Deuter Flyt 14 MTB / Gravel Backpack
by Robert Thorpe, Executive Editor
by Robert Thorpe, Executive Editor
Any mountain biking pack needs to first of all perform as a pack on the hills. After all, it’s pointless carrying anything on a bike that doesn’t perform in its basic function. Thankfully, the Deuter Flyt 14 performs superbly in its intended function as a mountain backpack or for use when taking to the gravel bike. We tested it in the Lake District National Park, with several members of our team just to make sure. It’s also superbly made and oozes a quality that is unsurpassed by any other brand. It really is a fantastic rucksack, made from the very finest materials and with every small detail beautifully sewn, meaning that it should last you for years. Time then to see how it performs on the bike.
In terms of usage, the Deuter Flyt 14 is aimed at the XC / trail rider who fancies an enduro adventurers the hills now and then, but is ideal for the gravel rider too. It comes with the Deuter TÜV/GS-certified back protector which is easy to remove when not needed, but which will save you serious injury in the event of a fall. Add to this, the superb padding and ventilation provided by the Deuter Airstream back system, which ensures that you won’t get a sweaty back, and you’re already confident in the safety and comfort qualities of this stylish pack. The strapping system is well thought out and finished to the highest quality, using the very best fabrics. The shoulder straps are wide and strong, forgoing unnecessary bulk, with good padding and a strong mesh inner finish, aiding wicking.
Deuter have added hook and eye fastenings to each shoulder strap, to hold a hydration bladder tube, and there’s a hidden bladder tube hole under a subtly placed cover at the top of the pack. Inside that main compartment, Deuter have placed a strong elasticated pouch to hold the bladder itself. I quite like that a bladder isn’t actually provided, as in more of a bottle drinker, but having the option is useful. The chest strap on the Deuter Flyt 14 is probably the strongest on any pack I’ve seen, and is easily adjustable for height positioning. It’s a good clip fastening across the sternum / chest, and on this point, it’s an area where Deuter could have used a magnetic fastener to help gloved hands in colder weather. Just a small point, it what is overall a superb strap and fastening system by Deuter.
Waist straps on mountain and mountain biking back packs can be truly awful. Not so on the Flyt 14. The strength and quality of materials and finishing on the Deuter hipfins on this pack are class leading, and by far exceeds many of his competitors, being well made, well padded and super comfy when pulling the pack into the body for stability on the move. The pack stays nicely in place as you sail across the twists and bumps of the trails. There’s also a well made zipped pouch on each side of the waist straps, with a heavy stretch fabric, meaning that it’ll take lots of goodies for quick access and look after them well. I’ve easily fitted a phone and snacks into these pouches and been able to retrieve them on the move. Adjustability of the pack is easy on the fly, in those moments when you just need a tweak for comfort.
The pack material is Deuter’s 210D PA, 100D PA High Tenacity fabric, which is abrasion resistent and will will last a long time. It’s strong and yet surpisingly light, with the pack coming in at only 1.1kg. To the rear of the backpack Deuter have placed useful helmet straps, which I’ve actually used, just to make sure that they do serve a purpose – which they do. Side pockets will take a small water bottle, but I would have personally liked an increased bottle storage size here. Deuter have used a four way stretch strong mesh style fabric, but it is limiting. On a positive note, the side pockets will take things like gloves easily and provide a stable base for storing away walking poles if needed.
Having used the pack in rain and windy conditions, it’s reasonably waterproof, but Deuter have also added a hidden hi-vis rain cover too, which we found useful but not always necessary, due to the general weatherproof qualities of the pack.
In terms of storage space and accessibility, the Flyt 14 has 2 main zipped compartment areas, with several elasticated internal pockets and sleeve storage areas in each, including a good zipped compartment inside the main area for valuables. The Fly 14 will easily carry enough clothing and kit for a mini adventure in the hills for a few days, if you’re staying in mountain lodges. And, for the really adventurous, it’ll also carry a light summer bivouac with ease. There’s a really handy and securely hidden, lower zipped side pouch, where you can keep those really important items like your wallet or passport if travelling – oh, and it even has a sunglasses holder on the straps!
We’ve tested the Deuter Flyt 14 extensively during summer, autumn and winter this year, and it’s always come up trumps and left us smiling. Buying a good quality backpack can be expensive, so it needs to fit your particular lifestyle and activities in the hills. The Flyt 14 is a jack of all trades and master of quite a few. It truly is a great all round choice for the multi-discipline mountain athlete. The style and quality of finish is world leading, and on the bike it remains stable and comfortable on the hardest of trails, providing ample storage and easy access. Its carrying capacity is vast and there’s enough storage areas to keep items separate and not bouncing around on the bike or hike. If you’re looking for along term investment do it all mid sized back pack for your adventures on the bike and elsewhere, this well priced Deuter Flyt 14 should be top of your list, and will no doubt accompany you for many years to come.
Images: Beau Smith & Callum Robinson (photographer), Voom Nutrition, on the Yorkshire Dales sesction of the Voom Nutrition & Pedalnorth.com Gravel Bike Coast to Coast route.