There’s a Backpack for Every Ride

First off, I’ll preface this blog post by stating something you probably know already:  Deuter is a partner of Chasing Epic.  They provide us with free packs, and we’re very thankful for that.  That said, we only work with the best in the business, and personally I’ve been buying Deuter packs way before I started Chasing Epic- if we didn’t love their packs to begin with, we wouldn’t be working with them.  So take this review for what it’s worth… at the very least, use it as a guide to figure out which size pack(s) is right for your type of riding.

As the owner and main trip leader for Chasing Epic, I go on all kinds of mountain bike rides.  From quick training rides around my house during down time to all-day epics with customers in Crested Butte, I need a pack for every occasion.  And you probably do too.  I get a lot of questions about the packs I use on our trips, so I thought I’d break down each of my favorites.




All Day Epics: Deuter Compact EXP 12


The Compact EXP 12 is my go-to pack for a majority of the rides I do for Chasing Epic.  It’s not too big (just over two pounds), and it holds everything I need and then some.  Living (and riding) in Colorado means you better be prepared for dynamic weather, and the EXP 12 allows me to bring a light rain jacket or extra layer.  It has more pockets than MacGyver’s Levis, and with a nicely built waist strap and chest strap, it holds everything you’ll ever need on a ride.  For me, that means extra snacks for customers (or myself), a full set of on-trail tools to fix mechanicals, an extra tube or two, a CO2 setup, and probably a bunch of other stuff you never think about.




By no means is this pack meant for bikepacking, but that’s what I like about it- it’s big enough to carry your stuff, but not so big that it feels like you have a 3-yr old riding piggyback.  It has a separate compartment for the 3 liter hydration bladder, which should be enough to keep me going all day long.  Oh, and for all the Denver Broncos fans out there- it comes in blue and orange, which is never a bad thing.  The details:

  • 2 lbs, 6 oz
  • 730 + 150 cubic inches
  • 3L hydration reservoir
  • hydration system compatible with separate bladder compartment secured by autolock zip, hook and loop tape sealed drinking tube opening and tube line
  • Auto-Compress hip wings with close set anchor points and Pull-Forward adjustment for super tight fit
  • two zipped pockets in the hip wings
  • Airstripes back system with adjustable stays
  • stowable helmet flap
  • reinforced back panel to avoid pressure points
  • spacious front pocket with wide opening organises smartphone, keys, tools, spare tube, etc.
  • reflective safety light and tube loop
  • 3M reflectors on the hip belt
  • zipped front pocket
  • side compression straps also suited for fixing protective pads
  • detachable rain cover
  • mesh side pockets


2-3 Hour Rides: Compact Lite 8


With Chasing Epic, most of our half-day rides are two to three hours, and if you’re in the mountains that means a legitimate amount of climbing (like 1500-2000 feet!).  When it comes to a pack, I still need something big enough to carry supplies, maybe a light jacket, and definitely enough water to stay hydrated out here, where humidity numbers are regularly in the single digits.  The Compact Lite 8 does that all for me, all while weighing just a pound and a half.  The straps are all mesh construction, which is nice for comfort and keeps you cool.




The Compact Lite has two main compartments, which is nice for separating your tools and extras from your snacks, jacket, etc.  Inside of those two compartments are additional pockets, which means you better remember what you packed or else you may not find it for months.  In the main storage space sits the 3-liter hydration bladder, which is a welcome feature.  Deuter’s hydration bladders are detachable, which makes filling them up very easy.   As long as I don’t over-pack, most of the time I barely know the Compact Lite 8 is on my back when I’m riding.

  • 1 lb, 8 oz
  • 490 cubic inches
  • 3L hydration bladder
  • mesh shoulder straps, mesh hip fins and Airstripes back system for all-round ventilation
  • hydration system compatible
  • wet laundry compartment
  • spacious front pocket with wide opening organises smartphone, keys, tools, spare tube, etc.
  • loops for helmet holder
  • detachable rain cover
  • reflective safety light and tube loop
  • 3M reflectors on the hip belt
  • mesh side pockets


Quickie Rides: Deuter Pulse Three


OK, before you say anything… yes, it’s essentially a nice fanny pack.  That’s out of the way; now it’s time to talk in practicalities.  The Pulse Three (or Four, which is slightly bigger) is a highly-functional waist pack that allows you more freedom of movement for your shorter rides when you don’t need to worry about bringing your entire hall closet.  It’s nice and light, and you barely know you’re wearing it.




I recently started wearing one for shorter rides, which for me means up to 90 minutes and maybe 12-15 miles.  On a recent ride, I packed a tube, a CO2 kit, tire lever, multi-tool, patch kit, plus my keys and phone.  Oh, and one other thing- it has a sleeve (and strap) to hold your water bottle, so you don’t even have to worry about getting Giardia from having your bottle on the frame of your bike.  Plus, having it on your back means it’s easier to access when you’re huffing and puffing up that after-work climb.

  • 9 oz
  • one bottle holder
  • 3M reflective elements
  • wide mesh hip wings with zipped mesh pockets
  • two zipped pockets
  • adjustable belt
  • bungee flex cord
  • key hook
  • Blinkey loop.


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AUTHOR: Steve Mokan

Steve is the owner (and founder) of Chasing Epic Mountain Bike Adventures, and contributes regularly to our blog. He's passionate about providing customers with incredible mountain bike vacations, and he loves photography and travel when he's not working. Truthfully, he loves those things when he is working too.