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Price when purchased (September 2014): £60.00
Price now (October 2015): £60.00 - £90.00
As a medium sized day touring backpack the Deuter Guide Lite 32+ is well thought out and practical as one would expect. By stripping the classic Guide features down to the absolute minimum, adding in some weight saving alternatives where possible and using slightly less durable fabrics Deuter have created a true lightweight.
I have been a fan of Deuter bags for years and particularly like the idea of the German Alpine Guides testing every new bag and providing vital feedback to the manufacturer. As a result the bags will deliver exactly what they promise time after time. Originally I bought this bag as an alternative to my bigger Guide 45+ since it is simply too big to be a comfortable and light day bag. One of Deuter's weight saving solutions is the continuous back hoop acting as the carrying frame. Where other bags often employ alloy constructions to provide stiffness the Guide Lite 32+ system runs from the base of the back around 2 inches above the main compartment edge. This in turn causes one of my main issues with this bag - the top lid does not stay in place securely unless the bag is filled to the brim.
Even with light items in the top pocket the lid will move forward onto the front of the bag since the straps at the back run next to the hoop as opposed to over it. However, this problem only exists if the bag is 2/3 full or less. Nevertheless the problem could have been avoided by either replacing the two securing buckles with a single one central on the back or by moving the existing ones slightly closer together.
The main compartment unlike the other Guide bags is one continuous section without subdivision. Further, to save weight the bag only has one access to the main compartment through the top with no side or bottom zips. As is usual for bags designed for climbing, mountaineering and serious walking the bag boasts Ice Axe attachments, straps for walking poles, the Guide typical Ski attachments and enough spare loops to find a spot for almost anything you need to secure.
Although the bag is the same long and thin design as the rest of its family, it is not necessarily suited to tall individuals. The range of adjustment in the carrying height results in the bag sitting slightly too high on the hips or too low below the shoulders in my case. While I don't care too much about this usually I have found that while scrambling this causes some back and neck ache after a while. But then again I am a tall and lanky person.
The bag has accompanied me on personal and professional days out containing anything from a full climbing rack to just a few sandwiches. Since the bag itself weighs next to nothing compared to others I never feel as if I am lugging around any unnecessary weight or bulk, leaving me to take those little extras that make a day out perfect.
Despite the few flaws mentioned the bag has so far delivered and lived up to my expectations. Through an entire cycle of the seasons I have not once felt that the bag is not spacious enough, not sturdy enough or not thought through to the n-th degree. The problems with the top lid only come to light when not filling the bag and I can see how this would likely not surface in practical testing where the bags are most likely to be used to their full capacity. In my case chasing after DofE groups in the Surrey hills carrying a first aid kit and some snacks highlighted the issue and once noticed, as with any minor fault, it is hard to unsee it. The Guide series is still my favourite bag series on the market at the moment and I enjoy every minute of use I get out of them.