Activity, adventure and the great outdoors are all passions we share with our client, Thule, and so it was to the team’s delight to put some of their sleek and stylish products to the test.

Sam, Vikki, Monica and Layla have been testing out a variety of Thule products over the last month, so let’s see how they got on:

Thule Vital 6L Hydration Backpack

First up is the Thule Vital 6L Hydration Backpack.  Aspire’s Account Manager, Sam Begg, took the hydration pack out on one of many 7am mountain bike rides, making it back just in time for our 9am team meeting! Here’s what he thought:

What is it?

The Thule Vital 6L backpack is a lightweight hydration backpack, designed to support the outdoor explorer while out on the trails. It has a self-contained 2.5L hydrapack water reservoir, and plenty of storage space for tools, snacks and phone. The Thule Vital has a unique magnetic drinking hose that snaps back into place between sips.  

Who is it for?

Ideal for mountain bikers, hill walkers, or anyone who likes to be outdoors for long periods of time!

Our verdict:

While the bag was roomy enough to hold my tools and enough water to support a 5-hour ride, it’s still light enough that I didn’t really notice it while out on the trails. I absolutely loved the magnetic system for the hydration hose to snap it back into place. It also means that the hose is in the exact same position every time you need a drink, regardless of how bumpy the trail was.

The outer lining of the bag is hydrophobic enough that rain and mud don’t reach your precious belongs inside, and it’s also an easy wipe down to clean afterwards!

At a glance:

  • Price: £110
  • Best feature: The hydration hose
  • Surprising discovery: How light and unencumbering it was
  • Perfect for: Getting adventurous on the bike!

In contrast to Sam’s pre-work, muddy bike ride in the hills of Guildford, Vikki (Aspire’s Account Director) and her family put the Thule Vital to the test in somewhere (only slightly) more exotic… Costa Rica (!). Here’s how they got on:

Who is it for?

Thule Vital is a fully functional hydration pack designed for females with its women’s-specific torso design and comforting straps across the chest area.

At a glance

Practical and high-quality fabrics.  The pack sits neatly on the back, it’s unobtrusive but still looks stylish and cool!


I absolutely loved testing this hydration pack on holiday.  It’s extremely compact and stores just the right amount of water you need for a day trip out.  We weren’t allowed to take any kind of plastic bottles into Corcovardo National Park so this pack was just perfect for storing our water, meaning that we had hands free to explore and take pictures without having to carry a standard water bottle with us.

The main compartment area is just the right size for personal belongings and small essentials – it’s also lightweight and fitted in my main rucksack perfectly without taking up too much room.

Since returning from holiday, I have used the Thule Vital on a few long weekend runs and it sits really comfortably over my chest area and doesn’t move around my body / boobs when running.

At a glance:

  • Price: £125
  • Best feature: Handy hands-free magnetic hose return system that snaps firmly back in place after every use.  The Alaska blue colour is super stylish and differs from a lot of grey and black colourways that are available.
  • Surprising discovery: Convenient phone pocket and side pockets – ideal for snacks and energy bars.
  • Perfect for: Running, hiking and cycling adventures. It has the perfect amount of storage for all your belongings and the side pockets are handy for your phone which saves you digging around looking for it!

Thule Aion Rucksack

On Vikki’s trip of a lifetime to Costa Rica, her and her family covered stunning coastlines, rugged rainforests and jungle areas, super cool surfing spots and volcanoes and waterfalls hotspots. With a lot of area to cover in a short amount of time, Vikki decided to take the Thule Aion rucksack with them as well so they could venture on planes/buses/boats and more planes/buses and boats without the hassle of cumbersome suitcases.

Vikki’s daughter Penny was in charge of testing out the Thule Aion Rucksack. Here’s Penny’s two cents:

What is it?: A versatile and multifunctional unisex 28L rucksack that expands to a 32L rucksack.

Who is it for?: Thule Aion is an everyday urban contemporary bag collection designed for people that need more than just a rucksack.   With its multiple layers zipped pockets and compartments and the capability of opening fully like a suitcase, this multifunctional bag is perfect for a work/daily commute and for those that like to venture a little further afield on weekend adventures.

At a glance: Classic looking, hardwearing, high-quality tech with good detailing.

