Equipment Review: Race EXP Air Backpack

Equipment Review: Race EXP Air Backpack

With so many people transporting gear around the Mountain for daily activities these days, backpacks are quickly becoming popular at Tremblant. We use backpacks ourselves to transport things like camera equipment, lunch, additional clothing, and our favorite energy bars to keep us going. 

If you’re only dropping off the day’s lunch at the chalet, your average backpack is probably more than enough. Yet, more of us are beginning to appreciate the convenience and flexibility of having our things with us whenever we need them. Though for the latter group, skiing or riding with a backpack on has largely been a compromise of sorts; the convenience of having everything along with you, in exchange for carrying an awkward monkey around on your back. 

In search of a comfortable, light weight solution, we came across an interesting backpack that honestly doesn’t feel like a compromise at all: Deuter’s “Race EXP Air“. German engineering has produced some fine automobiles… who would have thought backpacks too!

Originally intended for road cycling, the Race EXP Air was born out of necessity in the cycling world. Cyclists need a pack that’s both light and comfortable enough to be strapped on for up to 100km or more. Personally, I ride a Cervélo time-trial road bike, and tested the pack thoroughly during the summer. 

What sets the Race EXP Air apart from other backpacks is its built in ventilation system designed for cyclists, which actually keeps the pack off your back! (notice the visible space between the pack and my back in one of the pictures below). Interestingly enough, it also doubles as a comfortable built in suspension system which makes it an ideal ski/snowboard pack! Anyone who’s taken a tumble with a more traditional pack on knows how uncomfortable it is to have your lunch tupperware dig into your back. The Race EXP Air prevents this by suspending the pack away from you, and effectively cradles your back with a comfy mesh hammock, that also protects you during a tumble. 


We had originally intended on testing it out for 2 days at Tremblant, through moguls, jumps, tough terrain and riding up the lifts… but it turned out to be so comfortable that I wore it for 10 days straight! Hey if it’s comfortable enough for cyclists wearing wafer thin cycling jerseys, it’ll feel like a dream over your winter coat. 

The pack itself is made of durable HexLite 210 / Microrip-Nylon (which prevents it from ripping), and has breathable mesh shoulder straps with anti-chafe pads. In addition to its ventilation / back suspension system, it also features: 

  • An expandable main compartment, 
  • Integrated rain cover that comes out from the bottom to cover the entire pack, 
  • Stowaway Helmet holder, 
  • 3M safety reflectors, 
  • Mesh side pockets, 
  • Convenient wallet & camera sized zippered pockets on both the inside and outside of the pack. 
  • Built-in 3 Liter reservoir holder on the inside of the pack, capable of carrying a camel-back hydration system which extends out through a flap at the top, to a clip on the shoulder strap (hydration water bags are sold separately for about $12.00). 

But here’s the real kicker. For a pack of this quality with some pretty cool features, you’d expect it to be kinda pricey… but surprisingly, it retails for only $69 Cdn! We bought ours online here from, but you could also ask the folks near the bottom of Tremblant’s Cabriolet at Boutique Explore! et Atomic, to order you one in (819-681-4684). 

Deuter’s Race EXP Air backpack works great during the winter, is light & comfortable enough to wear all day at Tremblant, cushions my back when I take a tumble… and then doubles as a great cycling or day pack during the summer. Its features and adaptability make it an attractive piece of equipment at the right price point for anyone leading an active lifestyle.

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