Deuter has been making bags and sacks for almost 125 years. Now, their focus is on mountain sports; as Deuter mentions, it’s their “very soul.” They produce a wide variety of outdoor adventure packs, but one of the most noteworthy is their Freerider Pro series. The Deuter Freerider Pro 28 SL is a feature-rich back- and side-country skiing and snowshoeing-specific pack. In this review, we focus on its features specifically for use by snowshoers.
Some of the links in this article may contain affiliate links. When you purchase using these links, part of the proceeds go to Snowshoe Mag. Additionally, as Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases. Please see our disclosure for more details.
First, let’s look at the features that comprise the fit of Deuter’s Freerider Pro 28 SL.
The “SL” element designates the pack as female-friendly, which means it includes a shorter back length. However, some of that friendliness extends to males such as myself. The length of most daypacks rarely accommodates my 17-inch torso, but this pack fits my stubby trunk quite well. The secret lies not only in the pack’s relatively short length. The shoulder straps are sewn a few inches down from the top of the pack. Moreover, load lifters are incorporated for some play.
The upper shoulder straps are also slim and curved for female bustlines. They might just work well for males with thin shoulders. They certainly did for me, who had his right labrum reconstructed after going over the handlebars on his mountain bike several years ago. I’ve also finessed my way around chronic biceps tendinitis in the left shoulder since I was a teen. (Due to the dislocation and reconstruction, I have asymmetrical shoulders. The location of the top of the shoulder straps and the inclusion of load lifters provide for a degree of shoulder fit I seldom find in daypacks.)
As another feature, the Freerider Pro 28 SL also comes with their Alpine System, which provides ventilation between the two back pads as you carry the pack.
Less successful for my male figure was the removable waist belt. Sex-specific waist belts are designed around significant male and female pelvic anatomy differences. Female-specific belts tend to climb up or pull the trousers off of male wearers; the former was the case with the Freerider Pro 28 SL for me. I was hoping the Vari-Flex system would prevent the problem. It did help, but relatively frequent stops for readjustment were still necessary.
Next, let’s look at one of the crucial features of backpacks for snowshoeing – how snowshoes carry in the Deuter Freerider Pro 28 SL.
One way to attach snowshoes to a pack is via side compression straps. The paired straps across the front of the Freerider Pro 28 SL provide another option. If you use the front storage option, this method leaves the two side bottle pockets available. In addition, a large patch of Hypalon protects against abrasion and tearing. Two thumbs way up from this snowshoer on this combination of design features.
The Freerider Pro 28 SL incorporates a 100-ounce hydration pocket, which is compatible with most of Deuter’s drinking systems up to 3L. There is also an adjustable sternum strap, a Goggles holder, an ice ax attachment, and a safety pocket to quickly access avalanche gear. Moreover, a segment of closed cell foam imparts structure to the pack and can also be removed as a handy sit pad.
You will be hard-pressed to find a comparably featured daypack. $160 or so seems to be the current price for the pack. As always, hunt around for lower, but $160 is a reasonable asking price for what the Freerider Pro 28 SL has to offer.
Would you use the Deuter Freerider Pro 28 SL for backcountry snowshoeing? What has your experience been? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
This article was first published on July 16, 2013, and was most recently updated on July 14, 2022.