Deuter will be well known to outdoor enthusiasts as a German manufacturer of high-quality backpacks, sleeping bags and outdoor equipment. Established in 1898 by Hans Deuter they have evolved through the years from producing backpacks for the military to catering to the needs of the modern-day outdoor enthusiast.
The XV1 17 litre backpack continues a current trend for hybrid backpacks – essentially a backpack that, in an ideal world, is as comfortable and practical on the fells as it is on a daily commute with the features to compliment these different activities. This being the case, I have tested this model in the high hills of the Peak District on day hikes, but it has also been my daily bag for work – schlepping round paperwork, lunch, a laptop and all the other essentials of a working day.
Having had the bag for around five weeks, this is very much a first impressions review, although I have given the pack some deliberately rough treatment during that time to try to accelerate wear and tear!
Weight and Durability
At 960g on the scales there is no getting around the fact that the XV1 is something of a tank for a daypack with sporty pretensions. This is brought into sharper focus when you consider that two of its competitors – the Osprey Daylite Plus 20L and the Lowe Alpine Edge II 18L not only have greater capacity but weigh in at a feather-light 540g and 550g respectively. So that’s that then? Not quite. While the Osprey and the Lowe Alpine trouble the scales a little less, they are both made of a lightweight material that is significantly more liable to pick up abrasion marks than the more heavy-duty material on the XV1. Also worth mentioning would be the fact that the other two only have a thin waist strap, where the Deuter has a padded and hugely comfortable hip belt that is a great fit, regardless of your dimensions.
In short, the greater weight is a small price to pay for a far higher level of comfort and stability than those managed by other packs of this type. My first use of this pack was on an arduous winter day hike in the Peak District. I stuffed it to the gills with all manner of detritus and it performed beyond expectations in those conditions. The tall and slim profile distributes the weight very well and keeps things close to your centre of gravity. It really was the case of the better the pack, the less you notice it, as I had no shoulder or back pain despite the tricky terrain and long miles covered during the day.
So the XV1 is a bit of a tank, but a tank in a very positive way – with its YKK zips, perfect stitching and high-quality materials, it is designed to last…and then last even longer. During my time with the bag no abrasion marks, snags or rips have appeared. In fact, with a quick wipe down, it is exactly as it was when I first removed it from its packaging despite my over-exuberant testing!
Pockets and Other Features
The Deuter XV1 has most, if not quite all, of the features you would expect of a sporty day pack with multiple applications. The main feature that sets it apart from its peers is the superbly-crafted Airstripes back system which manages to be well ventilated, well made and extremely comfortable. The removable hip belt and shoulder straps also have the same mesh material further ensuring a comfortable fit. One issue I often have with day packs is that being 6”3’, I can struggle to get a good fit with a hip belt as many of them sit too high up. This is not the case with the XV1 as its long and slim dimensions give a comfortable and secure fit, further aided by a well-positioned sternum strap. It is also easy to adjust on the hoof with easily reachable load adjustment straps around the shoulder area. One minor criticism of the sternum strap is that there is no whistle incorporated in the buckle – something that I think should be mandatory on all packs intended for use in the hills.
On to pockets and starting with the external ones, the XV1 has a generous adjustable stretch pocket which has a mesh centre, ideal for drying out wet gear while on the move. It is almost too generous in fact, as a minor niggle with this is that it overlaps the main opening to the bag and obscures the zip openings to this, making getting into the main compartment a little fiddly at times. Within this area, there is also a generous sleeve pocket that contains a detachable key holder. There are also two excellent mesh side pockets which will each easily accommodate a 1 litre water bottle and hold them securely, even when the main compartment is full loaded.
This brings us on to what I think is the most glaring omission with the XV1 – the lack of a hydration bladder pocket. Each of the XV1’s main rivals (two of which are mentioned above) have a specific pocket for this, together with an aperture for a pipe. This is a big miss for a backpack with the XV1’s intended use and one I would hope Deuter would address with subsequent revisions of this model.
The opening to the main compartment provides good access to the interior, which is lined with an attractive light grey material allowing good visibility of the contents. Aside from the generous main compartment there is an excellent padded laptop sleeve which will accommodate up to a 15,6” laptop, a fleece-lined tablet compartment and a lower mesh pocket for smaller items as well as pen slots.
Both internally and externally, the XV1 should provide plenty of space for a day’s gear, whether that be for a day in the hills or a day at the office. The yellow detailing and reflective trims are nice touches (especially for cyclists) although one thing I would like to see would be a contrasting colour for the zip pulls on the main pocket. These are the same black colour as the backpack itself (other colour options are available) and can be quite hard to locate in poor light.
The Deuter XV1 is a tough, practical and extremely comfortable hybrid day pack. Some might be put off by the extra weight when compared to other rivals but I would urge them not to be – the superb back system, hip belt and shoulder straps more than make up for this.
It has a sleek minimalist design which fits in well with Deuter’s no-nonsense ethos, and if they were to add a hydration bladder sleeve and incorporate a whistle into the sternum strap clip, this back pack would be very close to perfect.
“The sporty day pack with the completely revolutionised Airstripes back system is a winner not just because of the outstanding carrying comfort and maximum ventilation. The minimalist style and the many functionalities, in particular, make the new XV 1 an urban trendsetter. The outer stretch compartment offers quick access to your jacket, helmet or alike, while the neatly arranged main compartment offers pockets for all your important daily items.”
Capacity: 17 litres