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Deuter Guide 45+ Backpack Review

Deuter Guide 45+ Backpack
Deuter Guide 45+ Backpack

The Deuter Guide 45+ alpine-style backpack is an extremely flexible and rugged backpack for a wide variety of winter adventures. Although mid-size in capacity (2750 cubic inches / 45 + 10 liters), this pack really shines for multi-sport activities like mountaineering, backcountry skiing or climbing when you have to attach a ton of gear of bulky gear like snowshoes, ice axes, skis, ropes or helmets to the outside of the pack. With several optional components, including a removable hip belt and sit pad, it is possible to lighten the Guide 45+’s overall weight or customize it for a variety of different activities. If you like to play hard in winter, the Deuter Guide 45+ will get you there and back, again and again.

Floating Lid and Extension Collar
Floating Lid and Extension Collar

Storage Capacity and Oranization

At 45 liters (2750 cubic inches) the Deuter Guide 45+ has an extension collar with an extra 10 liters of storage capacity, making it suitable for daytime winter adventures where you need to carry extra clothes, food, water, gear, and safety equipment. While this pack could also be used for 3 season backcountry trips if you keep the volume of your clothes and camping gear quite compact, the Guide 45+ is ideally configured for climbing and winter sports.

Sleeping Bag Compartment
Sleeping Bag Compartment

The Guide 45+ has a large main pocket which can be used as is or segmented using a fold away inner panel to create a separate sleeping bag compartment (including a separate external zipper). I think this pack is on the small side for a feature like this and would trade it for reduced pack weight.

Side Access Zipper
Side Access Zipper

The main compartment also has a side access zipper which lets you reach in and pull out gear without having to open the top of the pack to access it. Again, this feature is a bit of an extravagance because it’s not that difficult to get to your belay jacket in a small pack like this if you pack your gear carefully so the most frequently used items are closer to the top.

Internal Pocket on underside of Top Lid
Internal Pocket on underside of Top Lid

The Guide 45+ has a floating top lid and 10 liter extension collar that extends the main compartment and can be used to sandwich gear between the lid and the rest of the pack . The top lid is not a true floating lid because it is still connected to the pack with a spin-drift collar, but it does add a measure of flexibility to the pack for carrying rope or top layers when you need to put them on and take them off frequently during the day.

Center Zipper on Top Pocket
Center Zipper on Top Pocket

The top lid has an outer top pocket and an inner pocket which are nicely sized and good for storing gloves, hats, snacks, navigation gear and a camera. I like how the outer pocket zipper runs across the middle of the lid and not along the front because it prevents gear from accidentally spilling out. In actual use, I store most of the gear and apparel I access during the day in the two lid pockets or sandwiched between the lid and the pack, and rarely open up the main compartment unless we stop for an extended period of time (to layer up) or I need to switch water bottles.

External Storage and Compression System

If you need to carry bulky technical gear, the Guide 45+ has a very well thought out external storage system that makes this pack a great gear hauler for backcountry skiing, climbing, and hiking/snowshowing. I have carried a lot of gear on several difficult trips this winter and this pack carried it like a champ.

Side compression straps can be used to attach snowshoes
Side compression straps can be used to attach snowshoes

With two tiers of compresson straps, it is easy to attach skis (through reinforced ski slots) or snowshoes to the sides of the pack. You can also carry attach snowshoes to the front of the pack along a pair of slanted daisy chains, but you’ll need to supply your own straps in order to lash them down.

Front daisy chains and ice tool holders
Front daisy chains and ice tool holders

Modern ice tool holders (I guess loops are old-school) are provided making it easy to carry ice tools or a walking axe, as well as extra gear attachment loops on top of the lid and front enabling all kinds of ad hoc attachment points for carrying helmets, sleeping pads, and additional traction.

Top rope strap
Top rope strap

For climbers, the Guide 45+ has a removable rope strap that makes it convenient to secure a rope under the top lid or a jacket if you don’t want to stop to pack it in the main compartment of your pack.

