Thule Luggage Review

Thule Luggage Handlebar Crossover Rucksack Duffell Vital HYdration Review
The most practical, durable and stylish luggage options. 

I'm going to go off on a little tangent here, and briefly explain why and how I managed to get Thule as one of the partners of Mammoth, if you read this on the Thule ProRide 598 review you can skip all the writing in the italics to the proper start of my luggage review. 

When I was getting my kit sorted for tours with clients back in 2018, I went along to my local Halfords and checked out the stock they had. I compared the different styles of bike racks available looking at the ones that go on your roof versus the tow bar, ones that kept the bike altogether versus ones that removed the front wheel, and finally ones that attached to the bike frame versus ones that attached to the front and back wheel. Before I get onto the type of bike rack I went with, the first thing that was obviously different between the bike racks was the quality of those between the Halford own brand and the Thule brand. The difference in the quality of the material used, the flimsiness of the moving parts, and how secure the demo bike felt was apparent immediately. I knew straight away I wanted to get the Thule kit. 

Now for those who don't know, the Halfords bike rack is about half the price of the Thule kit, so it was a big ask to commit to something at double the cost. But I knew I would use these bike rack lots, and buying something cheaper, I worried I would end up buying another one sooner as it broke due to poor quality. Plus they were looking after client's bikes so I needed the best.

At this point I contacted Thule to see if they wanted to become partners with Mammoth Journeys. We had a few emails back and forth, but after a few weeks of quiet I thought it was a dead deal. I found the gear online I wanted and had it in the basket ready to purchase. I was distracted by some work so didn't click 'buy', shortly later I received a call from Thule explaining they had agreed to partner with Mammoth and would support our transportation needs. So I was massively excited we had Thule on board, especially as I almost bought £700 worth of their kit. 

I tell you this story to give you an idea how high I value their kit, even before we were partnered with them. 

Now, onto the review! 

I have decided to go through the luggage of Thule before the other Thule kit we have used for two reasons. Firstly Thule in my eyes isn't as well known for its luggage compared to the other kit we have such as roof boxes and bike boxes, basically anything that helps transport equipment, so it's to make you all aware of the range they have to offer. Secondly, there is some epic kit that needs to be shouted about from the roof tops!

I'm going to go through each particular piece of luggage we have and give you my take on it.

Handlebar Bag - Thule Shield:

First up is the handlebar bag called the Thule Shield. This handlebar bag attaches onto the handlebars by a bracket. This allows you to take the bag on and off nice and easily, which is a big plus. Others in the market are designed to be packed up, strapped on and then left there until you get to the end of the day. In cities we can be on and off the bike regularly so having that practicality is really helpful. 

The material is of decent quality waterproofness and durability. We have had our bags for 4 years now and they still work well on that front. Obviously they have a few scraps and scuffs but they haven't started to break down or split which is a testament to their robustness. Another feature of the outer of the bag is the reflective material of the Thule writing and on the buckle on the front. This is super bright and for the safety conscious amongst you a lovely benefit. 

It comes with a shoulder strap that you can connect on, but we never used it. Storing the strap when you are riding is a faff, takes up room for something else, and you can't practically keep the strap hooked up in place as it will get in the way, so I'm not sure of the benefit on this. There are two very small/thin pockets on the side of the bag. These don't really allow much to get in, other than something very small like some tissues or sweets. You can slide a mobile in but not when it's in any case. But they aren't particularly easy to get things in/out, as they don't have a lot of depth to them. 

Inside of the bag is a zipped pouch which is helpful for storing small valuables you don't want to accidently pull out when getting things out of the main compartment. 

I would describe the size as medium, so it will fit between every road bike handlebars and is big enough for most uses. If you were trying to fully utilise this space when bike packing, you may find it a little on the small size compared to others, but this is just a personal preference depending on your aim. 

Finally the attachment appears to be solid. I have used the bag when I have been flying downhill on single track gravel with the bag jiggling about up and down, convinced it would detach itself from the mount. Nope - never. Any potholes or cobbles are not match here, solid. 

