Plenty of room for bike kit, tough, and easy to spot on the baggage carousel; the Thule Chasm duffel bag is a simple but sturdy piece of kit for the cyclist who likes to travel.
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The 70 litre option tested has plenty of room for shoes, a helmet and several changes of kit and clothes. The opening at the top is wide and rather than a lateral single zip, the top is a flap that opens a little like a lid on the bag, which makes getting stuff in and out without rummaging is easy.
There's a zip compartment at one end of the bag, which is handy for keeping essential bits and pieces in that you need to access quickly when travelling. The bulk of the bag is made up of one large compartment, with two mesh pockets on the top flap and one inside on one side, which are handing for keeping things organised. I tend to use one for keeping cables and things together.
I've been using the Thule Chasm for several months now for both general to-and-fro from UK trail-based adventures and also for several international trips.
The bottom of the bag is a tough woven nylon and it's also padded, which is particularly handy if you tend to just throw your bag to the floor. The rest of the outer is a waterproof nylon TPE laminate that's also phthalate-free.
While I've not tried dropping the bag in puddles or walking miles through downpours, it has hung about in a lot of wet forest car parks and wet airport car parks, and so far I've not had any issues with my gear inside getting wet.
There are also a few neat little compression straps, so if the bag isn't completely filled you can pack it down so your stuff doesn't move all over the place during transit.
Easy to carry
One of the big selling points of the Chasm are the shoulder straps. These are padded like proper rucksack straps, which is much more comfortable on the shoulders should you need to carry the bag any kind of distance.
The straps are both adjustable to fit and removable, so you can take them off and stow them during transit or if you just don't want them on. Alternatively, set one strap up crossways across the bag and you've got a shoulder strap.
The Chasm also has more traditional duffel handles, made from very strong woven nylon, and these can be clipped down out of the way on the sides of the bag with the integrated strap and popper system. There are a further two sturdy handles at either end — perfect for a quick grab off the baggage carousel.
However you prefer to carry this type of load, you'll be covered, and it's certainly one of the easiest and comfiest to carry duffels I've used.
Stands up to rough treatment
After several months of use, including a fair amount of being thrown in the back of a van with bike bits in and aggressive treatment from baggage handlers, I'm pleased to confirm that the Chasm has stood up to the test. No cuts, bare patches, holes, just the odd bit of scuffing, which to be honest is expected.
One niggle I do have is that the zipped upper flap dips down lower on one end of the bag, following the curved outer contour over one of the sides. When the bag is full to the brim it's hard to get the zip to close. Personally, I'd prefer the flap to open along the top surface of the bag only.
Another feature that's handy to have but not included with this bag is a waterproof section to stow wet kit after a ride. Since this is a bag designed for general travel and outdoors, I can't fault it for not having one included, but it is something I miss.
Thule Chasm pricing and availability
The Chasm is available from a number of retailers and is priced at £90, which is a comparable price to other products of this size and for this purpose.
In the UK, you can find it on sale at Sherwood Leisure for a bargain £79.97 at time of publishing.
I tested the 'Bluegrass' colourway which is a striking green and orange colour. This stands out a mile on the baggage carousel which is a major pluspoint in my opinion, but if you don't fancy a bag as loud as that, Thule also offers the Chasm in a blue, black or orange/red colour. It also comes in a range of sizes: 40L, 70L, 90L and 130L.