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Lifewire / Zach Sweat
Large capacity pack with tons of space for all your gear
A crush-proof outer container provides the perfect place for delicate items
Durable material that’s built to last
Awkwardly placed bottom compartment on the underside
Shoulder straps can be uncomfortable to some users
Rubber zipper tabs are a weak point
If you need serious space and storage for your laptop backpack needs, the Thule Crossover has plenty of room and offers a rugged build to last for years, just be wary of the flimsy rubber zipper tabs.
Compared to many other bag manufacturers and brands, Thule is fairly new to the market. However, Thule has quickly become known for its excellent products, and their bags and backpacks have garnered a loyal following over the years, especially from travelers. Thule’s Crossover series of backpacks cover a range of different sizes and capacities, but we tested the 32L model in this review. Read on to see how it fared for day-to-day use.
The Crossover backpack’s design is fairly low key, sporting a black base with small silver dots that spread across the pack. It creates a unique look that feels outdoorsy without going overboard. The zippers are perhaps the most eye-catching part, made of a neon blue rubber that creates a nice contrast to the Crossover’s subtle design. All this means the Crossover will fit the role of a work and personal bag, without making it seem like you just got back from a camping trip.
Easily the most striking part of the backpack is the hard case that sits atop, dubbed the “SafeZone.” This handy little pouch is a hard shell that juts out from the bag and retains its shape, allowing you to stow fragile items like sunglasses where they can’t be crushed or scratched. Below that, you’ll find an expandable pocket great for storing oversized items like shoes or bulky gear—perfect for those who want to bring workout shoes along for the commute.
All this means the Crossover will fit the role of a work and personal bag, without making it seem like you just got back from a camping trip.
The backpack’s front compartment is large compared to others we tested and has your typical organizers for small items and a big zippered pocket. Also on the outside, you’ll find two water bottle pockets on each side that are an okay size, but definitely won’t fit anything huge. Lastly, there’s a zippered pocket on the underside of the bag in an awkward spot that feels like it would crush anything you put in it.
The Crossover’s two main compartments are where it really shines. The first one boasts a huge capacity for large items, though it lacks any real organizers for securing things. The second is closest to your back while the pack is worn, housing laptop sleeve. It’s well-padded and should have no problems keeping your electronics safe from drops or bumps. The sleeve is also quite big, fitting our 13-inch laptop, and the beefier 15-inch gaming laptop we tested. Since the other main compartment lacks organization, this one at least makes up for it with lots of nice pockets, loops and even a sleeve for tablets.
The Crossover backpack’s design is fairly low-key, sporting a black base with small silver dots that spread across the pack.
One thing to consider with Thule’s 32L Crossover is that this backpack is capacious. Because of this, you can easily overpack, but it’s actually quite lightweight unladen. During our testing, we tried a few different loads. The lighter of the two gave us no discomfort or fatigue, and the bag is definitely comfy while commuting. That being said, we tested a fully loaded pack and discovered the straps can become uncomfortable after prolonged use. For most, the pack should be fine for your everyday carry, but if you plan to really load it up, it can become a bit unwieldy.
Thule’s known for durable gear that’s built to last, and the Crossover certainly fits this expectation. The overall construction is robust and quality, but it does have a few weak points some users have encountered with extended use.
The main issue seems to come from the rubber zipper tabs, which have been reported to break and fail. While we didn’t encounter this during testing, it’s something to be mindful of. Another issue frequently reported is the pack’s water resistance, or rather, lack of. While the bag doesn’t claim to be waterproof, it does claim water resistance, but we wouldn’t recommend trusting it in wet conditions for very long (especially with electronics). All in all, the Crossover is a well-built, durable bag that will last for a long time, minus some minor issues.
With an MSRP at $139, and a price on Amazon that’s usually a little less, the Thule Crossover 32L isn’t cheap. In this capacity, you can definitely find some cheaper ones. However, Thule offers a lifetime warranty on their bags, which you won’t find from all competitors. Another major consideration is that Thule’s gear has stood the test of time for many users, so the Crossover is likely to carry your load for years to come.
If you find your current commuter bag just can’t fit everything you need to carry, this bag is your answer.
One competitor to Thule is Osprey, another highly regarded brand that focuses on meshing the best of hiking gear with commuter aesthetics. At around $100 to $120, the Osprey Porter is a bit cheaper, but not by much. For the price, you get a similar capacity (with a slight edge to Thule), and a lockable laptop compartment. There’s also a hip belt for really heavy loads which can be tucked away, and compression straps to help protect your contents or secure things for a better fit. Really, the two bags are quite similar, but each with their own unique features that may cater to your needs.
Want to take a look at some other options? Browse through our list of the best laptop backpacks on the market today.
A commuter pack for those who want to bring everything.
The Crossover 32L from Thule is a great backpack from a trusted brand. If you find your current commuter bag just can’t fit everything you need to carry, this bag is your answer. It has a huge capacity that’s sure to last you for many years to come.
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