Our favorite thing about the Eagle Creek Deviate 60 is its ability to thrive in a range of activities. We loved using it for hiking, traveling, skiing, and rock climbing. If you enjoy packing light and want one pack to rule them all for your next trek across South America, this pack is ideal.
The front of the Deviate opens all the way so that you can access the pack's contents. This relief sculpture seems to love this pack and found it quite comfortable.
The supportive, shaped polycarbonate frame sheet and padded hip belt make this pack quite comfortable. When loaded with the same stuff, it isn't going to be as comfortable as the Deuter Quantum 70 + 10, which has a massive hip belt and more robust frame. When compared to the similarly sized Osprey Farpoint, the winner of comfort between the two is a toss-up.
The Farpoint has a more comfortable hip belt and carries heavy loads better, however, it also feels stiff, bulky, and awkward. The frame of the Farpoint sticks up above the shoulders and prevented many of us from tilting our head back while wearing it - especially when wearing a helmet. The Eagle Creek Deviate 60 doesn't have as beefy of a hip belt, but the pack feels much more fluid and mobile. When navigating tight spaces around a lot of other people, we'd say that the Deviate is much more mobile and comfortable. But if you're walking long distances and don't have to maneuver very much, the Farpoint edges ahead in the comfort category. In warm climates, the Deviate will be more comfortable because it has a more open back panel that allows for more airflow and increased breathability.
This pack was comfortable enough to stay out of thought and mind while touring an easy 14er in Colorado's Front Range this spring. This tester enjoyed using this pack as much as his normal ski/alpine pack.
Many of our testers agreed that this is the most versatile travel pack we tested. In fact, when hiking this pack feels very similar to other simple backcountry backpacking packs. When our lead tester reached for a travel pack for a quick backcountry ski lap up an easy Colorado 14er, the Eagle Creek Deviate 60 stuck out as the best suited to the task. After several hours of skinning and skiing, he was pleased to realize that he forgot he was testing the pack at all. It carried as well as his alpine pack and never once got in the way. If you need a pack with superb travel-specific features and the ability to work well in the backcountry, this pack gives you the best of both worlds with little compromise. The Deuter Quantum 70 + 10, similarly, works well for outdoor pursuits like backcountry backpacking, but isn't quite as easy to pack and is too big and heavy for day or alpine adventures.
"Good design, when it's done well, becomes invisible. It's only when it's done poorly that we notice it." - Jared Spool
The overall design of this pack lends itself to backcountry versatility. Many of the other packs in this review forwent having a traditional brain atop the pack. The Deviate has a floating (read removable) top lid that keeps your stuff handy when on the go. This top lid has a small pocket that is a fantastic place to keep snacks, a map, and some extra camera batteries. If you're in travel mode, it's a great spot for toiletries, a book, and other odds and ends.
One nice thing about the brain is that you can use it to secure bulky items to the outside of the pack
A functional shared feature between the Deviate 60, Deuter Quantum, and the Osprey Farpoint is that they each have removable daypack that lashes to the outside of the main pack. Of the three, the removable daypack of the Deviate was our least favorite because it was smaller than the other two and wasn't as comfortable. Also, there is no great way to attach companion pack of the Deviate to the shoulder straps like you can on the Quantum and Farpoint. But don't think this little companion doesn't have some swanky features of its own. Keep your information secure in the pack's RFID pouch that lives at the front of the mini Deviate daypack. Of course, you could always just keep your RFID chipped cards in an Altoids tin, but Altoids tins aren't nearly as cool.
The RFID pocket in the daypack is a great place to put your phone and cards.
When it comes to checking your bag, many of the travel packs in this review have some features that add protection from airport machinery and luggage handlers. Several, like the REI Vagabond Tour 40, use zip-up flaps to cover the hip belt and shoulder straps. Eagle Creek took another approach by creating a separate duffel that stows conveniently in an externally accessed pocket at the base of the pack. This has some pros and cons over the zip-up flap method.
