Refined simplicity in a versatile pack designed to tackle the fastest and lightest mountain adventures, the Vertrail 16 certainly comes in as the most intriguing addition to the 2023 Deuter pack range. Hybridising elements of a trail running vest, a roll top dry bag and a more conventional mountaineering day pack in a compact 16 litre offering, have Deuter nailed it or have they bitten off more than most of us can chew?
Hitting the fast and light phenomena head on, the Vertrail might just be the most versatile day pack I've ever used, especially locally on our Lake District fells where the pack thrived as an awesome all-round companion for a day out hiking, filling the void between a running vest and a 30 litre day pack perfectly. Oftentimes a faster day hiking on the fells calls for more than a running vest can offer but a full blown day pack can feel inhibiting and cumbersome. The Vertrail sits nicely between the two with plenty of easily accessible internal storage for spare layers, waterproofs and lunch whilst being lighter, slimmer and more comfortable to carry. Sure, there's a limit to what's possible with 16 litres of storage but it hasn't been designed for multi-day epics in Patagonia.
The stand out feature on the Vertail is its incredibly comfortable running vest-style, Lite carry system which features ergonomic wide shoulder straps and a neat elastic compression system down the side of the pack. With ample storage for soft flasks, a zipper for phones or snacks and even a pop out pole carrier (which doubles up as the perfect bag of sweets holster), the Vertrail never slowed me down with enough on-the-go essentials access and adjustment to keep you moving - especially important in adverse weather. Which brings me onto my favourite aspect of the Vertrail, its bombproof shell. Finished with a state of the art, 10 metre tall rain tower tested 220D TPU fabric, taped and welded seams and TPU coated zippers, the Vertrail isn't just tough but totally waterproof too. It's fair to say that even the Lake District's worst weather was no match for the Vertrail.
But, the Vertrail hasn't just been designed for the Lake District fells. Equipped with attachment points for ice axes, helmet, rope and rack, the Vertrail has been built for those fast and light alpine missions. With its streamlined racey design, the Vertrail would be the perfect choice for ridgeline traversals, ski touring and shorter alpine climbing trips where its blend of technical features, comfortable carry and bombproof shell will really come into their own.
The ultimate streamlined day pack for any adventure, weather or season, the Deuter Vertrail is truly superb. Combining the best elements of Deuter's pack range down into a 16 litre hybrid beast, the Vertrail really is the best of most worlds. It feels like we've been waiting for a pack like this for a while and, now it's here, I won't be taking it off anytime soon.