Review: Deuter Futura 22 Backpack

All of us down here at The Run Commuter’s Atlanta, GA headquarters decided it was time to get some new packs to test out, so over the next few months, we’ll have some in-depth insight and detailed field test results from a handful of running backpacks. First up, the Deuter Futura 22.

Performance and Evaluation

Blinkie lights will fit in between the zippers on the top and bottom of the pack.

I ran approximately 50 miles with the Deuter during rainstorms, extreme cold weather, and mild-to-warm days over several weeks.

When I first put the pack on, I immediately noticed how much more comfortable it was than the Osprey Manta 20. That was entirely a result of the thick padding within both the shoulder and waist straps, as well as a small patch of cushioning that rests between your shoulder blades.

The lower portion of the frame felt like two fists gently pushing into my kidneys. It was strange, and normally something you’d experience in an external-frame hiking backpack.

The break-in period for the pack ranged from 10 – 15 miles. What happened during that time was two-fold – One, the straps loosened slightly from their stiff out-of-the-box feel; and two, the waist strap cushioning softened. These two things together allowed the pack to adjust and fit the individual shape of my body much better than it had when brand new, leading to a more comfortable run (Note: this is normal for all packs, with some variability in the length of time it takes.) The “two-fists-pushing-into-my-kidneys” feel gradually lessened, with a bit more use, changing from slightly uncomfortable to unnoticeable.

The rain cover is tucked away in the standard location at the base of the pack and stays on without using a plastic toggle spring like Osprey rain covers, which tend to drift in between your back and the pack while moving, creating some discomfort. I used the rain cover during my first test run with the Futura. It deployed and went on quickly, and kept the pack, and the items inside, secure and dry.

I experienced absolutely no hot spots or abrasion areas. None. Some days I used the pack while wearing full winter gear, with several layers between my body and the pack; some days it was just a single tech shirt. No chafing, whatsoever.

There are no attachments for lights on the back of the pack, but I found that blinking lights could be added in between the dual zippers on the top and bottom of the pack.

In addition, the hiking poles attachment (seen on the left side of the pack) works quite well for carrying a long-handled umbrella to or from work.

Overall, the Deuter Futura 22 is a great pack for run commuting and I would put it in a tie for first place with the Osprey Manta 20, followed closely by the Osprey Stratos 24.

What I Liked

Volume: Very roomy; enough space for work clothes, lunch, and a winter jacket

Strap Padding: Very thick and comfortable

Bottom Pouch with main compartment access

Raincover is effective and does not use a plastic toggle spring

What I Didn’t Like

No pouches on waist strap

Cannot access side pouches while running

No blinkie/light attachments on back of pack (I use Amphipod Vizlets in between the dual zippers for low-light conditions)

It should be noted that these certainly wouldn’t keep me from purchasing this pack.

Let’s Get Down to Details

 Volume

22 Liters

Weight

2.5 pounds

Material

60% polyester

40% nylon

Color

Papaya/Stone

Price

Buy It Now

Amazon.com

Front

The front of the Deuter Futura 22 includes a large, fold-down zippered accessories pouch at the top, and a rounded, dual-zippered compartment at the bottom. Inside the accessories compartment are several standard mesh pouches and key clips for keeping your small items organized and in-place while moving.

The front of the Futura 22 includes two compartments and four small areas of reflective material.

The accessories pouch is large and will easily hold all of your personal items, like cell phone, wallet, and keys.

Sides

Both sides of the pack feature elastic-topped pouches which are crossed over by the packs lower set of external compression straps. Each pouch is partially-covered by reflective material that wraps around to the front of the pack.

Each side includes an elastic pouch and both a lower and upper set of external compression straps.

Main Compartment

The main compartment, while very basic, is extremely roomy. It easily fits my Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter, winter jacket, lunch, and extra running gear, with space to spare. The Futura is hydration compatible, and includes a hydration sleeve and velcro attachment (shown below,) as well as a tube slot at the top of the pack.

The spacious main compartment, with hydration sleeve and attachment

Bottom Compartment

The bottom compartment, open.

The bottom compartment is not a normal feature of run commuting packs. Standard packs generally have a large main compartment and one or two smaller accessories pouches near the top.