- You get an extra duffel to leave at the hotel during the day, and use as an additional checked bag on the way home
- The duffel protects the entire bag from wear
- There are two layers of material between your stuff and the cargo hold of your plane
- There's an extra duffel for you to lose
- The extra duffel isn't very durable (as discussed in the durability section below)
- It's more difficult to put the pack in the duffel than it is to zip up a flap
All in all, our testers were split on which design is better. Many like having an extra "free" duffel while others like the convenience of a flap that zips up over the shoulder strap as this approach is quick and simple. When the daypack and top lid are removed from the Deviate, the pack is small enough to be used as a carry-on. The fact that you can use this pack as a carry-on, or check it in the travel duffel is another small thing that makes this the most versatile pack in the review.
Even the Deviate's included duffel bag has locking zippers. This duffel helped us stay more organized and protects the main bag from wear when checked.
When the daypack and top lid are removed from the Eagle Creek Deviate 60, this pack is small enough to be used as a carry-on.
Ease of Packing
With zippers that zip all the way down, you can butterfly this pack in no time for easy access to all your items. If you need to stuff the pack with more stuff than it was designed for, you'll greatly appreciate the large zippers that are easy to zip and much stronger than small zippers that are difficult to use when closing an overstuffed bag. We were able to pack a surprising amount of gear in the main compartment of the Deviate, but not as much stuff as we could in the Redwing, PacSafe VentureSafe 65, or Farpoint. Finally, the external compression straps are useful when you need to lash bulky items like sleeping pads and art tubes to the outside of the bag.
As seen, the Deviate can hold all of the items in the left photo if you utilize the detachable daypack and the top lid.
The Deviate's daypack is the smallest of the three packs that have daypacks. Of the items in the left photo, we couldn't get the rain jacket and a pair of shorts to fit.
When it comes to durability, this pack isn't the cream of the crop. We tested the included duffel alongside all the other packs in our rock scraping abrasion test and the duffel came in last place. Of course, when checked inside the duffel, this pack has the added advantage of having two layers of protection for your stuff, but for a duffel that's meant to keep the pack safe, we felt this one was sorely lacking and seemed less durable than the pack itself.
The body of the pack is made with a combination of 200D nylon, 200D Poly Helix, and 600D Poly Helix on the bottom. Avoiding too much technical jargon, the materials this pack is made with are similar to many of the other packs in the review, but doesn't approach the durability of packs like the Osprey Porter 46 that are constructed with 1680D ballistics nylon.
The duffel only showed a couple of small tears after we hit it against a rock. It was a pretty sharp rock, so we are pretty impressed. This duffel would keep the main Deviate pack safe from a lot of wear and tear.
This pack has the second best weight-to-volume ratio of any pack in the review. Although the Eagle Creek Deviate came in second in this category, it still only receives a 5/10, given the REI Stuff Travel 20's outstanding weight-to-volume ratio. At just 3 lbs, 8 oz with the included daypack, the Deviate rivals many backpacking backpacks and isn't too much heavier than many daypacks. When used for backcountry skiing, this pack seemed to disappear from thought and didn't hold us back.
When used for backcountry skiing, this bag was quite comfortable and held everything we needed. This pack did an excellent job of packing away extra layers, a puffy jacket, an avalanche shovel, a probe, food, and water.
The Eagle Creek Deviate 60 is a superb pack if your travels include frequent hikes and short backpacking trips. This would be the ideal pack for a two week trip across Peru that included a four day hike of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Because it is so versatile, this pack works really well for traveling, short backpacking trips, rock climbing approaches, and day hikes.
Considering that this pack is super versatile, comes with a small daypack, and a duffel all for just $235, we think it is a solid value. If you plan on using the pack for a variety of activity on your trips, this one is tough to beat. But if you're looking for a pack as a replacement for your luggage and don't plan on hiking much, the Editors' Choice Osprey Farpoint 55 retails for $180 and has better travel features.
The Eagle Creek Deviate 60 wins our Top Pick for Outdoor Versatility because it is super versatile and excels for a variety of activities. The removable lid, detachable daypack, and included travel duffel give you a lot of options for storing and transporting your things while traveling. We loved using this pack while skiing, hiking, and traveling. If you're looking for a great do-it-all pack with some sweet features for traveling, this pack has what you're looking for.
When fully loaded, this pack was able to fit all the stuff we'd need for an around the world venture. But if you want to have room for souvenirs, that beach towel you probably forgot, or the inevitable (but still mysterious) expansion of your stuff, you may want something a little larger. This pack is 60 liters when the brain and detachable daypack are included.