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Conclusion: A super practical medium sized handlebar bag that is robust and of high quality. Have been using this for four years and still going strong. Would recommend to riders especially those using it as part of their day rides or touring set up. I would give a little caution to those specifically looking at using for overnight and multiday bike packing who require more space. I would give this a 4/5.

Backpack - Thule Crossover 25 L

This is classed as a laptop bag, but we have never used it for this purpose. 

I need to compose myself here on this one, to make sure I convey all the features across professionally and composed rather than getting all excited and shouting "it's amazing!". 

So let's start from the outside in. It looks very smart. It could be used for work along with less formal settings. The material of the bag is this tough water resistant material, which is wipe clean. Anything we spill on it, or dirt that gathers, seems to wipe off super easy, meaning that after 4 years there is no stains or scuffs on it all. It's insane. 

It has a real practical soft handle on the bottom of the bag, which seems an odd place to put one, but it doesn't get in the way and if you stuff the bag into a car boot or overhead compartment in a plane, you can pull it out using the handle - such a clever feature. 

Let's move now to the inside of the bag - there are compartments galore. You can compartmentalise all your gear and not have things loose in your bag which is so helpful so you know where things are rather than rummaging around. The two pockets on the side actually expand outwards, so they don't impact your carrying capacity on the main compartment. It's the same for the compartment of the front of the bag, it doesn't impact the main compartment capacity. 

They also have a little compartment at the top of the bag which is a mini-hardened glasses case ultimately, with soft material to avoid scratching lenses. I thought this was a little gimmicky when we first got it, but it actually ended up being very helpful on those time of need. 

As always the quality of every element is high, and this includes the zips. You never feel they are going to split or get stuck, and is still working as well today as they did on day one. 

On the inside we use the laptop section for any documents we have, or pretty much anything else, it's not particularly awkward or specific in that nature. On the front section there a lots of little zip compartments and also little pockets to use so you can keep things separated. 

The only point to consider would be those of a smaller frame. My wife doesn't find the wide shoulder straps particularly comfortable for her smaller torso size. I'm 5 foot 10 (176cm) and have no issues whatsoever, and on the flip actually find the wide straps very comfortable.

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Conclusion: Price point this is expensive for what I would normally spend on a small day rucksack. I would normally be biased to Osprey for any rucksack choice given they are specialists in this area. But once again with Thule you get what you pay for and I am now a convert! It is such high quality product that is super practical. I would get this bag again, and would recommend it to pretty anyone looking at getting a new rucksack. We love this bag and use it throughout the week for a variety of uses, it is amazing so unsurprisingly 5/5. 

Wheeled Duffel - Crossover 56L

This is the original Crossover wheeled duffel bag, they are now onto the second version of this bag. 

We used this for any checked-in luggage when we have been travelling and for the bulk of our kit if we are on trips and it's stored in the boot. 

My experience with check-in roller luggage went from zero to a 100 with this bit of kit. 

Normally I would just borrow what was in my parents loft, and then long-term-borrow whichever one I was given. These were always decent products in terms of quality, but fairly uninspiring from a features and practicality point of view. Just ultimately a big box with wheels - did the job with no frills. 

Then enter the Crossover. I never actually thought there was any point in getting a fancy checked-in luggage or duffel as the old-style fit the bill. How wrong I was. 

 

The 56L was a perfect sized bag for most trips and there was minimal need for the larger size, and as always if you have the space you will generally fill it - whether you need the kit or not! 

As with all Thule products the shell and fabric was top quality. With water resistant and wipe clean durable outer, it still looks as good today as it did 3 years ago. All the other features on the outside; handle and wheels work well with no sign of breaking. 

Similar to the rucksack, the Crossover had well placed handles integrated to the outside which make getting the bag on/off and in/out of things really helpful. They obviously don't feel like they are going to fal off - they are fit for purpose!

