Thule Crossover 25L Backpack review

Thule Crossover 25L Backpack

Better known as the maker of roof racks for skis and sundry luggage, the Swedish brand Thule also has a line of bags for carrying laptops. See all laptop bag reviews.

The Crossover 25L Backpack has a nominal 25-litre capacity, but there's also 32l version, as well as a messenger bag and sling pack. See also: Be.ez LE bag Pro review.

It's very well constructed from dobby nylon, that is, nylon woven with a designer texture which puts tiny white spots into a square matrix. Viewed from a distance, it makes the bag appear dark graphite in colour rather than pure black. This outer fabric is backed with a high-quality waterproof coating.

You won't see the coating in most places though as the bag is finished internally throughout with a softer fine nylon lining, light grey patterned with light blue.

A talking point is the small zipped pocket built into the top, easily accessible whenever the bag's off your shoulders, which has an extra, removable, rigid box. It's designed to hold your sunglasses or other crushable bits, and can be removed entirely if you prefer to make a little more space inside.

There's one main compartment to the Crossover 25L, sealed by a double-end zip, and sectioned off inside with a padded laptop pocket large enough to hold a 17in notebook. We used it with a 15in MacBook Pro, and had space to spare. And that main pocket –joined by the usual quota of zipped sub-pockets – is cavernously large, quite TARDIS-like in the amount it can carry.

The bag's only real failing is a paucity of lining at the bottom of the laptop compartment. There's just a single thin layer of foam to separate your precious laptop from the hard ground, insufficient to allow a shoulder-height drop of the bag and leave your computer unscathed. It's a shame Thule didn't invest as much care in protecting the laptop cargo as for your sunglasses.

But this is one tough bag, built incredibly strongly. In fact, it might be the subject of PCA's longest-running field test, having been pressed into service in November 2010 and used almost every day since. We worked around our nervousness by first placing the laptop itself in a padded slip case before stowing it in the Thule.

The shoulder straps, for example, are lined with tough EVA material and show none of the crumpling of lesser foam. The main carcass of nylon shows no marks and barely any sign of daily wear at all.

The only other issue is with the shoulder strap and side compression buckles. Made from stamped metal, they are nearly impossible to tighten one-handed, and require the nylon webbing to be manually fed through.

Thule Crossover 25L Backpack: Specs

  • 15-17in laptop bag
  • made from waterproof dobby nylon with fine synthetic lining
  • laptop space 380x270x35mm
  • outer dimensions 480x340x170 mm
  • 25-litre nominal capacity
  • 940g
  • 15-17in laptop bag
  • made from waterproof dobby nylon with fine synthetic lining
  • laptop space 380x270x35mm
  • outer dimensions 480x340x170 mm
  • 25-litre nominal capacity
  • 940g

OUR VERDICT

The absence of decent extra padding below is our real reservation over what is otherwise a super-tough and rather stylish piece of laptop luggage. It's sensibly priced too, given the formidable construction quality.