Deuter Gravity Haul 50 Review
This versatile pack tries to be both backpack and haul bag. While attempting to fill two voids, the Deuter Gravity Haul 50 did neither, rather joined a relatively new category unto itself: Heavy Climbing Gear Haulers.
Deuter has long since established themselves in the upper echelon of quality pack makers. Their proven track record for creating innovative products extends beyond the alpine and now extends to hiking, lifestyle and travel, giving them a wide breadth of experience and research to draw upon while creating this pack.
Initial Impressions Of The Deuter Gravity Haul 50
I’ve long been a fan of the fit and comfort of Deuter packs and the Gravity 50 is no exception. An interior spring steel frame, coupled with a mesh covered foam backing shouldered the weight nicely and a wide, padded hip belt was easily adjusted to comfort with the “pull forward” design. Deuter calls this the Alpine Back System, which is consistent across all packs in their alpine series. The two foam pads create a chimney of sorts to encourage ventilation and the shoulder straps are softened on the edges for freedom of movement. This is a very comfortable pack.
The conventional top loading system is large and easy to manipulate but appreciated the large, u-shaped opening on the front of the pack. This enables you to drop the pack on the ground and easily rummage through the contents for even the most gear-intensive objectives. An external daisy chain adds further attachment points and a flap with dual closure buckles provide a convenient place to stow a rope.
There is a small valuables pocket but no additional organizational features. I found the valuables pocket to be too small for a phone, wallet, keys and a few bars and ended up using a small bag within the main compartment to maintain some semblance of organization. This could be improved upon.
For hauling purposes, the shoulder and hip straps are stowable behind a zippered flap and two strong straps are pulled out of the main body to create a redundant attachment point. When set up properly, the profile is very streamline and looks to haul well, although a number of small straps remain exposed on the exterior.
As a haul bag, fifty liters is probably too small for any substantial loads. A multi day excursion will undoubtedly necessitate a much larger volume. While it does stand upright very well, hauls against rough surfaces with ease and is easy to manipulate on the wall, it leaves much wanting. I could accept an argument for a single night endeavor where both climbers are too close to their limit to climb with a pack and are willing to accept an uncomfortable bivy it would suffice. Otherwise, choose a more purpose-build haul bag like the Edelrid Kurt (name bias).
Deuter uses an exterior fabric called DuraCoat which is resistant to wear and tear. Suitability aside, the pack is built to withstand the abuse of infrequent hauling and is certainly up to the challenge of general cragging use. Many a pack of mine have fallen victim to small rips forming inside from over stuffing large cams and I suspect the Deuter Gravity Haul 50 will resist this well. For those extra large cams, an exterior daisy chain provides a convenient attachment to further prevent premature wear.
I’ve heard firsthand accounts of the pack wearing out before it’s time from transit or use but these claims are unsubstantiated.
Who You Benefit From The Deuter Gravity Haul 50
The Deuter Gravity Haul 50 thrives as a heavy cragging pack and would be awesome for gear intensive locations like Indian Creek which requires a surplus of large cams and often an 80m rope. It is extremely durable, build to take abuse and comfortable shoulders weight well. Several other companies are making alternatives for this style of gear hauling, so much so that Black Diamond has even named their series the “Creek.” Closer to home in the Bow Valley, it would be an excellent option for hauling both a trad and sport rack to Back Of The Lake or bringing along route setting or bolting equipment.
It could be improved as a pack by added more options for organizing personal gear and increasing the size of the valuables pocket.
Pros – Comfortable with heavy loads, durable
Cons – Valuables pocket too small.