The prefect MTB rucksack for excursions
I had so far a "Philosophy of Sherpa" rucksack (Hungarian brand), found two years before the Deuter purchase, with which I was quite happy. Excepted with the size: that was a real bike-rucksack with minimum space.
Few excursions in the autumn during which I had to take a lot of spare clothes, made me realize there was a need for something bigger, keeping all the advantages of the first. And, additionally, looking more like a "normal rucksack" when not cycling (OK, the first was orange...)
So I headed to the autumn off-sales, with a new good pretext in my mind to spend some money in gear... I first went with the intention to purchase something as cheap as possible fulfilling my needs, but suddenly I felt in love with one product just at first sight. It was the beautiful Deuter Trans Alpine. Alas, the price was consequent... But I memorized the name.
Once at home, I realized I had seen the larger version (Deuter Trans Alpine 30), and looked for places on internet where the 25L version was on offsales in the city, which landed me on some dodgy shop in Wrocław I totally ignored the existence, and whose owner seemed to ignore totally the potential value of what I went to look for ! The 25L wasn't too small (indeed, I found 30L a bit excessive for a bike bag, I already have a hiking bag !). And the color, a discrete brown-grey, perfect. No more orange. I could take it anywhere, in the city, at work, and so on, without looking ridiculous. And even better, it could serve as a day-trip hiking rucsack too.
Not mentioning the legendary but verified German quality(I have it now for two years without the slightest sign of material fatigue), I am going here to make a short review of all this wonderful rucksack packed with features.
- First of all, the previous rucksack was getting stinky. Acting like a sponge during each of my summer excursions, it was not breathing at all. The Deuter on the opposite, has a very well designed structure that canalizes the air through the back. I never felt wet behind and the bag never got smelly...
- The rain cover. I used to take supermarket plastic bags to hide inside anything fragile I could take in the previous bag, in case some sudden rain would soak me from head to feet. The Deuter has this ingenious folio, foldeable in a small pocket at the bottom of the bag. The colour was judiciously chosen as bright yellow to be visible in dark.
- The camel-back pocket. I did not use it until recently, when loosing water cans during races convinced me it was high time to imitate these people, who I used to find so stupid, drinking water like new-born babies... Despite I use mostly the water pack on the old back, the system to welcome it on the Deuter is perfect, and the pipe quite discrete.
- The helmet-holder. When cycling to a place where I am not willing to wear it on my head non stop, and when the inside is already full of something, this is useful. I can also pin it during a long climb up where helmet will be useless apart from disturbing. The helmet holder is also perfect when buying a long bread baguette that would face the risk of breaking in two being transported on any other manner, or also when buying flowers while by bike !
- The lower pocket, and the inside separation. Put the stuff you won't be likely to use often during the excursion there. And if there is something deep that you can't catch from the top, open there. Additionally, there is a third smaller pocket, not very visible. I use it to put my portfolio, money and important stuff. I walked all streets of Roma and pickpockets did not find it !
Well, nothing is perfect too. I find to this bag two minor defects. When heavily loaded, the lower part has a tendency to "beat" my spinal column. This can get sometimes really painful after a significant distance on bumpy terrain. The first rucksack was more gentle from this point of view. However, there are two tricks to walk-around the problem. The first is to pack downside soft items, with large volume but not heavy, like fleeces, etc. Or, use the middle-separation keeping the low space empty. Put the heavy stuff nearer to the middle of the bag.
The second solution is to use the camel-back pocket !
Another feature that disappointed me a bit are the side-zips, located on the belt itself. The previous rucksack had them very large and I loved it for this, as it allowed me to hide quickly in it money, keys, mobile phone, without having to remove the rucksack from my bag. The Deuter has such pockets, but they are far too small and so uneasy that I never use them.
However, the Deuter fulfilled most of my expectations. After more than two years of intense use it still looks almost new. I use it for almost everything. Having a young child there is always something to carry along, on or out of the bike, and this bag saves my life everyday. The old orange small bag is now only used during races as well as MTB trips where nothing heavy is needed, and where mud is a risk....