Deuter Aircontact Lite 65+10 Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Well padded, slightly lighter than average, very durable, more torso height adjustment than most, stout suspension
Cons: Not quite as many pockets as other models, soft padding was less comfortable with super heavy loads, warmest pack in the review
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Deuter Aircontact Lite 65+10 is a robust and versatile backpacking pack that will work well for a relatively wide range of applications. It is very durable and one of the most wallet-friendly on the market. When directly compared to other models in its $200 price range, it handled heavy loads the best. While it's not chock full of features, our experts found that it has the most important ones.
It has awesome adjustability and a solid suspension, putting this pack solidly in the middle of our review.
Suspension and Comfort
The Aircontact Lite 65+10 is a comfortable pack that works well for a wide range of users. Its padding is slightly softer than average giving it a cushier feeling ride. Besides just feeling cushier, it also conforms to the shape of its user; helping to more evenly distribute the weight across the wearer's hips and shoulders.
The softer foam is something that our testers with bonier hips particularly love about this pack's plush padding. However, it didn't always provide enough support when carrying heavier loads of over 45 pounds. While the suspension is plenty robust, the padding was just okay, and it would start to bottom out and feel less comfortable than models with stiffer foam. It is worth noting that this was not the case for more moderate pack weights that most users experience on an average 2-6 day trip.
All of our testers commented that its shoulder straps and waist belt kept them on the hotter side. The internal fabric was fine against bare skin, but we didn't find it as comfortable as the more breathable options. However, it felt nicer than a majority of models in this review.
The Aircontact Lite 65+10 features a pretty robust suspension that is certainly capable of handling loads up to around 50 pounds. This pack uses a "Y" shaped aluminum frame, and a plastic frame sheet to both add stiffness and protect the wearers back from hard objects.
Features and Ease of Use
This model isn't full of bells and whistles but still has a majority of the features that we want. Unlike many Deuter packs, this one features a smaller-than-average sleeping bag compartment. Though small, it is still a useful size and is suitable for separating items that you don't need until you get to camp.
All of our testers liked the stretchy beavertail pocket and found it was the ideal place for odd-shaped items like flip-flops, or a fuel bottle. We also found ourselves using it as a quick place to stash a rain jacket, whether we just took it off because the sun came out, or packed it in this pocket in anticipation of darkening skies. Its stretchy mesh fabric means it can also serve as a place to dry socks or other small articles of clothing while you're still on the trail. This arrangement was effective after jumping into a lake and while hiking on a sunny day.
The Aircontact Lite 65+10 also features a mesh zippered hip-belt pocket that is big enough for snacks, a few bars, or a small point-and-shoot camera. It was just barely big enough for most smartphones. There are stretchy mesh water bottle pockets on either side, but they aren't anything to write home about; fortunately, they are plenty functional and secure. If you use an ice axe with this model, take note that while the ice axe attachment system is well-designed; its location means the pick of your axe will likely be pointing almost straight back, creating a potential hazard to whoever is behind you.
The lid is also removable. This model features one large zippered pocket on top, which you can access from the outside, and a smaller, flat zippered pocket accessed from underneath the lid. The main lid pocket can hold a lot of stuff; however, since it only opens on one side, it isn't as easy to search for items in as other models.
At 4 pounds, 6 ounces, this model is a respectable weight. While it is a little heavier than some packs, a large part of that is because this model uses slightly beefier fabric that is more tear-resistant and longer-lasting.
Adjustability and Fit
This pack features Deuter's Vario adjustment system which offers the most vertical adjustment of any model in our review — up to 10 inches.Though the waist belt doesn't offer any specific adjustment, it does have long straps, which make it ideal for a wide range of users.
The adjustment is super easy to use; it's just a Velcro tab that passes through two loops. We found it to be straightforward and easy to use.
This model is also one of the better packs for the price. It features highly durable materials, especially for its price point, and will last most folks through years of use.
This option is solid and versatile at an excellent price. It offers above-average durability and tons of vertical adjustability in an otherwise simple and light design. If we knew we needed to carry heavier loads above 45 pounds, we would seriously consider this pack if we were on a budget.
— Ian Nicholson