Thule Subterra backpack

Cool factor 4/5
Usability 5/5
Value for money 4/5

Thule has built a reputation of making premium accessories for active and outdoor enthusiasts. The Swedish company makes carry-on luggage, tech protective gear, vehicle roof racks and bike trailers, and also has an "active with kids" range.

Its laptop backpacks in particular have become a benchmark for travellers who want to protect their expensive equipment. The 30l Subterra model is a sleek backpack that includes "power pockets" to manage charging cables.

It is useful for anyone who commutes or travels, thanks to its individualised compartments for a phone, tablet, laptop, keys, passport and cables. The 30l bag can hold a 15.6in laptop in a padded section that allows you to access it via the top-loading compartment or side zipper.

It has an additional lined tablet section and plenty of storage for smaller items with a focus on keeping things separate. This particular design is useful when flying at night while the cabin lights are dim: it’s easy to grab stuff without rummaging through the whole bag because you know exactly where everything is.

Power banks can be stowed at the base of the bag, with a cable threaded through another separator so that gadgets can be charged while on the go. On the exterior, there are two side zipped compartments to hold water bottles.

With 30l of space, this is a large backpack suitable for a quick business trip, transit or weekend away. It has ample space for clothes.

The bag is made from nylon and is durable. It is kitted with strong padding on the shoulders that makes it comfortable to wear for hours on end. It has a sternum strap for extra support but I didn’t like the look of it once strapped in and unfortunately there is no way to remove it.

The Thule 30l Subterra backpack is intelligently designed for the travel-and-tech-savvy, and delivers on all fronts. It has a clean, unassuming look but the logo is slightly too big.

All this comfort and practicality will set you back R3,300. It is available in black, blue or red and comes in a less expensive 23l option or a more expensive 34l one.