Friday, November 26, 2010

Gear Review: Deuter Futura Vario field-tested in a Mt. Apo Traverse

There are two paradigms in backpacking, and they are seemingly paradoxical. One is the art and ability of being "self-contained": All your needs must be inside your backpack: tent (or any shelter), clothes, cooking and eating utensils, food, water, first aid kit, etc. Name it, your pack should have it. The other is the art and ability to "pack lite": Everything inside your backpack must be as light and compact as possible.

Reconciling those two approaches, striking a balance between them, is one of the most exciting (and sometimes stressful) challenges in camping and climbing. By trying different approaches in various climbs, one gets the feel of what works for them. Take note there is no right or wrong paradigm; it's a matter of personal preference.

For last month's Mt. Apo Traverse via the Kapatagan and Kidapawan trails, I leaned more towards the "Pack Lite" approach and used a Deuter Futura Vario 40+10. Although I didn't bring a tent with the bag, it was still a challenge to cram all that I would need in what could be a 4-day trip. I wanted to get the benefits of packing lite: less burden along a long trail, more flexibility, less strain in the back, among others.

In the end, I crammed more stuff than the ideal. But the Deuter Futura Vario had more space than expected, and was able to accommodate everything that I needed for the 4-day trip. A tent could easily be accommodated too by attaching it to the bag - s0mething I did for other climbers during the Apo climb.

Yet what really impressed me was the way the bag was designed. You can really adjust the bag according your height and torso, and the aluminum poles direct the weight straight into the hip belt, reducing the burden of the upper back and the shoulders. Best of all, the AirComfort system offers ventilation to your back; it is much easier to balance the bag even when the stuff inside the bag were hastily stuffed there. I had a very convenient time.

However, it is hard at this point to say whether the convenience I felt was due to the structure of the bag or the mere fact that I packed lite. Definitely though, hiking with the Futura Vario was quite an enjoyable experience. It rained several times during our Apo climb it passed the water test as well.

Now the question, will I switch my regular Deuter AirContact 55 + 10 for the Futura? Maybe, if only for the lesser burden on the back. But to resolve the paradox of self-containment and packing light, I would have to go for a bigger Futura Vario. The 50+10 may be the perfect size, but I'll have to see for myself. What I can commit to at the moment is to say that the Futura Vario is a promising line of hiking packs.


wahdaholic said...

i like climbing mountain, when you reach the top it is a great feeling.

Anonymous said...

ive got a fond memory with this backpack...ang unang malaking pack na binuhat ko paakyat ng bundok, although "pinahiram" lang. 40+10, ang gulat ng mga kasama ko nung malaman nila kasi newbie lang ako that time tapos major pa yung akyat.

first time kong ginamit, ok naman yung bag lalo na yung ventilation sa likod, pati yung shifting ng weight sa hips. parang wala akong dala na meron kasi mabigat pero parang magaan. hahaha.


art said...

i have the 50+10. malayong mas maganda siya sa tnf terra ko.i like the way it distributes the weight towards the hips. parang wala kang dala. highly recommended. it's even cheaper than similar tnf packs.

weekend traveller said...

so anong mas ok| yung air contact or yung futura vario? lost na lost na ako kung ano ang dapat bilihin

- james

deuter_pinas said...

@ weekend traveller :

good day to you,sir... FUTURA VARIO is a comfortable luggage transporter with air conditioning for long mountain hikes or trekking. The combination of its lightweight, round spring steel frame & the Vari Flex waist belt provides fantastic flexibility & carrying comfort.

AIRCONTACT compact, mobile and well ventilated- the Aircontact backpack are true masters of their trade when it comes to trekking, skiing and mountaineering. Vari Flex hip fins guarantee full freedom of movement on tricky terrain. The ergonomically formed back padding is designed to siut the Aircontact System and your back to the max, and as expected, is well ventilated, making it even more comfortable...

don't worry,sir both bags have a raincover...
puede ka na pumili,sir alin man d2... thanx

- james -

deuter_pinas said...

@ weekend traveller :

sir,ako kz gamit ko futura vario 50 + 10...
ok nman sya gamitin lalo n pg mga major climb, trekking etc. at ok din sya pg mga 3-4 days ang climb...

they have some different materials between Futura Vario and Aircontact...

materials : Ripstop 210 / Super-Polytex

materials : Ballistic / Ripstop 330 / Duratex

- james -

Anonymous said...

sir, where did you get this?


Anonymous said...

Hi deuter_pinas,

Matibay ba yung mesh nito?

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