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Thule - Not just for porting your bikes any more! The 25 liter MacBook Backpack

Building a startup is…well let’s just say it forces you and your family to be lean. And I mean bone-skinny lean. Ha! And that means saving pennies anywhere you can like driving less/riding more….which I’d probably do anyways….but it is great motivation to keep the car in the garage and ride downtown on one of the 300 sunny days on average Boulder offers.

I had one of these massive laptop backpacks for years. Probably given to me by a previous employer. Way too big, falling apart and definitely not ergo enough. That’s when I saw this guy riding his commuter downtown and had a double-take as to what was on his back: Thule?? Wait. Don’t they just make car racks?? Apparently not!

Sure enough I’d see more and more of them popping up over town. Slimmer, better profiled packs that look like they ‘molded’ to the back better and were smaller in size than my monster pack I’d been using for so long. My impulsivity took over and I scored one to be one of the cool kids. The pack I kept seeing I came to find is the Thule “TCBP-117 25 Liter MacBook Backpack”. Ya, a mouthful! The pack is jammed with features though….and as you’ll see…great ones for those of us with bad eyesight.

First, their spec list is this which I robbed from their website:

  • Padded, integrated laptop compartment holds up to a 17” MacBook Pro or PC.
  • Heat-molded, crush proof SafeZone™ compartment protects your sunglasses, iPhone, portable electronics and other fragile gear.
  • Die-cut EVA shoulder straps with mesh covering provide ventilation and breathability.
  • Compression straps customize the bag to the size of your load
  • Organization compartment keeps cords and other accessories at hand but out of the way.
  • Multiple grab-and-go handles allow for easy transport.
  • Side pocket keeps a water bottle close at hand
  • Lightweight, durable fabric is also water-resistant.

Here’s my sort of detailed breakdown of the pack…


Smaller profile and compression straps keep the pack better positioned on the back.


Top-level compartment for quick access to items you need quickly and provides wide open access to retrieve them.


Easy to access equipment storage makes it so you don't have to dig into the black abyss of your pack to find the smaller, regularly accessed items.


For you ‘four-eyes’ folks out there like me, the SafeZone™ compartment is a hardened internal ‘box’ that is padded as well to protect all the important stuff…like my Oakley prescription glasses!


They say this is for a MacBook but I literally have a giant HP Pavilion dv7 with me most days…a MONSTER laptop that fits no problems. Above you see a Dell laptop about the same size (a bit thicker) than a MacBook. You can see the ample room.


The padding on the back is more than sufficient. This is a pack that is meant for commuting, not long distance trekking so the padding is more than adequate for this purpose.

photo (16)

Here you can see the profile of the pack. It sits higher up than most packs keeping it better centered for bike commuting and also keeping it higher up/away from the elements.

I usually try and keep reviews to racing or training equipment or services on z’blog but have been enamored with this commuting pack enough that I thought other’s should know about it. Also it’s interesting and positive for me to see a company expand their lines of business to incorporate other ‘lifestyle’ goods like this to promote healthy living. I think it’s a line that will pay off.

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