DEUTER FUTURA ZERO 30 BACKPACK
BY MIKE WILLIAMS
April 25, 2009
Milliken, Colorado, United States
5' 9" (1.75 m)
249 lb (113.00 kg)
I was introduced to backpacking as a teenager through scouts in Colorado Springs, Colorado and fell in love with it. I continued to actively backpack through college and took a break to start a career and family. A few years ago we decided as a family to become very active in hiking, backpacking and camping. Currently my wife, son (7 yrs) and I hike and backpack extensively in Colorado and South Dakota as a family. We continually look for the right balance of lightweight, durable, comfortable and safe gear for our family to enhance our outdoor experiences.
Additional Tester Info
Chest Size: 50" (127 cm)
Waist Size: 42" (107 cm)
Torso Size: 18.5" (47 cm)
Product: Futura Zero 30 Backpack
Size: One Size
Fits Torso: 17" - 21" (43 cm - 53 cm)
Volume: 1850 cu in (30 L)
Carrying Capacity Listed: 25 lb (11 kg)
Color: Black / Titan
Listed Weight: 49 oz (1,389 g)
Actual Weight: 48.5 oz (1,375 g)
Year of Manufacture: 2008
The Deuter Futura Zero 30 Backpack (henceforth referred to as the Futura 30 or pack) is a midsized top-loading technical daypack. The Futura 30 is the 30 L (1850 cu in) model of the Futura Zero line of packs from Deuter which features their patented Air Comfort suspension system. The pack is made from micro-rip nylon, a 210 denier fabric and rip-stop nylon, a stronger 420 denier fabric. The interior surface of both fabrics is coated with a polyurethane finish for added water repellency. The pocket zippers and buckles are constructed with YKK® brand components for additional durability.
The pack features include
- Trampoline Style Suspension System
- Ice Axe & Trekking Pole Loops
- Compression Straps
- Hydration Compatible
- Side Mesh Pockets
- Front Stuff-it Pocket
- Stabilizer Straps
I have owned the Futura 30 for 1 year and have used it as my primary daypack for hiking in Colorado and South Dakota, approximately 25 field days. The pack has been used in all weather conditions including snow and rain to dry and humid conditions at elevations from 5,000 ft (1,524 m) and 13,000 ft (3,962 m). The temperature range where this pack has been used is from 35 F (1 C) to 100 F (38 C) with wind factors of mild breezes to 40 mph (64 km/h) gusts. I have only used this pack for day hikes with an average load weight of 15 lb (6.8 kg) to 20 lb (9.1 kg). Its stated 25 lb (11.3 kg) capacity might make it suitable for a minimalist overnight load, though I haven't used it for that.
The Futura 30 incorporates Deuter's Air Comfort suspension system, a fully ventilated trampoline style suspension that allows for increased air circulation and venting. The system utilizes a powder-coated spring-steel frame that tensions the mesh back panel, bowing the pack and creating the ventilation area. The pack is connected to the mesh back panel at the lumbar and shoulder regions utilizing foam spacers and webbing loops to maintain the back panel's shape.
The shoulder straps, which connect to the mesh back panel, are nicely padded contoured straps that are constructed with MeshTex, "a soft polyester mesh, allowing for maximum comfort, durability, and ventilation". The shoulder straps include stabilizing load-lifter straps, an adjustable sternum strap as well as a hook-and-loop adjustable hydration system hose fastener. The straps reconnect to the pack body at the base of the pack and do not connect to the back panel or the hip belt.
The hip belt is incorporated into and firmly connected to the mesh back panel. The contoured belt is thick and firm but well padded and constructed out of the same MeshTex material as the shoulder straps. The belt does include 1 small zippered pocket for small items however it is too small for my camera. The belt system does not have side-stabilizing straps as the integration of the belt into the back panel makes that redundant.
