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Deuter Futura Vario 45+10 Review

This pack offers great access to the main compartment, a benefit to travelers, but ultimately lacks the comfort for all-day carrying
Deuter Futura Vario 45+10
Photo: REI Co-op
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Price:  $230 List | $209.95 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Adjustable torso, multiple access points to main compartment, well ventilated suspension
Cons:  Carries weight on shoulders, hip belt sags in rear, pockets not as usable as desired
Manufacturer:   Deuter
By Elizabeth Paashaus ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 5, 2019
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42
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 16
  • Comfort and Suspension - 45% 3
  • Organizational systems - 20% 5
  • Weight - 20% 4
  • Adjustability - 15% 7

Our Verdict

Deuter has been a long-time manufacturer of comfortable backpacks but, in our tests, the Futura Vario doesn't quite live up to their reputation. The pack is well-made with quality materials and technology but in testing, the frame didn't effectively transfer weight to the hips and the hip belt bent and flexed too much to stay comfortably in place and support the load.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price $209.95 at Amazon
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$255 List$269.95 at REI
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$269.95 at Backcountry
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$199.00 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
42
79
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65
Star Rating
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Pros Adjustable torso, multiple access points to main compartment, well ventilated suspensionComfortable, supportive suspension, simple design, large pockets, durable, customization from manufacturerHuge main compartment, customizable compression straps, super lightweight, comfortable with heavy loadsComfortable, plush padding, wide range of fitting options and adjustments, good number of pockets, easy-to-remove top lid,Lightweight, easy to access side pockets, removable pockets and straps
Cons Carries weight on shoulders, hip belt sags in rear, pockets not as usable as desiredNon-ventilated back panel, less organizational featuresDark material makes pack contents difficult to see, hip belt difficult to adjust, rigid padding might not last over timeLarge, spring loaded waist band is hard to get into, suspension can feel bulky, expensive, hip belt can sag uncomfortably on some usersFixed torso length, rigid feeling hip belt
Bottom Line The Futura Vario doesn't provide the comfort needed for backpacking but offers great access to gear through large zippered openings in the packComfortable suspension for all day use, all the right pockets, and durable fabric make the Circuit a top choiceThe Granite Gear Blaze is built for hauling heavy loads over vast distances with comfort and easeThe Aura 65 AG is a comfortable pack that is fully featured, well ventilated, and sleek in designWhen pack weight is a priority, the REI Flash 55 keeps the pounds and ounces low and works well for weekend trips and ultralight adventures
Rating Categories Deuter Futura Vario 45+10 Circuit Blaze 60 Osprey Aura AG 65 REI Co-op Flash 55 - Women's
Comfort And Suspension (45%)
3
9
7
8
6
Organizational Systems (20%)
5
8
8
8
8
Weight (20%)
4
8
8
4
8
Adjustability (15%)
7
4
7
9
4
Specs Deuter Futura... Circuit Blaze 60 Osprey Aura AG 65 REI Co-op Flash 55...
Measured Weight (pounds) (medium) 4.63 lbs 2.68 lbs 3.0 lbs 4.65 lbs 2.68 lbs
Volumes Available (liters) 55 68 60 50, 65 55
Organization: Compartments Lid, front pocket, side pockets, dual front pockets, hip belt pockets, main compartment Side pockets, front pocket, hip belt pockets, main compartment Lid, front pocket, side pockets, hip belt pockets, main compartment Lid, front pocket, side pockets, dual front pockets, hip belt pockets, main compartment Lid, double side pockets, front pocket, hip belt pockets, shoulder strap phone pocket, main compartment
Access Top, bottom, front Top Top, front Top, side, bottom Top
Hydration Compatible Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rain Cover Included Yes No No No
Women's Specific Features Women's specific fit S-Curve Shoulder Straps Women's Specific fit & sizing Women's specific fit Women's specific fit
Sleeping bag Compartment Yes No No Yes No
Bear Can Compatible Yes - Vertical, tight fit Yes - Vertical Yes - Vertical and Horizontal Yes - Vertical Yes - Vertical
Main Materials Dynajin 210-denier nylon 500 Cordura 210D HD nylon Nylon Ripstop nylon; Oxford nylon (bluesign® approved)
Sizes Available One size, with adjustable torso S, M, L, XL, Kids Short, Regular XS, S, M XS, S, M
Warranty Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime

Our Analysis and Test Results

After putting the Futura Vario to the test on the trail and under loads of around 35 pounds, we can't recommend this model for backpacking except under the lightest of loads. We expected the suspension to be more comfortable but were disappointed with the lack of load transfer to our hips. It may be a good option for those who need a well-ventilated pack for day hiking with bulky but lightweight gear and travelers who want a backpack style bag may like the Deuter Futura Vario because of its many access points and clean look.

