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Thule Review

Friday, February 23rd

2024 Luggage Reviews

Thule Review 3 Star Rating

Thule

3 Star Rating
  • Luggage mostly designed for rugged travels
  • 7 luggage collections
  • Limited lifetime warranty on all luggage

Thule got its start in Sweden in 1942. Best known for its bike and roof racks that allow you to transport yourself and your gear to all sorts of adventures, Thule won't surprise you by offering a luggage selection that mostly caters to intrepid wanderers - not necessarily to families headed to visit the famous Mouse or business travelers needing to maintain an uber-professional appearance.

7 different collections to choose from

Thule offers seven different collections of luggage, all with a limited lifetime warranty:

  • Aion: "versatile and eco-conscious for an active lifestyle), this series is made from durable recycled materials to give you water-resistant luggage. Many of the pieces in this collection have TPU-lined compartments to keep your dirty or wet clothes separate from what's still dry and clean. Items include a carry-on spinner for $349.95, two duffle bags for $189.95, several styles of travel backpacks, and a sling bag for $49.95. Color options are limited to black and "Nutria brown" (which is almost like a military tan).
  • Revolve: Thule's premium hardside luggage, this collection features TSA locks, rear spinners, and impact-resistant 100% virgin polycarbonate exteriors. Priced from $449.95 to $549.95 for a carry-on, 27" , and 30" , respectively, these are a decent option for durable hardsided luggage - but Thule doesn't always offer the Revolve line through online channels.
  • Subterra: "sleek, versatile, and built to last" is the description of this Thule collection. The luggage in Subterra is made of nylon, comes in a variety of colors, and is priced from $359.95 to $429.95 - but the biggest piece is only 25" . This collection is geared towards traveling light, not necessarily for taking everything you could possibly want on a long adventure.
  • Spira: "designed for the multi-tasking professional" , the Spira line is probably the most fashion-forward in the Thule luggage lineup. Everything in this collection is designed to be cute and comfortable, from totes that stand up without tipping (it has metal feet) to adjustable shoulder straps and eight spinner wheels for ultra-smooth movement. You'll pay $349.95 for the compact carry-on and $419.95 for the 27" spinner - but alas, this series is also not always sold online.
  • Crossover 2: whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, there's something in this collection for you. Thule calls the Crossover line "a complete carrying system" , allowing you to stack your backpack on top of your spinner or your briefcase on top of your carry-on without looking mismatched or unprofessional. Prices range from $169.96 for the Crossover 2 boarding bag, up to $499.95 for the 30" spinner.
  • Chasm: made of tarpaulin fabric, this collection is ready for all of your rough and tumble travel needs. Choose from a natural color palette of olive green, rusty orange, blue or black and get ready to see the world. There's only one wheeled option here (a duffle); the rest are bags and backpacks of assorted sizes.
  • RoundTrip: check out this Thule collection for all of your gear. Skis, snowboards, ski boots, even bicycles have their own luggage in this series.
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Limited lifetime warranty

Thule offers a limited lifetime warranty on all luggage. But, it's a little vague about what's covered and what's not, with wear-and-tear specifically excluded, along with scratches, accidents, and so forth. You're taking your chances that anything that goes wrong - a zipper falls off, a wheel on the duffel stops spinning - will be considered as "under warranty" . But, when we reached out to Thule via live chat, the representative said that with a sales receipt, it's usually easy to make a covered claim but warranty vs. wear-and-tear is determined on a case-by-case basis. Take that for what it's worth.

Customer complaints

And if customer feedback for Thule in general is an indicator, you'd do well to pause before buying your luggage here. The company has a "D-" rating from the Better Business Bureau for failing to respond to a small number of complaints - but elsewhere, we found a couple hundred one-star reviews that also went unanswered by Thule. The products themselves seem to typically do what they promise, but the customer service team? Not so much.

Better for the outdoorsy traveler

If your travels are more of the outdoorsy kind and you need luggage that corresponds with that, Thule isn't a bad brand to check out. You probably don't need a Disney carry-on that fits into an overhead bin if you're about to go climbing in the Andes. For those travelers, Thule could be a good choice. However, we're not thrilled with the company's track record for responding to customer complaints, and many customers shopping for more traditional spinners and carry-ons won't find what they need here.

