A Carry-On Built for Air Travel But Tough Enough for Trails

Finding a quality bag for air travel — one that is functional, will take a beating, and look sophisticated — isn't easy. So when we tried out the Travel Backpack 34 L from Thule’s Subterra collection, we were stoked. Finally, a sturdy, feature-filled bag that looks the part.

We recently took out the Travel Backpack 34 L for a few flights and a spontaneous climbing outing. The Travel Backpack 34 was all we had, and on every ascent, it handled like a champ.

The pack looks great, with very clean lines and good structure. The main compartment opens with a roll-top magnetic closure that snaps on each side, which we love — the feature, generally found in water-sealed packs for rafting, is such a breeze compared to zippers.

The padded computer sleeve is perfect for laptops (15-inch Mac, 15.6-inch PC.), although, if you don’t close the flap the Velcro can catch on softer objects in the main compartment. If you are a bit more lazy, the elastic panel on the back of the pack is made for you. This allows you to slip the pack on any rolling luggage piece.

In the wild — in our case, hiking to a rock wall — the top pocket was easy access for snacks and water. The external material is water- and, we found, dust-resistant and the kind of sturdy that won't have you worried about dropping it on a pile of boulders (assuming your laptop isn't in there). 

The Thule Travel Backpack has all the bells and whistles you've come to expect in performance packs, but in a package that makes sure you don’t feel like a dirtbag in the airport when you use it.  [$160, ebags.com]