Weekends are best spent in the woods…
On Saturday I had the opportunity to hike St Marks Summit with a good group of friends. St Marks Summit is located in Cypress Provincial Park and is accessed via the Howe Sound Crest Trail.
From the Cypress Mountain parking lot, it was a 10.5KM roundtrip with around 550M of elevation gain, which took about 4 hours.
Was the 4-hour trek ever worth it…
This hike is by far one of the most popular hikes in Vancouver and for good reason. From the peak, you can see the islands of Howe Sound, the Tantalus Range, and even Vancouver Island. The crystal clear blue water of the Howe Sound can be seen in the attached picture.
On this trip, I carried a Deuter Speed Lite 26– one of Deuter’s more ‘minimal/lightweight’ options. Two things that really stood out to me while using the pack was its breathability and how well it carried.
Key Features of the Deuter Speed Lite…
It’s currently summer in Vancouver and seeing ’30 Degree Celsius’ on your thermometer is becoming a regular thing.
There is nothing worse than having a stuffed pack pressed right up against your back in temperatures like that. Breathability is definitely something Deuter had in mind while creating this pack. This is achieved via designs in their back system, shoulder straps, and waist belt.
The Deuter Speed Lite features a Lite Air Back Panel which ensures minimal contact with your back and the bag itself. It also allows for fresh air to flow through its channels.
Secondly, the pack has multiple ventilation holes along its shoulder straps which aided in breathability around my shoulders and chest.
Deuter also added light and airy hip fins to the Speedlite. This is not like your typical padded waist belt rather a thin and durable mesh that was extremely breathable and even had a zip pocket for my energy bars.
When we got to the peak and removed our bags to enjoy the view it was obvious who was carrying a pack with breathability features. About 90% of the large crowd looming around the peak had massive sweat stains on their back. It was because of the Deuter’s focus on breathability with this pack that I wasn’t a part of the majority.
2- This pack carried extremely well.
Comfort is critical to me when I’m out on a longer hike like St Marks Summit.
For a pack to start ranking in the lightweight category sacrifices need to be made. This typically begins with changing the back system, hip belts and using different materials to make the pack.
This is exactly what was done to the Speed Lite. The Deuter Lite back system is noticeably different than their other’s (IE: chimney styled systems) and the waist belt was thinned to a light and airy material.
That day I was carrying lots of water & camera gear (including a drone) which brought my carrying weight to about 18 pounds. Considering the weight of my pack in combination with the above sacrifices I was pleasantly surprised by the comfortable experience throughout the duration of the hike. As per usual I directed most of the weight to my hips and the thinner more breathable waist belt handled the load extremely well. Pain-free during and after the hike, a big success!!
My hike up St Marks Summit is a memory I’ll carry with me forever. Climbing up the Howe Sound Crest trail with a group of good friends and enjoying the breathtaking views that Howe Sound has to offer. Having the right gear was a critical part of that day being so enjoyable. The Deuter Speed Lite 26 was a big part of making my trip enjoyable because of how well it carried and how breathable it was in those scorching temperatures. It is definitely now one of my favorite packs for day hiking.