Review - Thule Stir 20 Rucksack

Thule Stir 20 Rucksack
When it comes to quality kit, Thule seem to deliver every time. From bike carriers, like the Thule ProRide 598; to bags, like the Thule Paramount Rucksack. The Swedish brand consistently produces kit that is a pleasure to use, and also stands up to years of use and abuse.

The Thule Stir 20 Rucksack is the smaller and lighter little brother of the Thule Stir 35 Rucksack, which I reviewed earlier this year. It holds many of the great attributes of the 35 litre pack, but also does away with a few features; the result, is a bag that is probably actually better for running and cycling shorter distances.


Soft shoulder straps and a lightweight hip belt

Unlike the Thule Stir 35, the Stir 20 Rucksack adopts a 'lean' approach to the back padding, shoulder straps and hip belt. The back padding is a single panel of lightweight foam; rather than a height adjustable system. The hip belt is a single layer mesh, with a webbing strap; rather than a pocketed padded belt strap. The shoulder straps are then also made of a lighter weight, softer foam.

The lightweight approach is intentional: the Thule Stir 20 is designed to be a minimalist pack, to carry day-trekking essentials; rather than a longer-haul hiking bag. 

The approach actually means that the Thule Stir 20 is far more comfortable to run and cycle with, than the Stir 35. This is because the softer foam padding on the straps is more gentle on your shoulder bones, and the net weight of the pack is far lower. The differences between the two bags acts as a prime example of how Thule have user-tested their products; developing two bags that are tailored to their intended use, rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach.
Thule Stir 20 Rucksack
A simple lightweight back panel, minimalist tuck-away hip belt, and soft shoulder straps on the Thule Stir 20 Rucksack



Neat features and a practical design

Like the Thule Stir 35 hiking rucksack, the more compact Thule Stir 20 Daypack has some super neat design features. 

Highlights for me include: 
  • The stretchy phone pocket on the shoulder strap; this is great for easy access
  • The side water bottle holders, which are deep enough you don't have to worry about your bottles going flying
  • The internal mesh pocket, which is great for quick-to-access valuables
  • The outer "stuff pocket", which is perfect for wet waterproofs
  • The drawstring system with storm flap, which is great for easy access of kit within the bag
Again, it is these kind of features that demonstrate the great real-life testing that the Thule products go through. 

It is worth noting that the Thule Stir 25 doesn't have an in-built rain cover (unlike the Stir 35). Therefore, although the outer fabric is waterproof, and the pull-cord top with storm-flap should keep out the worst of the weather, you probably would want to invest in a rain cover if you were using this in torrential downpours.
Thule Stir 20 daypack
I like the neat features, like the external "stuff pocket" for waterproofs, on the Thule Stir 20 Rucksack



Pack light. Travel far

It is very easy when you are looking to buy a daypack, to go for the 'slightly larger model'; because it will give you more room for "stuff". However, as I found on the Original Mountain Marathon last month, smaller and lighter is often a better approach.

If you can fit everything you actually 'need' into a 20 litre pack (you should be able to, I fitted everything for The OMM into a 25 litre bag - view my kit list here); then it will provide a lighter weight carry, with better weight distribution on your back, than you'd get with a larger less-well packed bag. Pack light: travel further, and faster.

Overall, the Thule Stir 20 Rucksack is a super little lightweight running, cycling and walking rucksack. With innovative features, to make it comfortable and easy to use; yet none of the un-necessary bulk that you don't want in active sports. This is a compact carry, which will enable you to explore more, with all your necessary essentials.

View the Thule Bags range at Thule.com (Link)

Thule Stir 20 Rucksack Review
The Thule Stir 20 - a stripped-back minimalist pack, for lightweight comfort

Thule Stir 20 Rucksack Review
The Thule Stir 20 doesn't have a rain cover, but the storm flap design should keep out the worst of the weather

Thule Stir 20 Rucksack Review
Side pockets deep enough you don't have to worry about your 24Bottles stainless bottle flying out!

Thule Stir 20 Rucksack Review
Lashing points, a pole store, and a light clip - features on the outside of the Stir 20

Thule Stir 20 Rucksack Review
Inside the Thule Stir 20 you get a useful little mesh valuables pocket

Thule Stir 20 Rucksack Review
The Thule Stir 20 is hydration bladder compatible

Thule Stir 20 Rucksack Review
Overall, another very impressive product from Thule



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