Thule’s EnRoute Strut is a well-designed and very nicely made daypack sized back that’s great for commuting, as long as your back is long enough. Shorter women should look elsewhere.
Thule has added a collection of small rucksacks to the very well-received range of travel luggage the Swedish roof rack manufacturer introduced a few years ago. The EnRoute Strut is the smallest of the range, with a capacity of 19 litres and it makes for a comfortable, stable commuting backpack, though there are a couple of features we’d like to see added or tweaked.
Inside the purple nylon shell (you can also choose from black, grey and blue) there’s a roomy main compartment with organiser pockets built into the lid, and a thickly padded laptop compartment that’ll comfortably take a 15-inch MacBook Pro. There’s an extra slot for an iPad too, if you’re massively digitalled-up.
On the outside we find a lightly padded pocket for your bits and bobs, stretch mesh side pockets that firmly grab a water bottle and attachment points that you can use to strap on a jacket or anything else that won’t cram inside.
For your sunnies or fragile electronics, the Strut has a crush-resistant SafeZone compartment. Essentially a padded box with a plastic shell, this is a great idea that spares you carrying around a separate glasses case. Thule doesn't say what the metal buckle on the compartment is for and it did leave us scratching our heads. Ideas in the comments please.
Firm shoulder straps hold the pack on your back nice and stably, there’s a sternum strap to pull them in and the padding is deep and comfortable against your back.
So far so good then. In short, this is a well-executed round-town backpack with a couple of really nice features. We especially like that the interior’s not black, which makes it a lot easier to find things. And we do love to carry plenty of things, right?
Problem is, all that space for things comes at the expense of length. At 47cm it’s not excessively tall for small pack, but when you stiffen it by putting in a laptop the bottom tends to lift off your lower back when you lean over a bike, unless you’re quite tall.
Thule’s PR pitches the EnRoute Strut as a women’s pack (though it has to be said, Thule doesn’t say this anywhere we could find). It would suit a wider range of women if it were a bit shorter, and if Thule’s serious about a women-specific pack, then we’d like boob-friendly S-shaped straps like Camelbak’s women’s bags. A raincover to keep that lovely purple from getting all crudded-up would be nice too.
A good commuting and general-purpose pack if you’re tall enough for it to sit well with a laptop inside.
Comfortable and stable
Plenty of organiser pockets
Could be more bike- and women-specific
More information: Thule EnRoute Strut
What Thule says about the EnRoute Strut
This 19 liter, city slicker daypack keeps you plugged-in at any urban locale with dedicated, protective 15" MacBook Pro (14.6" PC) and iPad/10.1" tablet compartments.
- Large main compartment with padded, top-load sleeve for a laptop and a slip pocket for an iPad/tablet
- Heat-molded, crush proof SafeZone™ compartment protects your sunglasses, iPhone, portable electronics and other fragile gear
- Organization panel keeps snacks and electronics in one place
- Airflow channels on back panel provide ventilation
- Padded backpack straps with a sternum strap maximize comfort
- Stash pocket on front panel keeps small items within instant reach
- Side pocket keeps a water bottle close at hand
- Easy-grab zipper pulls and #10 zippers allow easy access to the main compartment