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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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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