Best for extended trips
At a glance
Plusses: Beautifully designed and made, great features, comfortable.
Minuses: Not particularly hard wearing.
2220g / 50+10 litres
Features: This is a feature-loaded pack with an adjustable back length and a light and stiff frame. There’s a separate sleeping bag compartment with removable divider, two mesh side pockets and a larger stretch front stash pocket for wet clothing or accessories. Items needing security can fit into one of two pockets on the removable lid. There are two hip belt pockets. Compression straps and two ice axe or pole attachments cover all bases.
Fit: Glove-like springs to mind. A fast but secure adjustment system allows the back length to be adjusted over a significant range, although there is also an ‘SL’ women’s version available to cater for shorter torsos.
Comfort: The harness fits body curves without creating pressure points and, with an open weave mesh and foam padding, it has good airflow. The slightly narrow shoulder straps will suit a wide range of shoulder widths and don’t dig into the curve of your neck/shoulder junction.
In use: The sac tapers in towards the top to help reduce that ‘top heavy’ sensation while walking. It’s also a narrow pack, so is well suited to off-track or more adventurous tramping, and narrower-framed people. While a sleeping bag compartment is a convenience, it is another water ingress point. Without it, the pack would be more robust and even lighter. Deuter is details-oriented, so every-thing about this pack feels nice to use, right down to the addition of some binding on the carry handle, so it doesn’t dig into your hand.
Value: With its range of features and attentive design, it’s a lot of pack for the money.
Verdict: A combination of 600- and 100-denier fabrics equates to durablity where needed but lightness elsewhere. Used in really rugged terrain, it’ll likely show the knocks after a while. It’s a really good pack for regular trampers and people on longer trips, like Te Araroa.