RTW Backpack Test – Thule Stravan Review

With the giveaway of my around-the-world tested Timbuk2 Snoop Messenger bag I was left with the sudden need of a replacement. Although I loved the Timbuk2 Snoop camera bag I found it a bit too bulky and cumbersome for my RTW travel. Thankfully I came across the Thule Stravan backpack, the perfect balance between size, style, and productivity.

The Right Bag at the Right Moment

Before I get into what I like and dislike about the Thule Stravan backpack let me explain my requirements for a laptop bag. First I needed something small and light yet with enough space to store me electronic goods. Second I needed a bag to double as a camera carrier for flights. My camera bag for street shooting is a simple satchel (man purse), which I picked up at a night market in Chiang Mai.


To keep my camera lenses and body-safe Erin made me a custom insert that can come out which now fits snuggly into my Thule backpack. This keeps my camera gear with me on flights instead of in my checked bag below – which potentially (most likely) will be rummaged through or lost at some point along the way.

Thule Stravan Review

What I like about the Thule Stravan

The Thule Stravan backpack meets my two requirements of size and functionality. It’s also lightweight, durable, and comfortable to wear yet has enough space for my Macbook Air 13″, my camera gear while inside the insert and shaving kit/electronics accessory bag.

Thule Stravan Review

Thule Stravan Review

Aside from meeting my requirements for an around-the-world backpack, the Thule Stravan is not terrible looking. I was searching for something non-flashy and the Thule Stravan backpack stood out amongst the other laptop bags (without really standing out) that were predominantly bright and loud colours or screamed: “nerds wear me.”

Thule Stravan Review

The Thule Stravan backpack has loads of pockets offering me extra storage for notebooks, pens, books, and other necessities for my trips. The laptop sleeve is also pretty slick as it is a dedicated pocket making it easy to access in security lines and on the go.

Thule Stravan Review

Thule Stravan Review

What I disliked about the Thule Stravan Backpack

There is very little I don’t like about the Thule Stravan backpack, more just a few annoyances that I am happy to live with. First, the quick access laptop pocket has a sleeve that is intended for small laptops and tablets and not my Macbook Air 13″ laptop. The laptop does fit outside the sleeve and in the pocket but it would have been nice for it to be secured in the sleeve. On the plus, the sleeve offers a place for me to easily store books and notepads.

Thule Stravan Review

The Thule Stravan backpack also features a protected glasses/phone case on the front which I find a tad bulky and out of place. This may be a nice feature for some but unnecessary for me. On the positive, it is a quick access pocket for my headphones, extra camera cards, keys, and bottle opener.


Lastly, the Thule Stravan backpack is a smidge (and I mean smidge) too small for my needs. I know I said I required small and light however my Macbook Air 13″ feels like it is pushing the seams ever so slightly when in its pocket and could probably benefit from an extra inch or so of padding.

I also have a tripod that barely fits inside the main cavity but the Thule Stravan backpack does feature straps on the bottom that can easily accommodate this accessory if I wasn’t too lazy to use it that is.

Final Thoughts on the Thule Stravan

In the end, the Thule Stravan backpack has been the perfect companion on my RTW trip. It has provided a nice balance of size and functionality without being flashy. Also, the price was right. Although sold for around $99 USD, I found it mislabeled on sale at a Best Buy in Florida for $23 and the store honoured it! Sold!

What say you?
Have thoughts on the Thule Stravan backpack?
Let’s hear it!

For more reviews on Travel Gear and more see HERE.

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Thule Stravan Review

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