The Thule Vital range might be your best friend for offroad adventures. And the women's specific models are packed with features!
Did you know that Thule make more than just bike racks and roofracks for skis? Over the past decade Thule's range of products has exploded. With camera bags, phone cases, bike bags, baby joggers, awnings and a whole lot more adding to the range. The general theme remains the same, it's about being in the outdoors - or at least helping you get your gear there.
Thule have also redesigned a range of hydration bags, from some smaller ones to larger ones with in-built protection - perfect for enduro-style riding. Part of the range is women's specific, meaning the bags are made for a smaller figure. So they have a shorter back length, and typically shoulder straps that are built for narrower shoulders.
We've just had a Thule Vital 3 Women's bag land for test. Thule say it is 'light and fast' and that is spot on, with this bag and 1.75L reservoir not even hitting 500g (unfilled) on the scales.
With a complete mesh backed back panel, hip panels and shoulder straps, the Vital 3 Women's guarantees to be as light and airy as possible in warmer weather. The material for the main pocket is a light weight rip stop material, with elasticised storage pockets on the tall hip belt - these will fit trail snacks, gels, a phone or maybe a small hip flask. It just depends what sort of rider you are. But it does provide storage ythat you can access without removing the backpack - and that's always a bonus.
The main pocket has a claimed 3L storage volume and the Thule Vital 8 Women's has more storage if you need a larger bag. There is a smaller zipped mesh pocket up high to keep small items easy to find, and a couple of elastic loops to secure a pump. There are also a couple of stash points on the sides of the pack to strap on extras. And of course there's a loop for a flashing rear light for adventures that push the limits of daylight.
The reservoir can take 1.75L of fluid, and the full-width opening makes cleaning easy - and it facilitates stuffing it with ice for scorching days! What's really nifty is the magnetic hose attachment on the shoulder. The hose snaps back into place along the magnetic zipper, called ReTrakt. It's a simple system, but one that has proven very reliable when testing a unisex model Thule Vital bag. It is designed around running on your right shoulder, so if you have a lefty preference - you'll need to adapt.
The Thule Vital 3 Women's bag should be quite stable, with the broad hip belt and the addition of a sternum strap. Given the sternum strap can be in the wrong place, it's adjustable - or it can be removed.
The colour is called Alaska. You might call it seafoam. But it's pale and highlights that the bag is a women's specific product. Only you can decide whether it's for you or not!
At $189 the Thule Vital 3 women's bag isn't a cheap number to let sit in a corner, or one that you'll leave at a trail head or in a friend's car. But given the features and low weight and breathability, it might just be your best friend for adventures.
There's a lot going on with this small and light pack, and we're handing it off to Anna Beck to put through its paces for our next issue. If you don't want to miss an issue, make sure you subscribe to AMB.