Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Gear Closet: Thule Stir 35 Technical Backpack

In need of a new backpack for your spring adventures? Than you're in luck, because Thule has delivered a couple of great new packs that deliver a high level of performance and a number of great features, at a price point that we can all appreciate.

Recently I got my hands on the new Thule Stir 35 pack and found it to be a great option for day hikers that need to carry plenty of gear with them out on the trail. But the pack also works great for climbers and peak baggers looking for a bag that can carry all of their equipment without slowing them down. The Stir is comfortable, versatile, and well designed, making it a breeze to stay organized while hauling a surprising amount of equipment with us on our adventures.

With 35 liters of storage, the Stir is definitely on the larger size when it comes to daypacks. That may make it overly large for some hikers, but as a frequent traveler and outdoor enthusiast who takes part in a lot of different activities, I found the extra space to be really useful. Some of my smaller packs are a bit cramped at times, while this bag allowed me to carry pretty much everything I need without compromise.

Some of the features that I really like include the easy-access lid that allows you to get inside the main storage compartment while still keeping the elements at bay. But if the weather really takes a turn for the worse, the Stir comes equipped with a built-in rain cover, which should pretty much be a standard piece of equipment on every daypack these days. I also love that this pack offers access to the interior through a side zipper, making it super easy to retrieve important items no matter where they are stored. This is something I'm use to finding on larger backpacks, but it isn't all that common on a daypack.

Another feature that is more common on larger packs that is also found here is an adjustable torso for improved fitting. This not only adds another level of versatility to the pack, but allows you to find a more comfortable fitting for the Stir as well. By simply adjusting the back panel using some Velcro, you can adjust where the pack sits on your back, making it easier to carry heavier loads.

For those hikers who count every ounce, the Stir offers the ability to remove the hipbelt and sternum strap, saving some weight in the process. That ability also makes the pack a bit less technical looking if you want to use it as a commuter pack around town as well. I personally like having those items in place, as the small pockets on the belt come in handy, but it is nice touches like this one that indicate that Thule took great care in designing a backpack that meets a variety of customers' needs.

Other nice features that have a more technical slant include a light loop attachment points made from reflective materials and two attachment loops for carrying trekking poles or ice aces. There is even a stretch pocket on the one of the shoulder straps that is specifically designed to carry a smartphone, keeping it close at hand for when you need it most.

Personally, I really like the slim design and minimalist approach that Thule took with this pack. It looks great, but also offers great features and functionality too. Comfortable to wear and with plenty of storage capacity, this is a backpack designed for longer day hikes or even short overnight trips if you can manage to go ultralight in warmer weather. But climbers will appreciate everything it brings to the table as well. And since the pack is priced at just $139.95, it is very affordable as well, particularly when considering all of the great features it delivers.

The pack is available now. Find out more at

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