Deuter Futura 30 SL
Easily the best backpack I've ever had, lots of compartments, spacious enough for an all-day hike, and extremely comfortable as well.
- Good capacity
- Carry loops for 2 hiking poles (and 1 ice axe)
- Hydration Reservoir compatible
- "Aircomfort" back suspension system = fresh air on my back!
- Back height is one-size-fits-most
- Difficult to get bottles out of side pockets on your own (but I'm short with short arms, so YMMV).
This review is based on the 2015 version I purchased at REI that year (the review itself is the one I wrote for REI's website a month or so after purchasing).
This bag is much bigger than I thought it would be, and that's a good thing. It's more versatile than I expected.
Deuter's website states the two side bellow pockets add a combined 3L to the size of the pack. Additionally, the 30L measurement is only for the main compartment, it does NOT include the rather spacious sleeping bag/lower compartment. This lower compartment is separated from the main compartment by a zip-open panel. When the two spaces are combined, the volume is closer to 35L (another reviewer was able to fit a 35L stuff sack into this backpack after opening the separator panel).
All told, this makes the total pack size closer to 38L, and not 30L. I believe the measurements also fail to include the small lid pocket (and the under-the-lid "valuables" pocket). The lid pocket is accessible while wearing the pack by simply reaching your hands behind your head to unzip the pocket. I keep my first aid kit, asthma rescue inhaler, whistle, and swiss army knife in this pocket.
There is also a single hip-belt pocket. My waist is approximately 29 inches, and so this hip belt pocket is exactly on my right hip. It's easy to open one-handed, but I find it difficult to close one-handed. I wish it was closer towards my center front, and then it would be easier to operate.
The Aircomfort back suspension system is not only excellent at letting my hips do all the work of carrying my pack, but is great when hiking in warm weather! I love the feel of a breeze going across my back while I'm wearing the pack!
I'm (nearly) 5' 2" with short legs and a short torso, and I wish this pack was an inch or two shorter. The top of the semi-rigid suspension system hits the back of my head when I tilt my head up (as I do when birdwatching). If I'm careful to position the pack as low on my hips as I can get and still have the hipbelt on my hip/pelvic bones), then the top of the pack is in a better place. I am definitely petite though, so the average-sized woman shouldn't have this problem.
I haven't needed to use the ice axe carry loop, but the hiking pole loops work wonderfully.
I've used this on many hikes and it's held up very well (mainly half-day hikes and a couple all-day hikes). It's built narrowly which makes it very comfortable to use in tight spaces through overgrowth, and when using hiking poles.
The compression straps, hip belt, and sternum strap all work together to keep the pack and its contents secure against my back. I've never been thrown off balance by this pack the way I have been with some others I've had.
It holds up to light drizzle very well, but I would pull out the built-in rain cover for any serious rainfall.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $125
WOMAN'S version: I am reviewing this solely on its sizing. It is a Deuter pack and quality made. All the great features are present, but the woman's sizing is quite petite.
- Deuter quality
- Trampoline back
- Pack cover on board
- SOS flap on top pocket
- Main compartment division/access
- VERY short waist belts
- Very short torso
- Bladder connection not well designed
This is the woman's version of the Futura SL 30. I had the most wonderful expectations of it. I did not field test it because I will be returning it right out of the box. I expected the torso to be a bit shorter than the male version but this was TINY. Fat or thin, the length of this pack just seems to be made for a child.
This picture is on REI as the woman's. But you can tell it is the man's version because there is no fake flower on it. All the woman's packs by Deuter have this fake flower attached. Why is that important you ask?
Because when you look at the woman's version here it looks shorter. I may be overthinking this, but when I put that over my shoulders, it simply hit me mid back. I am 5'8".
Further research states the length of the woman's as 12". Interestingly, there really IS no men's 30, but a 32 which is stated to be but one inch longer than this. I literally was trying to get the waist belt around just under my ribs on this. Maybe my view of these two images is simply not correct and they are photographed differently. At any rate, it is a small bag that I could not get comfortable on my back to even give the thing a whirl.
