Scouting Report: Lightening The Load With Deuter

Not long ago, I had the chance to try a loaded Deuter pack out on the trail. What a difference!

It had rained for four days straight. The practice trails were closed and would remain closed until the rain and mud dried up. The five 15 year-old Boy Scouts and their three elderly leaders would not be dissuaded. We loaded our packs diligently with 30 pounds each, and the boys planned their 10-mile Saturday morning hike. They would stick to the paved paths wearing their rain gear and pack covers. The goal was to start preparing for a 14er this summer in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Halfway through the practice hike in Shawnee Mission Park, we stopped and rested after a particularly steep climb (14 percent grade). We decided to do some pack switching to test one another's packs. I was lucky enough to get the Scoutmaster's brand new Deuter ACT Trail PRO 40. I was cynical strapping on this pack. I had never heard of this company before and the price the Scoutmaster had paid made me concerned that this would be an inferior pack. Boy was I wrong! I was on year five of using my old external frame pack which I had convinced myself was the best pack for me. When I strapped on the Deuter it was like putting a feather on my back. It sat just right on my hips and took the strain off my shoulders. The pack was comfortable on my back and fit snugly without smothering me. I accused the Scoutmaster of carrying less than the required 30 pounds on several occasions.

During the remainder of the hike we traded packs frequently. I wore packs from all the leading brands. None of them fit me as well as the Deuter. When we returned to our shelter we weighed the Scoutmaster's Deuter and it was the same weight as all the other packs ... 30 pounds. I was amazed and pleasantly surprised. I was also surprised when the Scoutmaster, who is of similar build and size as me (big), told me that this was a medium sized pack. He shared with me the the adjustable nature of the pack. I was becoming more and more impressed, but the final selling point came when he shared with me what he had learned about Deuter's construction. He told me that the Moosejaw salesman had shared with him the weight capacity of the Deuter compared with similarly sized packs of other companies. I learned that the stronger corner seam construction of the Deuter packs allowed for significantly heavier weight capacity for the Deuter compared to similar big name brands.

Well, that's all I needed to hear. Knowing we would be carrying 10 pounds of water and 10 pounds of food each in addition to our personal gear it was an easy choice that I was going to be researching and purchasing a Deuter for our trip to Rocky Mountain High Adventure Base. I have a feeling I will become an evangelist for the Deuter brand. Looking forward to getting fitted this week for my own Deuter pack. Thanks to Deuter for doing things right!


This month's guest contributor is R.J. Wilson, who is being reintroduced to the outdoors. His 15-year-old son is on the path to Eagle and R.J. has been chasing him around the country in an attempt to spend more time with him before Jameson flies off to college.

R.J. loves giving back to the youth of his community through the Boy Scouts of America. He is Wood Badge, Scoutmaster, Venturing Advisor, Leave No Trace and Powder Horn trained. He is a former Troop Committee Chairman and now he serves the youth of the Shawnee Trails District as an Assistant District Commissioner dedicated to recruiting new people to Scouting who will help improve the Tiger Cub Program for first graders.

In his non-outdoor life (work) R.J. is the Chief Operating Officer of a cutting edge ethanol production facility in Mead Nebraska. The ethanol plant is attached to a 30,000 head beef feedlot which has no point source runoff. We collect the manure and turn it into biogas to run our facility. We do not burn typical corn for our ethanol, instead we take waste and turn it into fuel. Our plant may be the cleanest and most energy efficient in the world. We are committed to a better environment and a cleaner way of doing business.

In his spare time, which is very little, he loves kayaking, fishing and hiking.

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