The suitcase is split into two levels of firmness. The lower end is hard similar to that of a traditional suitcase, and the top is soft like a duffel bag. This split saves weight from it all being hard, and makes it easier for packing/stacking thanks to it's soft upper. 

The features of compartments as is simple yet effective. Two main compartments split by some netting, with access into either separately. The benefit here for the individual who is doing something active, or potentially two different types of activity and therefore types of clothes. I would have my cycle/active gear in the top compartment for easy access in the day, where I could just stuff in my kit and clothes with ease. I would then have my evening/smarter clothes folder up in the firmer bottom section. As you need to flip the bag open like a traditional suitcase to gain access to the bottom section, it's not practical really to put the easily accessible stuff in the bottom, which is why having the top access with a seperate zip really helpful. As with the other bags the zips are obviously decent quality and no matter how tight they bag is when zipping up, they show no sign of splitting or breaking. 

On the top of the bag is a small sunglasses compartment, made of toughened material to keep them safe. I have never used it for this, as I always felt it was a poor use of space. But once again Thule thought of this, and it gives you the option to remove this, and for it just to become a normal small compartment. 

 

The final thing to point out is how smart it looks. It doesn't look like a traditional duffel, but has a certain outdoorsy look compared to a normal suitcase. The perfect balance in my view. 

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Conclusion: A solid, smart looking and practical check-in bag, which doubles up as a practical and durable duffel bag. A great choice for anyone on a sporting trip, or any type of holiday. Another big recommend from me 5/5 on this - dejavu I know! 

Hydration Pack - Thule Rail 8L

This hydration pack is designed to be used when cycling, to store your water and other kit for a few hours or day ride. You could also use it for multiple day rides as well if that's your choice of luggage set-up for that type of riding. 

As you will have guessed by now the outer fabric, buckles and zips were all decent quality, show no sign of wear and just generally amazing - so we will move on from that! 

Starting on the outside the fit of this back was really snug - and I mean that in a positive way. It seemed to hug onto me which was really nice, and I think the waist straps were the reason for this. They were very different to other types of hydration packs I have used in the past. The chest strap was nice and adaptable which made it remain snug regardless of who used it. 

Features on the outside included the magnetic hose dock - which was super smart and very useful. Magnetic ones in the past have generally been a small magnetic button, which worked OK, but this being a thin strip worked easier, and was less specific than the button which when you are busy riding is again super helpful. 

One feature on the outside which I couldn't really utilise were the side pockets designed for your phone. It appeared you needed the flexibility of a gymnast to be able to reach that far back and up to gain access. I can't imagine I would be the only person to struggle with this. So anytime I needed to get my phone, I had to take the whole bag off, which was a faff. 

Inside the bag the front smaller compartment has lots of smaller compartments for your bike kit - pump, tool kit etc. So again similar to the Crossover rucksack it organises everything and keeps it secure when riding. The main compartment is taken up by the 2.5lt reservoir, which is plenty big enough in my opinion, with an easy to use fastening system. It even has a little Velcro loop at the top of the main compartment to keep the reservoir in place as the water gets drunk to stop it slipping down - which is a nice touch. 

Final point on this bag to mention is the use of it when running. We need to remember this bag is designed for cycling, not running, but when I have used it on runs it moves about more than others I have used in the past. That snug fit I spoke about at the start doesn't seem to carry over to running, and that vertical movement of running seems to take the whole bag up and down, making it not particularly comfortable. I know even some running bags can have that feeling of bouncing up and down, but this was noticeably more than the other three running bags I have used in the past. 

Conclusion: A good choice cycling hydration pack that is comfortable, practical and very robust. I have used it on many days out cycling and other than the issue accessing that side pocket the rest of the bag is ace. The hydration host magnetic strip is so clever and I am yet to see it on any other bag. A 4/5 for this one from me. 

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Thule Hydration Vital Stormshield
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Check out the full video below of my review on the Thule luggage I have used, and for all other reviews on my Youtube Channel.

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