Last year I reviewed the Thule Crossover 32l. It was a tech backpack designed to have everything you needed for a work day on the go or an overnight trip. I loved the bag and have returned to it multiple times when not reviewing other bags, so when looking for a courier bag that could take a DSLR and a couple of lenses as well as my laptop and other bits Thule was high on my list to check out. We settled on looking at the Thule Covert DSLR Messenger Bag.
So how is the bag designed? My first impression was that it was extremely solidly built and my second was that it would probably survive being run over by a tank – this thing is very heavily reinforced.
The bag consists of two parts – an internal removable padded pouch and the main bag which can be used independently. The pouch fits perfectly inside the main pocket and has rigid sides, base and top. The pouch is a large part of the bags protection and is well designed for it. It’s elliptically shaped and has two mesh pockets on the front. Internally it’s a large open and padded area but comes with a number of velcro dividers of different heights and types. These can be strategically placed and bent to provide the correct set of slots for your lenses, DSLR and any similarly shaped bits.
The main bag is described as a courier messenger bag but reminds me more of Maxpedition’s GearSlinger line. When you’ve got it on and tightened up it holds very securely to your back at an acute angle with its two (one wide and one thin) straps. When its closed the bag has no obvious external pockets – although there is a cleverly hidden zip that gets you into the main pocket. Open the two buckle clips and there are two medium-sized Velcro pockets, a long zip that opens into a bag wide pocket with two smaller pockets internally and another long zip that closes the main pocket. This main pocket has the space for the camera pouch and at the back has padded space for a laptop (up to 15”) and two smaller padded pockets that work well with smaller tablets or a Kindle. Finally, take a closer look at that cover flap and there are two pockets in it – one open and one zippable. Neither of these pockets is large but they’re perfect for paperwork or similar storage.
All that protection comes with its own price – the bag is heavy even when empty but it’s surprisingly comfortable to wear especially when cinched tight with both straps.
Included in the box: Bag with an internal removable padded section with Velcro changeable sections.
Thule is a Swedish company that is probably best known for their car carriers and boxes but also make a range of bags, child carriers and smartphone tablets. They sell worldwide and have nine separate productions facilitates employing over 2000 staff. Their turnover in 2015 was around 450 million pounds.
I found that the bag was very good for getting my camera in and out quickly through the top zip, provided that it was at one end of the main compartment and when properly arranged, this worked well with the less used lenses and devices at the other end. The base of the bag has loops which are designed for cinching in the bag when the pouch is not in it or for holding a tripod. They worked well at the first but while they did hold the tripod it threw off the bag’s balance making it much harder to carry and I’d not regard it as something to use for long days walking.
The outside of the bag is dark black and grey with light blue accents and looks very professional but without being too flashy or standing out too much. This contrasts with the inside which is two much lighter shades of grey. These lighter shades make finding smaller items in the bag much easier but don’t show dirt in any way.
- Aimed at Prosumers
- Target age range: Adults, Older adults
- Target gender: Unisex/gender neutral,
- Optimized for right-handed use out of the box but the strap can be swapped around to hand on the left of your body
- Optimized for all weather conditions – does not claim to be waterproof but the material resists water very well and to get to the central pouch the water would have to go through multiple layers
Environment & People
The bag is not a particularly cheap but it’s surprisingly affordable when compared to other prosumer bags and when you consider the cost of the equipment that it securely holds. I’ve carried mine along the beach, through rain and it’s been sat on, dropped and otherwise abused and after a month’s use, it still looks brand new.
Product dimensions external: 27.9 x 54.6 x 21.1 cm
Internal dimensions (main pocket): 24.9 x 45 x 14 cm
Weight (empty): 1.85 kg
Color: Dark shadow black with silver extras
Maximum laptop size: 15″
Material: 800 Dernier Oxford Nylon
Quoted capacity: DSLR camera with lens attached, 2 additional lenses, 15-inch laptop and accessories
Warranty: Two years to cover any damage or damage including damage caused by normal wear and tear as well as defects in workmanship or materials
There are no particular requirements to use the bag but it is a large and heavy bag and may not be suitable for those who are smaller.
The bag is aimed at the prosumer market – the person who always has their lenses and camera with them and probably a laptop and tablet to go with it but doesn’t want to advertise. If you’ve only a single camera and lens it’s overkill and you might want to look at its smaller brother but for serious users, this is a serious bag that will last you a long time. Highly recommended.
The review is based on the Thule Covert DSLR Messenger Bag kindly provided by Thule.
Click to read more about our eco icons and access icons used in this review. This article was first published on 23rd May 2016.