Verdict: Penny absolutely loves this bag! She is a massive fan of bags and pencil cases that have multiple pockets and lots of organisational compartments! She loved the waterproof divider and used this section a lot (especially being on the move so much) when separating her damp and wet swimming costumes from the rest of her clothes and belongings. 

It’s extremely light too and she found the shoulders straps didn’t dig into her shoulders thanks to padded shoulder pads.  The top and back-loading options are fantastic as she was able to open the bag suitcase style and find everything she needed with ease.  She loved the dedicated electronics storage for her iPad and charger and the water bottle pocket was a bit hit too!

At a glance:

  • Price: £160
  • Best feature: Opens into a suitcase so you can see all your belongings really easily.
  • Surprising discovery: Sustainable credentials.  The rucksack is Bluesign® certified and is made from 100% durable recycled materials.
  • Perfect for: Urban adventures and city breaks using the bag as a carry-on bag for any flight!

Thule Aion Sling Bag

Finally, both Layla (Aspire’s Founder), and Monica (Aspire’s Associate Director), tested out the Thule Aion Sling Bag.

What is it?:

Part of the Thule Aion luggage range, this is a fantastic product for everyday living. It’s small and compact yet has multiple compartments and much more space than you’d initially imagine. The sling bag can be worn alone or combined with any of the Thule Aion rucksacks.

Importantly, all the bags in this range (and many other Thule bags) are Bluesign certified, which means the product is made from a very high percentage of recycled materials (outer shell, lining & mesh – which are made from recycled plastic bottles) and the protection of workers, consumers and the environment is ensured during the manufacturing process.

The product speaks quality on first look (typical Thule style) and when you explore the product more, this signature quality is presented in so many different ways. Multiple pockets and compartments give every precious item its place.  The water-resistant zip and wax canvas exterior means that your things won’t get soggy if caught in a shower when out and about.

Here’s what Monica thought:

Who is it for?

This is a really smart, small bag with a really urban feel.  It’s perfect for individuals like me who want a compact bag to use daily that fits your essential on the move items, but also more importantly, to feel hands free, not weighed down or lopsided with a shoulder bag that affects posture!  

For a small item, it has a number of ‘big’ features allowing you to fit quite a bit in without it feeling or looking overpacked or bulky.   It has a main compartment, an inner zipped pocket, an internal divider, a concealed external back pocket plus a key fob to keep keys secure and safe. 

Our verdict:

I love a bag and have a growing collection of all kinds, and I absolutely love this black addition to my everyday collection and wardrobe!  It ticks all my boxes in terms of size and space without being bulky, how it sits on my body comfortably and out of the way, how it works with different outfits from active wear to smart casual, the fact it is made using recyclable materials and of course its aesthetic.  It’s a cool, clever, surprisingly spacious little bag.  I call it my Mary Poppins bag as so much more can fit inside than you think on first glance. I absolutely love it!

At a glance: Contemporary, compact, versatile, durable, cool, water resistant and critically, 100% Bluesign® certified and made from durable recycled materials.

  • Price: A snip at £45
  • Best feature: The fact that wherever you put your stuff, you have quick and easy access to it without having to remove a number of items to get to what you need, making it really nifty.
  • Surprising discovery: It fits in so much more than you would think.
  • Perfect for: Anyone who wants a small, stylish urban looking, hands-free bag that fits all the essential belongings they need when they are on the move.

And last but certainly not least we have Layla’s verdict:

Who is it for?: This product is great for anyone who is often on the move, perfect for work life, social life, busy parent life and travel adventures.  It’s very unisex, so can be shared amongst the household and since it’s so durable, it will very much endure being part of day-to-day life!  It comes in nutria brown or black, both strong colours, it was very hard to pick between the two.

Our verdict: This is the most essential item I’ve had in a very long time! I’m not one for handbags, so always carry my most valuable items in my pockets or hands (a very bad habit of mine). Having them close to your body is reassuring and means you are hands free to feel free!

The sling bag is super comfortable and fit snugly against your body. I love the colour (went for nutria brown), the design and the practicality of this bag.

At a glance:

  • Environmentally conscious, which I’ve prioritised at the top of this list
  • Good looking, the same can be said for all the bags in the Thule Aion range
  • High quality, this is a product that is made to last
  • Practical, it will finally stop me losing my most valuable things!

Price: £45

Best feature: Water resistant zip & wax canvas exterior fabric

Surprising discovery: It’s made out of recycled plastic bottles

Perfect for: Everyday adventures