Over the past couple of years of walking I’ve gone through a fair amount of gear, so I thought I would share some feedback for stuff that’s tried and trusted. Hope it helps.
What is it?: Deuter RaceX knapsack.
How much?: about $90 CAD + tax
Where, when, how do I use it?: I bought this in 2017 to use on day walks around town. Since then I’ve also used it as a light office laptop bag – the hydration sleeve fits a Macbook.
It’s probably been on at least 1000km of walks with me, and carried its share of weekly shopping too. BTW you can get 4 bottles of wine into it no problem, 5 in a pinch if they are the long slim Alsatian style bottles. I use it quite a bit, especially in summer when you need lots of water.
It’s about a 12L bag, pretty small yet big enough to hold water, sunglasses, a light rain jacket, and some snacks for a day hike. It’s got lots of pockets, including 2 side mesh pockets for water bottles, plus a small and large compartment, and 3 pockets inside the large compartment of which one is for a hydration bag. There’s a hydration port and a little Velcro support on one of the straps to keep the hydration tube near your mouth. Even if full to bursting, it easily fits as a carry-on bag for airlines.
I like that it features mesh straps as well as raised mesh cushions on the back, so that air can circulate and it doesn’t cling to you. It’s pretty light weight, only around 550g empty, and it can carry a few kilos with no issue. There’s a waist strap and a sternum strap, and a decent amount of adjustability in the shoulder straps.
I have a relatively long torso, and on me I have to extend the shoulder straps to almost full length in order to get the waist strap sitting on my hips, so if I am not carrying much I just let clip the waist strap behind my back and hitch it up a bit higher for more comfort. At the same time, it’s adjustable enough that my wife can wear it too even though she’s shorter than I am, by just cinching the shoulder straps. That was a big feature for me – I didn’t want this particular pack to be mine only, since there are times when we are both out for hikes and I can take my bigger daypack and give her this lighter one.
Finally, it comes with a decent rain cover that’s easy to put on/off, and tucks away easily. If the bag does get rained on without the cover, it still keeps things pretty dry unless it’s been soaked for hours. The outer cover has some good florescent flashing on it, so it shows up well against headlights at night, which is good because I got a grey/silver one. The rain cover itself is a dayglo yellow so that works well too.
Would I buy it again?: It’s been pretty hard-wearing and looks near-new after 3 years of use. I assume I will get years more out of it so by the time I wear it out, Deuter will probably have come out with some new model. That said, I like the Deuter products and would definitely look at their line in future.
Disclaimer: This is not a “review”. I don’t go around sampling things, instead this is a summary of my own experience with a product I have used a lot. All opinions contained in this post are my own. I offer no warranties or assurances for your experiences with the same product. I bought the gear with my own money and have not received any form of compensation from the manufacturer. Take my feedback as given – caveat emptor.