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So you're planning a weekend adventure and you've got stuff to pack. You need hiking boots (or bicycle helmet or wetsuit), something clean and dry to wear for beer and burgers to celebrate your athletic accomplishments, pajamas and a favorite book for that night of sleep you're going to need before heading back to civilization the following day. And what's more, you want it all to fit in a carry-on bag, so you can save the time and money of checking a bag.
You've probably used duffels or backpacks in the past, but Thule has devised something new – a lightweight bag (7 pounds, 8 ounces) that's a combination backpack and roller. It's the right size for a carry-on bag, and specially designed to protect and organize your stuff, so your grubby sweated-in clothes won't sully your beer-and-burger ensemble.
The Thule TCRU-1 38 Liter Rolling Carry-On is loaded with compartments and features, from adjustable backpack straps to an easy-to-use retractable handle that can be operated with one hand. Thanks to aluminum feet, it rests in a standing position when you're in the check-in line at the airport, with a handle at the top for easy one-handed hoisting. For covering greater distances, The Thule TCRU-1 can be rolled on the oversize wheels, or it can be transported as a backpack, using adjustable straps that position the wheels so they are away from your body.
The backpack feature for the TCRU-1 seems dorky at first, but once it's used, you will wonder why you spent so much time schlepping awkwardly shaped duffels through airports. Carrying the bag as a backpack was comfortable. It leaves both hands free, and it avoids the hassles of pulling a bag on wheels, namely navigating steps and constantly hitting your ankles. Also, the backpack straps easily tuck away when not in use.
Another exterior compartment is large enough for a complete outfit, including shoes, and has two webbed sections for keeping gear organized. The backpack straps also have attachment loops, so an additional bag can be connected.
The carry-on is part of a new Crossover line from Thule that takes the company from bike racks, ski racks and other car attachments to travel gear including backpacks, duffels and a sling pack.
The line was designed with adventure travelers in mind, so the luggage is lightweight and easy to carry, yet it protects and organizes gear, and helps keep your clothes dry. And that's important, because you want to look your best for that after-adventure celebration.
The Thule TCRU-1 38 Liter Rolling Carry-On retails for $289.99.
Karen Nitkin likes to run, hike, bike, camp and swim. She spends as much time as possible on these activities, while juggling a writing career, family life, and doing errands like laundry and going to the grocery store.
Nitkin lives in Maryland, where the relatively mild climate allows her to run and bike year-round. She also spends at least a few weeks each year in New Hampshire, camping and hiking in the White Mountains. She has set a goal of hiking all 48 New Hampshire peaks that are above 4,000 feet. As of the fall of 2010, she is at number 20, following an epic rain-drenched four-peak overnight in the Pemigewasset wilderness over the summer.
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