Topo DNA: Nods to the Past

In The Wild

Topo DNA: Nods to the Past

Since Topo Designs began in 2008, we’ve focused on creating gear that withstands the test of time. This extends beyond just making pieces that are as durable as possible; it also means their styling should be clean, simple and timeless, with designs that could be from four years ago or forty. Part of sustainability by durability isn’t just making products that are hearty enough to last, it’s about creating products whose aesthetics aren’t just a flash in the pan; you can (and hopefully will) still wear our pieces years down the road. 

Of course, incorporating classic aesthetics and vintage inspiration often implies longing for a time that is passed. We are not fueled by nostalgia. We are fueled by our desire to pay homage to the design heritage of outdoor gear and all of the good work that has already been done. We use those time-tested elements as a foundation for our pieces, trusting that classics are just that for a good reason.

Outdoor Recreation 

Our roots in Colorado inform many of our design choices, since all of our pieces are developed with outdoor recreation in mind. Our iconic Klettersack was modeled after classic klettersacks that adapted military gear for a specific recreational use: climbing. The shape is intended to fit a climbing rope, and the gear straps (the two buckles that close the bag) and lash tabs created additional attachment points for gear. We brought ours into the 21st century by adding an internal laptop sleeve so the pack functions as an everyday commuter bag for the office or campus.

Many of our silhouettes, from bags to apparel to outerwear, have rich design histories and styling that has endured for over a hundred years. For example, our Mountain Shirts pay homage to the Western shirts worn by ranchers and cowboys years ago with a shaped front and back yoke.

Military Inspiration

We don’t solely look to vintage outdoor pieces for inspiration. Since one of our cornerstones is creating durable, functional products that last, our attention turned to the military. After all, military gear is subjected to some of the most rigorous outdoor abuse and lives depend on it functioning well. Features that we’re known for, like nylon webbing, nylon ripstop and paracord, were military innovations that transitioned into civilian clothing and gear because they were so effective. Sherpa fleece was developed during World War II, but is used today in everyday apparel (like our Subalpine Fleece and Sherpa Jacket).

Our philosophy around versatility is also influenced by military history: traditionally, the military only gave soldiers one set of gear that had to work everywhere from the trenches to the barracks (and even at formal events). We keep our gear as simple as possible — without sacrificing its inherent functionality — so that you can maximize its uses.