Osprey vs Deuter Backpacks: Which is the Best?

As a part of my ongoing series of comparing backpacks, I’ve decided to pit Osprey vs Deuter and try to figure out which one of these companies makes better backpacks. Last time, I compared Osprey and Kelty backpacks, so that is another for you to check out. After all, brand comparisons are an excellent way to learn more about their backgrounds and analyze the differences between their products, production philosophy, and manufacturing process.

A backpack is undoubtedly one of the most important pieces of trekking gear. A good backpack is one you hardly notice. A poor-fitting one, on the other hand, is guaranteed to leave you with sore muscles and blisters.

However, due to the vast array of different backpack manufacturers present on the market, it can be incredibly hard to choose which brand to go with. In the end, most backpackers end up having the same dilemma. Should I go with Osprey or Deuter? These are two of the most popular backpack brands, as each of them offers products that are genuinely well-made, practical, and very stylish.

Without further ado, let’s dive right into this battle and see who’s the winner:


The Background

Those who decide to do a bit of research online in order to learn more about the market’s best hiking backpacks are guaranteed to come across mentions of Osprey.

This well-known brand was founded all the way back in the 1970s by Mike Pfotenhauer. His small store called “Santa Cruz Recreational Packs” eventually grew into a global brand that designs and manufactures some of the world’s best trekking backpacks.

In 1976, Mike launched his very first model with a mesh panel. Obviously, this backpack was a lot more breathable than most products of its type present on the market back then, and from there, the company’s production and designs continued to expand.

Two decades later, in the 1990s, the company introduced the so-called Isis Design, which was their very first model made specifically for the ladies – needless to say, it was a great success. In 1998, Osprey added two more features to its trekking bags – the suspension compression system called StraightJacket and the hip belt called ErgoPull.

While Osprey added a lot more details to their products over the years, two more deserve a special mention. The first of these is the Hydraulics Reservoir, which greatly improved the practicality of their Manta and Raptor hydration backpacks. The other one is the custom-molding hip belt technology, which, as the name suggests, allows trekking enthusiasts to carry their loads more comfortably.

In summary, the company’s history is very rich when it comes to milestones and important events, which is precisely why Osprey became one of the world’s leading manufacturers of hiking backpacks.

How Does Osprey Make its Backpacks?

It’s pretty safe to say that Osprey’s designing process is very meticulous. You can easily tell how much the company’s engineers care about the quality and performance of the backpacks they design.

In 2010, the company founded the Osprey Design Studio to make the backpack design process better and more efficient. Located in Mill Valley, California, this is the place where all of the brand’s newest models come from.

When it comes to the manufacturing process, on the other hand, the effort and hard work that Osprey puts into its backpacks are evident in the longevity and the overall quality of these products. The company’s philosophy is fairly simple – they create backpacks that don’t break easily and, in that way, reduce the need to re-make new models and increase wastage.

Osprey is well-known for its efforts to reduce the impact on the environment. Some of their backpacks, such as the Circuit Backpack, are made out of recycled materials. On the other hand, a lot of Osprey backpacks are expensive as the company uses only the highest quality materials – their price is definitely justified by their quality.

The primary material they use is nylon, which is available in a variety of performance levels, thicknesses, and weaves. Of course, the brand has also developed a number of proprietary technologies that improve the carrying capacity of their backpacks without compromising their breathability, comfort, and style. Some of these include AntiGravity, AirSpeed, and AirScape.

A Popular Osprey Backpack – Farpoint 40

The Farpoint 40 is one of Osprey’s most popular models – there’s no doubt about that. It’s an excellent choice for folks who like to travel light, and it’s also extremely durable and very rich in convenient features.

This bag conforms to the maximum carry-on size and is, therefore, a fantastic option for international travelers. While light and compact, the model provides plenty of room for all of your traveling/hiking essentials. There are a lot of compartments, sleeves, and mesh pockets here – you’ll have no trouble finding space for your clothes, snacks, gadgets, and gear.

The model’s sizable dual front mesh pockets, for example, will let you carry a lot of water with you. The special laptop compartment, on the other hand, fits a 15” laptop and turns this convenient backpack into a phenomenal choice for digital nomads.

Osprey Farpoint particularly excels in the support department. The combination of a lightweight peripheral frame and comfortable mesh hip belt and harness provides the user with all the support he or she may need while carrying a heavier load.

When it comes to the overall design, we have only words of praise – this is undoubtedly one of the best-looking Osprey backpacks yet. It is available in three color options: simple black, volcanic grey, and jasper red, all of which look very stylish and eye-catching.

Finally, the model is also very durable. It is made out of 600-denier packcloth and 210-denier ripstop nylon. The fabric looks and feels super tough and we have no doubt about its ability to withstand a lot of wear and tear on the trail.

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How Expensive are Osprey Backpacks?

On average, an Osprey-made backpack will cost you between $100 and $180.

