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.

Gifts to spark adventure

As the holiday season approaches, it’s time to start filling up those stockings with gifts that your adventurous friends and family will adore!

Whatever the outdoor activity, we’ve curated the perfect collection of outdoor gifts to elevate their adventures.

Whether tracking wildlife on foot or bouncing over dusty roads, comfort is key on safari in remote areas. Gift lightweight, quick-drying, and easy-care clothes that block the sun’s harmful rays and keep biting insects at bay. Don’t let the small stuff bug your safari explorer’s next adventure – keep them comfortable and protected so they can focus on spotting the Big Five.

Scrambling up switchbacks and rocky terrain demands durable gear that moves with the hikers. Surprise your favorite trailblazer with abrasion- and water-resistant hiking clothes, sun-protective shirts, and warm top layers tough enough for any trail. Wherever the trail leads, these gifts will keep up.

Jetsetters need versatile, packable gear that simplifies life on the road without sacrificing durability. Cross the durable luggage, practical accessories, and wrinkle-resistant clothes off their wishlist and make your frequent flyer’s next journey to a remote destination a breeze.

Who does not have at least one angler at home? Don’t let the little things hook them on their next reel deal. Protect them from the sun during the long hours on the water with brilliant gifts like lightweight shirts and sun hats, and free their hands with gear like the hip packs loaded with attachments for tools.

Gift your outdoor daredevils with items that add an oh-so-cool factor to their exciting hobby. Our bike bags make chasing personal records more fun. Climbers will push towards new heights with our colorful chalk bags. And let kayakers pursue wilder white waters with our dry bags.

Can’t find something you like? Here is the stuff that everyone loves to receive. These funky accessories will add a great deal of functionality and a colorful touch to any outdoor gear.

5 Steps for Beginning Fly Fishing

By Jackie Badenhorst

This is a guest article originally written by Nelson Oxley, Flylords. Images of Topo Designs co-founder Jedd Rose (and son, Finn) by Preston Hoffman, Flylords.

The hype is real once you see your fly gets eaten or your dry fly taken down by a fish of any size. Fly fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities people take on, and the best part about it is you can do it anywhere–whether you live in a city, in a rural area, or in another country. In South Africa itself, you will find plenty of fantastic fly fishing destinations.

Fly fishing is the sport of choice for those that love combining the beauty of the outdoors with the excitement of reeling in an impressive catch. Are you ready to get immersed in the fly fishing world? Then continue reading Nelson Oxley’s basic guide explaining 5 steps any beginner should approach before getting on the water.

Step 1: Hold the Fly Rod just like you shake someone’s hand

As simple as this sounds, fly fishing is something that everyone is skeptical and afraid of when first trying. I get it. I see it every day.

While approaching this first step, hold the cork of your fly rod with your dominant hand. When you hold the cork, hold it as you are shaking someone’s hand, with your thumb on top of the cork. There are a few different reasons why we do this, but I will get into this further in my steps.

When you’re holding the fly rod with your dominant hand, you have your trigger finger that can always be locked down on the fly line that comes out of your reel. I believe that this is one of the most important steps in fly fishing. Your trigger finger should be locked on the fly line at all times when your flies are in the water. As there are exceptions to when you cast to allow more line to flow out of the rod tip, always keep your trigger finger locked on the line. This simply allows you to have tension in the line if a fish eats your fly through your drift. If you were to ask my clients a few of my favorite words when I’m guiding, I always say, “trigger, trigger, trigger,” this helps when a fish eats; you can set the hook properly with good tension.

Step 2: Casting

The fun part. Don’t be afraid. Go to the park, somewhere that has nice green grass that won’t mess your fly line up, something I do before I take my clients to the river. There’s a variety of different casts you can make; however, while fishing for trout, you only need two different casts to accomplish catching trout.

Step 3: The Strip

The strip is something we like to do for a few different reasons:

The right equipment is crucial in any activity, no less in fly fishing. Topo Designs has a wide range of accessories like this Mountain hip pack that will elevate your fly fishing experience, keeping all your gadgets organized and your hands free.

Step 4: Set, Set, Set!

The most important to some. If fishing a dry fly, a fly that sits buoyant on top of the water surface, you might have an eager trout that noses up to eat your fly. You physically will see the trout hit the fly on a water surface. Be patient as the fish eats; set your fly rod. This can be achieved by lifting your arm up in the air.

The best way to explain this step, since your thumb is on top of the cork (and hopefully your trigger finger is on the fly line), is to simply raise your thumb up in the air above your head… If you get to this step when fly fishing, don’t hesitate, and don’t drop the fly rod down. You want to keep your fly rod elevated or with a good bend in it. Don’t crank it in right away if it’s pulling hard. Simply create tension with the rod by pointing your thumb up in the air and keeping the rod tip up. In most scenarios, if you dip the rod tip down, most likely it’s game over. Be patient. Keep the rod up, and strip that line in.

A lot of people don’t give fly fishing patience–something I’m still trying to embrace, but anyone will tell you fly fishing isn’t just about catching fish; it’s the journey of where it takes you, the people you meet, and the things you learn while being on the water.

Step 5: Go explore!

When starting fly fishing, it can be frustrating trying to come up with good spots. The best advice is to do more research on your local area or give a local fly shop a call. This will allow you to better your awareness of local water and give you public access points to explore. Don’t forget to get a fishing permit and buy a dozen flies from your local shop.

Walking into a fly shop as a beginner can be intimidating. Any fly shop employee or guide wants to give you the knowledge and share their expertise on their local water to help you get into the sport we all love.

Anyone who chases different species of fish on the fly will tell you new exploration of different bodies of water is the most fun part about fly fishing. Fly fishing isn’t all about catching different species of fish. It’s about learning about your surroundings, adapting to what fish are eating, as well as putting your mind into a happy place. Go explore!

This article was first published on Topo Designs website. The author is a passionate fly fisherman with a lifetime of experience handed down through generations. From being a curious kid in the back of his family’s backpack during weekend fly-fishing trips to exploring Colorado Rivers as a teenager, his love for the sport has grown exponentially and, eventually, made him turn his passion into the profession of a fly-fishing guide and content manager of Fly Lords magazine.