Thule Luggage Review
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Many suitcases on the market are rugged enough to protect your belongings in transit yet too bulky to be of any real use once you arrive at your destination. That’s fine if you’re staying in a spacious hotel room but if you’re the ‘get-up-and-go’ type, you might want something more nimble.
That’s what initially drew me to Thule Luggage; their luggage looks secure yet compact enough to carry around beyond airport terminals.
But is it any good?
Let’s find out. In this Thule Luggage review, we’ll look at the brand’s target audience as well as how its products stack up against the competition.
The Pros and Cons of Thule Luggage
Thule’s luggage is designed for people who travel light yet still want something more durable than a typical duffle bag. Esthetically, the luggage is sleek and minimalist enough to be unisex, which some may find welcome in a market whose products can often be either too blocky or too dainty-looking.
Thule Subterra Luggage is a prime example of a product from the brand exhibiting this balance. The product contains plenty of storage for its compact size and has a solid back panel for absorbing impacts.
Thule Luggage is priced within the upper medium range, comparable to the likes of Samsonite. It represents fair value at this price point for those seeking easily-maneuverable luggage with Scandinavian design.
If you’re looking for something that makes a statement, however, Thule Luggage isn’t it. The brand’s luggage is decidedly minimalist-looking. Personally, I consider this a plus as I regularly carry my luggage with me at my destination and prefer something under-the-radar.
Why Should You Buy Thule Luggage?
Now that you have a solid overview of the brand, let’s take a more in-depth look at its positives.
Versatility & Design
Because Thule’s carry-on luggage and larger suitcases are so discrete, they rarely look out of place. You should have no problem taking this luggage on everything from business trips to casual vacations.
This balance can be hard to find. Many suitcases (including those from competing brands like Samsonite) are either too stern-looking for casual travel or too colorful for business activities. Thule baggage sits just right.
When I attend conferences, I usually keep at least one piece of luggage with me at all times. I never know who I’m going to bump into, so I like to keep my documents and computer handy.
The conspicuous nature of most suitcases I’ve tried has made this awkward at times.
If you have that problem as well, you might appreciate Thule’s duffle bags and smaller rolling units.
Most Thule rolling luggage is made from rigid-feeling nylon paired with a molded plastic back panel.
The wheels are some of the most robustly-constructed I’ve come across.
Even Thule’s duffle bags have a decently rigid form factor that inspires confidence.
All Thule luggage and bags come with a limited lifetime warranty. As the original purchaser Thule will repair defects in materials or workmanship within thirty days without charge for parts or labor. If it is not possible to remedy the defects, Thule will replace the product.
Here another big advantage: unlike many luggage manufacturers on Amazon, Thule’s bag warranty is not farmed out to a third party. They handle warranty claims in-house, which many people find to be more convenient and straightforward.
Thule’s most popular luggage is priced well below $1,000. Their products compare well to other suitcases in this price range. They offer a solid amount of storage space and contain handy features like zippered dividers.
Is Anything Bad About Thule Luggage?
Potentially Underwhelming Esthetics
If you like luggage that makes a statement, designer brands like Nicole Miller might be a better fit. Originating from Malmö, Sweden, Thule’s products come with a minimalist, Scandinavian design. The only decoration you will find on the luggage is the company’s logo.
Lack Of Hardside Options
Thule’s rolling luggage comes primarily in softside designs. If you’re looking for hardside luggage, your options are somewhat limited. However, Thule does have a very solid option that we’ll discuss in the next section.
Few Full-Size Choices, Too
Most of Thule’s luggage is carry-on. If you’re looking for a full-sized 30-inch bag, there are only a few duffle-style options available.
This isn’t a huge concern for me as I tend to travel with just a single carry-on. However, large families or heavy packers might find this lack of choice frustrating.
Thule Luggage Reviews
Thule Luggage reviews are largely positive. Many users (see below) praise the esthetics and versatility of the suitcases.
As with every brand, there are occasional complaints. Some consumers misjudged the size of the suitcases and were disappointed when they arrived. Others ended up not liking the minimalist esthetic as much as they thought they would.
Overall, though, negative reviews for most of Thule’s luggage are far and few in between.
Our Top-Rated Products
Let’s look at a few of Thule’s top products.
Luggage type: Softside Carry-On Suitcase
Dimensions: 8 x 14 x 22 inches
Weight: 8.38 pounds
The Thule Subterra 22” Carry-On bag is a compact yet spacious option worth considering if you need a sleek suitcase.
It’s my top choice within Thule’s lineup for bringing along to conferences that involve carrying lots of documents and other items at all times. It even has a piggyback strap that allows you to attach an additional bag, such as your laptop case.
The suitcase’s telescopic handle is built solidly and its two wheels, although not spinners, travel well on a variety of surfaces.
This unit also comes with an internal compression board that allows you to segment your luggage.
The Scandinavian design of this carry-on is very minimalistic and hence fits perfectly any travel occasion (be it the next business trip or weekend getaway). In terms of color, I opted for the ember version of the luggage – but that’s just a personal preference.
