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Even if you don’t have a job, it’s for you. With its simple design and versatile pockets and storage areas, it can really be used by anyone for any situation and lifestyle.
The Topo Designs Rover Pack Classic is a bag handmade right in here Colorado. It was designed as a go anywhere, do anything bag that’s right at home on the trail as it is carrying a 15” MacBook Pro to Novo Coffee. I personally use it everyday to carry my laptop and lunch to and from work. Come the weekend, it gets filled with cycling shoes, helmets, chamois shorts, ski pants, jerseys, workout shorts, and, well you get the idea.
This bag is able to do all of this with 16.2 liters of style. There have been times over the last three years of ownership that I’ve looked at the pile of gear in front of me and had doubts about stuffing it all within my Rover Pack. Much to my surprise, it would fit.
This is because the Rover Pack uses a cinch closure at the top allowing you to fill it up to the brim with whatever needs carrying. Then, the top has adjustable straps so no matter how full the main storage compartment is, it will still snap shut, securely holding everything in. 16.2 liters turns out to be a lot of space. In fact, that’s about 26 cups. Can you imagine trying to drink 26 cups of water and not feel full? I can’t, but the Rover Pack has no problem doing just that.
Topo Designs Rover Pack Classic Design
Topo Designs describes the Rover Pack as a rucksack they’ve designed as not too big, not too small, not too fancy, and not too simple. This leaves us with a bag that has a modern style to it, but one that you also won’t be looking to replace in a few years time.
This is important since a) outdoor equipment can get expensive and b) sometimes bags are just plain ugly with zippers and straps seemingly added all willy nilly to the exterior.
Everything on this bag seems to be well thought out and it isn’t trying to be something it isn’t. It’s not going to accompany you on your next 6 day, self-sustained backpacking trip. But what it will do is put up with daily use, carrying your stuff from a to b (maybe c if you get lost), all while looking damn good doing it.
TOPO makes this bag in a wide range of color combinations, so if you’re looking for something a little more understated than the turquoise, silver, red, and yellow I’ve gone with, don’t worry. The Classic Rover Pack comes in everything from taupe (they call it coyote) or black all the way to a trendy Coral and Navy colorway that uses the Pantone 2019 Color of the Year.
Materials Used in the Rover Pack Classic
The Topo Designs Rover Pack is made of durable materials that are ready to take a beating. The bottom of the bag is made from 1000D Cordura fabric, a material known for its quick drying and water repellent properties. It’s also highly resistant to fading and wear, so your Rover Pack will stay looking as good as the day you bought it for a long time. Well, unless it’s covered in dirt from your latest weekend adventure.
The rest of the bag is made from what Topo Designs calls a coated pack cloth, which I’m assuming means it also offers a similar level of wear and water resistance as the bottom of the bag. The difference being it is a lighter cloth, preventing the bag from being too heavy and making it easy to pack all of your stuff into it.
The Rover Pack’s Pockets and Features
The Rover Pack has one large main compartment and a zippered pocket on the front of the bag. On each side, there are water bottle sleeves. Both of which have no problem holding my 18oz HydroFlask or even my really tall 24oz Polar Bottle water bottle. My Rover Pack is a bit older, but the newest version of the Classic Pack features expandable side pockets. If you’re rocking a Nalgene, or anything larger than a standard water bottle, those stretchy pockets will make it bit easier to fit larger items into the sides. For smaller bottles there are cinch straps so they can be securely fastened.
The main pouch itself is fairly large and features a laptop sleeve on the backside as well as another zippered section. The zippered area sits flush to the laptop sleeve so it is perfect for notebooks or small stacks of papers, like trailmaps or that report your boss asked for two days ago.
One of my favorite features about this bag is the cinch close top to the main pouch. When most bags get close to being full, the zipper becomes hard to close. You sort of have to smush everything in to get the zipper to align before you can close it. Not so with the Rover Pack. Fill it up right to the top, then simply cinch it shut. No pinched fingers and no ripped seams here.
When I use this bag every day for commuting to work, I typically carry a pair of shoes, my lunch, a sweater, my laptop, and miscellaneous snacks and personal items to and from the office. The Rover Pack Classic handles all of this with ease and still doesn’t feel bulky on my back.
The last feature on the bag is the zippered top flap pocket. Once the main compartment is cinched shut, you can close this right over the top and it clips into two straps to hold everything together. This feature has saved me so many times on occasions where I’ve worn multiple layers at the start of the day, but needed to remove them into the afternoon. Most of the space in the bag was already used up, so instead of being stuck carrying my jacket around, I simply rolled it up, placed it on top of the cinched pouch, and pulled the top flap over it. From there you can clip it in place, pull the straps taut, and go on your way. No other bag I have gives me this much flexibility in increasing its carrying capabilities. Normally you’re stuck with either a bag that’s too small or something so massive you never fill it.
The Rover Pack is always just the right size.
Topo Designs Rover Pack Options
With the Classic Rover Pack being such a hit, Topo has released a few different versions, with 5 types now available.
The Classic remains the same, besides the addition of the expandable side pockets in the latest iteration, but here are the key updates to the others.
Rover Pack Mini
The Classic Rover is 17″ high x 11″ wide x 4.5″ deep. The Mini Rover is 13.5″ tall x 8.5″ wide x 3.75″ deep. It’s a good choice as a day pack or every day carry, versus the slightly larger Classic. It could also be a great choice for a kids backpack. The mini does not fit a laptop, unless its a little one, and its internal pocket is more for tablets.
Rover Pack Tech
The Tech Rover pack is 0.5″ deeper than the Classic, but the other dimensions remain the same. The key updates that were made are the RidgeBack back panel, an external zippered laptop pocket, a front daisy chain for hanging gear or bike lights, and coated zippers with color matched hardware.
Rover Pack Heritage
The Heritage Rover Pack is the same as the classic, but Topo has added a premium Horween leather base. The style is also a little more muted with earthy colors and black hardware used throughout.
Rover Pack Premium
The Premium Rover Pack is 1″ taller than the classic and has nice, heard wearing touches throughout. It only comes in black and has the same external laptop pocket as the Tech pack. The back panel is quilted instead of flat and all clips and a majority of the hardware is aluminum versus plastic. The actual fabrics are also a bit more robust with 450D TPE coated polyester ripstop being used throughout.
The Bottom Line on the Rover Pack
What We Liked
- The Rover Pack is lightweight and not bulky
- Flexible pockets and straps mean you can get creative with packing and the bag fits a variety of needs
- The simple design means you can wear it almost anywhere without looking like you’ve gotten lost on the way to the trailhead
- The padded straps and back are comfortable for wearing over long durations
- Handmade right here in Colorado
What Could Be Better
- The bag isn’t very structured, so if it’s empty and you try and fill it, it will fall in on itself unless you hold it open (though it is far more structured than the packable Matador bag)
- If you like to keep things separated, theres only the main compartment, plus two zippered sections
Where to Get the Rover Pack
Pick up your own Topo Designs Rover Pack online:
Or if you’re in Colorado, swing by their flagship store in the RiNo district of Downtown Denver.