bike bags

Deuter Compact Air 10 EXP - Bike Bag Review

"Let me get my Camelbak."

Camelbak bike backpacks are so prevalent in the bike market that the name Camelbak can replace the phrase, bike backpack. It's pretty much on the level of Kleenex. 

I've been one of their followers for years, having had a Camelbak Mule for over 10 years now. However, things have changed for me recently after a short demo with a new Deuter bag. 

The Deuter Compact Air 10 EXP has all the features your similar Camelbak has, but a few that made it a clear winner for me. The game changer was the way the Deuter bag sat on my back thanks to their Aircomfort FlexLite System that allows air to flow between my back and the bag. 

Here's an old video showing the basics of how the system works...

You see, I don't handle heat well. So, when you mix a hot day and a long ride I was cursing my bag by the end. Yes, it carried my stuff well, especially my water, but in the past the Camelbak was just so dang hot on my back.

Deuter has solved this problem for me. They also have thrown in some pretty cool features into this bag that have made me a believer. 

  • Detachable Rain Cover (This came in handy this past weekend...)
  • Hide-away Helmet/Pad bungee (I've never used this, but can see the benefits.)
  • Zipper Buttons (It's this little things that take something from good to great!)
  • Side pockets for quick access (I ride with my iPhone in one pocket and multi-tool in the other.)
  • Tons of Storage Space (This bag holds more than I'll really ever need to pack for a single day ride. The bag is also expandable for when you need to take lots of layers on your epic winter rides.)
  • Pockets and More Pockets (It even has a wet pocket so you can stash those soaked gloves and keep your other items dry.)
  • Straps with crazy amounts of adjustments
  • Reflective Accents

But How Does It Ride?

I've probably done six rides with this bag since I've owned it and each time has been issue free.

  • The bag stays put and doesn't ride up and try to hit me in the head on steep descents.
  • The longest ride I've had with the bag was 25 miles and my back didn't hurt at all post ride. 
  • The rain cover works like a charm.
  • The mouth piece is comfortable, but I think I'm going to take off the black cap as it's unnecessary to me.
  • It's summer time so I haven't yet packed it close to it's maximum, but my guess is that it will hold all I need inside and if I have another layer I can always strap that on with the helmet/pad bungee system.
  • In all honesty, this bag could be considered overkill for me, but I'd rather have one bag that can do it all than try to own a couple bags for different purposes.

All this for $130.

Now I'm off to ride, let me go get my Deuter! Stop by the shop to see this bag and some other options for bike bags from Deuter.



How To Choose A Bike Bag

There are a bunch of options when it comes to carrying tools, clothing, nutrition, groceries, etc. on a bike. What it all boils down to, is how much stuff do you want to carry and how accessible does it need to be? Below is a breakdown of the bags we see most often. 


Super easy access and can hold small essentials like a camera, maps, nutrition, tire levers, multi-tool, spare tire, patch kit, map, keys, credit card, and cell phone. 

Pros: good storage and easy access
Cons: depending on weight, it may make your bike handle funny



Messenger Bag

Commute to work or school, the this is the bag for you. Easily store a laptop or tablet, snacks, and other essentials for the day. Sling it over your shoulder and you're ready to ride.

Pros: tons of storage, multi-purpose bag
Cons: over the shoulder bags can sometimes shift while riding


The preferred pack for mountain bikers who want to carry a little extra weight on their back and not on their bike. Large enough to hold repair tools, an extra layer of clothing, nutrition, and water. 

Pros: ample storage
Cons: hard to access anything but water while riding, may lead to back ache on long rides


Interior Frame Bag

Good on space, but items must be thin. Holds small essentials like nutrition, tire levers, multi-tool, spare tire, patch kit, map, keys, credit card, and cell phone. Can be accessed while riding.

Pros: good way to distribute weight on your bike
Cons: may block your water bottle cages, items must be thin

Panniers - Grocery Style
Seat Bag


Meant for carrying a lot of gear. These bags can be fixed to the front or rear of your bicycle depending on your available mounting points and allow you to carry everything from groceries, to camping gear for an overnight trip.

Pros: cavernous storage, easy to take on and off your bike
Cons: may affect bike handling, bulky, requires special mounting brackets for your bike


Perfect for an everyday ride, holds small essentials like tire levers, multi-tool, spare tire, patch kit, keys, and credit card.

Pros: hardly notice it's there, carries essentials
Cons: small storage room

Top Tube Bag
Truck Bag

Top-Tube Bag

Super easy access and can hold small essentials like a camera, maps, nutrition, tire levers, multi-tool, spare tire, patch kit, map, keys, credit card, and cell phone

Pros: very easy to access
Cons: if you're mountain biking or moving around on your bike a lot, this may get in the way.

Trunk Rack Bag

A large bag that requires a rear rack to be mounted on your bicycle. With this style bag you can pack plenty of gear from repair tools to extra layers to small items from the grocery store.

Pros: great storage space, easy to take on and off your bike
Cons: requires a rear rack mounted to your bike