Stuff I use

I’m still working out what the best combination of kit to take on the hills, I have a few notable failures, some big successes and the occasional Aha! moments.  Here I share my thoughts, reviews and suggestions – I reserve the right to change my mind but I’ll record that too as knowing why I changed my mind can also be helpful!


Deuter Guide 40+ SL backpack


With a vague plan to start climbing again soon and finding my very old Osprey Talon 38 a little small for more than a decent day-hike, I have been looking for a bigger pack.  After some consideration and a visit to Joe Browns in Llanberis, I have bought the Deuter guide 40+ SL, it’s a relatively unfussy pack with plenty of features which is a surprising combination.

As I have only used it the once on a four hour test walk, this is it’s First Date review, which I’ll update once I’ve gotten to know it better.


I stuffed some extra bits in and took more water to up the weight a bit so I was probably carrying around 7-8kg including the pack.  This is a very comfortable bag, the hip belt is wide and flexed as I walked so I hardly felt the load on my shoulders all day, plus it felt nice and stable while I moved over rocky and steep ground.  The back is padded so a bit sweaty (I sweat a lot though!) but it wasn’t uncomfortable and a compromise I am prepared to make.  The semi-floating top was sufficiently far back that it didn’t get in my way when looking up, which I found irritating on other packs.


There are three main storage ‘zones’.  Top to bottom: the floating lid has two zipped pockets, the external one having a waterproof zip (though I’m not sure I’d trust it on a very wet day) but plenty of space for gloves, hat, head torch and other essentials you’d want quick access to, the inner pocket is small but a good place to stash the wallet and car key. The main body of the bag is divided by a zippered section so you can have it as two or one compartments. I got my waterproof jacket, trousers and 2-person shelter in the bottom compartment so it’s a good size space for stowing soggy stuff especially as there is an external zip as well.  The main compartment is a good size too and can be slightly extended if you only use one drawstring closure, plus it has a side access zip which I think will be quite handy.  The only complaint I have is that the water bladder pocket is internal (its external on my old Osprey) so I need to remember to put it in first before the rest of my kit or its a pain to get in!


I haven’t used any of the external features yet, not that there are many.  The pole/axe holders look really strong and secure: there are loops for skis as well which are giving me an ideas for my next adventure… Given this is nominally the women’s fit pack the bright blue colour is a welcome change, the purple and red details look smart rather than an attempt to make it look girly.


Me: 5’5″/1.65m, UK size 14/16 with broad shoulder and hips with a narrow waist.

Pack: Link to Deuter website