Gear is in an interesting place these days. On the one hand, things are getting more and more specialized. Take offset cams for example. They only work in a particular kind of crack, but apparently enough folks are buying them that companies can continue to put them out. On the other hand, we live in tough economic times, unless you are at the top, in which case you are doing just fine and probably wondering what all the little people are complaining about.
But down here in the trenches, buying something that doesn’t have a wide range of uses seems like poor financial sense. And in no category is this specialization more evident then packs. There are packs for day trips, packs for overnight trips, packs for taking you lunch to school, and packs for your computer. Of course, you wouldn’t dare use your day pack for your laptop, or try to put your lunch in your overnight backpack.
Thankfully, there is a happy medium out there for climbers who also need a bag for skiing, backpacking, etc, and the Deuter Guide 45+ fits squarely into that category. I’d never had any experience with this brand until I got this pack in the fall for review, and almost immediately I noticed the clean lines and compact shape. This is a pack that was designed to look as good as it carries.
And carry well it does. My first time out with it was a backcountry hut trip, with a 4.5 mile and 2K vertical gain approach. My pack was loaded up with 30-40 pounds of gear, and to be honest, I barely noticed the weight when it was on. In fact, when we stopped for a break, I was surprised at how heavy it felt when I took it off my back. This can largely be attributed to the Vari Flex hip belt system, which moves with you as you go, and the aluminum X-frame, which gives the pack excellent support.
Since that trip, I’ve used it a number of days for general cragging, and it’s held up well, thanks to the burly outer fabric. In fact, my only gripe, if you can call it that, is that this pack seems perhaps a little too overbuilt. I mean, if it lasts for twenty years, Deuter sure isn’t going to sell a ton of these! That’s not very American, but I digress. The outer fabric is their MacroLite, which is a high density 420 denier. Good luck trying to poke a hole in this thing.
Another feature of the pack that immediately stands out is the slim profile. I’ve climbed ice pitches wearing the bag, and you barely notice it’s there when the going gets steep. Also, the integrated gear loops give you more options for racking while wearing it. This pack would be a good option for those who plan on doing alpine routes where they need to carry larger loads.
Let’s see, what else? How about a separate bottom compartment that easily fits a sleeping bag, ski attachments on the side, ice axe loops, a side zip that allows quick access to the inside, and an optional helmet holder.
This is a truly versatile pack that should last for many years of hard use. If you’re in the market to replace your favorite, tattered, alpine bag, definitely give the Guide 45+ a look.
More information and tech specs can be found at the Deuter website. Retail is $178.95.
Disclaimer: Wait! Do you really need to buy more new stuff? If so, this product is worth a look. In the spirit of full disclosure, this product was provided to SplitterChoss.com for the purpose of reviewing. Don’t worry, though, our integrity can’t be bought!