When we see EXP, we think "expedition." Uncharted territory, set e.mail on bounceback, set v.mail on not accepting messages; don't know when we'll be back. Better get the full complement of shots as maybe this time we'll end up in a place where we have to worry about Japanese Encephalitis. Actually, the EXP in the Deuter EXP Air Hydration Pack stands for "expandable". There's a zippered gusset that can be opened to add 150 cubic inches of storage capacity. A zip-out helmet holder will carry your lid, but it can secure other things as well. There is a main cavity, a zippered pocket inside, a zippered pocket outside, and two mesh side pockets. The main pocket has a snap-together double-zipper for added security. The Deuter EXP Air uses the Deuter Advanced Aircomfort System (AAS). Anglophones usually separate the two words, not Germans. And this is a very German pack. The AAS is composed of two parts. First there is a mesh screen. The back of the back (the part that is supposed to meet up with your back) has a rigid liner and is stitched to the mesh panel so that there is a curve to it, keeping the pack off the back but securing it to the back at the same time. The result is human back surface area exposed, which means less of the soggy back phenomenon that all packs are infamous for. Securing the pack to your back are light mesh shoulder straps and pads at the hips. There is both a sternum strap and hip belt. Deuter has chosen not to make their own bladder, but employ one from Source, an Israeli company. Source calls it a Streamer Reservoir, because they feel that the bite valve allows pure easy flow like a mountain stream. The Z-Valve is a plastic valve covered by a soft rubber cover that is leak-proof. Just bite it and the liquid flows. Let go, and the flow stops. It's that easy. There is a plastic cover that protects the valve, though many leave it in the car when riding.The reservoir itself is made from a BPA-free polyethylene (PE) plastic that boasts a surface as smooth as glass. Smooth is important because the smoother the surface, the harder it is for bacteria to attach. In addition, the surface makes it harder for taste, like old Cytomax, to remain after the bladder has been washed. Beyond the glass-like surface, there's Grunge Guard, an anti-microbial coating designed to further keep mold at bay. Sealing the pouch is a bar-and-clip system that allows the bladder to be both opened completely and sealed completely, and is tough enough to be landed on without bursting. The Deuter Race EXP Air Hydration Pack has a capacity of 750 cubic inches when the expander is zipped shut, and 900 cubic inches when unzipped and open. There is a zip-out yellow rain cover with a reflective logo on it. It includes a 3-liter reservoir. The color combination is Anthracite/Silver. Dimensions are 18" tall by 9" wide by 5" deep. 2lbs 1oz (pack) + 6oz for the reservoir.
a Cross Country Rider
from Crested Butte, CO
Date Reviewed: May 26, 2010
Strengths: The pack is super large and can hold a lot of stuff. I mean a lot. Very comfortable to wear - the waist straps have a good 'hug' feeling.' The 'aircomfort' is well-designed and does keep the pack slightly separated from your back, allowing the pack and your back to dry. As big as it is, it doesn't feel like a super-big packpack. The 'expander pack' is well utilized and works well with this pack.
Weaknesses: The big compartment has no individual storage - it would be nice to have something specific for a pump/tubes/tools/etc. Instead, it all gets thrown into the same compartment. Or, the 2nd pocket is very small and can't hold much in terms of tools/tubes - I'd prefer to carry my tools and food/clothes in separate places. My experience with the bite valve.....it needs to be shut before you let the hose hang - I'm not sure if this is common.
Its a sweet recreational bag and you can talk all sorts of crazy stuff on rides with you. Like a solar powered blender, tequila, ice, agave and limes. Along with everything else you would normally take on a ride. That might be an exaggeration (maybe not). Still, there's a lot of room.
If it was better organized, I would give it the extra chilipepper.
I wouldn't use it for xc racing or enduro racing, but would have as a go-to pack for the afterwork rides and weekend epics.
Weaknesses: The secondary pocket could be a tad bigger. Didn't come with a six pack of my favorite beer?
I had this pack for a year before it got stolen. Used it on and off the bike and loved every minute of it. Construction of the pack was top notch and I loved all the features it came with.
