Thule AllTrail Hydration Pack Review: The Best Ultralight Day Pack for Any Trail.

Thule Alltrail Daypack 18L

There aren’t too many brands as synonymous with adventure than Thule. The Swedish company is known for delivering stellar carry and storage gear, and its latest range of backpacks, the AllTrail line, is one which everyone — from a casual traveller to an avid hiker — should consider given its flexibility and features.

Adding to the performance of the AllTrail range is Thule’s latest AllTrail Hydration technology. The AllTrail Hydration Pack combines two of Thule’s best elements: the high-quality and durable build quality of their backpacks, with an innovative hydration system that veteran trail runners and adventure-seekers will no doubt appreciate.

Thule AllTrail 18l backpack.
Thule AllTrail 18L backpack.

I recently put the Thule AllTrail pack through its paces on a 4-day trail in De Hoop Nature Reserve. A trip that proved to be the perfect opportunity to get to grips with what the range has to offer hikers and adventurers.

First and foremost, you don’t need to be a die-hard adventurer to carry a Thule. The company loves that all types of users rock their products, and whether you’re out and about in town, on your bicycle, or taking on the De Hoop Trail, the AllTrail will do the job (hence the name).

Thule Alltrail Daypack 18L

Coming in 10, 15, 18, or 25L options (with the latter two falling under the AllTrail Daypack range), the pack itself features a sleek design that doesn’t have protruding or bulky compartments and areas. This very much is designed as a bag you can carry with ease, that won’t intrude on your walk or run, yet still houses more than enough space for anything you need.

I put my trust in the Thule Alltrail Daypack 18L for the 3-night, 4-day De Hoop Trail with De Hoop Collection and it proved to be a worthy companion for daily 8 – 15km treks of the slackpacking trail. The Thule 10-litre AllTrail would be the ideal size for a daypack for this type of trail, where you don’t need to carry much with you. But the larger 18-litre was my pack of choice because I tend to be a serial over-packer who likes to be prepared for any eventuality. Fortunately, the larger pack is lightweight (0.56kg) so I hardly noticed the burden of a bigger pack.

De Hoop

The AllTrail’s canvas-like polyester DWR finish ensures the pack is waterproof and durable, so you won’t get the contents wet or find a hole or broken zip like you would on most run-of-the-mill packs. There is a convenient top pocket for essentials (like sunglasses, wallet, sunblock, etc.) so you can grab and re-store the must-haves without pulling the whole bag open, and there are handy side pockets too where you can store a water bottle or stash snacks and tools you need to grab without fuss. Because the hydration pack handled my water needs, these pockets were freed up for me to stash a lightweight rain jacket on one side and bug spray on the other.

The AllTrail also features a number of handy loops on the front and side of the pack to allow for attaching carabiners and other essentials to the pack that you may not want to store inside. For comfort, the back panel that sits against your back is made of a soft and squishy mesh, so you get plenty of ventilation and no issues with a sweaty back. Furthermore, there is a waist strap for extra comfort and support when walking.

Thule Alltrail Daypack 18L

Inside the main and subsidiary areas of the AllTrail you’ll find a variety of internal pouches, some of which feature their own zips, so you can store the most important contents there, know where they are, and have peace of mind they’re not jumping around the pack. This is ideal for items like passports and important documents. There’s no need for packing cubes with this pack, Thule has thought of everything and you’ll have no issue compartmentalising your items inside the pack for easy access when you need it.

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Of course, the big addition to this season’s AllTrail Hydration pack is the inclusion of Thule’s ReTrakt hydration system. The 10L and 18L packs house a removable internal 2.5L drinking bladder. At the back of the AllTrail pack you’ll find a sleeve with a waterproof coating to separate your hydration pack from the rest of the backpack. Here you can easily slot in the hydration pack with a clever system of clips to keep the water bladder in place. When you’re not hiking, the bladder can be removed and the back area will be freed up to store a laptop when travelling.

Thule Alltrail Daypack 18L

The 10L pack boasts the new ReTrakt system with magnetic strips along the drinking hose itself and on the shoulder strap of the back, so you can have a sip of water, and simply snap the hose to your strap, alleviating it from getting in the way, having to be tucked in somewhere, and, at the end of the day, protecting it. You get a similar purpose-built system with the 18L pack, which makes staying hydrated easy and stress-free. As someone who struggles to remember to drink water while walking this proved to be invaluable for me. Taking sips of water on the trail was so easy and convenient and there was no need to stop to retrieve my water bottle from my pack whenever I felt parched.

Thule’s hydration system may seem like a small addition, but not having to fiddle with your drinking hose and getting it all tangled up when taking the pack on and off is a huge bonus, especially when you’re in a rush. Seeing other hikers or commuters struggle with more traditional ones (or aftermarket water packs added into backpacks) only highlights how nifty the system is.

De Hoop
Exploring De Hoop with the Thule AllTrail 18l backpack.

On top of the already innovative design, the AllTrail pack is also built with the environment in mind. Every bag in this collection is ‘bluedesign certified’, ensuring that all models were built sustainably in a resource-saving manner while protecting workers, consumers and the environment.

The collection is available in Pond Gray, Faded Khaki, and Black. They are priced accordingly and available on Thule’s website:

  • Thule Alltrail Hydration Pack 10L — R2,999
  • Thule Alltrail X Pack 15L — R2,499
  • Thule Alltrail Daypack 18L — R2,299
  • Thule Alltrail Daypack 25L — R3,799
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