Deuter Guide Rucksack Review
17th June 2014 by James Gray
On a recent two week jaunt to the Pyrenees James took the opportunity to test out Deuter’s Guide rucksacks.
Both myself and my girlfriend have recently started using Deuter Guide rucksacks (me with the Guide 40+ and Kat with the Guide SL 35+) which we hoped would be ideal for a hut to hut and bivvi trip through the Pyrenees. We needed space for our camping kit, clothing and food for several days plus the comfort to carry the load in warm weather over steep ground which seemed right up the Guide series’ street. The design is tried and tested and has been a popular choice for years due to its simplicity and practicality.
Thanks to its very simple back system and generous sizing, the rucksack is very easy to pack plus the bottom zipper and compartment makes organizing your gear a cinch. Having three points of entry (Top, Bottom and side ‘Buddy Zip’) also means once you’re all packed up, getting at your gear is dead easy too. We had just enough room for all our gear and with accessory loops and compression straps it’s easy to attach extra capacity with smaller bags etc. We were travelling pretty light but managed to fit sleeping bags, mats, stove, clothes, food and fuel plus gear and water – just!
It’s all very well fitting the gear in but if it feels like a sack of coal on your back, there’s not much use. Thankfully this was not the case. Despite the pared down back system (no suspended mesh or fancy chassis system here!) the weight sits well against your back and the substantial (but removable) hipbelt takes much of the weight comfortably. The Guide series only comes in one backsize and isn’t adjustable like some other designs but we both found the fit fine (I am 5’9” and Kat is 5’7”). The Vari-Flex system seems to do the job of stabilizing the load as you move and is especially useful on steeper, rougher ground where your upper body moves around a bit more as you scramble about. Despite not having a suspended mesh back system on a rigid frame like more conventional backpacking models, the Guide felt fine even in hot weather. I have always used this kind of back system and much prefer it to the rigid types such as the Air Comfort system used by Deuter elsewhere in their range which can often make packing more difficult. We both also felt that having the weight of the pack closer to your own centre of gravity was a much more stable option.
This is the first decent trip we have used these packs on and other than being shoved in the back of various cars, they haven’t seen much action in this country but still, they stood up to the rough ground and manhandling of a trip like this. They don’t show any obvious wear and from the feel of the fabric and the chunky stitching and zippers, they certainly look built to last. They are not the lightest packs on the market but they are remarkably light considering the heft of the material and build quality which is a common sacrifice.Features
As I’ve already said, these packs are a simple design with little in the way of bells and whistles (not quite true actually, there is a whistle on the chest strap!) but this is testament to Deuter’s commitment to functionality rather than any sort of weight-saving exercise. You still get gear loops on the hip belt, floating lid (with spindrift collar), side and bottom access zipper, rope attachment strap, joining compression straps (meaning you can clip the compression straps right across the front of the pack for extra compression or for bigger accessories) and removable foam sit mat. Its little things like these features that really make the difference.
A tried and tested classic with all the features you need and none you don’t. They carried two weeks’ worth of kit without