One to Watch: Topo Designs


Colorado native Jedd Rose has always been something of a bag fanatic.

"Over the years, I acquired a great collection of outdoor bags and backpacks from years past," he explains. "That, combined with the influence of the gear I used growing up—hand-me-down '60s and '70s camping gear from my father—made me want to create a bag line that would combine all the simple qualities of that camping gear and some of the features I really liked about the bags in my own collection."

The idea came to fruition with Topo Designs, so named for the topographic maps Rose gazed at as a child (and continues to find inspiration in to this day).

"The first bag I ever made was a simple shoulder bag similar to our Mini Mountain bag," Rose explains, referring to a small, colorful zip-around travel bag fashioned from 1000d Cordura. "I was looking for a more mountain-culture-inspired version of a messenger bag—something that fit more to where I lived."

Today, the brand's rugged satchels, rucksacks and travel bags definitely have a "mountain man" quality that comes across in details like leather lash tabs, heavy-duty zippers and simple, utilitarian shapes. Appropriately, each piece is manufactured in a LEED-certified studio overlooking the Rockies.

"We wanted to make sure our bags had some more modern features like laptop sleeves, so they would work just as well on a business trip as they would on the trail," Rose says.

Indeed, the distinctive, fashion-forward hues (our favorite, the Duffel, comes in an on-trend shade of orange) make the collection as stylish as it is practical.

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