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Gear Review: Deuter Spectro AC 32/28SL

This stable pack is made for rough terrain.
gear guide 2010 deuter spectro 445x260Deuter Spectro AC 32/28 SL (BP Photo Department)

Most Stable
Rough terrain ahead? The Spectro’s narrow packbag and gorilla-hug suspension create the most stable weekender we tested. “I carried emergency gear and spare water—about 17 extra pounds—for a guided group in Utah’s Bighorn Canyon,” says one tester. “And the harness cradled so snugly around my hips that I could actually jog with that payload.” And he could do it all day, thanks to a wide hipbelt and tensioned, trampoline-style backpanel that let him take 100 percent of the weight on his hips.

The single main compartment is large enough for an ultralight weekend kit (comfort maxes out at 25 pounds), and the pleated hydration pocket is large enough to hold two bladders at once. Stretchy bottle pockets hold gloves and hats, while a shove-it pocket let us keep raingear and frequently grabbed layers separate from the load (you have to remove the pack to access either).

Testers say the ripstop nylon could survive five years of use. Rather than a women’s model, Deuter offers the pack in SL (slender) and makes it (as well as the regular) in two sizes. We found the SL best for torsos 15 to 18 inches; the regular was best for torsos 18 and up. $139; 1,950 cu. in.; 2 lbs. 8 oz.

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