Having had a little time to try out the smaller travel backpack before my big international trip, it came as no surprise that this 75L rucksack is just as sturdy, smart and ergonomically designed. Comfort is paramount when choosing higher-volume luggage, and with the Thule Guidepost 75L pack you can be confident there’ll be no back pain.
This particular model weighs in at a reasonable 2.38 kg, measures 36 × 32 × 80 cm³ and has a volume of 75L. However, there are similar models of different specs for both men and women.
This women’s model comes in two colours: red or grey. In my opinion, the grey is more stylish, but the red might be more forgiving when it comes to stains, not to mention easier to spot on an airport carousel. Men have the choice of blue or black. The overall appearance of this pack is modern and neat. It’s a pleasing shape that comfortably fits the contours of your body, and there are no protruding parts aside from the hip support straps. Based on the high-tech materials and sleek design, you can definitely tell at first glance it’s a high-end product.
Travelling via mainland India through the Andaman archipelago really put this pack to the test. We were constantly hopping on and off planes, tuk-tuks and boats, often with impatient porters manhandling our luggage. Come rain or shine, we’d disembark to find our bags among a huge pile of suitcases, set carelessly in dirt or mud. Despite the rough treatment, the outer material continued to protect all contents from the elements—even in monsoon rains, with the help of the high-visibility rain cover that comes in an easily-accessible outer pocket and attaches to the pack via toggles. As might be expected under these circumstances, the light-grey nylon material on the outside of the pack picked up some marks. These didn’t wipe clean very well with soap and water, but a good soak and delicate wash helped a lot.
Comfort is easily the most important trait of a backpack, and this is one of the major advantages of the Thule Guidepost design over models produced by other brands. A suspension system transfers the pack’s weight to your hips, to avoid back and shoulder pain, and the reinforced hip belt feels sturdy yet spongy, even during extended use. Best of all, the hip belt pivots so that the pack moves with you as you walk. To ensure that the pack is aligned with your body shape, you can adjust the shoulder straps both lengthways (by 15 cm; as indicated by handy measurement labels) and widthways (three settings). There was absolutely no chafing or bruising, despite a few long hikes in the mid-day Indian heat.
DESIGN AND PRACTICALITY
One of my favourite features of this bag is the side-access zip. I wouldn’t consider a rucksack without this, as it’s a major hassle to empty an entire top-opening sack just to retrieve one item. This is a major time saver and gives you brownie points in the eyes of your dorm mates (no-one likes a rummager). Aside from the main compartment, you can store items in a front slot or the spacious lid, and there’s also a small detachable bag on the hip belt for easy access to smaller items. The nylon material has a lot of elasticity, meaning you can add oddly shaped items without risking punctures. This pack is lacking a zip-around cover to hide all the buckle straps when in transit, although the rigid hip belt design wouldn’t allow for easy concealment anyway. Overall, the sleek design and really cool features (see below) compensate 100-fold for this minor niggle.
One of the coolest design features of this pack is that you can remove the lid, turn it inside out and create a lightweight 28L ‘day pack summit bag’. Although it’s a little on the flimsy side, the straps are surprisingly comfortable and, considering it serves two purposes, it’s really quite impressive. There’s even a little zipped pocket on the front for easy access to smaller items. Although I wouldn’t rely on this bag for day trips or carry on, it’s perfect for short walks and picking up shopping. The blue colour is also very appealing.
The waist strap of this rucksack has a VersaClick weatherproof roll-top pocket for storing valuables. Compatible with this system are a number of accessories that can be purchased separately, including holders for a water bottle, DSLR camera, mirrorless camera, nylex-lined accessory pouch or padded, weatherproof ‘safezone pocket’. This would be especially handy for people intending to use their bag for multi-day trekking.
While I’m not quite as in love with it as the day pack (this would take some doing), I’d still highly recommend this rucksack. Everything about Thule’s products shows immense attention to detail, from the crisp, modern logo to the choice of materials. Great care has also been applied to designing some really nifty features so you can access your belongings easily, keep devices charged, protect valuable items and pack as light as possible. For backpackers in this day and age, it’s like the designers at Thule have read our minds.