The Thule Stir 35L
Holds up, even horizontally...
I know what you're thinking... "Thule? Like the car racks?"
Yes. Those guys. The Swedes who probably made your bike rack, ski rack, roof box, you name it. They make it and they make it well. But do they know how to make a backpack? In my experience I can answer with a resounding YES.
I too was skeptical initially, but after a good deal of research (and some incentive pricing) I purchased a Thule Guidepost 65L & a Thule Stir 35L approximately a year ago. Since then I have taken them on many adventures and have no complaints thus far.
Today we'll be focusing on the Stir 35L but stay tuned for a review of the Guidepost 65L in the near future.
The first thing of note is the size. At 35L is a bit big for a day hike, and a bit small for an overnight. They make a 15L Stir as well as a new 20L Stir which you can find on Thule's website in the hiking section. However, by going up to 35L you are not just getting more room, which can come in handy in the Winter and makes the bag more versatile, you are also getting a lot more comfort. The hip & sternum straps on the 35L give you the support you are used to from an overnight bag. It also offers load lifters and quick access pockets, both on the shoulder and hip straps.
That's the beauty of the Stir 35L. You are essentially getting an overnight bag and all the features that come along with it, just in a shrunken down size.
Here are some of those features:
Built in Rain Fly
Adjustable Shoulder Height
Easy Access Side Zip
So depending on what you are looking to do, the Stir 35L might be a perfect bag for you. If you are someone who likes to be especially prepared or are looking for a versatile bag you can use no matter the season or adventure, the Stir 35L is a great choice. If you get back pain even on long day hikes from lack of support, the Stir 35L offers the level of support that will keep you comfortable all day. However, if you are just looking for a light bag for quick trips to the peak, you might be better suited with one of the smaller Stir models.