This massive hold-all proves roomy enough for ski trips, weekends away, comes in a stuff sack, and even converts into a backpack
I’ve always disliked holdalls and duffle bags, thinking them the preserve of middle-aged golfing holidays and ski trips. Maybe it’s my backpacker roots, but I’ve always felt more comfortable with my stuff on my back. But an increasing number of weekends away in the car has meant I’ve gravitated more and more towards them as an easy of way of taking everything you need for a trip in one bag. So a duffle that converts into a backpack? Bring it on!
Coming in the wake of the Swedish brand’s excellent backpacks and luggage (see below), the Thule Chasm 1.2 immediately impresses on design. For one, it ships in a lightweight netting stuff-sack, which measures 47x21cam and weighs about 2kg. Now that’s a great idea.
Big boy bag
Once unfurled the Chasm is, err, chasm-like. Measuring 74x42x33cm, it’s the kind of bag that can take everything for a week or two away in winter. A spare coat, extra layers for skiing, loads of underwear and a few pairs of boots … you know the kind of thing. But it’s not just a chasm in there; the lid contains two large netting pockets for toiletries etc, and there’s another one along the side of the interior.
It gets ever better on the outside. The tough material has a D-shaped lid whose zipper glides easily, with a handy separate zipped pocket on one end for those things you don’t want to lose in the chaos inside. There are also some compression straps, which prove useful if you’re not going to fill the bag, though there’s only so much they can do to avoid the dreaded FDS (Floppy Duffel Syndrome).
Straps & flaps
But the best features about the Thule Chasm is what is does with its straps. It has the usual D-straps for holding the bag with one hand, of course, but a full 90L bag is going to be heavy. So Thule has not only designed some poppers that keep those hand straps out of the way, but includes two full-length backpack straps. When the bag is full they are a God-send for getting the Chasm through an airport to the check-in desk (and they de-attach easily for storage in that end-pocket).
Our only criticism of the Chasm is that there’s merely a nylon undercarriage, making it less than suitable for dragging through an airport. Perhaps a better reinforced bottom, or even a couple of small wheels, would help the Chasm truly standout.
Our review sample was a 90L size, but there are also 40L, 70L and 130L models to choose from in Poseidon (green), Bluegrass (blue), black and Roarange (err, red). The 90L size did prove just too big for a weekend away – it was just too floppy when not enough was inside – but choose your size wisely and rest assured that there are few better duffel bags as versatile as this.