You may have noticed that though we make a wide array of packs and bags, every piece has a shared set of elements. We refer to these features as Topo DNA; they're all the things that make our gear ours. All of these elements are intentionally used to create gear that's more user-friendly.

This series explores all of the little components of Topo DNA and how they come together to create our signature Topo Designs aesthetic. We're opening the conversation the way many of our pieces open: with the zippers.

Not Just a Stylistic Choice.

Burly zippers have always been part of our aesthetic, but their purpose goes beyond just style. We use burly YKK zippers in all of our packs and bags for a number of reasons.

They're durable (and Repairable).

YKK zippers are known for their fortitude. The #10 size is used on many of our larger packs and bags. It's YKK's largest zipper offering, which adds an extra level of durability as well as making them even easier to repair should something happen. (Our MAP Guarantee™ makes it easy to repair a damaged item.)

They're Easy to Use.

The burly size of #10 YKK zippers makes them comfortable to use (over and over again). We primarily use two types of closures: racket coil and molded. Both are precision-engineered for a super smooth open and close, zip after zip. The racket coil features a thread chain stitch that runs through the zipper teeth for a smooth feeling zip, even around corners. Molded zippers offer the same smooth ride while also providing an alternative look to traditional zippers.

They're Committed to Sustainability.

We believe in sustainability by durability, which means that we build products that last and can be repaired rather than replaced. But that's not all: we know how important it is to work with partners who actively do the right thing. YKK is committed to social responsibility and sustainability, and prioritize harmony with the environment in all of their initiatives.

And those zipper pulls and tabs? They're not just for style, either.

We love our paracord zipper pulls for the brightly colored accents they add to our packs and bags (and occasionally apparel), but that's not the reason they've become a key piece of our larger zipper story.

Originally developed for military use, paracord is made from hundreds of smaller nylon cords, and in an emergency it can be split apart and used as one longer cord. This multi-strand construction means unmatched durability. It also means the cords are relatively bulky, which makes them more ergonomic and comfortable to grab and use.

We also add webbing pull tabs at the end of many of our zippers for increased functionality. Think of zipping a coat or dress without holding onto the bottom of the zipper for tension and you get the idea – the pull tabs provide an anchor point to hold onto for maximal leverage and an easy zip. In some bags, these pull tabs also provide bag strap attachment points.

The Bottom Line.

High-quality gear is a sum of its parts, and by starting with the best building blocks, we're able to ensure functional, durable pieces that actually work. Our MAP Guarantee™ proves it.