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Thule Versant 60 Review

The Versant 60 wins our Top Pick for Travel packs as a simple, versatile pack that fits in from the overhead compartment of an airplane to the backcountry.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $260 List | $259.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Simple design, versatile, lightweight for the capacity, comfortable
Cons:  Frame may not provide enough support for some
Manufacturer:   Thule
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 8, 2019
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80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 17
  • Comfort and Suspension - 45% 8
  • Organizational systems - 20% 9
  • Weight - 20% 7
  • Adjustability - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The Thule Versant 60 fills a niche among backpacks as the perfect pack that can transition between backcountry and travel use with ease. This pack is excellent for those looking for a multipurpose option that is durable, waterproof, and versatile. These features, along with the pack's comfortable frame and multiple zipper access points, make it our Top Pick for Travel. At first glance, the suspension system on the Versant is significantly lower profile than most other packs of its size in this review. Much to our surprise, though, the Versant was one of the more comfortable packs we tested. Its straps are narrow, yet padded, and contour to a woman's shape comfortably. Though it provides comfort when it's on, the Versant is sleek and can be compressed to fit well in small spaces. We also loved the J-shaped zipper on the outside of the Versant, which makes it easy to access the inside of the main compartment. Much like our other favorite, the Osprey Aura AG 65, the Versant has a stretchy outer pocket that is great for storing cumbersome items, or gear that you want to access quickly. Overall, the Versant won us over with its comfort and thoughtful design.

Color Updates
The Versant 60 is available in some new colors this season, like the teal shown in the photo above. The red color we reviewed is no longer available, but Thule states that feature-wise, this pack remains the same.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Thule Versant 60
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award   
Price $259.95 at Amazon$269.95 at Amazon
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$165.00 at REI
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$179.95 at Amazon
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Pros Simple design, versatile, lightweight for the capacity, comfortableVery comfortable, slimmed-down waist-belt and suspension system, easy-to-remove top lid, wide range of fitting options and adjustments, good number of pockets.Roomy, inexpensive, ultra comfortable, durable.Durable, comfortable even with heavier loads, streamlined features, great attachment points at outside of pack, integrated rain coverComfortable, lightweight, good set of features, large stow pockets
Cons Frame may not provide enough support for someLarge, narrow contoured waistband gets in the way when putting the pack on (some users complain it's too narrow), suspension can feel bulky, expensive.Not many bells and whistles, set adjustment points, wider pack is difficult to fit a bear can comfortably.Main compartment is a little narrow, water bottle holster is awkward, requires thoughtful packingSimple suspension, lacks support
Bottom Line The Versant 60 wins our Top Pick for Travel packs as a simple, versatile pack that fits in from the overhead compartment of an airplane to the backcountry.This award-winning pack has stood the test year after year with its streamlined, lightweight design and incredibly ventilated and comfortable back panel.The Osprey Renn combines comfort, volume, and price. This simple pack will take you anywhere and won’t break the bank.The Kyte 46 is a small, but mighty pack, built for a more advanced user. The comfortable wear allows you to tackle rough terrain with ease.The Octal 55 is light, simple, and still provides for tons of storage space.
Rating Categories Thule Versant 60 Osprey Aura AG 65 Osprey Renn 65 Osprey Kyte 46 Gregory Octal 55
Comfort And Suspension (45%)
10
0
8
10
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9
10
0
9
10
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10
10
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8
Organizational Systems (20%)
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9
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8
Weight (20%)
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7
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8
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7
10
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9
Adjustability (15%)
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8
10
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9
10
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7
10
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8
10
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8
Specs Thule Versant 60 Osprey Aura AG 65 Osprey Renn 65 Osprey Kyte 46 Gregory Octal 55
Measured Weight (pounds) (medium) 4.38 lbs 4.63 lbs 3.93 lbs 3.42 lbs 2.58 lbs
Volumes Available (liters) 50, 60, 70 50, 65 50, 65 35, 45 45, 55
Organization: Enclosed Compartments Main compartment, front shove-it pocket, waterproof rolltop pocket, side pockets, hip belt pocket Main compartment, lid, front pocket, side access pockets, dual front access pockets Main compartment, lid, side pockets main compartment, lid, 2 mesh side pockets, 2 hip belt pockets, lid pocket, front mesh pocket, internal sleeping bag pocket Main compartment, lid, front shove-it pocket
Access Top, front Top, side Top Top Top
Hydration No Yes Hyration compatible Hydration compatible Yes
Women's Specific Features Women's specific fit Women's specific fit Women's Specific fit & sizing Women's specific fit Women's specific fit
Sleeping bag Compartment No Yes No Yes No
Bear Can Compatible Yes Yes yes - but awkward tight fit Tight fit
Main Materials 420D Cordura, 100D nylon Nylon 600D polyester 210D x 630D Nylon Nylon
Sizes Available One size, with adjustable torso XS,S,M One size XS/S, M/L XS,S,M
Warranty Limited lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Limited lifetime

Our Analysis and Test Results

This pack wins our award for Best Travel Pack due for its combination of comfort and adjustability without added bulk and weight. The Versant won't make you stick out like a sore thumb as luggage for international travel and will also feel at home on a weekend backpacking trip in the wilderness. Features like the U-shaped zip panel give the Versant a duffel-like feel. The waist-belt is adjustable and supportive, without the added bulk of some of the other hip belts out there. All in all, this is a great pack, and it received high scores in all of our metric ratings.

Performance Comparison



Comfort and Suspension


For a pack with not very much built in padding or extra frills, the Versant is very comfortable. The shoulder straps are small, both regarding width and thickness.


