Rated 3 out of
not as describedGot this a couple of days ago to replace a too small Step Out 12. Looked great, airlite back ventilation looked good. Then I looked inside. The curved, stayed back intrudes so much into the interior space that there is nothing like the room the photo implies. It is about 3" deep only for about half the pack height, with the full width only for a short part at the bottom. The only way this pack could approach 16l is by tacking the stays out and letting the material push out the other way. I put 5 32oz Powerade bottles in it and it was virtually full. 32oz is just 50ml less than a liter. Moreover, it's difficult to get anything solid with no dimension less than 3" in the bottom because just holding the object makes pushing past the narrowest part difficult. I put a Canon 7d with 100-400 in it's very difficult to get it out, and most of the bottom is occupied. I can't get my hand in to lift it out by the camera body, have to do so using the lens. The camera is 4 1/4" high and 5.5" wide, plus of course the lens which is just 3.5" wide but occupied almost all the depth at mid height. As much of the bottom of the pack is hidden by the central curvature, finding anything smaller down there is a matter of blindly groping around, you certainly can't see.
Also, despite being stated twice in the description that they are present there are no hip belt pockets. And despite the description, there actually is a built in rain cover. I was going to send this back and go for the more expensive 26l, which has a larger exterior than I wanted (the 22l is less than half an inch deeper than the 16, so that was out), but I noticed that the stays were just velcroed in place in the middle of the pack. When I released them I immediately gained an inch of depth, but still had plenty of ventilation space, which seems to be excessive anyway. But now the pack works well enough for my needs. Deuter should reduce the length of the stays to allow a reasonable load volume; there would still be plenty of air space at the back.