Topo Designs Mountain Briefcase Review
I’ve had the Topo Designs Mountain Briefcase for a little over a year now, and it’s been my primary computer bag during that time. I was hesitant at first to get a bag that was this… loud? The duck camo really isn’t my style, but it’s grown on me and at least it’s unique; I’ve never seen anyone with the same bag. Check out my video review here, or scroll down for more photos.
I’ve had good luck with Topo Designs bags, and have bought several over the years. If you ever read my Topo Designs daypack review, you’ll remember I had an issue with one of the early models and they replaced it immediately. It’s nice to buy from a company that’s relatively local and dependable. I saw this bag at the Topo Designs store in Denver and later decided I couldn’t live without it, so I ordered it.
I’ve used this as a computer bag and it’s about the right size for my 14″ laptop. There’s enough room to pack all my computer gear and maybe one or two extras – like a journal and a point and shoot camera. I’ve also taken everything out and used it as a primary camera bag with a couple Domke inserts, but ultimately found it ill-suited for that duty. I found minor issue with the Topo Designs Mini Mountain Bag review I did because I couldn’t fit a large manila envelope in it – or a magazine, or anything larger like that. With this bag that dilemma is solved. One bonus, I found it fits quite well under and airline seat and leaves enough room (mostly) for my feet as well. I like to use the little Topo Designs Accessory bags to organize some of the smaller cords, cables and card readers associated with my computer.
When it’s full it’s a little heavy, but not uncomfortable. The strap, even with no padding, seems to do its job and the bag is rarely a burden.
I don’t have any real complaints… it’s tough to get it stand up straight when it’s full. It’s not wide enough to balance on its own, but I’m not sure I’d want it any wider. I suppose if you live where it rains a lot maybe the zippers could leak a little because they’re not covered by a flap. This is a genuine complaint I have about the early daypack, and one they’ve addressed in the latest model. It makes more sense to me to have a storm flap over the zippers on a daypack though where you might actually be out in the rain for some time. Seems like a computer bag won’t see as much rough use as a daypack. On the flip side, on the passenger seat in my truck it’s easy zip open and grab something out of it. There’s no water bottle holders on the sides – one of the features I really like on the Field Bag, but if you used the shoulder straps to carry it like a daypack then any side pockets would be worthless (sideways) anyway.
All in all it’s a bag that looks cool, provides a modest amount of protection for my computer, carries well, and is made in the U.S.A.
Thanks for looking.