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Carry On

Thule Subterra Carry-On

Thule Subterra Carry-On 22″ :: Drive By

by , January 30, 2017

The Subterra Collection by Thule is the latest product line-up from the Swedish brand. Known mainly for their innovative roof racks, carriers, and bike accessories, the brand has introduced award-winning backpacks and luggage as an extension of their “bring it with you” mantra over the past couple of years. The new urban-inspired Subterra collection first caught my attention at last Summer’s Outdoor Retailer show and I’ve had the opportunity to test out the Carry-On 22″ for the past few months. I put it through its paces on a few flights, road trips, and a couple of weekend overnighters and was left quite impressed.

Thule Subterra Carry-On

Who It Suits

Anyone looking for a stylish and sleek carry-on with ample storage for a short trip either on the road or in the air. A must for the modern business traveler who leads an active lifestyle.

Thule Subterra Carry-On

Who It Doesn’t

The traditional business traveler who is looking for a more sophisticated or conventional style. The techie who is looking for luggage that doubles as a charging station. Those who require extra organization or heavy-duty protection for their gear, such as photographers, who should stick to specialty luggage such as Pelican.

Thule Subterra Carry-On

The Good

The sleek exterior styling is what first caught my eye. The style is a nice balance of modern design with its minimal and clean aesthetic coupled with functionality and performance utilizing durable, water-resistant 800D nylon fabric.  The interior lining is bright yellow, which makes it easy to see all of the contents inside. It also adds a nice contrast and pop of color.

“The style is a nice balance of modern design with its minimal and clean aesthetic coupled with functionality and performance utilizing durable, water-resistant 800D nylon fabric.”

Thule Subterra Carry-On

The back panel is a molded polycarbonate, which absorbs impact and is tough enough to withstand rough handling by the TSA. There are three handles (top, side, and bottom) for ease of lifting and removing from the overhead bin and other spaces.

Thule Subterra Carry-On

“There are three handles (top, side, and bottom) for ease of lifting and removing from the overhead bin and other spaces.”

Thule Subterra Carry-On

The carry-on is lightweight, weighing only about 7 pounds, and size-wise fits in most if not all overhead bins. It also tucks away nicely in a closet or under a bed when not in use.

Thule Subterra Carry-On

I found the storage space to be ample enough to hold up to 3-4 nights’ worth of clothing, toiletries, and kicks, although this is probably up to how you pack and what you pack. The carry-on incorporates a clamshell design to separate your belongings into two main compartments. The top compartment has a zippered mesh divider, which allows dirty clothes to air out as well as gives some visibility of the contents.

“The carry-on incorporates a clamshell design to separate your belongings into two main compartments.”

Thule Subterra Carry-On

One unique and standout feature is the internal ratcheting compression board. This system not only provides the ability to separate the contents between the compartments, but also helps compress your clothing to fit more. The system is simple and easy to use, similar to a snowboard binding ratchet system; you press down on the straps to set it in place and click it closed. When you’re ready to remove the compression board you just tug on each individual strap and it unclicks smoothly. The compression board also has a zippered mesh pocket for additional organization and storage. I found this handy for a tie, cufflinks, and a belt when I attended a destination wedding recently. The compression board is removable, so if you don’t want to use it you can simply take it off and save it for later. After testing it with multiple items of clothing and with and without packing cubes, I can confidently back this system as I found it very handy and useful.

“One unique and standout feature is the internal ratcheting compression board. This system not only provides the ability to separate the contents between the compartments, but also helps compress your clothing to fit more.”

Thule Subterra Carry-On

Thule Subterra Carry-On

Thule Subterra Carry-On

Another standout feature is the v-tubing telescoping handle. The handle is built into the molded back panel and doesn’t take much space from the internal compartment as I’ve found with other rolling luggage. The handle is easy to use with a button built into both sides of the non-slip grip and slides up and down into the locked fixed position smoothly. It feels light and sturdy and gives complete control when rolling the carry-on around. There is also a base at the bottom to help the luggage stand upright when not moving.

“The handle is easy to use with a button built into both sides of the non-slip grip and slides up and down into the locked fixed position smoothly.”

Thule Subterra Carry-On

Thule Subterra Carry-On

The Not So Good

I can tell a lot of thought went into the design of the luggage so it was tough to find any major issues with the carry-on. I did find that the amount of storage pockets and organization is very minimal, leaving those needing more pockets or compartments lacking. The exterior has one quick-access pocket, which is surprisingly deep and can hold items such as keys, a wallet, phone, and small toiletries for fast access or storage through security at the airport. There is also a zippered mesh pocket on the inside. The downfall to this large of a pocket is that it takes up valuable interior real estate if packed with items.

“I did find that the amount of storage pockets and organization is very minimal, leaving those needing more pockets or compartments lacking.”

Thule Subterra Carry-On

There is no dedicated compartment for business travelers or creatives looking to store their laptop, but a piggyback strap attachment loop allows an additional bag to be hooked on easily. So you may want to pair it with the matching Thule Subterra Laptop Bag or Attache (I have not tried this).

“There is no dedicated compartment for business travelers or creatives looking to store their laptop, but a piggyback strap attachment loop allows an additional bag to be hooked on easily.”

The luggage doesn’t include some of the extra features that some other modern luggage may include such as a battery pack, location tracker, or built-in TSA locks.

Thule Subterra Carry-On

The oversized wheels I found to be quite large for my taste. They do roll smoothly and work over rougher terrain, but are not as discreet and the size becomes a distraction to the overall design. I personally would like to see this with a four-wheel option.

“The oversized wheels I found to be quite large for my taste.”

Thule Subterra Carry-On

Verdict

The Thule Subterra Carry-On 22″ is a great travel companion for short stints. Great for business and weekend adventures alike.

Thule Subterra Carry-On

The price is expected for the quality when compared to other carry-on luggage within the category with a retail price of $279.95.

“Great for business and weekend adventures alike.”

Thule Subterra Carry-On

The entire Thule Subterra collection is an exciting extension for the brand. There are many standout carry solutions in the collection and hopefully we get our hands on more including the Subterra Luggage, a 3-in-1 carry-on solution. The Carry-On along with the rest of the Subterra collection will be available on February 1, 2017.

Thule Subterra Carry-On

The Breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Geek (Performance)

Space & Access
8
Organization
7
Comfort
9

Style (Design)

Look & Feel
8
Build, Materials & Hardware
8
Features
8

Stoke (Experience)

Warranty & Support
7
Brand experience
9
Value
7
X Factor
8

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  • adriankeith

    Surprised they’re still only doing two wheels. Having four makes slogging through the airport so much more bearable rather than having to constantly lift, twist or turn your luggage around.

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