I’ve never been a “briefcase” person (but really, who is anymore?). Aside from it not jiving with my personality, I commute over an hour to my downtown office by transit so it’s simply not practical. I’ve used large purses and various backpacks over the years to carry combinations of lunch, jacket, running clothes, laptop, notebook, binders, water bottle, and travel mug.
This week I returned to my job after a year of maternity leave. I was excited to start off fresh with a brand new Topo Designs 3-Day Briefcase, a very modern and practical take on a briefcase. However, it is more accurate to call it a multi-carry travel bag as it has leather carry handles, a removable messenger-style shoulder strap, and storable backpack straps.
I hadn’t heard of the brand Topo Designs before this bag came into my life. Based on my impressions of this product and pursuing their other products, their description of themselves seems on point.
“At Topo Designs, we’re rooted in mountain culture and outdoor living, but love exploring cities and world travel. We look to proven classics for inspiration, yet take advantage of innovative technologies to ensure a timeless look with modern functionality. We are uncomplicated and utilitarian, but with a sense of design and style through simplicity. Our goal is to not have to choose a single path—we want to live on both sides of the fence, where life is always greener.”
They began in Colorado, as it seems a lot of outdoor companies do, making bags but have branched out to other gear as well including apparel, sandals, and hats.
Now back to the bag itself. The Topo Designs 3-Day Briefcase I received to review from Altitude Sports is unfortunately sold out on their website. However, they sell a similar product also by Topo Designs called the Commuter Briefcase; the main difference being the size. The 3-Day is quite a bit larger capacity (22 L) than the Commuter (13 L) and has two main compartments rather than just one.
- Material: 1000D CORDURA® fabric outer
- Internal sleeve fits most 15” laptops
- Stowable backpack straps
- Detachable padded shoulder strap for messenger style carrying
- All natural leather handles
- Heavy duty plastic hardware and durable YKK zippers
The design of the 3-Day Briefcase is simple, modern, and practical. I love the green colour of this bag combined with the yellow lining and red zipper pulls. It may seem a bit odd that the bag is sideways if worn as a backpack but I don’t mind – you just have to make sure all your zippers are closed and preferably at the top so nothing falls out.
The bag has two large main compartments, one of which includes a padded laptop sleeve, two medium size pockets, and another smaller zippered pocket. The other main compartment has two pockets, each about the size of a large Nalgene water bottle, as well as quite a bit of extra space. I could probably fit an entire running outfit including shoes in here.
There is also a fairly large zippered pouch on the front which is great for easy-to-access items like wallet, keys, and/or a good book. The back side has the pouch for stowing backpack straps as well as a pass-through sleeve for roller luggage.
Handles & Straps
Lately I’m more of a backpack person so I was super happy to be able to carry the 3-Day Briefcase this way. I’ve also used it with the shoulder strap and it’s comfortable as well. The carry handles are great for moving it short distances but, as it’s actually quite a large bag, not super practical for strolling down the street.
Switching between the shoulder strap and the backpack straps is easy enough to do although it does take a few minutes. The backpack straps aren’t fully removable but they conveniently stash in a pouch. There is a waist strap for backpack mode however I never felt it necessary to use it.
You can tell just by looking at the design and materials that the 3-Day Briefcase is a quality bag. The exterior is made of 1000D CORDURA®, which meant nothing to me until I googled it. Here is what Wikipedia had to say.
“Cordura is a collection of fabric technologies used in a wide array of products including luggage, backpacks, trousers, military wear and performance apparel. Cordura fabrics are known for their durability and resistance to abrasions, tears and scuffs.”
Everyone can appreciate a good zipper and these zippers are made by the YKK Group, the world’s largest zipper manufacturer (also according to Wikipedia). I’ve only been using this bag for a few weeks but the zippers seem like they’ll last forever.
The capacity of this bag is 22 L so it’s less of a typical briefcase size and more like the perfect carry-on luggage. I’ve had a couple laptop backpacks over the years and I always found that I couldn’t quite fit everything into them. This one holds more than enough! I had a laptop, my lunch, five books, a water bottle, and a toque while taking photos and there was still room to spare.
My husband is going to try to steal the Topo Designs 3-Day Briefcase from me, but I won’t let him. It’ll be my go-to bag for commuting to work when I need to take in more than just my wallet and lunch. It’s quite large but I actually like the extra capacity for day-to-day running around. I anticipate it lasting forever and passing it down to my child as a family heirloom. Ok well, maybe not quite, but I do think it’ll last me a very, very long time!
Check out the other Topo Designs models to find out which one is right for you!