After nearly a year of sketching, prototyping, testing and modifying, we’re excited to introduce our newest collaboration product, the Topo Designs x Gear Patrol Backpack Tote. It’s designed to excel as a daily-use commuting bag, small enough to be sleek, versatile enough to be a go-to, and durable enough to last a lifetime.
The inspiration for the Topo Designs x Gear Patrol Backpack Tote comes from Topo Design’s archives. The original Backpack Tote made its debut in the fall of 2013 and ran for three years before being replaced with new designs. But before it was retired, one was purchased by a Gear Patrol staffer, who, at that time, was still making in rain on Madison Ave. After years of loving use, the bag (and owner) made its way to the Gear Patrol office in New York. It didn’t take long for it to get a bevy of compliments and soon, our design wheels got turning.
What intrigued us most about the original design was its ability to take on different roles throughout a day’s use. The small silhouette lent itself well to being carried as a tote bag while the integrated shoulder straps — which tuck away when not in use — make it easy to don as a backpack. The original Backpack Tote’s distinct size and shape also made it well-suited for commuting. It’s roomy enough to pack essentials like a laptop, sunglasses, keys, a water bottle, and an umbrella, yet small enough to be low profile and easy to carry.
But for all its original might, we decided that we could make it even better. So, we sat down with Topo Designs and began riffing on the original model. After several rounds of prototyping and testing, we had increased the tote handle drop for easier shoulder wear; updated the front pocket with a zipper closure; added a padded shoulder strap with D-ring lashing points for a cross-body carry option; updated the quick release hardware on the backpack straps; and added an internal key lanyard. These updates result in a bag with a total of four possible ways to carry: in hand or over a shoulder as a tote, across the body in messenger bag mode, and as a backpack by revealing the integrated straps.
Once the structural changes were made, we began playing with different fabrics and colors. The final model is comprised of two main materials. The front and back panels are made of a heavy-duty Cordura, while the middle panel is fashioned from X-Pac. X-Pac is a unique lightweight laminate material that was originally developed for use as a sail material.
The combination of materials creates a sturdy yet light bag that is well suited to be used every day. The interior of the Backpack Tote is done in our signature Gear Patrol Blaze Orange which aids visibility when looking for your stowed items.
Who It’s For:
We wanted the Topo Designs x Gear Patrol Backpack Tote to be the go-to for city dwellers, subway commuters and people on the go. But we also wanted to capture an outdoors spirit and distill it into a bag that offers the same kind of versatility and utility for urban dwelling that technical packs offer for off-the-grid adventures.
The unique design of the Backpack Tote, coupled with four distinct carry options and sleek modern look, make this bag a great solution for daily city and commuting use, but a simple robust build means the possibilities are virtually endless.
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