All things considered, while the multiple features of the Deuter Trail Pro 36 do come with a very slight weight penalty, it is a very small price to pay for such an excellent pack. It’s well up for any adventure you might want to take it on.
Easy-access to kit
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Name a desirable feature on a hiking backpack and the Deuter Trail Pro 36 can almost certainly tick it off the list. From pole, ice axe and helmet attachments to a lid pocket, two side pockets (one zipped, one stretchy) and an internal valuables pocket, to a wet kit compartment and an excellent (and, sadly, much tested once I got it out into the wilds) rain cover, this pack has it all.
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A front zip even gives alternative easy access to the main compartment, so you can quickly find gear stowed at the bottom. But its smartest feature is arguably the breathability of its porous foam back pads, and the wide ventilation channel up the spine, facilitating airflow without compromising your centre of gravity.
• RRP: $165 (US)/£130 (UK)/€170 (Europe)
• Volume: 36 litres
• Sizes: One size
• Weight: 1.49kg/3lb 7oz
• Colours : Midnight-lava/Graphite-black
On the trails
With the pack fully loaded for a series of long day walks in the Lakeland fells, I felt well balanced no matter what kind of terrain we encountered, and that includes some short spells of scrambling across often wet and slippery rocks that dot the landscape of the Lakes.
Moreover, clammy patches on my back were limited to small areas either side of my spine after lengthy uphill climbs, while my spine ridge stayed cool and dry. The hip-hugging waist belt fins gripped comfortably and securely, and their generous pockets proved ideally proportioned for snacks, phone, sunscreen and hand sanitiser (the new essential).
The only change I would make to the pack is one that I recognise is highly subjective; I would elect to have open stretch pockets on both sides of the pack, rather than just one side (the other has a zip pocket) – sometimes when I walk with my wife we take one pack of this size between us, and immediate access to two water bottles would be very handy.
After spending a decade as editor of Country Walking, the UK’s biggest-selling walking magazine, Jonathan moved to edit Outdoor Fitness magazine, adding adrenaline to his adventures and expeditions. He has hiked stages or completed all of the UK's national trails, but was once overtaken by three Smurfs, a cross-dressing Little Bo Peep, and a pair of Teletubbies on an ascent of Snowdon. (Turns out they were soldiers on a fundraising mission.)