The biggest strength of the Thule Versant 60 is its expandability and good storage capabilities, which stretches the range of this bag into the 2-4 night range. Its most pressing limitation is its weight.
Comfort/Fit The Versant has minimal but sufficient padding. The torso length is easily adjustable in the field with a velcro system. This system does create a small bump on the mid-back, beneath the upper back padding, that may cause some discomfort for certain back shapes.
Storage The Thule Versant 60 does not have loops on the bottom of the pack, but it does have two buckled straps on either side which increases storage potential. These straps also provide a good level of expandability and compression, allowing the pack to handle a wide range of loads. It has a very large three pocket brain and four small gear loops. It also has three points of entry: top cinch and buckle, bottom zipper, and a horseshoe zipper that allows access to most parts of the body compartment.
Stability The tall construction and commensurate height-to-width ratio makes this a harder bag to pack. It has a higher center of gravity than most of the other bags in the test set. This imbalance isn’t helped by the fact that the lack of under straps sends exterior gear higher up on the sides of the pack.
Durability The Thule Versant is built heavy, which adds to durability but also adds to the final weight. The sides of the pack use a lighter fabric. The buckles are made from hefty plastic.
Extras The Thule Versant has one permanent hip pouch and one removable hip pouch, which allows options such as waterproof pouch, zippered pouch, or water bottle sleeve. This pack has two gear loops on the back for trekking poles or ice tools, but they rely on the pack’s side buckles, which can limit their usefulness.
Scott Morris guides backpacking expeditions and hiking trips for Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides throughout the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. He is a writer, traveler, and runner. Scott tests backpacking equipment.