Deuter Guide 35+ Rucksack Review........
We set out to thoroughly test three leading mountaineering and climbing rucksacks from tried and trusted brands. This has involved 6 months of use by a range of testers and in terrain ranging from a Scottish winter to many days in the Peak District, Snowdonia and the Lake District. The first review featured the Osprey Variant 37 and you can find that here. Second up was the Lowe Alpine Mountain Attack 35/45 which is here and the review below is the last of the trio - the Deuter Guide 35+. This final part also includes the overall findings from this group test. I hope you find it useful in making you rucksack selection…….
Deuter Guide 35+
Deuter describe the Guide 35+ as 'a sleek alpine pack' and say ‘it carries all the hardware and is built to take a beating: the Guide is a strong companion for rough outings’. Again this pack is well featured and yet displays sleek lines and an uncluttered styling. There is a single main compartment with a traditional cordlock closure or the main compartment can also be accessed by a long side zip.
The Guide has an internal alloy frame system and well padded back panel that is lined with durable and breathable 3D Air Mesh and features 2 foam strips with a central ventilating channel. The shoulder straps are also 3D Air Mesh lined and are sculpted for a comfortable fit. There is a chest strap and the shoulder straps have load adjuster straps to help fine tune the fit.
The hip belt is well padded with bilaminate foam and features pivoting Vari Flex hip fins which, say Deuter, follows complex body movements. The Vari Flex hip fins are removable for weight reduction and better access when wearing a climbing harness. The waist belt also has gear loops.
The lid on the Guide 35+ is permanently attached but is height adjustable and has a central zipped pocket and valuables pocket. Under the lid there is a detachable rope lashing strap. Besides all that the rucksack has side compression straps which can be fastened over the middle of the pack, there are reinforced ski attachment straps, a daisy-chain attachment strip runs down each side of the pack and there are ice axe attachments.
The material used for the main body of the Guide 35+ is called Macrolite and seems extremely durable. Deuter describe this as a ‘special high density denier polyamide’ which offers high abrasion resistance due to a very tight weave’.
I have used the Guide for several months throughout late autumn, winter and into this spring. It has been used substantially for guiding work as well as personal adventures during climbing, mountaineering and trekking activities. As stated previously, it has also been used by a broad cross section of clients for similar activities. In total it’s been tested by 21 people over 127 days of use. Most of the use has been in Scotland with other days in the Lake District, Snowdonia and the Peak District.
The whole Deuter Guide range has been around for quite some years and usually a rucksack range that has stood the test of time is a sign that the design really works. This rucksack is the sleekest and most minimal featured of the models tested. However, Deuter know what works and the features professionals will need so it has all you could need and nothing superfluous. I love that about this pack.
The Guide is an extremely solidly built rucksack that feels like it could survive anything and it has certainly shrugged off all that’s been thrown at it so far with ease. Everything about it feels built for longevity and function - the Macrolite fabric is stiff and durable and the side zip, back panel and attachements are all as solid as rock.
The Guide’s shape is very sleek and, just as it sits well on the back, it never feels bulky or restrictive. The clever Variflex hip belt really does follow your natural body movements and, although its action is less noticeable for walking, it’s a great feature when you are climbing in the pack. The chunky padded waistbelt is extremely supportive when carrying heavy loads and can be removed to leave a simple nylon tape waistbelt which, although less supportive, is still effective and obviously considerably lighter.
The comfortable carry is helped by well padded and sculpted shoulder straps and the supportive back panel. I have used it mostly with the alloy stays removed and even then it remains a comfortable and supportive carry.
The shape of the Guide is a funnel shape that is wider at the bottom and then tapering to a narrower top opening. This doesn’t affect the loading but does mean it feels very low profile and you’ll particularly notice this when climbing with it on.
The lid isn’t detachable and this is one feature I wish Deuter had added to this model. There are plenty of times where I’d prefer to remove the lid when trying to cut the load a little, but at least it still has a level of extension which helps if you have an overloaded pack or, more likely, if you are packing a load of kit into a route but will then empty a fair bit out to wear for the climb itself.
The side zip has become a well used feature which allows quick access to the main sack body - you need to be organised about what you put in there because you don’t want the contents to tumble out when you unzip, but for access to things like a map, waterproofs or water bottle then it works a treat.
The thoughts from other users of the Deuter Guide echoed my own findings - everyone spoke extremely positively about it’s performance, durability and looks. As the name suggests the rucksack is well suited to hard and constant users by professionals, but will also give years of great service to everyday adventurers.
This group test of 3 techinal rucksacks has, above all else, revealed one thing. The leading rucksack brands of Osprey, Lowe Alpine and Deuter are all producing fantastic products and these mid size climbing and mountaineering packs are superb offerings that will survive the harshness of all season activities in the mountains and will all allow the carrying of heavy mountain loads in comfort.
They are all different in subtle ways and I would say that the Deuter Guide is the least ‘cluttered’ and streamlined, the Lowe Alpine is a brilliant all rounder that has all features needed for all mountain adventures and the Osprey, while having the most ‘bells and whistles’, is a brilliantly designed pack that will be a valued mountain companion.
I really wanted to select a pack that was my favourite but it just hasn’t been possible - I would stack all these rucksacks against each other equally and none of them really stand above the rest for me. I could say, however, that I end up choosing the Deuter for lighter load scrambling and ‘fast and light’ style days, the Osprey has become my ‘lug a heavy pack full of kit into routes’ option and the Lowe Alpine seems to the one I choose for the days I will be carrying a full rucksack full of kit into a route but then carrying the sack up the route.
In reality, you won’t go wrong with any of these and my suggestion, if you are looking for that next pack, is to find them in a shop, try them on and get a feel for whether their particular features suit your requirements. Beyond that, you really won’t go far wrong with any of these - they are all, quite simply, fantastic!
Posted by Paul
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