By Vernon Felton
Tested: Thule Crossover Rolling 38L Carry-On
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.
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.
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.