If you’re anything like me, there’s a small collection of bags in your room, in your closet, in the storeroom, in the attic. A couple of bags for work. A big all-around bag for travel. A small clutch for dinner and more formal affairs. A small casual bag for short trips to the grocery store. A canvas tote for most everything. A laptop backpack. A more formal-looking laptop briefcase. And the list goes on and on. It’s kinda like a sickness. But what to do? The bag must match its intended use and venue.

But there is one bag that I sorely lack — a small lightweight pack to take to the beach, to river-side barbecues, or for short hikes such as to Bukit Tabur. I end up using an old tote bag (because it is waterproof and cavernous but whose thin straps I hate because they dig into my shoulders when my bag is heavy)…or one of those nonwoven bags that they give away these days for you to bring to the supermarkets…or my daughter’s faded Elle shoulder bag which gives me shoulder pains when the load is a bit too heavy. Sad, huh?

So when Ahmad of Original Discounted Deuter offered me a Deuter backpack at a special stock clearance price, I grabbed the opportunity. It’s an older model of the Deuter Race 10 Liter bag in turquoise and white.

The bag looked impossibly tiny that I had my doubts. But when I went to Penang last Monday for a day trip, I was surprised at the amount of stuff I could, well…stuff into it. Two phones, including the ginormous Samsung Galaxy Note 3. A foldable umbrella. A lunch box. A Pashmina shawl (knowing how freezing airports can be). Stationery items. A power bank. A calculator. A couple of pouches holding miscellaneous small items. Two water bottles in each of the side pockets. It felt like Doraemon’s magic pocket at some point — I just kept on adding more and more and more stuff and it all just went in 😉

The best part of the bag: no sweaty back!!! I have a beautiful (and pricey) Delsey laptop backpack but I dread using it because it makes my back sweat like crazy within 15 minutes of using it. But not the Deuter Race, thanks to its patented Airstripes design.

The mesh shoulder straps make the bag even lighter and more comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

Ever experienced the pain of backpack straps digging into your shoulders? You won’t have to endure it with Deuter. I hardly felt the bag on my back and shoulders! While going up a ramp at Penang International Airport, I put on the waistband and the load automatically shifted to my hips, removing the pressure from my shoulders! I can’t wait to give it a test run in Bukit Tabur next weekend!

The pockets are also all so nifty! There’s a small top pocket where I kept my Samsung Galaxy Note 3, BlackBerry Curve 9900, and a small wallet insert holding my driver’s licence, credit card, and some cash. The front pocket hides a key clip which was very handy for my car key (which I parked at Subang Airport). Inside the bag is a zipped mesh pocket which I used to keep small knick-knacks. The hydration bladder compartment (which is separated from the main compartment with a divider that holds the zipped mesh pocket) could fit an A4 transparent files for my ticket printouts.

And surprise, surprise! At the bottom of the bag, there is an integrated rain cover, to keep my pack (and the stuff inside) dry and safe should I ever get caught in the rain.

(Again, the bag was originally designed for bikers, hence, the fluorescent colour of the rain cover for increased visibility.)

Oh, and another small but handy feature: snaps for the zips of the main compartment so that your stuff won’t fall off when biking or hiking.

I did say compartment for a hydration bladder, right? I plan to buy one so that I won’t have to lug around a water bottle anymore. Maybe I can even use this bag for short runs! The Deuter Streamer 2L hydration bladder looks like this:

The main body fits into the rear portion of the bag and the hose comes out of a special outlet and can be attached to one of the shoulder pads with a special velcro strap. So you can imagine a biker/runner/hiker/lazy mother having a sip of water without having to stop.

All these details really reflect how advanced Germany is in terms of engineering and styling (think: Mercedes Benz!).

The Deuter Race 10L is originally meant for biking, so it is possible to buy a helmet mesh holder and hook it up to the strategically located loops in front of the bag. I doubt if I’ll be needing it but if I do tire of my bag, I might pass it on to MyEldest so he can use it for his horse-riding lessons and not have to handhold his helmet anymore. Here’s how the bag would look like with the helmet holder:

(The bag is a different model…but you get the idea.)

Now that I’ve experienced the joy of using a Deuter backpack, I would gladly pay full retail price for the Deuter Race 10L. But since I already got it at a special price, I’ll do the next best thing: invest in a bigger (and slightly pricier) backpack for trips that would require more stuff. I’ve got my eye on this beauty — the Deuter Futura 20 SL:

The 20-liter capacity backpack features such details as:

» hip pads and shoulder straps with soft, breathable Soft Air Mesh lining
» shoulder straps with load adjustment straps
» side compression straps for volume regulation
» practical front pocket
» stretch side pockets
» wet laundry compartment
» hiking pole loops
» reflective loop for safety light
» reflective attachment for drinking tube
» separate bottom compartment
» detachable rain cover
» hydration system compatible

NB: The ‘SL’ stands for ‘short length’ or models design for people with shorter backs, mostly women, but also men who have smaller frames.

Sadly, the Deuter Future 20 SL is not available yet in Malaysia (only in Germany as of this writing). It’s not even in Deuter’s main website yet. But it is already featured in their 2014 catalogue and should be out very, very soon.

So head on over to Ahmad’s website now to check out the range of original Deuter backpacks and accessories (including child hiking carriers) at very, very attractive discounted prices. For direct inquiries, you can also reach him via WhatsApp at +60123285772.

P.S. Here’s the child carrier in action, featuring Ahmad, himself, with his son, on their way up Mount Kinabalu!