Another positive aspect about the Subterra 22” is definitely its quality and durability. I’ve been using it for over 7 months now and cannot detect any major wear and tear so far.
On the negative side, the top and side handles aren’t as ergonomic as one would hope. They rest quite close to the case, making it difficult to hold the bag comfortably with these straps for long periods of time. You’ll most likely want to stick to the telescopic handle.
Thule Subterra Luggage 30” (Duffle Bag)
Luggage type: Softside Checked/Rolling
Dimensions: 16.1 x 15.7 x 29.5 inches
Weight: 9 pounds
One of Thule’s most popular options in the large-size luggage category is the Subterra 30” suitcase. When I’m going on a trip for more than 2 weeks, the 30″ is my luggage of choice.
It’s a rolling duffle bag that actually comes in two separable parts. One is a rolling upright bag and the other is duffle bag that detaches from that component.
The idea behind this design is that travelers can pack the bulk of their items in the rolling section. If that section becomes too heavy, passengers can detach the duffle bag and check it in separately or use it as a carry-on. This setup is also handy for digital nomads traveling in pairs; each section is more than large enough to accommodate one person’s belongings for a week or more.
The Thule Subterra Luggage 30” shares some design elements with the previously-reviewed carry-on. It has a solid backing made from the same type of molded plastic as most of Thule’s luggage. The bag also has a similar telescopic handle and oversized wheels.
The nylon that makes up the front of the case is softer and less rigid than the material used on the 22” carry-on mentioned above.
One advantage of the Thule Subterra Luggage 30” over the 22” is that its top and side handles are much easier to grip for long periods. Being a larger suitcase, it also has a plethora of storage compartments easily capable of holding more than a week’s worth of luggage.
On the downside, the whole suitcase might be too bulky if you’re looking for something you can bring everywhere while traveling. As stated earlier on, I only use it for trips of more than 10 days. For shorter trips I rely on the packing power of the Thule Subterra 22” Carry-On.
Luggage type: Carry-On Backpack/Shoulder Bag
Dimensions: 8.3 x 13.8 x 21.7 inches
Weight: 3.53 pounds
Internal capacity: 40l
For people who pack very lightly, this Thule carry-on luggage is worth considering. I would describe it as a suitcase masquerading as a backpack.
Travelers can use the Thule Subterra Convertible Carry-On 40L as either a backpack or a shoulder bag, hence the “convertible” part of its name. It also comes with a detachable unit that can be used as a laptop sleeve.
One thing I really like about the bag is its compact form factor. When closed, the bag is a discrete rectangle with nothing jutting out (the backpack straps even fold neatly into a compartment). Speaking of compartments, this suitcase has a ton. The bag flips open horizontally but there’s also a zippered top component sized perfectly for passports, boarding passes, and other items you might want to keep handy.
While I’d rank this third overall in Thule’s lineup, it would actually be my second option for taking to conferences or even coffee shops (which us digital nomads are known for working out of) if I were based in a particular location for a long time.
What keeps it from being my first pick is the lack of wheels. As compact as the bag is, it’s still larger than any normal backpack you’ll come across. I could see this being cumbersome to carry around for long periods, even if you convert it into the shoulder bag format.
If, however, you’re just looking for a carry-on bag and don’t plan on bringing it with you everywhere, the Thule Subterra Convertible Carry On 40L is still worth considering.
Luggage type: Hardside Rolling Luggage
Dimensions: Two Options: 27 inches and 30 inches
Weight: 13 pounds
Lastly, let’s take a look at a hardside Thule rolling luggage option. Thule Revolve Rolling Luggage comes in 27” and 30” sizes. Based on the brand’s marketing of this line, its target audience appears to be business travelers who want something sharp and executive-looking.
Both sizes feature TSA locks, which I personally find handy since I have a habit of losing padlocks as soon as they come off my luggage.
As the line’s name would suggest, Thule Revolve Rolling Luggage also features spinner wheels. Each of the four wheels is actually comprised of two discs, which tends to provide better traction on most surfaces.
The back set of wheels is oversized, which makes rolling the suitcase on only two wheels easier.
Storage-wise, these hardside cases don’t come with as many compartments as you’d find on Thule’s nylon options. This can be an inconvenience but it’s common among most hardside suitcases on the market.
Another potential downside is that the fixed top and side handles are, once again, uncomfortable to hold for extended periods. They’re very thin and made of rigid plastic, which I find pinches my hand when I try to hold the suitcase fully-packed.
Thankfully, the telescopic handle is solid and I don’t see any problem with using it 99% of the time.
I could see people choosing this option over the others if they absolutely need a hardside suitcase or if Thule’s softside options are too casual-looking.
Thule is a great contender within the mid-tier suitcase market. Their Scandinavian product designs and branding suggest a focus on casual travelers who prefer luggage that does more than just sit the hotel room. Thule’s luggage meets these needs by being durably-constructed and spacious.
If you’re looking for a hardside option (and the one mentioned above doesn’t speak to you), you might want to look elsewhere as Thule doesn’t have much in the way of options there.
Aside from that caveat, Thule is a well-regarded luggage manufacturer and I would have no hesitation purchasing again one of their products.