Monday, September 29, 2008

Deuter Hydration Pack

Well, I picked up one of these at I-Bike.

Race EXP Air hydration pack by Deuter. I had heard of the packs from reports on the net. I have been looking to replace my day to day pack since the one I was using was not quite what I was looking for. The old one had tons of nifty features like an MP3 pouch and lots of separate storage compartments. However, like all the packs I had tried, mostly Camelbacks, once you added a full water bladder, it rode like a hump on the back of your back.

"Hump...what hump?"

Igor, Young Frankenstein

And, once those packs were all water laden and rolling around between my scapulas, the stuff space for jackets, lunch, etc was very small.

What caught my eye with the Deuter pack was the air comfort back system. A combo of a spring steel frame, mesh panels, and pads promises to keep the pack stable and away from my backside and should allow for expansion of the bladder without turning into a party balloon.

I tried a larger day pack at the Deuter booth that had a laptop and such in it and even though it was as heavy as you would imagine, it sat very stable and comfy on my back with the Air Comfort system. One thing I noticed with all packs is that they feel fine empty but maybe less so loaded and it is hard to load them up in the bike shop/retail outlet. The spring steel in the Deuter system actually feels better against the back loaded than empty as the 'wings' flex and conform to your body.

I sat down and transferred my stuff over once I got home and I did miss the variety of smaller compartments the old pack had but I also need to work on consolidating my tools and such better. Also, I am an admitted packrat. I tend to carry too much, but better safe than sorry.

I will use the mesh outer pockets for ride snacks and such. The main compartment is very large and there is an expandable panel zippered around the edges if you need to gain a bit more space for shedding layers of clothing mid ride, etc. The pack also has a concealed helmet carry strap and a concealed rain pouch.

I think I may look into sewing a few velcro straps in for a pump strap and a separate, removeable pouch for tools, etc. In fact, I think that would be a welcome feature, that being a tool roll/pouch that is integrated into the pack but is removeable for repairs, etc.

100OZ (3L) ought to get me there on longer rides. I intend to use this on multi hour unsupported rides. I also just added another pack option by ordering a smaller pack for quick rides and supported races, but more on that later. As well, I plan on a larger pack for overnight bikepacking but again, that is for another day.

The only other thing that has jumped out at me on the Deuter, was the thought of having a wider strap at the waist, but that may not be an issue once I actually use it.

We shall see.

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