Back Panel and Shoulder Harness
Back Panel and Shoulder Harness

Suspension

The Guide 45+ is an internal frame pack with a X-frame suspension system and aluminum stays. The feel is very stiff and can take a while to get to use too if you’re used to a more padded or frameless winter pack. On the flip side, the stiff feel makes it possible to carry very heavy loads because the frame and back panel won’t buckle under the load.

  • Total Weight: 3 pounds 14.3 ounces
  • Removable hip belt: 8.5 ounces
  • Removable sit pad: 2.3 ounces

The rigidity of the Guide 45+’s frame is offset by a flexible Variflex hip belt system that pivots slightly as your hips move. It takes a little while for the hip belt foam to “break in”, but becomes much more flexible the more you wear the pack. The hip belt is also removable, which is very handy if you need to wear a climbing harness and want it out of the way, but you’ll want to keep it with you if you’re carrying a heavy load, to help transfer the weight off of your shoulders and onto your hips.

The shoulder pads, hip belt, and back panel are covered with breathable padded mesh to increase comfort and help vent perspiration. There’s also a central channel that runs up the middle of the back channel to provide additional ventilation and comfort.

Load lifters are attached to the shoulder pads and can be used to pull the load forward in line with your hips which is useful if you are carrying a lot of external gear which pulls you backwards and off balance. The hip belt does not have pockets, but does have dual gear loops for racking climbing gear or attaching water bottles, along with hip stabilizers to pull the pack into your back for better lateral control.

Recommendation

I’ve been using the Deuter Guider 45+ this winter on many difficult trips where I need to carry a lot of external gear. Although relatively lightweight for an alpine-style pack (3 pounds 4 ounces to 3 pounds 14 ounces depending on configuration), it can easily carry 40 pound loads without difficulty. If you’re on the market for a rugged mountaineering, climbing, or backcountry skiiing style backpack for winter adventure that will stand up to some serious abuse, I recommend you try the Guide 45+. This pack can take you to hell and back and come back for more.

Likes

  • Diagonally oriented daisy chains add flexibility to the external attachment system
  • Extra tie out points on the lid and front of the pack
  • Easy to remove hip belt when you need to use a climbing harness

Dislikes

  • Removeable sit pad is impossible to reseat without repacking the backpack
  • Extra side panel access and sleeping bag compartment zippers add unnecessary weight
  • Extra lashing straps are required to carry snowshoes on the front of the pack

Manufacturer Specs

  • ALPINE Back Systems
  • Variflex Pivoting Hip Belts
  • Side Access Zipper
  • Wide Ski Slots (130mm)
  • Removable Foam Mat, Hip Belt and Stays (SH: The stays are not removable without unstiching the stay pockets)
  • Two Air-channeled Foam Stripes
  • Aluminum X Stays
  • Modern Ice Tool Attachments
  • Spin-drift Collars
  • Optional Under-lid Rope Strap
  • Hydration Compatible
  • Under-lid Valuables Pocket
  • Hip Belt Gear Loops
  • Optional Stability Waist Strap
  • Height Adjustable Lids
  • SOS Labels
  • Pull Forward Hip Belt Straps
  • “SL” Women’s Specifi c Fit on 40+ SL
  • Bottom Compartment Access with Internal Zip Divider
  • Alpine: Meets the demands of technical pursuits, and guarantees excellent and safe load carrying ability paired with comfortable ventilation
  • Removable Foam Mat: Supports the back system and can be used as seat
  • Removable Aluminum Stays: Are crossed and transfer the load to the hip belt
  • Removable Hip Belt: Enables pack weight reduction, and gets it out of the way of the climbing harness (optional stability waist strap included)
  • Two Air-channeled Foam Stripes: Ensure maximum air circulation and stability
  • Adjustment Straps: On the shoulder straps and the hip fins allow fine-tuning for different terrains. Looser = more comfort during approaches; Snugger = more precise load control
  • Variflex: Pivoting hip belt will follow every movement and helps you keep your balance and maintain energy on difficult terrain
  • Capacity: 45 lbs / 20 kg
  • Torso Length: 16.5 – 20″ / 42-50 cm
  • Volume: 2750 cubic inches / 45 liter (+10 liter Height Adjustable Lid)
  • Minimum Weight: 3 lbs 10 oz / 1.65 kg (without hip belt and stays)
  • Total Weight: 4 lbs 4 oz / 1.92 kg (SH: 3 pounds 14.3 ounces on my scale)
  • Dimension (H x W x D): 29″ x 13″ x 9.5″ / 73 x 34 x 24 cm
  • Material: MacroLite, Duratex-Lite

Disclosure: Deuter provided Philip Werner with a sample Guide 45+ backpack for this review.

