Deuter Fox 40
A great backpack to get the kids excited to get outside and explore a little more, and let them carry a little more gear on our backpacking trips. Shoulder straps have a large range of adjustability to fit many different torso lengths.
- Lid doesn't detach
- Side pockets billow in, don't expand out
I recently purchased the Deuter Fox 40 so my kids can shoulder more of the weight on our upcoming backpacking trip. My three older kids (ages 5, 7, and 9) were excited to see it and took turns trying it on. They all felt it fit great, though I did have to cinch the waist belt all the way tight to fit on two of the three. The shoulder straps were easy to adjust the length of the torso. At its largest size, it even fit my wife (5'3").
I added about 12 pounds of gear and all three kids still enjoyed running around in the house with it on. So, we took it outside for a 1+ mile walk around the neighborhood, with the two older kids taking turns carrying it around. Neither of them complained of the weight and both said it was comfortable, even though I didn't do a great job of properly packing it to evenly distribute the weight.
The side compression straps did a great job of keeping everything snug, even with only using about 30-40% of capacity.
I knew prior to purchase that the top lid was not removable to double as a small daypack/fanny pack. Not a deal breaker, just would have made this pack that much better.
Also, there is a side pocket on each side. I was a bit disappointed to see that these pockets don't really add any capacity to the bag. By that I mean that they don't really expand outward, but rather into the pack. Thus, if you load the side pockets first, they take up capacity from the main interior pocket, and if you load them up last, they probably won't hold much.
We have not yet had the chance to take this out on a backpacking trip to fully put it through the ringer, but for now, I have been very satisfied with the quality of the bag, the adjustability of the straps, and the comfort of my kids while they carry it.
I plan to update my review once I've had a chance to take it up into the mountains.
I'm finally getting around to updating the review... After a couple more dayhike-type uses without any complaint from the kids who took turns using the Fox 40, my now 8-year old son was able to put this pack to the test in August 2017. It was still a fairly short (about 3 miles roundtrip, about 400 feet of elevation change), one night backpacking trip in the High Uintas Mountains. We were joined by my brother-in-law, his wife, and their three young kids.
Because of all the gear my brother-in-law needed to carry for all their kids, I helped carry about 15-20 pounds of their gear. So, I needed my son to carry more of his own gear. I packed the Fox 40 with a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad, a change of clothes, his swimming suit and towel, a jacket, a little bag of trailmix, and a Camelbak bladder full of water (he insisted on carrying it, full of water). I probably gave him a few other odds and ends to carry, but I don't remember now. As I recall, it weighed about 15 pounds.
The sleeping bag is a cheap synthetic, 32 degree bag, that compresses decently small, but still managed to fill up a good portion of the main compartment of the Fox 40. The sleeping pad was an old version of the Therm-a-Rest ProLite, and filled up most of the lower sleeping bag compartment of the pack.
He carried it all like a champ! Was the trail easy? Yes. Was the trail short? Yes. But he basically ran down the trail, both coming and going. He also enjoyed using one of my trekking poles, which perhaps gave him more enthusiasm. He's usually not that enthusiastic on our normal hikes when he isn't even carrying anything. It was great to see! And he never complained about the weight of the pack or of any discomfort. Afterward, he liked the idea of going on another backpacking trip, even if it was a bit longer/harder.
Having a bladder full of water in the internal sleeve did seem to use up a fair bit of the internal volume. Overall, the main compartment of the pack was pretty full with the gear I gave my son, but there was still some room in the top lid pocket, and the straps on the side could be used to attach additional gear or change the way it's carried.
We are both looking forward to using this pack on our next trip!
My son has joined me on a few more trips using the Deuter Fox 40. He still has yet to complain about any pain or discomfort from the pack. As he's gotten older and stronger, I've been able to add some heavier items to his pack. In 2019, I had finally accumulated enough "backpacking" gear to take the whole family (wife and all four kids), and he was able to carry some of the heavier items just fine. It was a short trip, but he was unfazed.
Here are some additional photos of some of our more recent trips:
Here we are with my sister and her three kids heading down from Boulder Lake in the McCall, Idaho, area in 2018. My son on the left still had enough energy to take the high/hard line up the boulder...
Overall, I've been very happy with this purchase. My son is now 10 (in spring 2020) and getting stronger. I expect by next year he'll be ready to carry more gear that will likely require a larger pack, but he has two younger brothers ready to start using this pack. Looking forward to many more years of use from this great pack.
Source: bought via a "pro deal"
Price Paid: $80 pro deal, shipped
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Current Retail: $130.00
Historic Range: $65.34-$130.00
Reviewers Paid: $80.00
2 lbs 15 oz
26 x 11 x 9.4 in