Deuter have an excellent reputation for well-designed, comfortable packs and Flow was keen to test out the One 18 SL.
While they don’t have a women’s specific range per se, they offer the SL series instead: packs predominately marketed at women and designed with a shorter back length, and a selection of other modified features designed with the female market in mind. That being said, we found that the packs could also be used for men with a shorter frame as long as you don’t mind the colours and flower too much. [private]
At Flow, we were curious to hook our arms into the Bike One 18 SL; a pack suited to day rides, walks, or commuting to work with your laptop in tow.
Multiple, well-positioned pockets allow for smooth and versatile operation. This effectively provides the usual stowage options expected in a pack of this size – be it ample room for a laptop in the main compartment, deep pockets for securely carrying food and drink on the outside, external pockets for easy access to, or separation of, favourite items, and an internal pocket for carrying a hydration bladder on long rides.
A built in rain jacket weatherproofs your goods in the wet and a stretchy, mesh strap is ready and waiting to expand the carrying capacity of your pack when needed. What we liked most about the strap is that it didn’t interfere with access to the outside pockets, which is a common annoyance with some competitors’ packs.
To cater for the women’s market Deuter have adjusted the design of the pack so it’s better suited to narrower hips and shoulders, and shorter backs. This is most obvious in narrower, more tapered straps, and the reduced overall length of the pack compared to men’s designs.
While we appreciated the extra room for adjustment the redesigned straps provided, it was surprisingly difficult to adjust the pack so it was comfortable to use.
Despite trying it on a range of women’s body shapes we found the length was still too long and hit helmets on the trails. Even after adjusting the curve of the aluminium rods inside the rear of the pack, we were unsuccessful in finding a way to adjust the main strap length so the pack sat snugly against the body while continuing to support its weight at the hips.
Also, the pack seemed to pivot off the wide ‘Airstripes’ ventilation system at the rear rather than being supported by them. This caused a further feeling of instability on the trails or while commuting, but wasn’t a problem off the bike.
Overall we liked the stripped back, easy to use features of this pack, but were disappointed by the fit. Given Deuter’s reputation for excellent pack engineering, we look forward to seeing what they come up with when they design a female specific pack from first principles rather than modifying an existing design. [/private]