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Thule 13L EnRoute review

The Thule 13L EnRoute backpack is the perfect choice for the cabin, the conference and the city tour, this backpack can flat-pack a 13-inch laptop and more besides

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Thule’s designers think of everything. The smallest of its new EnRoute collection, the Thule 13L EnRoute is really designed for urban adventures. The commute. The conference. However, since TravGear likes to travel light – REALLY light – we thought we’d put it to the test for travel.

L is for laptops

The Thule 13L EnRoute is for laptops. More specifically, a 13-inch laptop – we’re thinking a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, which is what we travel with. So in the back of the Thule 13L EnRoute is a good-sized, snug, and nicely padded sleeve for just that. Our MacBook Air fitted well and didn’t move about at all. However, it does have more pockets for gadgets; on the front of that sleeve is a compartment for a tablet or e-reader.

Essentials only

Lower down that sleeve is also a zipped pocket, though if you fill both of those pockets, the bag does tend to slope forward. It also makes it trickier to access the belly of the bag, such as it is. Down in that belly is where to store an extra layer or a laptop charger, but there’s not much room. After all, this is a 13-liter backpack – there’s almost nothing to it. That’s what we like about it, but know that this bag has no space for anything other than essentials; certainly don’t take it shopping.

Bottling out

What the EnRoute 13L does lack that other Thule backpacks feature is a hard-covered sunglasses case, but there just isn’t room. What it does have that we hadn’t expected is a front, zipped pocket on the outside that proved ideal for storing paperwork (though we kept our passport inside the interior’s zipped pocket), and a mesh pocket on the outside for storing a water bottle. Nice, but a second mesh pocket on the other side would have been even better, perhaps to store a small travel umbrella.

Tough fabric

Comfy to wear thanks to some well-designed pads on the back (complete with airways) and easy-to-adjust straps, the Thule 13L EnRoute has a few other design touches we appreciated; two glow-in-the-dark tags on the front for hooking on carabiners, and another hook on the bottom of the bag. The material used is excellent; tough, water-resistant, and reflective (and it’s available in yellow, purple, and black).

Great design

Perfect for the cabin, the conference and the city tour, the Thule 13L EnRoute is even small enough to slip into checked luggage to use when you get to the destination. Capable of carrying all essentials – bar, perhaps, a DSLR camera – Thule has once again come up with a great design with dozens of uses.

Price as reviewed: £55 / $65