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11 comments

  1. Nice review. I have their 60+ pack and it’s terrific. I love that they have a women’s specific fit (for my very narrow shoulders), but I don’t think the hip belt is removable. It also doesn’t have the side zipper for the main compartment; I guess those features were added in the last year. I wish the top lid were removable, as it would make for more variability when considering different length trips (I would take it off for one-night summer trips, for instance).

    • Are you sure it’s the guide model, which tops out in this size and doesn’t have a women’s variant? They make dozens of backpacks.

      • Ah, you’re right, it’s an ACT Lite. And screw them for not having a women’s variant of the Guide. All packs should. ;-)

      • In all fairness, the guide is pretty slim because it is built like a climbing pack, and I consider the hip belt – female compatible based on the way it moves….

        Deuter probably has the best selection of female pack on the market, so don’t be too quick to curse them.

      • Yes, and the ACT Lite is totally awesome and I was just kidding about the cursing.

  2. Great review, I’ve been hiking with the same pack all winter, and have nothing bad to say about it. The pack material is burly, and stood up to impromptu bushwhacks, hiking through the canopy, rain, and snow. My only complaint is the lack of hip belt pockets, that would be about the only thing I’d change about this pack. I can say that I’m definitely looking forward to warmer weather, and my smaller and lighter pack, for day hiking anyway.

  3. I’ve had the Guide 45 Plus a few years now. Excellent pack. It is a little heavy but it carries so well I usually can forgivethe weight.

    One thing though that happened to me and to at least one other person is that the shoulder strap adjusters started slipping – after a year or so. I kept having to hitch them to re-tighten the straps. It got so bad eventually that I was having to re-tighten every 150 metres! Customer support were useless, but eventually I discovered the cure myself, which was to add a second buckle – a kind of ‘running buckle’ if that makes sense – and that did cure it completely. It was a buckle that held the free end of the strap down to the its load-bearing section. On reflection, I think what was happening is that the action of walking was causing the strap to kind of slide side to side,a nd that was allowing the strap to be pulled through the original buckle, bit by bit. So theextra buckle simple stopped the sideways movement and ensured the strap was always passing through the original (load-bearing) buckle at the correct angle, i.e. was making a 180 degree pass-through and return.

    Sorry. dificult to explain in words, but I bet there are other owners who had the same problem and they will know what I mean. The pack works like new now and no slippage.

    I do like the Guide 45 plus, and I appreciate that I can drop it off a cliff, or jump up and down on it in big boots to get it small enough to count as carry-on baggage. (Yes, the rigid frame is just short enough to work as cabin baggage; I empty the lid pockets into my huge jacket pockets, stuff the empty lid down into the main pack and cinch up the drawstring. No more baggage fees or lost luggage!) …but I am now looking for a lighter pack. 2kg out of a total 7kg base weight is a bit much to accept. Been looking a while but haven’t found one I like as much as the Guide yet. Keep looking…

    • He I am considering to buy a guide tour 45+ but I was wondering what the exact dimensions are when you minimize the pack (especially the length of the frame) for using it as carry-on (as Paul mentions)

  4. You’ll need to contact the manufacturer. I don’t have the pack anymore. Raffled it off, I think.

    • The manufacturer won’t know. I’ve tried that several tiems with manufacturers and they just look up the specs on the spec sheets. Their specs will never show the minimum dimensions. You will either have to go to a shop and measure it, or if you can’t do that then phone a shop up and get them to measure it, but be prepared to phone two or three shops before you get the proper dimensions as a lot of people in outdoor shops don’t seem to have been trained to use tape measures. (Well, it’s much easier when you know exactly which dimensions you are looking for – easier to do it yourself.)

