Review: Deuter Freerider Pro SL – Women’s 28L
This review comes from Tiffany Hansen, a guest reviewer that drops in to cover women’s related gear. A thorough review of her Deuter Freerider Pro SL – Women’s 28L backcountry alpine pack.
Finding a women’s alpine pack for skiing and snowboarding in the backcountry has always been a challenge. Most packs are not built for a woman’s body. They are built by men, and for men with big shoulders, long torsos and definitely a different set of hips. Nothing about a men’s pack, is conducive to the level of comfort I am looking for to support my backcountry activity, which includes hours of touring and descents. I have tried out multiple backcountry alpine packs; and while some come close to fitting comfortably, at least for a short period of time, I have found only one pack design that feels like it was made for my body, and for my level of activity…the Deuter line of packs.
Intro – Deuter Freerider Pro SL – Women’s 28L
Deuter makes a line of packs specifically designed by female athletes, for women. The line is known as Slim Line or ‘SL’. For easy identification, the retail trademark of these packs is denoted with a yellow flower. Besides a comfortable and perfect fit, I had a demanding list of functions which I wanted my pack to deliver. Ideally, I hoped for ALL of the following: to be able to carry my skis in both an A-frame and diagonal setup, designated ice axe loops, removable helmet carrier, dedicated avalanche compartment (without a hood over the compartment which hampers immediate access to my avy gear), hydration compatible compartment, and a good amount of storage, – I love interior and exterior compartments! After a long search, and thanks to the recommendation of a fellow backcountry fanatic, I finally found what I was looking for. Deuter’s Freerider Pro SL – Women’s 28L, delivered to my specifications and more.
What is the Deuter SL system?
Determine if the SL system is right for you:
Deuter Freerider Pro SL – Women’s 28L
- 3.0 L hydration system compatible
- Vertical snowboard and snowshoe fastening straps skis can be carried in the center, diagonally or at the sides.
- zipped opening on back
- ski poles and ice axe attachment loops
- front safety gear pocket for shovel, handle and probe.
- load adjustment straps compression straps
- detachable helmet flap
- zipped fleece-lined goggle compartment with accessed from the outside
- stretch side pockets
- gear loop and zipped pocket on the hip belt hip belt with Pull-Forward system
- emergency whistle on chest strap
- two zipped internal pockets
- removable sitting mat
- wet laundry compartment
- SOS label
Deuter-MacroLite 420 Special high density 420 denier polyamide offers high abrasion resistance with it’s very tight weave. This top quality fabric is used for Guide backpacks and Travel range models. PU coating.
330D Micro Rip Pro 6.6 Deuter Micro Rip 6.6 is a 330 den Nylon blended fabric offering fantastic tear resistance. The use of Nylon 6.6 makes the material very durable and robust. Waterproof (WC 2.000 mm) thanks to the PU coating. The perfect material for big packs like the new Aircontact range.
- Load adjustor straps on the shoulder straps and hip fins serve to fine-tune the load according to the terrain: loose > more ventilation and mobility; tight > more control and a more compact fit.
- Removable insulating sitting mat stabilizes the back.
- Anatomic hip belt with bi-laminate foam for comfort, flexibility and weight transfer. The pivoting Vari Flex hip fins follow complex body movements. Thus, the load can be evenly distributed to the hips, providing freedom of movement and reducing fatigue.
- The Vari Flex hip fins are removable for weight reduction and better access to your climbing harness.
- Flexible, tensioned Delrin® U-shaped frame provides stability and effective load transfer with little extra weight. It follows the most varied movements with absolute ease.
- Contoured, comfortable 3D Air-Mesh lined shoulder straps. Two padded foam stripes that provide carrying stability and comfort with “chimney” effect ventilation between the stripes. The breathable 3D AirMesh is used on all points of contact, and is very durable.
- SL Women’s Fit System Soft edges to the straps, smaller buckles and narrow tapered strap ends prevent the SL shoulder straps from chafing under the arms and eliminate pressure points in the chest area.
- On average, women’s backs are not quite as long as men’s. The SL carry system is thus slightly shorter than that of Deuter’s standard packs. Consequently, the models in the SL series are the ideal choice, too, for male users with shorter backs.
- This conical form is achieved by angling the belt diagonally upwards and by; Soft edges to the straps, smaller buckles and narrow tapered strap ends prevent the SL shoulder straps from chafing under the arms and eliminate pressure points in the chest area. On average, women’s backs are not quite as long as men’s.
- The frontal adjuster system feature of our larger volume packs simplifies the waist belt fitting procedure. To take account of the narrower shoulder width of the female anatomy, and thus prevent slippage, the SL shoulder straps are both narrower and shorter in length. In order to give a perfect anatomic fit around the upper body, the SL shoulder straps are both narrower and shorter in length.
- In general, the female waist and hip area is also shaped differently, so in order for the waist belt to deliver a perfect anatomic fit when fastened, it should ideally have a conical shape.
- Weight: 1700 g (roughly 3.8lbs)
- Volume: 28 liter
- Size: 55 / 26 / 19 (H x W x D) cm
Function and Use
The Deuter packs have every conceivable setup and situation figured out in advance. It’s obvious that a lot of intelligent and empathetic thought went in to the pack design. The pack is not filled with extraneous bells and whistles. Rather, the pack is well thought out with superb functionality, a sublime anatomic fit and ergonomic ease. The Alpine Back System, which includes the Vari Flex System; and exclusive to the women’s packs is the SL Women’s Fit System, is a dream come true for this girl. I am plagued with various hip and lower back issues, which, thanks to my new Deuter pack, are nowhere near as much of a bane when playing in the backcountry as they use to be. The foam padded hip belt allows for comfort and positioning never before found in other packs. The shoulder straps are the perfect width and shape for a female body and with proper adjustment of the load-adjuster straps, I was able to easily refine my fit on-the fly while maintaining my pace.
A few photos of A-frame carrying on ascents.
A few photos of enjoying some lines with the Deuter Freerider 28 SL.
Some of the finer details.
If you are a woman who is serious about your backcountry activity, and expect the same performance of your gear that you expect of yourself, I urge both riders and skiers to give the Deuter Slime Line packs a try. It is one of my best gear decisions ever!
- Retail price: $159.00 USD
- You can find more information on the Deuter website www.deuter.com