A lightweight, fully featured day pack suited to all types of terrain.
- Comfortable under load
- Some useful features
- A little over engineered
- Back stay is permanent
German company Deuter have featured a huge range of packs and accessories for decades, for over 100 years to be precise so you should expect well designed packs with features that are useful for a variety of hikers.
The Trail 26 is a mid point pack from the Trail series of hiking specific packs.The range encompasses the smaller Trail 22 to the much bigger Pro 36. There is also a female specific range that spreads between the Trail 20SL to the Pro 34SL. We chose to feature the Trail 26 as we felt that 26L should be enough for a 3 season day out in the UK. This review took place during the very warm and dry conditions of 2022.
26L should be more than enough for heading out into the mountains during mid to late spring to early autumn. Modern clothing and equipment is smaller, lighter and packs away easier to it makes sense the reduce your pack size accordingly. Things I would generally take out on a day out in The Lake District or Yorkshire Dales (where I do most of my hiking) would be: a lightweight hardshell jacket and pants, first aid kit, ultra light emergency shelter, gloves, butties and some water. On top of that I’ll pack a map and compass and on a longer day a portable power pack as well as some hiking poles. I’ll also pack a lightweight synergic fill jacket for popping on for lunch stops on windy days. The Trail 26 easily managed this with some room to spare for cooler conditions.
The pack is very well featured, as you would expect from a German company, with everything you would need to keep all your kit organised and to hand. I found the amount of features a little too much for my liking and didn’t use some of them. The style is of the lidless type and although this makes accessing kit easy you’ll need to sharpish to deploy the integrated rain cover if the weather turns nasty. There are enough loops to carry a single ice axe and there are specialist loops for stowing hiking poles. These didn’t work so well with my folding poles so I stowed them in one of the two elasticated side pockets (which is what I would normally do anyway). If you have flick or twist lock poles they will work fine.
The exterior is finished with a helmet sized front pocket which will also fit maps, jackets etc which is cinched tight using the same straps used for reducing pack size (or in my case the poles). On top of that there is a zipped pocket at the bottom that holds the detachable rain cover.
Other pockets include an accessible top pocket which I used for stowing first aid kit, knee support, gloves and some food bars and keys (on the key clip). There is also a zipped mesh interior pocket which I used for wallet and a compass. A clever little feature are the small cinch cords by the elasticated pockets which adds an extra bit of pack reduction – which can be useful for scrambling for instance. Inside the pack there is a hydration pocket with an exit hole for the hose, there are a couple of loops on the shoulder straps for keeping the hose in place.
Talking of shoulder straps – they were very comfortable. Super flexible and should easily be wide enough for most shoulders. They are fully meshed to aid ventilation and there are also a coupe of thumb loops which can be useful for clipping a watch or sat nav to as well as securing your compass via its cord. There are some shoulder tightening straps for when the pack is loaded or you need extra stability and a fully adjustable sternum strap finishes it off.
Finally, the back system is fully and permanently framed with a Delrin frame. Delrin is used in precision engineering and is known for its stiffness and strength. As I said it is permanently fixed and runs down the top and sides of the pack. This helped with the comfort of the pack and stability when descending rough ground. Further stability is achieved with the waist belt which can be stashed in pockets to tidy the pack up when scrambling. The waist belt tightened from pulling at the back which left quite a lot of excess webbing dangling around at the front which was annoying until I found two loops to thread it back through and this helped tidy it up.
In conclusion the Deuter Trail 26 is a well features and comfortable pack which would be suitable for a whole variety of mountain adventures including winter hikes. There are enough pockets to keep all your kit and valuable well organised and the front pocket is particularly useful for those items you want quick access to.
The Deuter Trail 26 comes in two colour options Blue and Black and there is a female specific version, the Trail 24SL.
Disclaimer – CGR reviewers and writers are never paid to provide a review and the website does not take advertising or link to affiliate sales. We are a bunch of keen climbers and travellers that accept sample products and offer an honest and independent review of the item. The reviewer will often keep the sample after reviewing it for both hygiene and safety reasons and more often it’s in no fit state to return!