Thule Covert DSLR Rolltop Backpack Review

Thule Covert DSLR Rolltop Backpack

When is comes to carrying around camera equipment there are many great options on the market. But when is comes to carrying camera equipment and extra personal gear, are there any good options out there? Thule believes they have one, in the form of the Covert DSLR Rolltop backpack. Most of you are familiar with Thule as the company best known for it’s bike carriers and roof racks, but they also make a wide range of bags and luggage. If you visit Thule’s website about section, their second paragraph mission statement is this, “Thule helps you transport anything you care for safely, easily, and in style so you are free to live your active life.” We all know this certainly applies to their racks and bike carriers, but let’s see if this applies to the Covert DSLR Rolltop Backpack….

Thule Covert DSLR Rolltop Backpack

First Look

The Thule Covert DSLR Rolltop backpack is a daypack, that is meant to carry cameras, camera gear and non-photography items over the course of a day. The daypack consists of two bags, the outer main backpack and the removable camera pod system. The outer bag is made up of a durable, water-resistant, two-tone Oxford material, that feels rigid and ready for abuse. The top of the pack features a rolltop design that closes with water-repellent YKK zippers and click lock duraflex fasteners. The shoulder straps are nicely padded and offer up a three way adjustment for comfort and fit. The backrest of the rolltop (the part that rests against your back) is stacked with padding and designed with airflow ventilation to keep you from overheating. The amount of storage on the Covert is amazing which is why I need a whole section to expand on it (see storage section below). The second bag or removable camera pod is a well cushioned DSLR containment unit that sits in the bottom section of the rolltop and can be easily removed and left at home or in the car to give extra storage and convert the rolltop into a giant storehouse.

Durable, water-resistant, two-tone Oxford material
Upper Shoulder Adjustment Strap
Front Chest Adjustment Strap


The one thing that I love most about backpacks , daypacks or camera bags is the organizational storage, and in my mind and I am sure most of yours, the more organized I can be with my gear the better I feel. And oh my, does the Thule Covert hit it out of the park with this one, there is a spot for everything and then some. Let’s dive in…..starting with the top and working our way down.

The rolltop opens up with a zipper and offers up an enormous amount of space for larger items, such as jackets, change of clothes, and a lunch. This can than be rolled down and closed securely shut with the click lock duraflex fasteners.

Rolltop Storage when the Camera Pod is in the Pack

Just behind the backrest you will find a zippered side panel laptop pocket that will comfortably fit a 15″ laptop. Also inside this pocket is a thin divider where a tablet or notebook can be stored.

Backrest Pocket for Laptop and Tablet

Flipping the pack over to the front and opening the top main flap reveals 3 larger sized velcro closure pockets, perfect for storing external hard drives, battery pack, smart phones, sd card cases and more.

Top Velcro Pockets
Bottom Velcro Pocket

Underneath the top 2 pockets you will find a zippered pocket that offers up more organization and storage. I wouldn’t consider this a quick access pocket, so here would be an ideal place to put items out of the way that you would like to have secured, such as a wallet, passport, cash. The pocket contains a sub divider for separation of cash and notebook/passport, there are also three pen loops and a key ring clip.

Zippered Secure Pocket for Keys, Cash, and Passport

Below the bottom velcroed pocket is yet another zippered compartment the reaches to the length of the bottom of the bag, a perfect place for charging cables.

Bottom Zippered Pocket Perfect for Storing Cables

Moving onto the right have side, there is a deep pocket built for carrying a tripod which is secured with the upper click lock strap. If you don’t need to bring a tripod this pocket is the perfect place to carry a water bottle.

Tripod and Monopod Pocket
Or a Water Bottle Holder

That is plenty you say, but wait there is more and it’s the best part of the Covert DSLR backpack. The slide out camera pod system, the pod itself is a self contained protective zippered DSLR camera encasement. It is capable of storing a DSLR w/lens, two extra lenses and a hotshoe flash.

Removed Camera Pod
Camera Pod System
Camera Pod System

The camera pod system can be integrated right into the backpack by unzipping the top flap of the pod and inserting it into the side flap of the rolltop, locking it securely in place with velcro.

Camera Pod Top Inserted into Covert Pocket

Located in the side flap of the camera pod opening on the daypack is yet more storage, perfect for camera batteries, charger and sd cards.

Storage for SD Cards, Batteries and Charger

And here is what makes the Thule Covert so unique… should you decide you are not going to need your camera, remove the camera pod system and this pack turns into a storage abyss for an overnight trip or a hike into the woods. The original storage pocket zips away and tucks into a pouch on the right hand side (shown in the picture below) and opens up the entire rolltop into an enormous daypack.

Yes Those are 2 Liters, Just to Show the Massive Amount of Room
Rolltop Storage when the Camera Pod is in the Pack


Let me first start by stating that this is a Big bag! While it is perfect for me, I stand at six feet tall, it might feel extra large on a person with a smaller frame. With the bag fully loaded I was able to dial in the straps and make it feel completely comfortable and balanced. The soft padded shoulder straps rested nicely in place and did not rub or chafe, the key here of course is to use all of the tighten straps the bag offers and make sure you have nice comfortable and secure fit. The ventilation on the backrest helped with air flow and reduced heat build. Overall, Thule took the time to understand the weight that would be loaded into this pack and made it easily adjustable allowing for a person to dial in the daypack, which resulted in a pleasant and unbothered ride.

Comfortable Fit

Final Thoughts

When your adventure calls for you to bring your camera kit and belongings, the Thule Covert DSLR Rolltop Backpack ensures plenty of organizational storage for all of your cargo. Thanks to the Covert Rolltop’s rugged and water-resistant, two-tone Oxford material fabric, this pack is built to withstand years of wear and tear. If you’re a serious shutterbug hiking up for the perfect shot or a casual traveler, the Thule Covert is a great all round option for hauling camera equipment as well as personal gear.

Available from:      MSRP:  $199

Mark Ranum: Mark is an outdoor adventure seeker, living in the beautiful state of Michigan. He loves trekking hundreds of miles through the wilderness, whether on two feet or two wheels, always looking for the next new trail or road to see where it will take him.
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