Thule Capstone 40L women’s rucksack
I know the brand Thule because they make bike racks for cars. Did you know they also sell rucksacks? I have been testing the Thule Capstone 40L women’s pack.
The Capstone comes in male female-specific designs and in sizes from 22l to 50l.
- MicroAdjust Suspension system with adjustment for torso length of up to 10cms.
- Tensioned mesh back panel for breathability.
- Top and bottom access to main storage area
- Large outer storage area for item you need quick access to
- Hip belt with zipped pocket on one side and a customisable side that allows the user to interchange with “VersaClick” accessories (sold separately)
- Included is a VersaClick Pole Holder
- Other pockets include zipped lid and stretch fabric shove-it pockets at side
- Durable button hole webbing in outside so you can attach items, such as a water bottle
- Rear hiking pole and ice axe attachments
- High-visibility, removable rain cover
See Thule for stockists.
On test: Thule Capstone 40L women’s rucksack
I chose to test the 40l because I think it is the perfect pack size for day hikes – especially in winter when you need to carry a few more essential items – or for a lightweight overnight trip in summer.
If you have a pack that is bigger there chances are you will add more kit than you really want to carry. I am not someone who likes to carry a heavy load because I am quite light myself so 40l feels about right to me.
I also liked the idea of the adjustable back system. It took me a wee while to work out how the back system adjusts (in retrospect I should have looked at the online instructions) but once I worked it out it is easy to do.
The adjustment is 10cm from shortest to longest and I found I needed it to be at its most extended. I am almost 5ft 9in so if you are taller than this you might want to find another pack.
I was able to adjust it so the hip belt fits neatly just above my hips. The shoulder straps and hipbelt are nicely padded.
The mesh back of the pack keeps the pack itself away from my own back. It helps to reduce sweating and means the load is supported well.
You can also adjust the chest strap up and down the front of the shoulder straps to allow for different sizes of people and to make room for different chest sizes. I preferred to have the chest strap attached high up.
There are further adjustment straps on the top of the shoulders to allow for different weights of the pack. Pulling the straps tighter makes the pack load feel more secure against your pack.
Other good features of the pack include the hip belt pocket. I really like a zipped pocket for stowing bits and pieces that you need easy access to. I wish the pocket was big enough to fit my iPhone 6 plus but it’s a bit small. That is a shame.
The other side of the hip belt has a novel accessory clipping system. The Thule VersaClick allows the wearer to add a range of accessories, such as the included walking pole carrier or other items that you are required to buy, such as a camera holster, a Rolltop Safezone pocket or a water bottle sleeve. This is an interesting feature and one that many people will like. I am not so sure I would bother to buy extra accessories but I do like the robust pole carrier.
The internal space of the pack is roomy. You can access this from the top under the lid or via a zip at the base of the pack, which is useful. If I was off for an overnight trip I might stow my sleeping bag and mat at the bottom of the pack and clothing at the top. It is useful to have different access points for this sort of trip.
There is also a very useful outer packet where I stuffed a waterproof jacket and a map and compass. This is a place for stowing items that you want to have easy access to while walking.
The rain cover is also a useful addition.
I am not so sure about the usefulness of the “durable button hole webbing”. On the website, Thule suggest that people might want to add a water bottle via a carabiner but I would find this annoying because it would no doubt bang against the rucksack as you walk.
It could be useful for adding a helmet or tent accessories to the outside but I usually prefer to keep everything inside the pack. However, the webbing is not a detriment to the design and durability of he pack so I guess it’s a useful addition on the odd occasion. I might want to strap tent poles or a sleeping mat to the outside of the pack, for example.
The pack felt very comfortable to use.I did not suffer any rubs while walking with quite a heavy load. It is designed to fit the slimmer and smaller physique of a woman and I appreciate that.
It’s the ideal size for an overnight camping trip, such as a summer walking and wild camping outing. This is the perfect size if you want t be sure that you do not “over-pack” a larger rucksack. The 40litres would force you to economise on what you are carrying, so, in my mind, it’s good for fair weather summer camping when you do not need to carry so many items.
Equally it is a great pack size for winter Munro bagging. There’s also a place to add an ice axe.
The pack looks to be well made with good quality fabrics and straps. It seems reasonable priced at £120.
While I usually carry a pack made by Osprey, so far my favourite rucksack brand, I might now also consider Thule as an alternative. It seems they don’t just make good quality bike carriers for cars!