Took me a bit to figure out how the pack is supposed to be worn (up higher than you'd think over the hips) but once I did the comfort of the pack was excellent. The ventilation system doubles as nice pack suspension and keeps your water from absorbing all your body heat on hot days.
Expansion feature comes in handy when you have to stuff your buddy's jacket or an extra tube or two in your pack. All the extras pack away for a sleek look and no snag points.
You'll want a bigger pack for all day adventures requiring food etc. but for typical 3-4 hour rides you can bring your tube, pump, shock pump, multitool, and a light jacket or other gear with you no problem.
Similar Products Used: Camelbaks and other random hydration packs.
Bike Setup: Spooky darkside, x9, sid etc...
a Weekend Warrior
from Cape Town, South Africa
Date Reviewed: November 19, 2009
Strengths: The best little bag I've ever owned. It's comfortable and versatile with the expanda feature, and all the little pockets are well thought out and useful.
It's also made of really strong and made of good quality materials. I've really put mine through hell and back - used it mostly for MTB downhill & singletrack and enduro motorcycle riding. It's got a couple of stains but otherwise it's still 100%.
The expanda feature really makes it versatile for if I need to .
Weaknesses: Only weakness I noticed is the waist strap buckles are weak. I broke mine within the first few months.
a Weekend Warrior
from Iowa Hill, California
Date Reviewed: November 16, 2009
Strengths: I think everybody here has hit the high points here, and a few packs utilize the fold-up bladder- Deuter's is nice.
Weaknesses: Though my expectations were high as I tried out the Deuter line, this one suffers from very short hip extensions- they are more like fins that sit on your back. But coupled with their mesh offset back, the two make a load susceptible to rolling and moving about in hard corners, etc, etc.
No matter the adjustments made could this be improved.
Ergon and Lafuma have started putting down mid level pack straps to hip, and this pack would have benefited from this but ultimately the mini hip fins kills it.
This pack will have to go back to the drawing board, maybe borrow its own hip pad/stap design from their Attack pack.
Bike Setup: Too many to list, many categories- mostly AM
a Weekend Warrior
from Edison NJ USA
Date Reviewed: July 1, 2009
Strengths: Keeps your back cool with the open airway behind your back is great and the straps are open like the back really light and nice. Bladder so easy to clean, and easy to take it out and put it back in. Storage pockets in several places in pack and the balance of the pack is easy to carry and wear, easy to adjust to different size riders.Great for a long or short ride and wet and hot conditions. Just great product.
Weaknesses: Nothing yet.
Just a great product tried others, this one just felt right and light. Felt like it was not even there, keeps you cool, and very conferable not a pain to use or wear in all type of riding..
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: June 5, 2009
Strengths: Keeps and open airway behind your back. Bladder so easy to clean! Storage pockets in several places in pack. Expands for winter gear or windbreaker. Great for a long or short ride. Can stow the essentials for an all day ride.
I had to purchase a few packs before this one. It cost a little more but well worth it. Once you try one you won't go back to the other packs!! Easy for everyone to use and great quality. The air way keeping the pack off your back is the best part of the pack.
a Weekend Warrior
from Austin, Texas
Date Reviewed: January 7, 2008
Strengths: quality construction, fantastic design, suspension system ventilates while keeping the bag off your back
Weaknesses: i haven't discovered any yet
Deuters rock! That's the short of it. Ask anyone who has them, and they'll tell you the same. I was looking to replace my Camelbak and read reviews on mtbr.com and talked with my local bike shop. The folks here and at the bike shop love the Deuters, and I'm happy to listened to them.
The bladder works like a bag that folds at the top -- which makes it way easier than Camelbaks to refill, clean, and dry. The bag also has a nifty suspension system that keeps the bag about 2-3 inches off of your back, with padded points where it rests on your back. The effect is that it allows air to ventilate, which is especially nice when it's hot outside. The rain cover is hidden well and is removable if you don't need it. The helmet holder is also concealed when you don't need it, and is functional for holding extra clothes if the bag is overloaded. And speaking of the bag, it's the perfect size for outings. It's about as big as the M.U.L.E. and has a zipper for expanding it when you need it -- like carry-on suitcases have.
All in all, it's a great bag, and I highly recommend it. Do some reading of your own, and you'll see how well they hold up and how much their owners prize them.