Of course, some of the company’s designs are more expensive ($200 and above) and these mostly include niche-specific models as well as backpacks made for folks who need bags that are exceptionally ergonomic and sturdy.

All in all, Osprey packs are definitely worth the price – these are some of the best products of this type currently available on the market.


The Background

Deuter has its origins on the other side of the ocean, in Europe. It was founded by Hans Deuter all the way back in the 19th century in Augsburg, Germany.

Nowadays, Deuter is a company that specializes primarily in backpacks. However, a century ago, the brand was also designing and manufacturing smaller carry packs, such as mailbags and all sorts of sacks. In fact, their designs of these smaller carry packs were so beloved that the Bavarian Royal Mail asked Deuter to make sacks specifically for them.

Years later, the German Army asked Deuter to make packs for them too, and the brand quickly expanded into making products such as knapsacks, belts, and tents.

Besides the fact that it’s well-known for backpacks of the highest quality, Deuter is also famous for its efforts in environmental protection. A lot of their products are made out of recyclable materials, and that’s always a huge plus in our book.

How Does Deuter Make its Backpacks?

As a member of the Fair Wear Foundation, Deuter is one of those companies that genuinely care about their employees and ensure the highest working standards for them.

Furthermore, they’re a partner of the so-called Bluesign System, which translates to frequent use of harmless, environmentally-friendly materials. Another fact worth mentioning here is that Deuter largely relies on RDS down for most of the products that are meant to keep the user warm. This ensures the premium quality of the raw material as well as the humane treatment of the animals that provide them.

Deuter uses both nylon and polyester for their backpacks. Just like in the case of Osprey, the nylon they use comes in a variety of different performance levels, breathability levels, as well as thicknesses. One thing is common for all Deuter bags – they are extremely durable and easily withstand daily wear and tear.

During the manufacturing process, the company makes sure that all of its products are made in the best way possible and that they last a long time. Making customers happy is not the only goal here – not having to manufacture backpacks often also reduces the impact on the environment, and that’s really important.

A Popular Deuter Backpack – Speed Lite 20

To put it simply, this extremely popular Deuter daypack hits the perfect balance between simplicity and low weight, offering an ideal level of comfort and having just the right set of features. It’s one of the brand’s best offerings so far and a great choice for anyone’s next adventure.

For a pack of this size, the Speed Lite 20 is certainly very comfortable – it comes equipped with well-cushioned shoulder straps and a back panel. While it’s not the most breathable product of this type on the market, its flexible fit ensures stability and comfort no matter the size of your torso.

In terms of durability, we have no complaints either. The model successfully protects the wearer’s gear from potential damage and its zippers seal incredibly well. One particularly important thing to mention here is that most Deuter bags utilize proprietary buckles. In other words, replacing a broken buckle can be quite complicated and difficult.

The newest variant of Speed Lite 20 comes with an updated compression strap configuration that lowers the model’s overall weight. This turns it into a perfect choice for those who need a fast & light model for activities such as peak bagging, multi-pitch climbing, and trail running.

However, an important thing to keep in mind here is that, as a 20-liter model, this is an essentials-only pack. Still, you’ll be able to carry more than you may expect – the model easily fits a 13” laptop and comes with exterior lashing options for one’s helmet, trekking poles, and ice axes. Although small, Deuter Speed Lite 20 is certainly a very versatile bag.

All in all, this simple but handy daypack is a great deal. It comes with just the right amount of convenient bells and whistles and can be used for a vast amount of activities.

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How Expensive are Deuter Backpacks?

Deuter backpacks come at a multitude of prices – some of their bags are affordable, and some are really expensive.

While the price of a particular model depends on its design and features, we think that it’s pretty safe to say that most Deuter bags retail for around $120. Of course, one can also find Deuter backpacks that are a lot pricier, as well as those that are much cheaper.

Since they’re really comfortable to carry and well-designed, Deuter backpacks are undoubtedly worth the price. The quality of some of their models is beyond impressive.

Osprey vs Deuter Backpacks – The Verdict

When it comes to prices, Deuter is the one that makes more expensive backpacks. However, that does not necessarily mean that their bags are just better than those of Osprey. To put it simply, finding an Osprey or Deuter model that doesn’t perform well is next to impossible.

With that being said, I have to point out that between the two, Deuter is the brand with a much longer history – it’s easy to see why the company has such a high reputation as well as the cult-like following among the trekkers everywhere around the world. Not many companies have perfected their craft as well as Deuter did.

Its rival certainly doesn’t fall far behind in that department, though. Osprey backpacks are among the most well-designed and well-made products of this type on the market – there’s no doubt about that.

However, if we have to choose one of these two brands as the winner, that would probably be Deuter. To put it simply, this German company has patented its innovative technologies to an entirely different level, and that definitely shows when you give one of their backpacks a try.

If you want to check out another Osprey alternative, read my Osprey vs Gregory comparison.

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