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Words, images Judith Ecochard

Hauling 20 lbs of stuff up a mountain, igniting a yecho sweaty back, makes us appreciate a well-designed hauler that FITS and lightens the load in a ventilating manner.

We’re not particularly technically inclined but we could have spent hours going over the cool details that Deuter packs- pack into their gear.

Since 1898, this German born company has manufactured carryalls that are saturated in comfort and durability technical features; in fact, it has five back systems “perfectly suited for a specific purpose.”

And although we haven’t demoed it all (haulers for hydration, trekking, alpine/snowsports, biking, kid carriers, and sleeping bags etc)---we’re pretty sure there are women on the staff (two guys Steve Buffinton and Thomas Hilger lead design and development)--- as the packs we tried fit like no other, are amazingly lightweight (AL 2024 T6 Aluminum multi-chamber stays in various widths), and will probably survive our tendency to slide down terrain in incremental weather- way better than we do (high density polyamide fabric and rugged polyester). An naturally, we like the shades too.

WHAT’S NEW: Acclaimed for the special tensioned mesh panel that’s gets the air flowing in the direction we want (OUT AND OFF OF US), Deuter’s is bringing out a new Aircomfort Flexlite System with a lightweight spring steel construction…that flexes, and has some give when we need it (scrambling through boulders)- but is still stable. That’s key to providing a platform for the 3-sided ventilation system.

The aforementioned attributes kick in- in the do-it-in-a-day techy 32 liter SPECTRO AC 24 SL, 32, 36 SL, 38 backpacks that weigh just 2 lbs 6oz-2 lbs 9 oz, depending.

With a spacious zipped stuff-it and two stretch side pockets for easy access, anatomically formed, perforated shoulder straps that we can actually adjust, and hydration system compatible---we can see hiking happily with these haulers…and sweating a whole lot less. (Ships April 2010 priced $$129-$149).

There’s also a revamped AC LITE 16 & 20 daypack series too ---that now come in cool colors like Apple/Bamboo, Lava/Oyster and Black/Titan---but still distribute the load evenly with optimal back ventilation three ways (Aircomfort mesh and ventilated pads made with bilaminate foam), contour padded shoulder straps with 3D AirMesh lining, pockets with zips including ones on the hip belt (handy), hydration system compatible, plus a detachable rain cover. ($79-$89).

The new ACT Trail 28 SL bumps it up with a two way zip front that allows direct access eliminating the archeological dig we usually go through for our stuff. We like how the there’s a padded pull-forward hip belt and a smart large mesh pocket that can hold a helmet…plus the necessary toggle loops, etc. This hauler ($199 in lava/orange) is good for day hikes and spacious enough for multi-day jaunts.

We love the summer but do admit to wanting those powder days when we can snowboard down the Rockies. Deuter is set to launch a new Freerider Pro Series (24 SL, 28 SL & 26, 30) that’ll organize our (guided) backcountry outings. There’s vertical fastening straps for snowshoe/scrampons or our board---in the front, a full back panel opening with zipper for extra stuff, and large Hypalon front panels for additional durability--- which we will need as we tend to ‘challenge’ our equipment.

Neat Features: A pivoting Vari Flex hip belt that’s detachable for city outings, and a sternum strap with a whistle buckle in case we feel or need the need to make like a young Lauren Bacall.

A clamshell opening in back for easy access while on the mountain/on the go…

And the "backcountry” shape- makes this a good bushwacking backpack as it won’t catch on branches.

Love, Love Love!!!! Due out in September ($149).

INFO, E-Commerce and Store Locater: DEUTER