Boreas Gear, sister company of Alite Designs, is a San Francisco-based company specializing in ultra-cool packs and tents. I got the chance to test out their lightweight & minimalistic commuter bag, the Topaz 25, over the past few months.
This bag is incredibly versatile; it fits right in on the trail, on the train, or on your travels. The roll-top design allows the bag to be as large or as small as you want it to be. It’s fairly light at 13.6oz and does not have any frames. For those of you concerned with space, there is also an external daisy chain to attach gear to. The Monterey Grey color is reflective and great for visibility when walking or biking at night. The shoulder straps are extra comfortable and breathable, minimizing funky looking sweat lines.
The Boreas Gear Topaz 25 has a dedicated laptop or bladder pocket with a spot to slip your hose through. There is also an internal zippy pocket for small knickknacks you don’t want to lose in the bottom of the bag.
This bag has become my go-to bag for hiking as of late, but there are a few areas where I would tweak the design. My biggest pet peeve is the lack of slip pockets on the sides. This is personal preference, but I like having those there for easy access to things like snacks or my phone. The problem with a roll-top design is ease of use. It’s a pain & time consuming to unclip, unroll, re-roll, and re-clip every time I need something out of my bag. I try to carry this when I know I won’t be stopping frequently for snacks or clothing changes.
I found the daisy chain and gear loops to be longer than I would like. Clipping things to them caused excessive, and annoying, dangling of objects. The chest strap hit at a strange place under my boobs. This might be slightly problematic if you’re chestier than I am? Not really sure how that works. Lastly, the placement of the inner zippy pocket made it a bit difficult to get in and out of if I was using a bladder.
All in all, I’m a pretty huge fan. Boreas Gear proves with each and every one of their bags that you don’t have to sacrifice style to be technical. The Topaz 25 is no exception and fits right in on mountainsides or on city streets.
Buy through Moosejaw, Amazon or Boreas Gear for $55.
If you’re ever in San Francisco, stop by their new collab store with Alite Designs in the Mission. I’ve been by the old Mariposa store; such a neat space!
This was sent to me for review.
Last updated on April 21, 2015.
Thanks for the useful review. Just wanted to point out that the chest strap can actually move up and down; it’s designed to slide so that you can adjust it to your liking.
It looks like the chest strap can only go up as far as boob level and down to the waist. Does it provide any support? Does it look weird? I’m interested in the pack, but this strap looks odd to me.