I have a bit of a split personality when it comes to travelling. I like to pack light (there’s nothing worse than dragging numerous heavy bags through an airport) but I also like to be prepared for almost any situation, especially when I’m taking several flights and dealing with long layovers in foreign airports. This is why I love travelling with a good backpack — one that can just as easily work as a versatile carry-on when flying, a light-weight workhorse for a multi-day hike, or even as an overnight bag for quick weekends away. In terms of backpacks, Thule’s new AllTrail Hiking backpack is as versatile as they come. Whether you’re using it as a hiking backpack or need something robust for a local or overseas trip, this carry-all is the minimalist traveller’s dream come true.

A few months ago my boyfriend and I started planning a trip to Thailand and I soon realised I was going to need a good backpack for this trip. While we wanted most of our trip to be about luxury and relaxation we also wanted to add a splash of adventure to our travels (a few walks and hikes here and there). Add in four international flights and two long layovers in Doha along the way and you’ll understand why our trusty wheely suitcases just weren’t going to cut it this time around. Luckily for us Thule had just released a new range of nifty backpacks that seemed to tick all of the boxes in terms of our travel needs, so we snagged two Thule AllTrail 35l backpacks to see how they would fare both in the air and on the ground.

Thule Alltrail

Features galore

I was like a kid in a candy store when our bags arrived just a few days before our trip. When I say the AllTrail is like a Swiss army knife I’m not kidding – this thing’s got features up the whazoo. I spent ages unzipping, unclipping, and unraveling the multitude of zips, ties, clasps and more to reveal hidden compartments, pockets, and genius places to store your various bits and bobs.

The pack has a large main compartment, with an additional smaller mesh pocket, accessible through a zipped top-loading design that extends halfway down the pack. There’s also a super handy side-zipped ‘shove-it’ pocket on the front panel (which is also accessible from the inside of the main compartment) as well as zipped pockets on the top of the pack and the hip belt. The hip belt also features a removable climbing pole holder with a VersaClick clasp to attach additional Thule accessories (such as a water bottle sleeve, DSLR holder, rolltop pocket, or accessory pouch). Buckled compression straps and stretch mesh pockets run along each side of the pack, giving your more quick storage options, while an integrated rain cover and hydration sleeve round off a long list of features rather nicely. Like I said… Swiss army knife. Without all your crap shoved inside the the AllTrail 35l weighs about 1.5KG, which isn’t bad when you consider all the features it has.

Thule AllTrail

Travel smart, not hard

At 35 litres it’s not a huge backpack, but like Mary Poppins’ bag you’ll find that you can fit lots inside. For me, it proved to be the perfect size as a carry-on bag. I stuffed it with two changes of clothes for the plane, all my toiletries for our 10-day trip, a laptop, as well as my valuables and other travel must-haves such as snacks, gadgets, and a book. Basically any essentials I had to have on me that I couldn’t stick in my check-in luggage went into the backpack. I only took a small carry-on sized bag as my check-in luggage because I was determined to travel as light as possible.

Ever the showoff, the boyfriend managed to pack everything he needed for our 10-day trip to Thailand in the 35litre Thule AllTrail. While I have a tendency to pack all sorts of weird extra stuff that I may or not need in my carry-on suitcase, if you’re not as obsessed as I am with being over-prepared you’ll find that this backpack offers plenty of space for several changes of clothes, underwear, toiletries and so on, making it ideal for long weekends away or a short overseas trip. Bottom line, with the Thule AllTrail 35 you get a superb quality, dependable bag that’s spacious without being too big or heavy and it’s ideal for anyone wanting one pack for a variety of activities.

Thule AllTrail

Customised for your carrying pleasure

But wait, there’s more. In addition to all the space to shove travel necessities (and non-necessities), The Thule AllTrail 35 is also super comfortable. This is the most comfortable backpack I have ever worn and the boyfriend agrees. Not only does the Thule AllTrail come in two different fits (one for me and one for women) but it also offers a customisable fit. Mimicking the shape of your back, the AllTrail conforms to every dimension from top to bottom. It reduces the profile on your body and offers an easy torso adjustment feature to accommodated tall or petite wearers. One of the things I like most about this backpack is this customisation feature because I often find backpacks to be super uncomfortable for shorter women like me but with the Thule AllTrail it was easy to get a good fit. The wide thick shoulder straps and hip belt are also very well padded and remained comfortable when carrying the fully loaded pack through the airport.

The customisation feature also came in handy when using the backpack in Thailand. Once I’d dumped the majority of my stuff in our hotel room I continued to use the backpack for day trips and a few short walks and hikes, and being able to adjust the fit of the pack to accommodate how light or heavy it was a real bonus for me. The pack is also incredibly durable and it easily managed to withstand beatings from being shoved into overhead compartments, squeezed through harsh vegetation, and propped up against a palm tree or two.

Thule backpack

With the AllTrail, Thule set out to create one backpack for outdoor and travel enthusiasts and they definitely hit the nail on the head. With it’s great design, wide variety of features, customisable fit, and durability, the AllTrail is a solid all-around pack for anyone with a sense of adventure.

The Thule AllTrail is available in both 35 litre (RRP – R2699) or 45 litre (RRP – R2999) sizes as well as in a variety of colours. For more information on Thule AllTrail backpack visit the Thule website here. While you’re there don’t forget to check out Thule’s range of interchangeable VersaClick accessories too!

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