I've always preferred rolling luggage over big trekking backpacks but there are times at which a backpack is just more practical. This was the case when we drove around Queensland, Australia for three weeks in a campervan.
A regular suitcase would have taken up way too much space in the van, whilst a backpack could easily fit in the trunk. The backpack we brought was the Thule Guidepost 75L.
We have a history with Thule luggage. A few years ago, I tested their Subterra 75L rolling suitcase and was sold. We still use that suitcase for longer trips and it still looks as new.
When, over a year later, I also tested one of their Crossover trolleys, I knew I didn't just get lucky the first time. Thule bags are high-quality, practical, and good-looking.
So it was a no-brainer to ask them whether we could test their Guidepost backpack on our trip to Hong Kong and then Australia. The result is this Thule Guidepost review.
Thule Guidepost review
Here are the technical specifications of the Thule Guidepost 75L backpack:
14.2 x 12.6 x 31.5 inches or 36 x 32 x 85 cm
This Thule backpack is made of durable yet breathable 210 nylon and 420 Robic ripstop nylon. It features extra-large zippers that are incredibly strong, easy to zip and unzip, and will not open up regardless of how full you load the pack.
Adjustable hip belt
The adjustable hip belt comes in different sizes. It turns on an axis in the lower back area of the bag improving the comfort levels of the whole backpack.
With the hip belt, the pack will comfortably sit on your hips, even when tightened up. This will enable you to walk freely as the weight gets evenly distributed across the hips notwithstanding your body position.
Adjustable shoulder and sternum straps
The shoulder straps are padded and well-shaped so they don’t rub against your arms as you’re moving. You can adjust them to fit your shoulder width.
Wearing comfort is also ensured thanks to the adjustable sternum strap which helps keep the backpack fitted to you.
Adjustable back pane
You can also adjust the position of the shoulder straps by 15cm on the back of the bag to match your torsos’ length. Additionally, the load lifters can be loosened or tightened to your fit, and have two options on the backpack to anchor the shoulder straps to your back.
Water bottle pockets
There is a deep water bottle pocket located on each side of the bag. The pockets are nicely positioned so you can effortlessly access them without taking off the pack, and without dislocating your shoulders while trying to reach them.
One of the pockets features an extra closure that can be unzipped to provide a little more depth to the pocket.
Compression straps and gear loops
On each side of the bag are two compression straps with an integrated Velcro loop on the ones at the top to secure hiking poles. Underneath the lower side compression straps are also two large gear loops.
That’s not all, there are also two quick-release compression straps over the sleeping bag compartment for carrying extra gear – and a small gear loop at the base of the compression straps and on the front pocket.
Zippered front pocket
The Thule Guidepost 75L also has a large zippered panel pocket on its front where you can stash things you want to access easily. There is a smaller pocket inside the large front pocket to keep smaller items separate and this is also where you'll find the rain cover.
The top lid is removable and can convert into a sizeable summit pack. It also features a front pocket, adjustable sternum strap, drawstring top access, hydration port with an internal reservoir clip, and an internal pocket.
The summit pack is super lightweight, being merely a fabric bag with mesh shoulder straps.
With a volume of 75 liters, the Thule Guidepost can get pretty heavy, yet it never kills your shoulders thanks to the weight being evenly distributed across your back and hips. I have to say I was pretty surprised that I could comfortably walk around in it.
We only wore it to get to and from the airport in Hong Kong and Australia but should you go hiking with it, this backpack will stay put evenly on your body, not falling to one side or the other as you tackle tricky terrain.
Compartments and layout
Layout is one of the things you should consider while buying a backpack. You want to choose a bag that you can easily pack and unpack, especially when you’re frequently changing locations.
Although the Thule Guidepost doesn’t have large side pockets as seen in most backpacks, it has a very spacious compartment on top and a large one across the whole front. The large front pocket has lots of space and is ideal for stashing things you can easily access anytime.
Furthermore, the manufacturers of this bag wasted no space on all kinds of separate pockets, enabling the main compartment to be too spacious. You can easily reach everything you stored in the bag because the front can be unzipped from top to bottom.
However, the drawback of having a specious main compartment instead of a backpack with separate top and bottom compartments is that when you completely unzip the pack, some things might fall out.
Now, the best way to avoid this is to only open the part of the bag you need to reach at any given time.
Comfort and sizing
Comfort is always the most essential attribute of a good backpack, and this is one of the primary advantages of the Thule Guidepost backpack over other big backpacks.
It features a suspension system which transfers the weight of the pack to your hips, to avoid shoulder and back pain, and the secured hip belt feels sturdy yet soft to avoid any inconvenience to ensure a fantastic hiking experience.
You can also adjust the shoulder straps both length-ways and width-ways to ensure that the pack is perfectly aligned with your body shape for easy movement.
My Thule Guidepost model weighs 2.38 kg, has a volume of 75L, and measures 36 × 32 × 80 cm. I have the women's model. There's also a men's model which looks exactly the same but is made for a man's frame.
If 75L isn't what you're looking for, Thule also offers this backpack in a 65L and an 85L version.
I already had two other Thule bags before I tested this one so I knew Thule stands for quality. I'll update this post when I've used the backpack a bit more but so far, this seems to be no different with the Guidepost.
We threw it on the luggage belt, in the trunk of several Ubers, and opened and closed the different compartments multiple times. We also stuffed it with all the things we were bringing for a month of travel.
The zippers stayed strong and shut, the fabric doesn't yet show any signs of wear (except being a bit dirty, of course), and the straps and pull-shut chord all still work perfectly.
We've only used the Guidepost once in the rain – in a true downpour in Hong Kong, and the water-resistant fabric kept our clothes dry.
Usually choosing black whenever I have the option, I opted for the beautifully red version of the Guidepost and am still in love with the color. It makes it stand out on the luggage belt at the airport without screaming “I'm a high-tech backpack!”.
Boyfriend chose the dark grey version, which looks nice as well.
Overall, the Guidepost has a streamlined design that looks as good as it is functional.
The only thing about the Guidepost I'm not that excited about is the removable summit back. The idea behind it is great: remove the lid of the big backpack, turn it inside out and tadaaa, you have a small daypack.
Only, that daypack isn't really comfortable. The straps are wide and breathable which is good, but the bag offers no support at all as it really is just all fabric. We used it a few times to do groceries with but found it uncomfortable to carry it around on our backs.
It also doesn't have any bottle pockets which means that you have to open and close the main compartment each time you want to drink.
I'd say the summit pack is a solution if you really can't bring any other bag or just quickly need something to put extra items in, but I wouldn't count on it as a daypack.
We've only used the Thule Guidepost on one long trip but so far, both Boyfriend and I have been very happy with it. The Guidepost is easy to carry and fill up. The many compartments make it easy to find your gear and the material seems to be durable.
From the experience we've had with our other Thule luggage, we think we'll be using these backpacks for a long time.
Where to buy Thule backpacks
You can buy the Thule Guidepost online on from Amazon or, if you're reading this from Belgium or the Netherlands, from Bol.com. The official Thule site itself does not sell products directly.
Please note that there is no 85L version for women.
And that's it! I hope you enjoyed this Thule Guidepost 75L review. Don't hesitate to let me know should you have any questions.
PIN FOR LATER
We received two Thule Guidepost bags for review purposes.