A lightweight winter pack, stacked with features to help you on your way up and down the mountain
I have been using this pack over the last few months as my Mountain Rescue mountain kit bag and on a recent splitboarding trip to Sainte Foy in the French Alps.
I was drawn to this backpack as the features fit perfectly for what I want from my pack. The Deuter Freescape Pro also picked up the ‘best in their segment’ Gold Medal award in the 2021 ISPO awards, another reason why I was a bit excited to try this out.
I have just returned from a splitboard trip to Saint Foy in the French Alps. The snow hasn’t been easy to come by this season but getting on the splitboard allowed me to find some of the good stuff and put the Frescape Pro 40+ through its paces on some hikes.
Deuter Freescape Pro 40+ Backpack: the stats
|Eco-conscious:||Main fabric is 100% recycled and bluesign®-certified|
Features of the Deuter Freescape Pro 40+ Backpack
Ski / snowboard attachment systemThere is nothing really revolutionary here with the Freescape Pro. You will find this strap system on most winter touring bags. My problem in the past has been the durability of the straps and the front of the bag where snowboards or skis edges will rub against them. Repeated movement of a sharp edge against poor quality straps can very quickly cause you a problem.
My snowboard attaches to the pack with the use of two dedicated gear straps across the front of the bag. These straps can be used to secure skis and crampons too. The straps feel solid and the metal hooks that attach them feel sturdy. The straps tighten easily and can be done without having to take gloves off, which is essential on a cold, windy winter ascent.
It gives a good snug fit when hiking up with the board on my back and minimal movement.
After taking my snowboard on and off constantly through the week, the materials of the straps and front of the bag held up well which left me feeling confident that they will last the test of time.
Hip belt and pocket
The mesh hip fin, as Deuter calls it, is well padded and very supportive. It takes the weight really well when the pack is stacked with all my gear. I find it really easy to get a good comfortable position. There is a good sized zipper pocket on the one side. I use this to fill with yummy energy fuelled treats for my ascents. The zip itself is big so it allows me to dip in and out without removing my gloves. Can you tell that I get cold hands very quickly yet?
The other side of the belt has two material loops to let you have some useful climbing essentials attached such as, karabinas, prusik loops and slings.
Alpine back system
I find the whole Alpine back system of this bag to be really comfortable and super supportive. My last few packs have let me down a bit here and as it is ultimately one of the most important elements of a backpack I was left disappointed.
The Freescape Pro delivered in this area like waking up to a bluebird powder day! Back pads on the pack really help to keep a comfortable position against the back whilst carrying a full load. Their design also allows for good ventilation and sweat management. Again, the straps are good quality and easy to tighten or loosen off if needed. The back frame that the backpack sits on also means that when the pack is off your back and sits on the ground – for loading and unloading – the shape of the bag isn’t compromised. Equally when it is on your back it keeps its shape and doesn’t sag below the hips. I can’t explain how happy I am about this. My last two bags lost their shape when either sat on the ground, making loading it up difficult, or when fully loaded on your back, resulting in the bottom of the bag sagging. Well done Deuter for this. I bored my touring partner about this for the whole week!
Rear zippered entry
For me this is an essential feature for any winter ski/snowboard bag. The rear entry zipper means that you have quick access to extra layers, goggles and gloves without having to take your skis or board off the backpack. So often on hikes I find myself changing my layering system as the weather takes a turn for the worse or I find I have too many layers on. This makes it very quick and easy to do, so you’re not losing time on your ascent.
Phone / map back pocket
Such a simple idea but a real winner for me. Located up the side of the bag, this little pocket can be accessed while the bag is on your back. It is big enough to get a well folded map in there as well as your phone. When I take clients out on backcountry days one of the first things we do is move their phones from their chest pockets in their jackets. Although you want to have quick access to your phone, should you need to call for assistance, having your phone close to your avalanche beacon device can interfere with its signal. This handy little pocket allows you to separate your phone from your beacon and also provides quick access to your map should you find you have taken a wrong turn!!
This is another essential feature for me. This mesh helmet holder does the job well. You will find it already attached, by one of the four straps, to an outer pocket so when it’s not being used it is stashed away neatly and not easy to lose – another gripe of my previous bags! When needed you simply unfold it and attach the other three straps to the loops on the outside of the bag provided. Because of the positioning of the loops it means that you can strap your helmet on to the bag after your board has been attached. This makes it easy to get to should you decide you need it for a sketchy part of your ascent.
