At first sight, we thought the Deuter Trans Alpine 26 SL was just another men’s hydration backpack in a 'feminine' colour – luckily this wasn’t the case. The 'SL' in the name indicates that it is part of Deuter's women-specific range. It is shorter in length and narrower in fit, but still has all the features you'd want from a pack.
The fit is immediately comfortable, even when the pack is overloaded, and over the course of our hour-long commute to work, we even forgot it was there. This is partly thanks to the large number of different straps that help adjust the bag to get the perfect fit. The wide waist strap with extra storage pockets goes a long way towards taking the load away from the shoulders and stabilising the pack.
Inside the pack, storage layout is generous and extremely detailed. There are two main compartments – the top compartment is spacious, with room for all your gear, including an iPad, laptop or A4 books and papers. The separate bottom compartment has an internal zip so you can join the two sections if you want to. This bottom section is ideal for keeping your wet and/or dirty gear separate from the rest of contents.
There isn't a hydration bladder included, but the bladder pouch in the main compartment was as handy for organising papers and books during commuting as it was for carrying water on weekends!
The zippers undo most of the way down the pack, allowing you to quickly find what you need when carrying a day’s worth of gear. Small items are kept in place with small mesh organisers. The little mesh pockets on the waist strap give easy access to gels, keys or whatever other small items you stash in them. The elasticated mesh on the sides holds a water bottle securely and adjustable straps keeps it there.
The little details continue with the snap-lock buttons on the zippers, a pull-out reflective raincover, a small map or papers compartment, and even some padding that doubles as a removable seating cushion.
The Airstripes padding helps with all-day comfort, but it sits against the back, so you do get a little sweaty. Suspended mesh pack systems fix this issue, but you inevitably lose internal space.
The brighter colour is a nice change from the usual black, blue and red choices, although the plastic flower was probably included for no reason other than to tell sales staff it’s a women’s pack.
At 1.23kg (1.15kg claimed), this pack isn’t flyweight, but it's a respectable weight given the its durable construction and generous pocket layout. It’s probably too big for many shorter adventures, but for daily commuting, truly epic days in the saddle and even lightweight overnight trips, the Trans Alpine won’t disappoint.