Tested: Thule Crossover 38L Carry-On

Thule's Crossover 38-Liter is both a roller bag and a backpack--it's also just the right size for day trips.

Thule’s Crossover 38-Liter is both a roller bag and a backpack–it’s also just the right size for day trips.

By Vernon Felton

Tested: Thule Crossover Rolling 38L Carry-On
Price:
$300

It’s a roller bag. No, it’s a backpack. Wait, it’s both. Kind of sounds like one of those infomercials promising a can opener that can double as a rocket launcher—too good to be true. But in this case, Thule is on target with their claim: the Thule Crossover 38L carry-on doubles capably as both a mini-rolling bag and a backpack. In short, this is one versatile bit of luggage.

You're still going to want to put your computer in a  padded sleeve if you are going to hand the bag over to the cruel mercies of baggage handlers, but the Thule does sport a bit of cushion to help keep your laptop in working order.

You’re still going to want to put your computer in a padded sleeve if you are going to hand the bag over to the cruel mercies of baggage handlers, but the Thule does sport a bit of cushion to help keep your laptop in working order.

Thule offers a wide range of Crossover bags, some of which are perfect for long trips. The Crossover 38L, however, is really a daypack. In addition to a lightly padded sleeve that will accommodate a 15-inch laptop, the Thule sports a main storage compartment with enough room for a couple days’ worth of clothes and a stick of deodorant. In short, if you are heading to Europe for two weeks, you’re going to want something a lot bigger, but for short trips the Crossover 38L gets the job done. What’s more, the bag is small enough to pass as a carry-on with most airlines, which eliminates the need for you to waste another half hour of your life staring at a luggage carousel and wondering why your bag wound up in Helsinki instead Chicago O’Hare.

When it comes to toting the Thule around, it's easiest to employ the telescoping handles to roll the bag along, but the Thule 38L also comes with these hide-a-way shoulder straps, which enable you to also carry the bag backpack-style.

When it comes to toting the Thule around, it’s easiest to employ the telescoping handles to roll the bag along, but the Thule 38L also comes with these hide-a-way shoulder straps, which enable you to also carry the bag backpack-style.

I’ve been using the Crossover 38L for two years now and have been impressed. For one, it’s held up well. Thule’s done a good job on the durability front. Second, the company has clearly paid attention to the small, but important details. The large roller wheels are of higher quality than what you’ll find on ninety percent of roller bags. The crush proof sunglass/iPod pouch is genius. It could be a little larger, but it’s a great feature. I like that they included a separate storage area for laptops, though it could use a bit more padding.

In short, if you hate handing over your bag and watching airline personnel pummel your fragile gear, the Thule Crossover 38L is hard to beat.

The Thule is loaded with cool features, including this heat-molded, crush-proof pouch, which is ideal for sunglasses and iPods.

The Thule is loaded with cool features, including this heat-molded, crush-proof pouch, which is ideal for sunglasses and iPods.

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