Thule Chasm duffel bag review

The Swedish gear hauling brand are making moves into the outdoors with this great duffel style bag. But what makes it better than the others out there? 

Chasm1The duffel bag is everywhere these days, with every outdoor brand worth their salt (and  ore than a few that aren’t) making their own version. Now Thule have created their model set to compete with some of the best.

It seems that no matter where you are in the world, if you’re waiting at a luggage carousel at an airport the chances of you seeing a brightly colour duffel bag come rolling round are almost guaranteed. More often than not they seem to be the original Base Camp duffel from The North Face which seems to have laid claim to the most prolific adventure duffel in the world. Well maybe not for long.

Thule, as they expand from bike racks and roof boxes are moving into the outdoors world and their version of the duffel, the Chasm, is a great example.

It is like many other duffels out there but also different at the same time. It is built from heavy duty, waterproof PVC fabric, has loads of space inside just like all the others but uses a few clever little design tricks that instantly mark it out as a Thule product.

We tested the L model with a 90 litre capacity, which is plenty big enough for most sensible needs. We often find that the XL sizes of these sorts of bags are just too big and end up full to brimming and incredibly heavy. 90 litres is enough for everything except moving house, we reckon.

Inside is one giant space to stuff in whatever you can, as you would find on most comparable duffels out there. There are no space dividers here, as that’s not what the stuff and forget duffel is really about. Sewn into the lid are a couple of mesh pockets for valuables and bits that need to be accessed in a hurry. One of the pockets is turned so that it can be accessed from the end without having to open the whole lid. In a clever bit of lateral thinking, Thule have also made the lid opening a ‘J’ shape meaning that one end of the lid can be opened giving access to the internal mesh pocket, as well as being easily accessed when stuffed into an overhead locker, as on a plane. It’s a little feature that seems so simple but just works.

In another clever ‘Thule’ twist, the Chasm uses a novel detachable strap system to convert the duffel into a backpack. Forgoing flimsy clips or fiddly webbing loops of other packs, the Chasm uses unique metal clips that simply slip through loops on the bag. At first they look like they’ll never work, but once you get the knack of slipping them in,  are as secure as anything we’ve used. A simple twist of the wrist is all it takes to convert from duffel to backpack.

 

↑ Good

  • Tough as old boots
  • Clever design tweaks actually improve a classic design
  • Loads of space

 

↓ (Not so) Good

  • Top ‘J’ shaped lid can be a little bit fiddly to open when the bag is less full.

 

Verdict

Thule have somehow managed to improve the classic duffel bag without detracting from the bag’s original strengths. A great product that we’ve been jamming all our kit into. Our new favourite gear hauling solution.

 

Score

9/10

 

The Facts:

Brand: Thule

Model: Chasm

www.thule.com

External height: 33 cm

External length: 74 cm

External depth: 42 cm

Weight: 1.2 kg

Capacity: 90 l

Materials: Phthalate-free TPE laminate with a 1000D nylon base

Warranty: 25 years

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