      I can’t tell you the dimensions of the Guide Tour 45+ as I only have a Guide 45+, but I’m guessing the Guide Tour 45+ is based on the same frame as the Guide 45+. The Guide 45+ is just on the limit for cabin baggage for most carriers. The Ryan Air limits for example (and I’ve never heard of a carrier with smaller size restrictions, although some allow slightly larger cabin baggage) are 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. Weight limit is 10kg.

      The minimum, cinched-down, gently-pressed-down height of my Guide 45+ is 54.8cm, although of course it is made of fabric so the ‘loose’ height will be about 55.5cm. Width is only about 30cm so is not an issue. Depth is variable, depending on how you pack it, and can easily be thicker than 20cm, but what I do is pack things in two or three ‘cylinders’ side-by-side inside the pack so each ‘cylinder is less than 20cm in diameter and the pack’s overall depth is thus limited and doesn’t ‘balloon out’, so to speak.

      In fact what I do is I have a pair of detachable side pockets – Deuter’s own brand in fact so they are designed to fit most of their packs – and use those as inner ‘cylinders’ inside the pack when going through airports. i then use small cylindrical waterproof compression sacs to pack other things like sleeping bag, sleeping mat, tent inner and outer, etc. The things I would normally carry in the two top pockets of the pack I put in my jacket pockets and wear my jacket in the airport. I then push the empty pack lid down into the main pack and cinch up the draw cord. The hip belt, I shorten, fold back on itself, feed the buckles through the lower gear loop on front of the pack and click it out of the way.

      They have plenty of weighing machines at airports and my bag is generally about 8.5 or 9kg with all my camping gear in. Once I’ve re-added jacket, pocket contents, etc. it’s just about 10kg, and a week’s food and a litres or two of water takes the maximum to about 14kg. I’m always trying to minimise weight – and I’m beginning to resent the fact that the Guide 45+ itself weighs 2kg – but it’s a good solid carry, and is perfectly stable with a 15kg+ load. Also it’s well-designed, doesn’t let in rain water too easily,a nd the fabric is very, very strong, so I have no worries about it ripping on sharp rocks, etc.

      At my destination, the side pockets go back on, the lid pockets get filled with the bits and pieces again, and that leaves plenty of room in the pack for food and water which I buy locally before heading up into the mountains. For water carriage I buy a few 500ml bottles of Coke or similar and use those bottles for water. They’re light and strong (MUST be FIZZY drink bottles – not still water bottles!) and they take up zero space in my pack in the airport (because I dump them before coming home!) A hydration pack wouldn’t take much space I guess but I don’t like them.

      Tent poles fit down inside the pack. I un-zip the inner divider panel in one corner so the tent poles can go right down into the bottom corner of the pack. My tent pole sections are 52cm long.

      Oh, I almost forgot: the divider between the main compartment and the lower compartment helps to stop the pack ‘ballooning’ when full of stuff, so the ‘cylinders’ only need to be used in the upper, main compartment; the lower compartment can be just stuffed with clothes, etc. although I do use lightweight drybags to organise stuff.

      Many people complain about the restrictions on cabin baggage, but I actually like them. It encourages me to be ruthlessly professional about trimming weight and bulk out of my hiking pack. I thank the airlines for that encouragement with every step I take in the hills.

      Lately I’ve been experimenting with using a semi-DIY-customised pack which weighs just 910g. That 910g includes side pockets and a full-length foam sleeping mat which is also used to line, waterproof and stabilise the pack, so in fact there is a weight saving of a full 2kg over the Guide 45+. But it’s not as robust, is less-well-thought-out, and is only really comfortable up to about 10kg total weight. I like it (and the fact it will only really take 10kg max is a further encouragement to trim weight!) but it’s kind of experimental and ‘edgy’. The Guide 45+ I can thoroughly recommend though. It won’t let you down.

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