Especially in German-speaking countries, Deuter is well known for its cycling backpacks. Having said that, all of their hip bags were designed for more general multisport purpose. In other words, the Pulse 3 is not a bike-specific fanny pack. Still, it has many of the features associated with that and is therefore fit to face its bike-specific competitors.
At first glance, the Deuter Pulse 3 makes a very positive impression. All materials are high-quality and the workmanship is flawless. The bag is compatible with a 1.5 litre hydration bladder, which costs an extra € 35. The drinking hose, however, can only be threaded from the right side. If you don’t need to carry water, there’s a lot of room inside the pack. Except for the separate bladder partition, the main compartment is not divided and the front part is split in three more sections, one of which can take even a larger phone. Unfortunately, none of the compartments are padded and the phone will inevitably hit against the other items through the thin material partitions. A more defined subdivision for individual tools would been nice to see as well. Since the Pulse 3 is not bike-specific, this detail won’t affect our overall rating too much though. There are two additional, very spacious stretchy mesh pockets on the hip fins. Overall, the Deuter Pulse 3 offers a generous amount of space.
This is no coincidence, because the rear of the Deuter Pulse 3 is almost as high as it is wide – and quite stiff too. On one hand, the shape helps stabilise the load, on the other it can restrict the mobility of the rider and cause the bag not to sit properly and to slip around the back – depending on the shape of the body. Our test riders with a wider back and bulkier build found the Pulse 3 to be more comfortable than our more slender test riders did. In addition, the tight hip belt can affect the abdominal breathing. Definitely try before buying!
In terms of functionality, the hip belt works flawlessly. It perfectly stabilizes the bag and automatically compresses the main compartment via a two way adjustment system, depending on how full it is. There are more compression straps attached to the side pockets. These, however, don’t seem to make any difference. Even with a fully loaded pack, they can be pulled in all the way without compressing the bag even in the slightest way.
In terms of heat build up, the Deuter Pulse 3 does quite well. While the big contact area makes for a warm-ish climate, it doesn’t absorb any sweat due to the open construction in the back area. Despite the perforation holes, the hip pads tend to build up heat. In return, these repel the sweat very efficiently and take little time to dry.
The Deuter Pulse 3 left us with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it does a pretty good job at stabilising the load and also strikes with high-quality materials, a reasonable climate and good storage space. On the other, the fit is quite peculiar, which means you should try one on before buying. The Pulse 3 tends to sit better on wide backs and with lots of clothing.
- High quality
- Good load stabilisation
- Lots of space
- Easy handling
- Very tall back plate
- Outer compression straps not functional
- Peculiar fit
For more information head to deuter.com
The test field
Click here for an overview of the best MTB hip pack in test
All hip packs in review: Bedrock Bags Greysill Hip Pack (Click for review) | Bontrager Rapid Pack (Click for review) | CamelBak Podium Flow (Click for review) | CamelBak Repack LR 4 (Click for review) | Dakine Hot Laps 5L (Click for review) | Dakine Hot Laps 2L (Click for review) | Dakine Hot Laps Stealth (Click for review) | Deuter Pulse 3 | Deuter Pulse 2 (Click for review) | EVOC HIP PACK PRO 3l (Click for review) | EVOC HIP PACK RACE 3l (Click for review) | EVOC HIP POUCH 1l (Click for review) | EVOC RACE BELT (Click for review) | High Above Cascadia (Click for review) | High Above Lookout (Click for review) | High Above Das Radpack (Click for review) | ION Hipbag Traze 3 (Click for review) | Leatt Hydration Core 2.0 (Click for review) | Mavic XA 3L Belt (Click for review) | Mavic Crossride Belt (Click for review) | Mavic Deemax Belt (Click for review) | Race Face Rip Strip (Click for review) | SOURCE Hipster 1.5L (Click for review) | SOURCE Hipster Ultra 5L (Click for review)
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Words: Photos: Andreas Maschke, Christoph Bayer