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|Fitness for purpose:|
Price when purchased (February 2012): £125.00
Price now (September 2015): £95.00 - £120.00
Designed for use by Alpine Guides and recreational hikers and climbers alike the Deuter Guide 45+ is a true all-round workhorse designed for all extremes. Tough fabrics, well thought out attachments, ample storage and zips in almost all the right places are all testament to Deuter's continued strive for excellence in their products. Combined with a variable carrying system including fully removable hip belt the bag is at home in all seasons and outperforms many competitors.
I had high expectations for this bag, after all my last (85l) Deuter bag is well into the double figures and still going very strong. Like all Deuter products this bag was developed in partnership with the German Ski and Mountain Guide Association (Verband Deutscher Ski und Bergführer). This shows not only in the bag itself, but also in the subtle changes the bag has undergone recently. In fact the bag I currently own is the second Guide 45+ since my first developed a minor fault with the shoulder straps. In short - I picked the fully loaded bag up by a single shoulder strap a few times too many causing a minor tear in the stitching. Concerned that the fault might cause bigger issues once the warranty had run out I contacted Deuter who promptly sent a brand new bag back - the updated version. The changes between the two were subtle, a few changes with the straps, different reinforcements for the ice axes and a change to the hip belt, but they all made a lot of sense.
My bag has been used for everything from a casual day walk with only a few bits in it to my ML assessment. When scrambling the bag feels secure and even when carrying multi-day kit the carrying system and hip belt distribute the weight securely onto the hips allowing for a good range of movement and no feeling of insecurity. A good sized bottom compartment easily takes a sleeping bag and mat (such as the Snugpak Softie Elite 3 and the Exped SynMat UL 7) while also providing reliable access to emergency gear during group work. An internally 2-way zipped flap divides the bottom and main compartments. Access to the main compartment is either through a heavy duty side zip or via the usual draw string top. Special attachments for ice axes are common place on bags these days, but having secure rope, crampon, ski, pole and ice axe attachments as well as some spare loops for other bits is rare. A valuables pocket on the inside lid coupled with the usual top pocket, space for a hydration system and an integral foam sit mat which acts as back padding make this bag incredibly versatile.
Unlike other bags in this size category which tend to be wider than a person's back this one is purposely kept narrow and tall. This greatly aids the stability and control but also makes packing the bag a bit tricky. With a bit of practise the packing becomes easier, albeit still a tad awkward at times. Although the side zip aims to counter this there is still a problem of not having access from two sides or the front. Deuter have countered this common complaint among users with the newest incarnation of the Guide the Guide Tour 45+ which features a front zip among other additions and improvements aimed primarily at ski touring.
Over the years my bag has endured the full spectrum of abuse the outdoor can throw at it. Torrential rain, heavy snow, more than a few falls, tumbles and slides have caused nothing more than a few minor scratches, nicks and discolouring. The bag has never let me down and is one of my most recommended pieces of gear over the past few years to anybody looking for an all-round outdoor bag. That said I have to confess that due to 45+ litres being slightly too large and heavy for my liking for quick day tours I have recently treated myself to the slightly smaller Guide Lite 32+. As a multi-day, touring or working bag this ones is still my first and ultimately only choice. I've added half a peak for Deuter's excellent support and customer service which in this day and age is a rarity and real breath of fresh air.