The Deuter Trail Pro 36 is a great mid-sized backpack that’s good for technical hikes where you need to carry extra gear, hut-to-hut trips, and even overnight backpacking. It has a lightweight spring steel frame capable of hauling 30-pound loads, a sewn-on top lid, and front panel access through a U-shaped zipper that runs around a front stretch pocket. Its eight pockets and main compartment keep you organized while a ventilated back panel keeps you cool.
Specs at a Glance
- Type: Internal frame
- Volume: 36L
- Access: Top lid, front panel
- Rain cover: Included
- Load lifters: Included
- Hip belt pockets: Yes
- Gender: Men’s (A Women’s Trail Pro 34 SL is available)
- Pockets: 9, plus main
- Weight: 3 lbs 8 oz.
- Max Recommended Load: 30 pounds
Backpack Storage and Organization
The Trail Pro 36 provides has a large main compartment with a hydration sleeve in addition to eight other pockets distributed around the pack. Access to the main compartment is provided through a drawstring closure under the top lid as well as a U-shaped zipped around the front stretch pocket.
The top lid is sewn onto the pack and has two pockets, one on top with a key fob that’s large enough for maps, hats, and navigation gear, and a smaller one underneath suitable for personal items.
The front stretch pocket is open on top with mesh along the sides and solid fabric in the middle, providing drainage plus extra durability. It’s held close to the pack (on top) by two side compression straps that can also be used to lash longer items to the sides of the pack. There’s a U-shaped zipper that runs around this front pocket and provides panel-based access to items buried deep in the pack, so you don’t have to empty the contents to find something buried deep inside.
The side bottle pockets on the Trail Pro 36 are a little different. The one on your right is a standard open mesh water bottle pocket capable of holding a one-liter Nalgene bottle. The pocket mesh is heavy-weight with a fine weave to prevent snagging and tearing. The left pocket is zippered and runs down the entire left-hand side of the pack. It’s perfectly sized to hold a thermos, making it ideal for winter hikes, but big enough to store anything from your rain gear to a pair of wading shoes for stream crossings. You can also just carry another water bottle in it with room to spare.
The hip belt pockets are big enough gear, electronics, or snacks but they’re both made with that heavy-duty mesh used on the side water bottle pocket. My preference is to have solid fabric pockets for better moisture and abrasion protection, especially for off-trail travel.
Finally, there’s a rain cover pocket w/ a pre-fitted cover store in a pocket of the very bottom of the pack. You can move or discard it if you prefer some other solution and use that pocket for other items.
Backpack Frame and Suspension
The Trail Pro 36 in an internal frame backpack with a springy frame sewn into the pack, so the pack has a lively feel when you carry in. The frame is made with a PE framesheet and a wishbone-shaped wireframe, so you can carry heavier loads up to 30 pounds without any problem. The hip belt is sewn onto the backpack at the base of the frame stays, providing optimal load transfer to the hips.
The pack’s back panel has an air-channel that provides excellent air circulation in warmer weather to keep you cooler and limit perspiration. While it’s not a raised mesh trampoline style pack, it works surprisingly well while keeping the load closer to your back. It’s bounded by two mesh-covered, lengthwise pads that cushion your back quite comfortably, without losing pack feel. The hip belt is similarly cushioned, with multiple foam densities to wrap around your hip bones and not slip down your waist when worn.
The shoulder straps have a gentle S-shape and can easily rotate to adapt to your chest width and dimensions even if you have a well-developed chest. The pack has load lifters that are anchored to the top of the framesheet and an adjustable sternum strap system that slides up and down a rail for ease of use.
All of the zippered pockets on the pack large zipper pulls which makes it easy to open them if you’re wearing gloves. There’s an ice ax loop, trekking pole tip loops, and a pair of shaft/trekking pole straps on both sides. These are small details but a lot of manufacturers skimp out on including all of them as Deuter has here.
Comparable Mid-Sized Backpacks
|Male / Model||Ventilated||Adjustable-Length||Price|
|Deuter Futura 30||Y||N||$150|
|Deuter Trail Pro 36||N||N||$160|
|Gregory Zulu 30||Y||Y||$150|
|Granite Gear Crown2 38||N||N||$185|
|Mystery Ranch Scree 32||N||Y||$189|
|Osprey Kestrel 38||N||Y||$160|
|Osprey Stratos 36||Y||Y||$170|
|REI Traverse 35||Y||Y||$139|
The Deuter Trail Pro 36 is a great mid-sized backpack that is durable and can be used for multiple sports, including hiking, climbing, and even backcountry ski tours. It has enough capacity to carry gear and emergency supplies for more technical hikes, with a lively but stiff frame that can carry heavier gear when necessary. I’ve used the Trail Pro 36 quite extensively this year for many long hikes and fly fishing trips and have found all of its pockets to be useful for keeping the gear I use for different activities separate and organized. The air channel on pack’s back panel is also surprisingly effective to keep you cool and helps reduce perspiration on hot and humid days or when you’re working hard in the hlls.
Disclosure: Deuter provided the author with a backpack for this review.Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored gear reviews, articles, and hiking guides.
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