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Thule Packs Review: Hauling History

July 23, 2015

  • by
  • Drew Zieff

Skiers and snowboarders, mountain bikers and surfers: all need to tip their caps and helmets to a Swedish fisherman named Erik Thulin. In 1942, his tinkering resulted in an innovative pike trap.  This pike trap was stamped with an industry-altering name, one that forever changed how we protect and haul our most beloved outdoor gear: Thule.

Precisely twenty years later, Thule released their first ski rack. Roof baskets (1964) were followed by the famous ski roof box in ‘77. Thule’s rack revolution continued for decades, safeguarding our surfboards, bikes, kayaks and camping essentials. In 2010, decades of rack experience laid the framework for Thule to enter the luggage game. 

2014 saw Thule release their highly anticipated line of Technical Backpacks.  Active Junky, no stranger to the brand’s intelligent design, precise engineering and ergonomic features, strapped into two new models: Thule Capstone 32L Women’s Hiking Pack and the Thule Guidepost 65L Men’s Backpacking Pack.  

Thule Capstone 32L Women’s Hiking Pack: An Alp-Tested, A+ Day Pack

Thule Capstone 32L $145.56 - $156.76 Active Junky sent Capstone 32L to the Swiss Alps, hauled by a discerning mountain guide. After weeks of trekking, guiding and mountaineering, she dubbed it a “phenomenal tool in the Bernese Oberland.” Thule’s proprietary suspension system and women’s-specific hip belt earned top marks to strike a balance between snug fit (with quick MircoAdjust system) and ample airflow on summer adventures. 

Capstone’s capable of heavier loads, no surprise given the pack’s DNA. Unlike competitors’ offerings, Thule’s glow-in-the-dark, burly zippers flowed smoothly while the convenient rain fly pouch proved lifesaving in summer downpours. Our tester’s favorite feature? “The exterior stretchy pouch. It’s been super-useful for rock gear, drying socks and the delicate transportation of fresh delicious Swiss bread.”

Best For: Day hikes, multi-sport adventures

Thule Guidepost 65L Men’s Backpacking Pack: “My favorite piece of gear.”

Thule Guidepost 65L Starting at: $290.36 Fresh off a 4-day backpacking trip in the Wind River Range with the Guidepost, an Active Junky tester declared, “this is officially my favorite piece of gear I’ve ever tested.” After 24 miles of scree scrambling and bramble battling, Guidepost outranked peers on two key attributes: comfort and functionality. 

Even at the trailhead, adjustability was intuitive and simple. The Velcro shoulder harness allowed instant torso length tuning.  Shoulder straps came padded for on-trail comfort as the spring steel frame transferred loading to an ultra-padded hip belt. “It’s amazing,” said our tester. “The belt pivots, keeping heavy loads stable even while moving fast.” The side J-zip offers easy access to gear, the frame is ultra-strong and the lid transforms into a comfortable and sizeable summit daypack.

Best For: Multi-day treks, long-distance hiking and international agendas

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