Thule Versant 60
- Expandable for larger loads
- Large, two-pocket brain
- Heavy construction aids overall durability
- No loops on bottom
- Permanent water bladder sleeve
The biggest strength of the Thule Versant 60 is its expandability and good storage capabilities, which stretches the range of this bag into the 2-4 night range. Its most pressing limitation is its weight.
The Versant has minimal but sufficient padding. The torso length is easily adjustable in the field with a velcro system. This system does create a small bump on the mid-back, beneath the upper back padding, that may cause some discomfort for certain back shapes.
The Thule Versant 60 does not have loops on the bottom of the pack, but it does have two buckled straps on either side which increases storage potential. These straps also provide a good level of expandability and compression, allowing the pack to handle a wide range of loads. It has a very large three pocket brain and four small gear loops. It also has three points of entry: top cinch and buckle, bottom zipper, and a horseshoe zipper that allows access to most parts of the body compartment.
The tall construction and commensurate height-to-width ratio makes this a harder bag to pack. It has a higher center of gravity than most of the other bags in the test set. This imbalance isn’t helped by the fact that the lack of under straps sends exterior gear higher up on the sides of the pack.
The Thule Versant is built heavy, which adds to durability but also adds to the final weight. The sides of the pack use a lighter fabric. The buckles are made from hefty plastic.
The Thule Versant has one permanent hip pouch and one removable hip pouch, which allows options such as waterproof pouch, zippered pouch, or water bottle sleeve. This pack has two gear loops on the back for trekking poles or ice tools, but they rely on the pack’s side buckles, which can limit their usefulness.
How We Tested It
The packs in this test were used throughout the winter and spring of 2017, during day hikes ranging from a few miles to a summit attempt on Mount Hood. Tests were conducted on Maryland’s Western Shore, in the Olympic Range of Washington State, and in the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest. This geographic diversity of conditions allowed for a look into each pack’s strengths and weakness. Each pack was loaded down with at least 15 pounds.
For more reviews beyond this 2017 test, check out our other backpack tests, our Best 3 Person Backpacking Tents of 2017, along with our sleeping bag tests, and other related hiking and camping gear tests.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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- Type of Backpack: Weekend Pack
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