Every winter touring bag will have this emergency avalanche equipment pocket. This pocket has plenty of room and sections to hold your probe and shovel. It also has some handy tips for what to do in an avalanche situation and basic first aid guidance. This is a nice touch although, if you are using this backpack to do the things it is meant for, then you should be well versed in avalanche safety, recovery and first aid, for your own safety and those that are with you! You can never do too many courses on these subjects and you can never practice using your emergency equipment too much. If you want to get out there and enjoy the mountains, get some training and help to keep you and your crew safe!! Rant over.
This pocket can also double up as an easy access laptop pocket when traveling.
Compression / rope straps
Another mini rant from me here! I get so frustrated with backpacks having too many straps, making securing everything more complicated than needed, looks messy and there’s a danger of catching a loose strap on a chairlift. The last one can be very embarrassing!
Deuter has nailed this. There are the perfect amount of functional straps to tighten and attach everything without going overboard, keeping the pack looking neat and tidy at all times.
There are two compression straps, one on each side. They work perfectly to secure either end of a rope that might be snugly placed under the floating lid or for attaching touring poles ready for your descent. One more rope strap helps to secure the center of the rope under the floating lid. Sturdy and easy to use.
Floating top lid
Embarrassing confession here. I had to have a look at what this meant as I have never called it a floating lid before. Only to find that is what it has always been called! Sometimes on a smaller day hike I will not take the floating lid as I don’t need the extra space. I take this part of the pack on and off a lot so it was great to find that not only are the straps sturdy when needed but very easy to detach. A simple process but one that other brands have got wrong in the past.
When attached to the pack this fits really well and the two pockets are generous in size. The top pocket has a divider which I find really useful. I use this pocket for a head torch, extra gloves, back up batteries, snowboard tool, extra screws, reusable zip ties and other bits for running repairs. Underneath there is another pocket that is great for storing extra snacks.
I always find the floating lid useful to detach and store in your main luggage as a toiletries bag when traveling too.
Another essential tick for any touring backpack these days. I use an old Osprey 2.5 liter reservoir. The bladder fitted well and there is a velcro hook to ensure it keeps its shape as you drink your choice of liquid. Nice to see that you can use any brand of reservoir and don’t have to buy one specific to the pack.
Deuter Freescape Pro 40+ Backpack review
As I mentioned earlier I have used this pack for a few different purposes. As my kit bag for Mountain Rescue, my first impressions were really good. The generous access points into the bag were key for getting in and out of the bag quickly with minimal fuss.
Similarly when used as my splitboard touring pack it offers me everything that I need it to deliver and it delivers it with ease while not over complicating features. Apart from a slight issue with the ice axe fixing, which I mention later, I feel that the bag is well made and made to last.
The main fabric used is 100% recycled and is bluesign certified. Bluesign traces every step of the manufacturing to ensure it has the lowest possible impact on people and the environment and a responsible use of resources.
What I love the most about the Deuter Freescape Pro 40+ Backpack
The large, wide top entry had allowed me to pack my kit efficiently and utilise the 40+ltr capacity well.
I like to seperate my mountain rescue kit into different coloured small dry bags that I load into the main kit bag. This makes it easy for me to locate exactly what I need in an emergency. The rear entry zipper allows me to open the bag fully to find what I need, fast.
The well designed straps and loops on the outside of the bag means I have plenty of options for extra hardware such as ice axe, ropes and crampons while still having good access to the inside storage. Above all of this the bag’s framework and adjustment system makes for a secure and comfortable companion even after hiking long distances. Even when the bag is fully loaded it manages to feel light on my back.
All of the above makes it an excellent backpack for splitboarding missions. With the 40+ltr capability and added extras it is more than a day bag and is fully capable of doing multi day trips too.
When I travelled out to France I also used it as my cabin bag for the flight. Switching the avalanche pocket for a laptop stash, the side map pocket for my passport and travel documents. So this pack has the ability to be multi-use.
I love the simple and slick look of this bag too.
So far I really like this backpack. It has all the features that I look for while offering real comfort and style.
What I don’t love so much about the Deuter Freescape Pro 40+ Backpack
I have honestly struggled to write much here! The only question mark I have is regarding the velcro loops on the outside of the bag that are there to secure an ice axe. Only the second time on using the pack one of the loops stitching came loose and ripped the loop, leaving it unusable.
The rest of the bag feels very well made and durable so I can only put this down to a manufacturing fault on this feature.
If you are a winter backcountry pow slayer or enjoy getting out in the mountains for winter hikes and multi day trips then I think this lightweight backpack offers everything you need.
Super stylish, great features and comfortable fit. I am already looking forward to my next adventure with the Freescape Pro on my back.
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Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.