“It’s less a retro bag than it is a simple bag,” Jedd of Topo Designs explained to us. Highly functional without being overly technical, and fashionable without being too trendy, a couple these backpacks have been traveling across the country with our Class Trip team since October.
“I started by selling in my basement,” Jedd told us of company’s earliest days, “it sounds romantic but it really wasn’t.” He and Mark Hansen, his business partner, both have what they call an “unhealthy gear collection.” Their paths crossed when they were working for the same company, and bonded over this love for the outdoors and the equipment needed to conquer it. They also found that their collection was often left sitting in back of their closets, or quickly abandoned upon returning from a trip.
“We talk a lot about travel,” Mark explained to us, “We ask ourselves, ‘how do we just be normal when we travel?’” This doesn’t mean buying the fancy waterproof heavily-pocketed items, or placing an emphasis on the technical specs. “We want our five favorite items that work wherever,” Mark said.
“Our big goal is to just put stuff on, then come home or go to dinner and not have to change,” Jedd explained.
That being said, they each have their go-to Topo bag. They’re used for anything and everything—no division between a day in the office, a night on the town or a trip outside of the city. We asked each member of the Topo team for a look at the bags they’re carrying, and the items constantly stored in them.
Mark - Trip Pack
Trip Pack backpack: “It’s narrow and handy in the city.”
Accessory bag: “It’s for all of my little gear—iPod, charging cable from Eastern Collection and camera.”
Little blue pouch: “It holds my custom ear plugs. I have a little live music addiction—sometimes I’m going to three shows per week.”
Clutch handle: “I’d been out riding motorcycles with Lee and his clutch broke. I was carrying an extra at the time then he gave this back to me. I’ve been carrying it ever since.”
Glasses: Bensen in Greystone
Jedd - Mini Mountain Bag
Mini mountain bag: “This is one of the first. I had to steal it back from my wife.”
Accessory bag: “I have a zillion of these little bags.”
Climbing shoes and chalk back: “I live right near a climbing gym, so I always run over there after work for a quick climb. The shoes are made in the US, which is rare.”
Oyo hackey sack: “When we went to the Telluride Film Festival we all had to wait in line outside, so played hackey sack.” Note from Mark: “Jedd can tell you a lot about hippie sports like hackey sack, Indo board, rythmn sticks.” Hippie sports can also be referred to as granola sports.
Fabric bike lock: “It’s from one of our Japanese distributors—they’re all different.”
Glasses: Fillmore in Revolver Black
Lee – Mountain Briefcase
Huckleberry Roasters: “Our friends at Huckleberry roasters make great coffee, so I picked up a bag to restock the office. They will be our neighbors when we open our flagship store this Fall!”
Ace hardware gloves: “For the motorcycle.”
Camera: “When the iPhone doesn’t cut it.”
Glasses: Holt in Blue Slate Fade
Jules - Klettersack
Patti Smith, Just Kids: “I’m reading it for the second time. I’m inspired by the momentous days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the early seventies.”
Rosebud balm: “For jubilant lips.”
Moleskin: “My typography notebook—addicted.”
Scarf: “Hijacked from my mother, along with her cognac leather fanny pack. They’re gems she’s had for decades.”
Glasses: Watts in Sugar Maple
Photos by Collin Hughes