The pack body consists of 1 main, non-divided compartment that is closed with a draw cord and non-adjustable lid. The main compartment contains a hydration system sleeve, a hook-and-loop bladder attachment point as well as hose ports on either side of the pack which are covered by the lid when secured. The main compartment does not have an extension collar and can not be expanded or overloaded with the non-adjustable lid.
The lid incorporates 2 zippered pockets, one external and one internal. The external pocket is the larger of the two pockets and is zippered from the back of the pack and includes a clip to attach keys or other items. The internal pocket of the lid is smaller and includes a silk screened alpine emergency signal diagram that illustrates both visual and audio signals and is printed in both English and German. The top of the lid includes 4 sewn-in plastic D-ring attachment points for securing miscellaneous gear to the top of the pack. The lid is secured by 2 clip buckles that connect to vertical compression straps.
The exterior of the pack includes a large mesh stash pocket suitable for jackets, maps or other frequently accessed gear. The stash pocket has an elastic top to secure the contents and the opening is also covered by the lid when secured tightly. The pack has 6 compression straps / points for load stability and adjustment, 2 of which have already been described as the securing points for the lid and are the primary vertical compression straps. There are 4 horizontal compression straps, 2 on each side. The upper compression straps are located just under the lip of the lid and begin at the top of the stash pocket and clip buckle at the side of the pack. The lower straps compress the side of the pack with a fixed locking buckle. The straps are located over the top of the two mesh bottle pockets on either side of the pack. Additionally the pack includes trekking pole and ice ax attachment points and loops that run parallel to the vertical compression straps just outside of the stash pocket.
I absolutely love the Deuter Futura Zero 30 for many reasons, but the primary reason is comfort. I'm a larger guy; I would consider myself short and squatty and have had a very difficult time finding a good technical daypack that fits me well. I finally found that in the Futura 30 and a whole lot more. The shoulder straps are very comfortable and adjust in all of the right spots and can take loads very well with the stabilizer straps. The belt is much larger and beefier than other daypacks in its class that I have used and is well padded and carries the load very well. Through the combination of the shoulder straps and the belt, this is a pack that I can't tell if I'm carrying 5 lb (2.3 kg) or 25 lb (11.3 kg).
However with the superior comfort I have found with the shoulder straps and belt, the feature I like most on this pack is the trampoline-style mesh back panel. I still remember how well this pack ventilated and kept my back dry on my first 90 F (32 C) day with this on. The sun was beating down and we crested a hill and caught a slight breeze that cut right through the back panel; it felt so refreshing I knew right there I loved the pack.
The volume of the pack is perfect for me since I like to be well prepared on day hikes. There is plenty of room for a few hammocks (when I carry more than one for the family), first aid / emergency kit, hydration system, water filter, lunch, extra food and a few other items to have a nice enjoyable hike. I have loaded this pack with as much gear as I could stuff into it. I'm not in the ultra-light class of backpacking so I wouldn't consider my gear light, but it isn't heavy, and I found the pack to be very comfortable. With the six compression points, the pack cinches down tight and with the rigidity of the back panel I have not had a load shift.
One thing to note, which is an issue with the trampoline-style packs I have tried, is that the main compartment is bowed due to the frame tension that create the space for the mesh back panel. The shape can make loading the pack a challenge especially when packing larger / odd shaped gear such as a Bear Vault. This is not an issue for me as most of the gear that would be an issue is for an overnight venture when I would not bring a pack this size.
The pack looks and is very durable. I have used it extensively and it shows very little wear and cleans easily. The more I use the pack, the better it feels; it is starting to get to be like an old shoe, when I slip it on everything slides to the right spots.
Things I Like
2. Comfort of the Suspension System and Hip Belt
3. Superb Ventilation with Mesh Back Panel
4. Pack Design, Pockets, Lid, Attachment and Compression Points
5. Durable, well made pack
Things I Would Change
1. I would add an integrated whistle with sternum strap
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
2. I would add attachment points at bottom of pack for sleeping pad or other gear
3. Lower side compression straps are over the mesh side pockets
4. Hip belt pocket is too small and only on one side
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