Topo Designs Field Bag Review and Video

Topo Designs Field Bag Review

A few months ago, with the intention of downsizing a bit and perhaps carrying a little less, I bought the Topo Designs Field Bag. It’s a great little bag, and I’ve essentially replaced the Topo Designs Mini Mountain Bag I was using before. I generally like the Topo Designs bags – they’re well designed and they’re made in the USA. I’ve even have the Topo Daypack, and use it often.

Here’s the video review:

As shoulder bags go, the Field Bag is on the smaller end of what I can get away with- I usually pack bags until they’re full and then stop. I wish I could take only what I’m certain I’ll need, but usually I just pack until the bag is full and I can’t fit any more gadgets in there.

Topo Designs Field Bag Review

The Topo Field Bag is about 12x7x6 and holds a DSLR on one side if you want it to – as long as your lens isn’t too large. If you had a medium length L-Series lens and a flash and some memory cards and notebook, you’d just about fill the bag to the brim. I generally carry my Ricoh GR, a Canon S100, a GoPro, a few notebooks and some pens, and my phone and tablet. It fits just about right.

With that much stuff the bag isn’t too heavy to carry around for a while and the stuff isn’t too crowded. If you’re into packing heavy, the Field Bag is probably a little too small.

The hook and loop closure on the front seems secure enough and I’ve never had a problem with it opening inadvertently. The hook and loop on the front is a little loud – so this may not be the best bag if you’ve got anything secret planned. They’ll hear you coming the minute you try to get anything out.

It has some minimal messenger bag style straps that attach to the body side of the bag and hold the bag securely to your waist. Thankfully they also come off quickly and painlessly. The shoulder strap is great. It’s got just enough padding to be comfortable and the pad slides easily on the strap, making swinging the bag around front to get into it pretty easy. The water bottle pouches on the sides are welcome after having the Mini Mountain bag with no good way to carry a water bottle.

Topo Designs Field Bag Review

You can fit a DSLR in the bag (even with a large lens provided you remove the center divider) but you may not fit much else. While Topo Designs kind of markets the bag as a potential fishing bag, I usually just use it as a half camera bag, half every day carry bag. I like that on roadtrips it sits easily on the front seat of my truck and I can get into it if I need to.

Topo Designs Field Bag Review

Topo X Howler did a version of this bag as well, offered in a slightly different colorway.

Topo Designs Field Bag Review

If, like me, you’ve got to have what amounts to a man’s purse, you could do far worse than the Topo Designs Field Bag.


  • Small
  • Bomber
  • Padded
  • Good shoulder strap
  • Holds a water bottle


  • Small
  • Loud to open
  • Might not hold large cameras
  • Water bottles eat up interior room

Who it’s for: Someone committed to carrying less, but not ready to ditch the cameras quite yet. Oh, and fishermen. Maybe.

If you’re interested in Topo Designs Bags, check out my reviews on the Mini Mountain Bag and the Topo Designs Daypack. I’ve also just added a review and video of the Topo Designs Mountain Briefcase as well.

2 thoughts on “Topo Designs Field Bag Review and Video

  1. hui

    First of all, great shots! I really looking into this bag, can you tell me will the field bag constantly leaning away from you (without using the waist strap), cause i see the connection point of the strap and bag is quite low.

  2. Quinn Hall Post author

    Hey! Thanks for the kind words. It doesn’t lean away from the user too badly. It’s not as slim as a messenger bag or as slim as the mini-mountain bag, but it’s not terribly fat either. It’s more prone to leaning away from the user if there’s a lot of weight in it – a water bottle and a large camera for example. I find it real useful as more of a “man-purse” than as a camera bag… I can fit a bunch of junk in it – cell phone, keys, point and shoot, etc. and still carry it around. I like the water bottle pouch. I’d say it sits pretty neutral at my hip. I have found a few things I don’t like about it though. First off it’s pretty small. Second, I don’t find the water bottle pouch to be all that secure – I’ve had a Klean Kanteen fall plum out of the bottom a time or two. And lastly, and this is the big one, I hate the hook and loop (Velcro) closure. It’s loud and annoying and can’t be circumvented. The hook side catches on stuff and is scratchy. I sold my Mini Mountain Bag after getting the Field Bag and I kind of regret getting rid of it – the zipper top was superior. Of course I’m not saying it won’t work for you, just relating my experience and preference. I love Topo Designs and all the Topo bags I’ve had have been top-notch.

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