This Deuter Futura Vario 45+10 SL Hiking Backpack For Women is the 2018 version of the trekking pack that has been on the market for many years already. They have improved it and it is better than ever.
Key features & benefits
- Women-specific design.
- Adjustable torso length.
- Expandable collar.
- Excellent ventilation.
- Trampoline-style tensioned mesh.
- Top craftsmanship.
- 3 Access points.
- Rain cover included.
Futura Vario 45+10 SL – what is in the name
The Futura Vario series has been around for many years already, but in 2018 they have modified these packs. So the series now includes only two packs, this 45 + 10 liters pack for women and the 50 + 10 liters pack for men.
The number +10 in the name indicates that you have an expandable collar that adds 10 extra liters of volume. The lid is designed to accommodate such an extra volume and it is fully adjustable. This means that you can raise it as shown in the picture below. The true volume of this pack is indeed 55 liters, and this is big enough for backpacking tours. This is why I have included it in my list of the best backpacking packs for women.
The letters SL in the name indicate that this is a ‘slim line’ suitable for women and for people of a smaller body size in general. The pack is hydration compatible and you have a sleeve inside the main compartment.
This is again a top loading pack but it has three access points,
- from the top under the lid,
- from the bottom through the bottom compartment and the zippered divider,
- and from the front where you have a large front zipper that opens the pack like a suitcase, see the picture.
What is really new in this new version
I have outlined all the new features in my text about the 50 + 10 pack, so all holds here as well, and I will not repeat the text, please follow the link to see more. But I shall mention some of the new features in the text below.
The suspension system
The suspension is the best part of this pack. The torso length is adjustable and you have what they call the VariSlide System which means that you can move the harness to any position in the range 14 – 19 inches (36 – 48 cm), this is a continuous system (see the picture below) so you can be sure you will find the perfect fit.
The system is based on an arched spring steel frame which transfers the load to the hip belt and gives tension to the back mesh that keeps the pack away from the body. This implies the best possible ventilation which remains the same regardless of how you move; when you lean forward the weight of the pack presses the curved frame and the tension in the mesh is increased. This means that the gap between the body and the mesh cannot be compromised. So this is what they call the Aircontact system shown below, and the meaning is that the air has a free flow in all directions.
This is very different from the system which you have in Osprey Ariel AG 55 and Osprey Aura AG 50. These Osprey’s packs are the top in the industry and nobody can deny this, but I think that the Deuter’s ventilation is superior. You might want to know that Deuter invented this tensioned mesh system several decades ago and introduced into their Futura backpacks.
In this new 2018 version, they have added two sections with foam along the sides of the tensioned mesh, and these foam strips then seamlessly continue to the lumbar zone and the hip belt; you can see this in the picture above.
The padding on the anatomical shoulder blades and on the hip belt is excellent and covered with a very breathable foam. In the shoulder straps, you have their ActiveFit system, they fit comfortably through the self-acting adjustment. Note that there is also some flexibility in the hip fins, this is what they call the Variflex ECL (Ergonomic Comfort Lock) system.
This pack comes with a full set of pockets as I love to see them; you have them 9 + 1 in total. You will not find many packs with more pockets, in fact, I do not remember any. Starting from the top, you have two pockets on the lid, one with an outside access and one underneath the lid.
On the sides, you have the usual lower stretch mesh pockets, plus the upper zippered bellows pockets. Two zippered pockets are on the hip belt, and one large stretch mesh pocket is on the back. The last pocket is completely on the bottom and here you have the rain cover stored.
Attachment elements & straps
I shall start with the new feature – they have added the compression straps that run over the bottom compartment, see the picture below. So this is a very big change as compared to the previous version of this pack.
On each packs’ sides, you have dual compression straps, lower and upper. You also have 4 attachment loops on the lid where you can attach a solar panel or some other piece of equipment.
You have dual loops for trekking poles and for ice axe, and they are paired with dual bungee tie-offs higher on the pack. So all needed elements are now in place.
Good and less good features & rating
Here is my short summary:
- Adjustable lid.
- Adjustable suspension.
- Top quality materials and workmanship.
- Durable fabric.
- Rain cover.
- VaryFlex hip belt.
- ActiveFit shoulder straps.
- A bit heavy.
What is behind the weight?
The weight comes from some extra features which you do not have in many other packs.
- You have 2 extra bellows pockets on the sides, so they add extra material plus two extra zippers, hence the weight.
- The inner divider is with a zipper. So this is a true divider and when you close it, nothing can pass from the main compartment to the bottom section. This is not so with some other top packs where you have just a shelf between the two compartments.
- You have the rain cover.
- The frame is steel.
- This is a durable fabric 210D and 600D.
- There is a lot of padding everywhere for the best possible comfort.
But see it below compared with the Osprey’s best packs and you will realize that its weight is quite normal for what it offers (and it offers more than the two Ospreys packs, the Ariel AG 55 and the Aura AG 50).
As of the moment of writing the text, the price for this pack is $161, and I think this is more than fair for such a top-notch item. Bear in mind the rain cover which adds value. See how I rate this pack:
My rating breakdown of the Deuter Futura Vario 45+10 SL pack:
- Weight: 4.45 lb (2020 g).
- Volume: 2746 + 610 in³ (45 + 10 liters).
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 29.1 x 12.6 x 11.8 in (74 x 32 x 30 cm).
- Torso range: 14 – 19 in (36 – 48 cm).
- Frame: steel.
- Colors: 2.
Deuter Futura Vario 45+10 SL Hiking Backpack vs Competitors
In my view, this is a top quality item so it deserves to be compared with the best what is on the market. Therefore I take the two Osprey’s packs, both women-specific designs.
As you realize, the Futura Vario pack is the same volume as the Osprey Ariel AG 55, but it is lighter although it has more pockets and it comes with the rain cover. But follow the links to read more about the other two packs, they are worth it.
COMPARE PACKAGE FEATURES
Weight, lb (kg)
Hip belt pockets
Vario 45 + 10
Payable Every Month
45 + 10
top, front, bottom
9 + 1
Ariel AG 55
Payable Every Year
top, side, bottom
yes & no *
yes & no *
Aura AG 50
Payable Every Year
yes & no *
* Some explanation is needed here. The Osprey’s packs on the EU market do come with a rain cover but not on the US market. Note also that the Ariel packs in the EU do not have the daypack which is available on the US market.
In summary, this Deuter Futura Vario 45+10 SL pack for women is among the best on the market in this size range. It includes almost everything you might need on the trail or when you travel. Yes, I know, a daypack similar to the one in the Osprey Ariel packs would make it just perfect, so this is missing here. In any case, this is a versatile tool and the craftsmanship is on the highest level, I can warmly recommend this pack to anybody.
Thank you for reading. If you need something else, different size or design, please visit my page with equipment, you will find hundreds of backpacks described in detail. If you need an ultra-lightweight external frame pack, check this Vargo ExoTi 50 Backpack.
What do you think about these Deuter packs? Do share your opinion and experience, there is a comment box below. I wish you a nice day.