This aspect of the Versant makes it stand out and could be considered a risky move on Thule's part. But, this doesn't make it any less comfortable. The straps on The North Face Terra 55 compare in thickness to the Versant's, but the Thule pack's straps are mesh, allowing for more breathability. Additionally, the straps are adjustable, making the pack fit a range of torso lengths. The adjustability of the hip belt is a bit less intuitive, but also adaptable so the pack will sit just right on a variety of waist sizes.

The Versant is fairly minimalist regarding suspension, giving the pack a lower score in this metric. Unlike the pivoting hip belt on the Arc'teryx Bora AR 61 or the Gregory Deva 60, the Versant has a basic, yet well-padded hip belt.

We were a bit concerned with how the Versant would perform carrying heavy loads with this simple design, but we found to have no real issues with it. The Versant distributed weight well and felt very comfortable, even when loaded up with gear and food. The back of the pack is also well padded and provides lumbar support that compares to that found on most of the Osprey packs, which are on the overly padded side of the spectrum.
The simple  comfortable suspension system of the Thule Versant is great because it is compact yet well-padded.
The simple, comfortable suspension system of the Thule Versant is great because it is compact yet well-padded.

Weight


The simplicity of the Versant allows it to be lighter than most other heavy packs that we reviewed, weighing in at 4.38 pounds on our scale.


However, with new technology, many of the packs, like the Osprey Renn 65 and the Granite Gear Blaze both weighed under 3 pounds. The lighter-weight design is crucial in awarding the Versant with our Top Pick for Travel. Since weight is essential when flying these days, it's nice to know that you have a little extra wiggle room with luggage that doesn't weight a ton. Also, the waist belt and shoulder straps have a low profile and can easily tuck away close to the pack for storage on planes or buses.

OGL Measured Volume Bottom Line:
Total Volume = 65 L
Main Bag = 40 L
Pockets = 15 L
Lid = 10 L

The Versant hanging tough off trail in the Sierra.
The Versant hanging tough off trail in the Sierra.

Organizational Systems


Where this pack excels is in this metric. The Versant is intuitive, easy to use, and has just the right number of bells and whistles to keep you organized without complicating your life.


The two access points to the main compartment of the Versant, as well as the brain, are well designed and some of our favorite features on this model.

Overall, the Versant is a very intuitively designed pack; we especially liked the U-Zipper, as well as the top closure for multiple access points to the inside. The top-loading option is excellent for backpacking, while the U-Zip feature makes this pack work well as an easy-to-carry duffel bag as well. The Rei Traverse has a similar style zipper. Similarly, the lid of the Versant is extensive, with two oversized zippers that allow for easy access to the inside. Sometimes packs have lid zippers that are too small, making it hard to store larger items in this compartment, which was not the case for the Versant. The lid also detaches and can be carried around independently, which is a nice feature for traveling. Concerning design, the only major flaw we found was the size of the side pockets, which was just a tad too small, making it easy for water bottles to slip out when taking off or putting on the pack.

A view inside the Thule Versant from the U-shaped duffel pocket. This pack has the easiest access of any pack we tested  making it great for traveling.
A view inside the Thule Versant from the U-shaped duffel pocket. This pack has the easiest access of any pack we tested, making it great for traveling.

Adjustability


The one complaint we had was in the waist belt adjustment, which was a little challenging to figure out. The adjustments are bulky and complicated, with many overlapping layers of fabric and Velcro. Once the pack has been adjusted to fit your body, you hopefully won't have to revisit this feature, which makes it less of a hassle.


We did appreciate the Versant's removable lid, which certainly has its benefits when traveling. The Versant also offers several compression straps to adjust for different loads as well as to keep gear neat and tight when it's attached to the exterior of the pack.


The Versant breaks down into three separate containers: the main pack body  the lid  and a removable  roll-top side pocket. This helps you customize its weight.
The Versant breaks down into three separate containers: the main pack body, the lid, and a removable, roll-top side pocket. This helps you customize its weight.

Best Applications


This pack is a jack-of-all-trades. It's comfortable and stylish in all situations, from the trail to the train station. This versatility is why the Versant received our Top Pick for Travel award. The simple design and low profile make the pack an excellent option for travel. The Versant's durable and waterproof fabric and comfortable hip belt make it a fabulous option for backpacking as well. Though the straps are thinner than most, the pack still provides plenty of support for carrying heavy loads, without the added bulk.

This small pocket is great for keeping your phone dry on a wet trip in the backcountry  or for storing important items when traveling  like a wallet or passport.
This small pocket is great for keeping your phone dry on a wet trip in the backcountry, or for storing important items when traveling, like a wallet or passport.

Value


For $260, the Thule Versant is average regarding price. Most packs in this review fall between $240 and $300. This model provides exceptional value, especially when you consider the pack's versatility and durability. If you're looking for a pack to suit your needs for multiple situations, and one that will last a long time, the Versant is a great option. As a pack that can be suited for traveling, backpacking, and even day use, the Versant has outstanding value.

Negotiating talus in the Thule Versant was no real issue  especially once the pack was adjusted to fit just right.
Negotiating talus in the Thule Versant was no real issue, especially once the pack was adjusted to fit just right.

Conclusion


As a company known bike racks and roof-top cargo boxes, we were very curious to see how Thule's packs stood up to long-time backpack companies like Osprey and Gregory. After a few trips out with the Thule Versant, we were impressed. The pack is comfortable and carries well with the thoughtful design and durability that one might expect from this well-known cargo company. For backpacking and traveling alike, the Versant was a great companion.


Jane Jackson