If you’re looking for a stylish and conservative carry all bag that can double as a briefcase, the Topo Designs Commuter Briefcase is your new best friend. For quite a while, I have been looking for a bag that has ample storage space and can protect my laptop. More importantly, the bag needed to have a pass-through pocket so that I can easily place it atop my rollaboard luggage without any worry that it might fall off as I glide it through the airport.
What I like about it
The Commuter Briefcase comes with a protective sleeve for laptops of up to 15 inches in size so that you don’t need to worry about any bumps along the journey (say if you are dragging your suitcase across a cobblestone street in Europe or your bag is being jostled around in a hotel shuttle van). There’s also a large external pocket for storing smaller items like keys, coins, and boarding passes.
Its name, Commuter Briefcase, surely factored into its careful design because I found it to be the ideal size for frequent commuters. It is not so large that you find yourself bumping into people on a crowded train or subway, but is also large enough so that you can fit everything that you need into it for a day’s worth of work or meetings.
If you were to carry this bag as a backpack, you can thanks to stowable backpack straps that neatly tuck into a side pocket when not in use. You can also carry this bag as a messenger bag thanks to a removable and adjustable padded shoulder strap.
For me, I most use the bag as a briefcase by stowing it over my rollaboard bag or using it when going to meetings. The leather carry handles add a nice touch to the otherwise subdued fabric exterior of this bag.
There are separate attachment loops that you can use if you have other Topo Designs bags and want to use this in conjunction with them. I also like the durable zippers with fabric cord that make it easier to open and close the bag in a pinch.
It easily fits into any airline sizing bin so that there is never a concern that a zealous gate agent will want to check it. I found that it slides easily underneath any type of airline or train seat, and usually you can slip this bag on top of larger carry-ons in the overhead bin on a plane.
Horween leather accents lend a bit of class to this classy yet hardly showy briefcase. It is great for younger travelers that eschew the idea that they must carry an expensive leather briefcase or messenger bag for work.
The only thing that I would change is removing the large logo and branding from the center of the bag to the bottom or side so that it does not look like a walking advertisement. Also, the bag is so slender that when you add bulkier items like a cell phone charger or bottle of water to the narrow pockets, they can protrude a bit. But, I nitpick.
Where to find it
This bag retails for $189 on the Topo Designs website or via other luggage retailers including Amazon. It comes in a variety of color combinations and styles so that you can personalize it to your mood or travel experience.
I really like the versatility of this bag in that it can be used as a back pack, as a messenger bag, or as a briefcase. Topo Designs is known for a strong warranty protection program for eligible purchases and for standing by the quality of its products. That’s definitely a win when it comes to keeping your gear safe during frequent travels.