Deuter Bike One 18 SL Hydration Pack Review
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I have been testing the Deuter Bike One 18 SL Hydration Pack for nearly two months now and I continue to find new features on this pack. While this pack is loaded with features, it can also be loaded with everything you could possibly need out on the trail.
Deuter Bike One 18 SL Fit
The SL in the Bike One’s name is Deuter’s way of signifying that it is a women’s fit pack designed for shorter torsos. While it is labeled as “women’s specific” it would also be idea for males with a (very) short torso. At 5’2” on a good day, I even found the torso of the Bike One 18 SL to be quite short especially compared to other more commonly found hydration packs on the market, even those that are women’s specific. The torso length wasn’t a hindrance, but I would be hesitant to purchase this pack without trying it on if I were even four inches taller.
Deuter also considered the female body shape when designing the shoulder, waist and chest straps. The waist straps are wide with a very open weave, a slightly curved shape and they angle upward slightly to accommodate a female’s body shape. The shoulder straps are narrower, shorter in length and set closer together to fit women’s traditionally narrower shoulders. I do not have narrow shoulders like many women, but I didn’t find the straps to be set to close together. The width of the pack as well as the location of the straps felt fine and had some amount of adjustability. The chest strap has the ability to slide up and down on the shoulder straps allowing different individuals to adjust to their comfort.
While the narrower straps on the Deuter Bike One pack didn’t bother me, I found that combination of the shorter torso and shorter shoulder straps to be a challenge to adjust so that the pack stayed where I wanted it and carried weight lower on my back. I found that while I was standing I could tighten the waist strap around my hips, but as soon as I hopped on the bike and leaned forward into riding position the waist belt crept up to under my ribs causing the pack to move side to side on my back if I didn’t re-tighten the waist belt and further shorten the shoulder straps at which point the weight of the pack was sitting well above my waistline. Because this is a large pack a snug comfortable fit was important so that the weight didn’t shift while I was riding and throw me off balance.
The Deuter Bike One 18 SL pack comes with a BPA-free Streamer Hydration 100 fluid ounce reservoir. The reservoir has an envelope style fill system that folds over then is clamped with a slide on plastic closure at the top. I liked that I was able to fill the entire reservoir on my own while holding it upright which I cannot say for many very common hydration systems on the market. It was also easy to open and close and didn’t leak at all. The bladder hangs from a velcro hook inside the back panel of the pack and a hose extends out the top of the pack. I found the hose to be a tad short and stiff. Rather than looping up through the chest strap to sit where I could easily lean down for a sip of water it wanted to dangle straight down the shoulder strap. The bite value on the Bike One pack was lockable and didn’t leak or drip even if I accidentally set something on it while it was unlocked, but it seems to have fairly low flow and I needed to really suck to get enough water out fast enough.
Bike One 18 SL Added Features & Storage Space
As I mentioned, the Deuter Bike One 18 SL hydration pack has lots of space and tons of added features to keep you covered for extra long days on the trail in any conditions. The 18L or 1,100 cubic inch pack has a large top entry compartment and two additional small zipper compartments on the front. Even when I used this pack for a three-day adventure on the Kokopelli trail where I spent eight plus hours on the bike a day I didn’t come close to filling the pack to its limit. I always had extra layers, a rain shell, full bladder, lunch, snacks, tubes, tools, trail food, camera, and more in the pack and I still had the compression straps tightened down as much as possible. I do wish it had more compression straps toward the bottom of the pack because all of the stuff settled to the bottom and it bulged at the bottom and was loose at the top even with the compression straps tightened.
The small zipper compartments were perfect for items I wanted quick access to or wanted to organize a bit better like tools, patch kits, chapstick and sunscreen. An added feature I would have liked in one of the smaller pockets was a small pocket with a soft lining to keep my cell phone and camera separate and protected from harder sharp objects that could have scratched the screens.
Deuter packed so many features into the Bike One 18 SL that even when trying to utilize them all it was a challenge. The pack includes: a mesh helmet holder, rain cover, snap together zipper pulls, Airstripes back system to promote airflow, mesh side pockets, reflective details, removable foam mat in back panel.
A couple of the features really stood out to me while others I could have lived without. The mesh helmet carry is probably my favorite feature. I didn’t use it while riding, but being able to store pretty much everything I needed to ride on my pack was hugely helpful when trying to condense all of my gear in to one support vehicle or a shuttle vehicle. My should fit inside, gloves in the mesh side pockets, and helmet securely in the helmet holder not dangling all over. When not in use it packs away into its own pocket.
I also really liked the Airstripes back system. With minimal back contact, it definitely was noticeably cooler than other packs and allowed me to keep my overall body temperature down on super hot days since air could pass through the pack and on my back from top to bottom.
The Bike One 18 SL pack also had snap together zipper pulls which I had never seen on a pack before, but was a great addition. The zipper didn’t vibrate open or get caught on branches in tight spots and slide open keeping all of my gear safely inside my pack.
Since the durable nylon material that the pack is made of has a polyurethane coating to protect against weather, I didn’t ever need to pull out the rain cover, but I can see where it would be very handy if caught in one of Colorado’s afternoon downpours out on the trail. Like the helmet holder the rain cover packs away into its own pocket on the bottom of the pack.
Deuter’s Bike One 18 SL pack has so many features and so much space at just 1lb 12oz. that it is hard not to love, but I do think that it is a bit over kill for everyday riding. I highly recommend it for long, long days in the backcountry or for rides that may require extra fuel, tools, or a variety of clothing options. While I found it challenging to fit me personally, I think it could be an excellent choice for smaller framed women and men depending on their preferences. I could also see using it for day hikes, not just biking. For more information, please visit www.backcountry.com/deuter.