Which Luggage Brand is the Best?

When it comes to buying your next set of luggage, your brand choice depends on several factors. Are you looking for the cheapest possible set to get your clothes from here to there? A designer label that conveys luxury and status? A mix of form, function, and value? Your answer to those questions will be a good jumping-off point as you decide which brand of luggage is right for you.

Do you have a preference for hard-sided or soft-sided carry-ons and suitcases? Some luggage brands offer both, while others specialize in one or the other. The same goes for the color and/or design: almost any brand will give you several options in basic black, but if you want your bags to stand out on the claim carousel at the airport - so that you spend as little time as possible trying to figure out which one is yours - your options may be more limited.

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Luggage FAQ

Not necessarily. Every company has to start somewhere, and a new brand might be the next big hit. However, sticking with luggage brands that have lots of customer reviews and a track record of honoring warranties is always a safer bet.
Definitely not. Some brands have limited lifetime coverage of manufacturer defects, while others only extend that protection in the first few years that you own your luggage. A very small number of luggage brands protect you against wear and tear, even airline mishandling, but the majority will only replace or repair your suitcase if something malfunctions (like a zipper breaks).
Unused? Yes, usually. Check the policy of the luggage brand you're considering if you think this is a real possibility.
In our experience, not usually. You're paying for the prestige and the look, but luxury luggage brands rarely match their more affordable counterparts with respect to durability and function. Even the ones that supposedly offer a "lifetime warranty" often fall down when it comes to honoring that promise. You're usually better off going with luggage that mixes form and function: what good is a fancy name if your suitcase busts open the first time it's thrown on an airport conveyor belt?
Very few. Even iconic brands like American Tourister and Samsonite are usually made in China.
Your features wish list depends on the kind of travel you anticipate doing. Adventurous, outdoorsy types might like duffel bags with compartments to separate muddy and wet clothing from dry, clean items. Business travelers or the tech savvy might appreciate a carry-on with a built-in USB port. Other commonly-sought features include spinner wheels, TSA-compatible locks, zippers to expand the packing capacity, and external handles that maximize interior packing space.
No. While most luggage brands do their best to designate their carry-ons as domestic- or international-sized, there are no guarantees. Helpful hint: read through the customer reviews on any piece you're considering and see if any mention your frequently-flown airlines.
That's like asking "Coke or Pepsi" . Soft-sided tends to weigh a little less and be more forgiving of cramming in that one last must-have item. Hard-sided is, well, harder. It can offer greater protection if you tend to travel with fragile belongings, but it also tends to get scuffed up quickly. It's really more a matter of personal preference than anything.
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Continued from above...

Still, almost every luggage brand has something that can catch your eye. Whether it's a bright solid color with contrasting accents, or a crazy pattern that's not likely to be repeated among your fellow passengers, you can usually find a piece that will stand out..

Another factor that will influence your luggage brand choice is your travel purpose. Taking the kids to Disneyland would require a very different assortment of carry-ons and suitcases (and sizes) from a couples' trip to hit the slopes at Vail or a solo backpacker adventure through Europe.

Once you've figured out if you need hard or soft luggage and determined what kind(s) of journeys you expect to put your bags through, what else will you need to consider as you choose a brand? Keep these factors in mind:

  • Warranty. The most expensive suitcase won't be worth much if it falls apart and you can't get it replaced or repaired. Warranty coverage can vary widely, with some luggage brands offering just one or two years of protection and others giving you a limited lifetime plan. Read the fine print, though: some warranties include service on issues related to airline handling, but most don't. Also check to see if the warranty includes both repair and replacement or just one or the other.
  • Durability. Does the luggage hold up under normal use? All luggage will get scuffed over time, but some brands do a better job of concealing it. What do customers say about their experience with the brand, especially after multiple trips?
  • Customer service. Does the company have a reputation for providing helpful, efficient responses when there's a problem? Has the brand responded to any complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau or in other places?

To help you get the right suitcases, carry-ons, and duffels for all of your travels, Top Consumer Reviews has evaluated and ranked today's top luggage brands. We're sure that this information will make it easy to find the best gear to take you from Toledo to Tokyo, wherever you may roam. Bon voyage!

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