Inside view, showing the zippered access to the bottom of the main compartment.

Back/Suspension

The Deuter Futura 22’s suspension system.

Deuter’s breathable suspension system, called AirComfort, is very similar in concept to the AirSpeed frames that Osprey manufactures. The one noticeable difference is that the Futura’s wire frame forms an “X,” whereas Osprey’s lightwire frame forms a rectangle. This gives the Futura a little more malleability at the sides, allowing it to contour to your shape a little better than the Osprey.

Rain Cover

In my opinion, a rain cover should be a feature on any pack you use for run commuting. If you get caught in a rainstorm, you only have to stop for a few seconds to unzip and cover your pack, keeping nay electronics and dress clothing dry and out of the weather. Deuter even added a reflective logo to the cover, so when it is on and covering up the pack’s standard reflective fabric areas, you still have a little extra something to keep you visible to drivers.

The Futura’s rain cover is found at the very bottom of the pack.

The rain cover on the pack.

By | 2016-10-22T20:26:32+00:00 March 3rd, 2015|Categories: Gear|Tags: , , , , , , , |6 Comments

About the Author:

Editor-in-Chief of The Run Commuter by night, paralegal by day. Father of three boys. Husband to the world's greatest bicycle advocate. Avid runner. Lover of beer and urban gardening. Can be found running with a backpack around the streets of Atlanta, Georgia. Contact Josh at info@theruncommuter.com

6 Comments

  1. Nicolas Pedneault March 3, 2015 at 7:22 pm - Reply

    You certainly cannot go wrong with that pack. Great, thorough review.

  2. Jita W. March 9, 2015 at 1:53 am - Reply

    My country (Thailand) does not have return policies, so its really either hit or miss. I was wondering if you could help me decide. I’m really having a difficult time deciding between Osprey Manta (post-TRC effect), Osprey Momentum and Deuter Futura (also post-TRC effect), or something else you’d like to recommend.
    Its going to be my commuter backpack, run, walk, bike, etc. I dont have to run with a 15-inch Macbook Pro but on the days I have to take it I would like to be able to do so (maybe on the subway).
    Big thanks in advance!

    • Josh March 9, 2015 at 5:21 am - Reply

      Hi Jita, the Osprey Momentum sounds like the perfect pack for you. The main difference between the Momentum and the Deuter Futura is the back panel. The Deuter has a separated mesh back panel with a light wire frame which allows air to flow through, while the Osprey Momentum has a solid, ridged foam pad backpanel. While the Deuter’s wire frame system might be a little more comfortable while running, it also makes it a bit more angular on the inside and the laptop will fit a little funny. So your best bet (in my opinion) would be the Momentum.

  3. David Lee July 18, 2015 at 5:44 am - Reply

    Great review! I’m a new commuter looking to upgrade my backpack for commuting from work. I’m torn between the Deuter Futura 22 and the Deuter Race X. Besides the differences in capacity, which would you recommend?

    • Josh July 20, 2015 at 11:18 am - Reply

      Personally, I would go with the Futura 22 specifically because of the harness/suspension system. The Deuter Race X has a partial foam back to it, and I haven’t had comfortable, everyday runs with packs like that. A foam back seems like it would be awesome, but because there is more contact with the back, it 1) heats you up faster, 2) tends to hold more sweat, and 3) provides more contact points for chafing if the bag moves even a little throughout the run.

      The Futura has a mesh panel that has limited contact with your back, and there is a space in between that and the back of of the pack itself in which air can flow freely through. The AirComfort system, as they call it, keeps you much cooler and you don’t have to worry about sweating through the pack itself and soaking into any of your carried items. Also, the padded hip/shoulder straps are nice if you carry a heavy load, or run regularly with a medium-sized load. The Race X does not have those.

  4. Chris July 21, 2015 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    Hi – great review – I’m trying to figure out whether this would be a good pack to run w/ a 13″ laptop ~ 20K (round trip) to work.

    I have been using a Salomon Trail 20 pack with an insert sleeve from an old Spire backpack and it works but it’s starting to tear in the corners …

    I generally only carry the laptop + lunch….

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