For a Deuter pack that we found to perform better on the trail, check out the Deuter AirContact line.

Performance Comparison


With features and materials like other excellent Deuter packs, we...
With features and materials like other excellent Deuter packs, we wish that this well-ventilated model would have been more comfortable.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

Comfort and Suspension


Having tested other Deuter packs, we expected the Futura Vario to perform similarly but were let down by the lack of comfort in this model. Under our testing, we were unable to get the frame of the pack to distribute the load to our hips and our testers carried a significant portion of the weight uncomfortably on their shoulders. We adjusted the torso length up and down, tightened and loosened various straps, and reloaded the pack but to no avail. Unfortunately, the waist belt of the Futura Vario sagged towards the rear and pushed up into our testers bellies in the front even under modest loads around 25 pounds.

On a positive note, a trampoline style mesh back panel keeps the pack contact off your back and allows for much-appreciated ventilation on hot, steamy days and the shoulders and hips have an airy mesh padding that feels soft against the body.

The popular trampoline style suspension offers plenty of air-flow...
The popular trampoline style suspension offers plenty of air-flow for when you start working up a sweat but surprisingly, didn't transfer weight to our hips as we had hoped.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

Organizational Systems


Access is a highlight of the Futura Vario; with both a sleeping bag compartment and a wide-opening on the front of the pack, you can pretty much see and get to anything in your pack without unloading a thing. Adventurers using this model for both backpacking and travel will appreciate this feature.

The rear stash pocket is deep but a little tight for stuffing much more than a light layer or small items into, side water bottle pockets are similarly deep but too tight to load easily even with a narrow bottle, and the hip belt pockets appear to be large but when our testers had the pack on, they found the pockets to be curved too much to fit a smartphone into without struggle. We really like the large lid of the Futura and its wide opening.

In addition to all these organizational features, the Futura also has two long zippered side pockets but our testers found them a bit difficult to access. Anything loaded into them takes up interior space in the pack which helps maintain a clean look on the exterior with no bulges but makes them hard to use when the pack is loaded.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Weight


Deuter's Futura Vario falls toward the heavier end of models we tested. In lighter weight packs, sometimes comfort has to be sacrificed a bit, but for a pack over four pounds, we expected the frame to have a better load transfer to our hips. Other models in our test offer better comfort for their weight.

This light and airy looking suspension packs some serious weight in...
This light and airy looking suspension packs some serious weight in the hip belt but does offer a very easy to use, sliding torso adjustment for quick fit changes.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

Adjustability


The torso length of this one-size pack is easily adjusted on a sliding scale for fine-tuning your fit. The hip belt padding doesn't lengthen but the webbing offers a large size range of 24" - 57".

Side compression straps, various lash points, and a removable lid add versatility to the way you load your pack. We found the lower lash straps shorter than most and were unable to strap larger foam pads there. We love that the lid is extendable, giving us space to load a rope under it even with a heavily loaded bag.

After many adjustments to the torso, straps, and packing methods...
After many adjustments to the torso, straps, and packing methods, our shoulders are sore and we still haven't been able to get the load to transfer off the shoulders and to the hips.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

Value


The Futura Vario is similar in price to many of the other models we tested. It's not a bargain so we feel that for the money, you can find a pack that carries a load better. If you are going to spend over $200 on a backpacking pack, you can find a better fit by checking out other models that offer more comfort for their price.

Conclusion


Overall, our tests revealed that while the Deuter Futura Vario offers a durable pack with plenty of organizational and access features and a highly ventilated back panel, the failure of the suspension to effectively transfer weight to the hips and the discomfort of the hip belt make this model a less than ideal option for backpacking. However, the Futura would make a solid bag for travel-style backpacking where all-day carrying isn't necessary and the large front access would add to its ease of use in hostels or hotels.

The Futura Vario is a well-constructed pack but in the end, its lack...
The Futura Vario is a well-constructed pack but in the end, its lack of all-day comfort makes it better suited to train travel around Europe than a summiting a mountain.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

Elizabeth Paashaus