I’m a traveler, adventurist and part-time explorer. Well, at least that’s how I see myself. Whether traveling to foreign countries or domestically, having the proper luggage remains a key factor. Unfortunately, there is no “one-size-fits-all” luggage. Because of this, the storage area under my stairs is chalked full of various sized bags for different missions. Large gear duffels for SCUBA or ski trips. Bombproof rollers for medium range trips. And now the Deuter Transit 40 for those weekend getaways where you don’t require much gear at all. Or don’t want the hassle and expense of checking luggage.

Deuter, a German company known for their high-end trekking and climbing packs, has a rich 120-year history. Currently, they offer packs in the following categories; Winter, Daypack, Trekking, Family, Climbing, Travel, Bike and Hiking. The Transit 40 is the smallest of seven packs found in the Travel category. And the smallest of three within the “Transit” model. Designed to fit into the overhead storage compartment on commercial aircraft, the Transit 40 maintains a sleek design profile with several grab and carry options.

Transit 40
Interior organizer pocket with passport, Magpul wallet, Streamlight and 5.11 stabby thing

Deuter Transit 40 Features:

Deuter includes many compulsory features found on common travel packs. Like an organizer panel for small item storage. Writing implements, flashlight, passport, notebook and even airline tickets for those old folks that still insist on printing them. A padded laptop/tablet sleeve that can accommodate up to a 17″ notebook is accessed from the top. And a large main compartment opens via a heavy duty “U shaped” YKK zipper. Another nice feature for “type A” personalities like myself, are two adjustable clothing straps. I like to keep my clothes as wrinkle free as possible and these straps keep everything in place while moving.

Transit 40
Adjustable straps to help keep clothes stationary.

Another key feature for frequent travelers is the isolated bottom pocket. This zippered compartment is perfect for keeping dirty footwear separate from clothing. Or stowing a jacket for quick access. Additionally, the bottom pocket divider can be opened up to increase the main compartment volume. On the outside of the Transit 40, there are three different pockets. A mesh water bottle pocket on the left side, good for bottled water but not much larger. A similar sized zippered pocket on the opposite flank is good for electronics chargers, cords and other small items. Finally, a vertical slash pocket in the center of the pack is where I stash my Bose Headphones for quick access.

Transit 40
Bottom pocket for shoes or jacket

Carry options:

Transporting the Transit 40 can be handled several ways. The most obvious is with the Aircontact System. This padded back allows airflow to help prevent a sweaty back when using the padded shoulder straps. An adjustable sternum strap along with a stowable padded hip belt help fine-tune and distribute the load comfortably. Deuter uses an X-Frame to maintain the shape and contour of the Transit 40. I also found a rigid plastic panel along the back that I ended up removing. Placing my Crye Precision Ballistic panel in its place. Finally, a hidden panel on the bottom can be zipped up concealing the shoulder straps while a removable briefcase strap can be used for alternate carry.

Transit 40
Briefcase shoulder strap for alternate carry

Transit 40 Specs courtesy of deuterusa.com:

  • Color: anthracite-moss (grey-green)
  • Article ID: 4510017-4220
  • Weight: 4 lbs 2 oz
  • Volume: 40 liters
  • Size: 22 / 13 / 9.8 (H x W x D) Inch
  • Laptopcase:15 / 13 / 1.2 (H x W x D) Inch
  • MSRP $150
Transit 40
Pack straps stowed behind hidden zippered panel for ultimate streamlined profile

Final thoughts:

There are many features I like about this backpack and not much I don’t. It works perfectly for a quick warm weather get-away or a weekend trip. I hate paying baggage fees so anything I can carry on the aircraft has my attention. The 600D exterior fabric is rugged enough to withstand the rigors of airline travel. Several carry options and handles make it easy to haul when not on your back. I only wish the zipper for the organizer pocket extended the full length of that compartment. Although I can live with the gray/green color way, a few different options would be welcome.

Despite the Transit 40 liter being the smallest of the three Transit models, it is the only one approved for overhead storage. The 50 and 65-liter packs are not, unfortunately. For longer trips, the “Traveller” and “Quantum” models offer packs ranging from 60-70 liters of volume. Take a look at the variety of offerings from this renowned pack manufacturer. And know that over 120 years of German expertise will be apparent in each model.