Deuter SL Trans Alpine 28L vs 26L Pro

For the past month, I’ve been searching for the perfect bike EDC/hiking/traveling backpack. I have gone through 11 bags. Finally, after learning and relearning about all my preferences, I settled down on the Deuter SL Trans Alpine 26L Pro. Before purchasing both the Deuter SL Trans Alpine 28L and the 26L Pro to try in person, I did some research on these. However, I could not find a straight-forward comparison between the two. Here’s my contribution.

  • Deuter SL Trans Alpine Pro 26L vs (regular) 28L - "airstripes" back panels

Similarities

(See their official product pages for more detail, links above ^.)

As Slim Line bags, they are designed for women. They have a smaller frame, S-shaped shoulder straps, waist strap that fits snug around your feminine pelvis, and an adjustable sternum strap that can move around your bosom as you see fit.

They are designed for the bike commuter with a helmet pouch to hold your helmet. I like this so much more than Osprey’s lidlock clip. The pouch is stretchy enough to expand for your helmet, but can be cinched down enough to function like an Osprey shove-it pocket for quick access to whatever you want to put in there, like a rain jacket.

They have a built-in rain cover.

They have their patented Airstripes system for ventilated back support.

They have a thick waist strap for load-bearing support and comes with a hip pocket on each side.

They have comfortable shoulder straps part of the Airstripes system that are adjustable from the top and bottom. They have little loops for things like your water bladder tube and sunglasses.

They have two water bottle holders that, yes, actually can hold water bottles without them falling out.

They have side hidden pocket between the back and one of the water bottle holders that is big enough for a modern-day smartphone (for me, my OnePlus 6)).

They have a collapsible bottom compartment separated by a flexible zippered fabric that you can unzip to expand the main compartment.

They have compression straps to slim down your pack when it’s not fully loaded.

They have a front compartment with organizer pockets for small things.

They have a main compartment with a few organizer pockets. This compartment includes a pocket for a water bladder which can loop through a hidden hole in the top back.

Differences

Pro 26L28L
Capacity: 26LCapacity: 28L
Colors: red/blue mixColors: red, blue
Weight: 3lbs 7oz (heavier)Weight: 2lbs 10oz (lighter)
Front pocket is deeperHelmet pouch can be stowed away; front pocket is shallower
Blinker light attachment
Fewer compression straps, but may not need moreMore compression straps, but get in the way of zippers
Hip pockets are stretchy enough to fit my smartphone$20 cheaper (MSRP $50 cheaper)
The Airstripes system is the “pro” version

For me, the 26L Pro wins in almost every category that matters. I like the colors more, I love that the compression straps that get in the way for the 28L are not there in the Pro, and I love that the hip pockets fit my phone! I’ve seen far too many hiking backpack reviews that complain about the opposite to the point where I just expected this kind of feature to not exist. But gee was I surprised with this pack.

(Mostly minor) cons for the Pro 26L:

  • 2 fewer liters, but I don’t actually need them day-to-day. Will see about travel, though.
  • Weighs more by 13oz, but the excellent load-bearing support makes the weight difference (and any of its weight) a non-issue.
  • No blinker light attachment. This is the one thing that really sucks.