in the airport and then doubles as a daypack when you’re on your trip.

Having options for how to carry it is Global Briefcase’s big feature (you can wear it as a backpack, messenger-style, or carry it like a briefcase). If you’ve really packed it out or have a long walk, it gets too heavy for one shoulder, so being able to switch to backpack mode is key. Also, this may seem like a small thing, but when you’re taking a car to a train to a plane, it’s really nice to have the grab handles for those really short distances. You can even slip one of them onto your arm and carry it like a tote so you’re still hands-free.


Mountain Cross Bag is a shoulder carry bag on steroids. Similar to Global Briefcase, it also has a compartment for your laptop and notebooks and a compartment for other items you may need on a daily basis. On top of that, however, it has two bottle holders, which the previous shoulder bag is missing. Together with plenty of pockets for organization and loops to attach other great (or just accessory bags for more organization space), it makes the Mountain Cross bag the perfect travel accessory.

Another cool feature is the shoulder strap, which can be adjusted and swapped around, turning the bag into a crossbody carry or waist bag. That way, you can easily carry it over the shoulder or around your waist on a walk in the city, on short trails, or on a bike. The look of the bag is not as sleek as a global briefcase, but you’ll love it also as your work carry.

There is more in store than we could list here. To choose the perfect carry for you, browse all our backpacks and shoulder bags here.