Here is the Men's 32:
The picture does not really reveal that the men's waist belt is much longer, and a bit wider too. All in all, the woman's is really for a petite woman, not an average woman. Add to that, if you are a heavyset woman this is not even going to buckle on you. The straps are so short that even if I lost down to a healthy weight for me, the belt would not buckle.
I am disappointed in Deuter for their woman's packs being so small. This is a good pack and would likely have performed well in the field. But only if you were a below average sized woman.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 119.00
Fantastically comfortable big-daypack/ultralight overnighter; happily recommended.
- Extremely comfortable and adjustable suspension system
- Excellent capacity
- Included rain cover
- VERY durable
- Lack of pockets
- Hydration pocket still not perfected
I've run through five different day packs in the last few years, and I think i've finally found a winner. I'm no ultralighter—I like to have ALL my equipment when I go for a hike. I LOVE to have a hot meal in the middle of long day hike. This bag carries everything I could possibly ever need (and always hope never to need), plus my stove and fuel and food, with room left over. It really seems designed more as an ultralighter's pack, what with the separate sleeping bag compartment.
Straps and hipbelts are well-padded, endlessly adjustable. I love the narrow, tall profile. I tend to carry around 20 pounds of gear on my day hikes, and I always end up feeling like I could go farther. And I love the included rain cover—it gets a lot of use on my Cascade Mts hikes, believe me. And the air-venting though the back is wonderful—no sweat building up and causing chafing. Five miles or fifteen; rain, snow, or sun; this bag has been great.
My only gripes are pretty minor. There aren't a lot of interior pockets to contain small items, and the two side pockets aren't particularly well-situated with respect to the compression straps. And the hydration pocket isn't particularly well-suited to my Camelbak bladder—something true even of my other Camelbak pack. In particular, the routing of the tube is a little awkward, and the bladder seems overly intrusive into the main compartment space. But these are hardly problems that other packs don't have.
Edit September 2019: Hundreds of miles on scores of hikes, and the pack is still going strong. No signs of wear, apart from a little dirtiness. Still loving it.
Edit September 2021: It finally gave up the ghost. The hip belt literally shredded off the bag in an irreparable fashion. By my count, this bag hit 2,263 miles, and apart from that one point of failure is still in excellent condition. I will be cannibalizing it for parts to repair and modify my other packs, which never quite seem to work *perfectly*.
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $90
- Well made
- Suspension frame
- Comes with a rain cover
- Looks good
I was looking for a good pack to hike with and wanted something that would take all the weight off my shoulders and this pack does just that! I tried on several of the top brands but could feel shoulder strap pressure, this one converted all the weight to my legs — perfect.
The construction is impeccable, with quality zippers, cord lock and adjustment straps. I constantly over stuff the side bellows with no problems. I have not experienced any problems with the hydration system as I use a 1 liter water bottle with hose and bite valve that I just put in one of my outside pockets — that works for me. The waist belt and all strap adjustments work easily.
I find there are plenty of compartments for my use. I appreciate all the cord loops this pack has: to attach a cap, pack towel, hair elastics and anything I can think I might need along the trail (with biners). The framework allows for airflow on hot days that feels so good, and on cooler days I stuff my rain gear in between the frame and pack which helps with warmth and gives me more room for the interior.
Something to consider: I believe the SL was designed for shorter woman, although I am 5'7" this packs works for me as I am very high-waisted. This is a great day pack, and believe it or not, I actually use it for backcountry camping.
My boyfriend and I split up the gear accordingly, we put more heavy items in my small pack and lighter larger items in his big pack. This system distributes the weight of our gear evenly between the two of us. I really stuff this pack more than I think is possible, but it can take the abuse!
I've had this pack for approximately two years and I'm very happy with this purchase.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $135
Where to Buy
You May Like
Current Retail: $175.00
Historic Range: $68.83-$175.00
Reviewers Paid: $90.00-$135.00
63 x 30 x 20 cm