Coming this spring, Deuter’s new pack, the Walker, combines a premium back system with heritage styling for those who walk ... no matter where!
The Walker day pack is ready for any kind of walk: to campus, to the pool, to go shopping, to work, to have a picnic or on a trip. It’s available in three versions, the largest of which (Walker 24) features a dedicated laptop compartment.
They may be new, but these urban packs breathe the spirit of the adventurer of old. Nestled in the German town of Gersthofen, the backpack experts at Deuter harnessed nearly 120 years’ experience in pack making, skillfully combining classic designs and colors with top-notch materials and functionality.
Product Designer Sabrina Hofmann weighs in on the design process below. To read Hofmann's responses in the original German, click here.
Q & A with Deuter Walker designer Sabrina Hofmann
How was the idea of the Walker Series born?
For the vast majority of people the clock is turning almost frighteningly fast nowadays. Our everyday life is moving at a very rapid pace. There is a longing for the “good old times.” Many ask themselves whether there is still anything enduring, anything that withstands the test of time. At Deuter we have a very long history of manufacturing backpacks – almost 120 years! So it was only natural for us to look back at our origins. We’ve revived a classic backpack design with lid closure.
So the Walker was designed in the spirit of adventurers like Anderl Heckmair — “mountain vagabonds” as they were called in their days?
Yes, but that's not all there is to it! We also wanted to bring the essence of the outdoors to the city. And we’re not the only ones: function and fashion continue to converge, we see this in clothing as well. Spontaneous exploring and little adventures are not only possible in the mountains but also in the city or when traveling. Besides, backpacks are becoming ever more popular for transporting urban equipment – and that makes sense! After all, there is frequently a lot to take along. And your back benefits when heavy loads are carried in a backpack.
How did you develop the design?
The special appeal was to convey the look and emotions we associate with the old times — but using modern, highly functional materials. After all, we wanted to take full advantage of the benefits and insights of our times. So the fabric looks like traditional cotton, but is in fact very technical, like the cover of our alpine backpacks. The pack’s shape itself is narrower than the historic models as well. Many functional details, such as the robust webbing straps or the latest plastic buckles, are modern innovations I was also happy to use.
And does the Walker have a laptop compartment, too?
Of course! The large Walker 24 has a spacious compartment for a laptop and more. With a very convenient side zipper, it is quickly and easily accessible from the inside and the outside. In addition, a closed side pocket in the large Walker is the perfect solution for stowing a mouse, cables, and other equipment. As you can see, it is a full-fledged laptop backpack. Needless to say that the smaller models accommodate and protect a tablet or a magazine.
What is the Walker to be used for?
I had various different scenarios in mind when designing the Walker: the urbanite riding his bike, a city trip or everyday life at school or university. And then I thought about what the backpack would need for that. This is why we decided on three models. With its laptop compartment, the large one is perfect for university. The two smaller backpacks are your urban companions that can be used for all purposes.
So which Walker do you use yourself?
I have to admit … as a product developer I own all three of them! So every day before setting out, I ask myself: Do I just need my wallet and my mobile or am I going to run some errands on my way home? Depending on what the answer is, I choose the larger model or a smaller one. But I know... usually you have to decide which model will best work for you when you buy it. If I could only own one, I would take the largest Walker. I ride the train a lot. With the bigger model, I can quickly grab the laptop or a magazine through the side access and work or read. And my swim stuff fits in there, too! The large capacity makes it all the more
important that the backpack is still comfortable to wear.
What kind of back system do the Walker backpacks have?
The Walker is equipped with the best of our Airstripes back systems for daypacks. The Airstripes padding and the air mesh lining ensure that as little material as possible gets in touch with your back. This allows the air to circulate, and you sweat less. The bi-laminate foam helps distribute the load in an optimal way, and the ergonomically formed, S-shaped shoulder straps make the backpack fit like a glove. With this, the Walker is comfortable to carry, even when you have to shoulder a bigger load.
Why did you use such a top-notch back system for an urban pack?
Because we want to make all our backpacks comfortable to carry! At Deuter, we’re experts in constructing a back system that makes the pack fit perfectly. This is one of the things that differentiate us from fashion companies. The laptop pack with a capacity of 24 liters is often loaded with several kilos of books and a laptop. For this, a good back system is essential!
The three different-sized Walker models with volumes of 16, 20 and 24 liters accompany their owners on weekend trips, to the library, to a café or to the farmer’s market. Each size is available in three colors: from subtle anthracite to multiple light colors to vivid cranberry red. A more detailed look reveals the rich functionality the leisure-oriented backpack with a lid offers: Even the smallest pack with a volume of 16 liters is equipped with a document compartment as well as an inner valuables pocket with a key clip and offers elastic side pockets for easily-accessible, flexible storage. The medium-sized model has a volume of 20 liters and a lid that is fastened with two straps. The big front pocket with a zipper stows mobile, wallet and much more in organizational sleeves that fight clutter. A waist belt is available as an option. The largest Walker with a volume of 24 liters scores with a laptop compartment that is accessible from the inside and the outside. Charging cable, batteries, memory sticks, and a mouse are secured in a closed side pocket. This model too has a large front pocket with organizational sleeves and additionally a waist belt.
Moreover, backpack specialist Deuter stands for a high-quality back system: the Airstripes guarantee good air circulation, and anatomically formed shoulder straps with soft edges ensure high comfort.