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Deuter Aircontact Lite 60+10 SL - Women's Review

The AirContact Lite is a relatively inexpensive pack with a simple design and a comfortable suspension system that works well under heavy loads
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Price:  $220 List | $220.00 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, adjustable, works well with heavy loads, relatively inexpensive
Cons:  Lacks features, bulky waist belt, pack is tall and bonked our heads while walking up rough terrain
Manufacturer:   Deuter
By Meg Atteberry and Jane Jackson  ⋅  Nov 4, 2019
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60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 15
  • Comfort and Suspension - 45% 6
  • Organizational systems - 20% 6
  • Weight - 20% 5
  • Adjustability - 15% 7

Our Verdict

We love Deuter's newly updated AirContact Lite. This pack is very comfortable and able to carry large loads with ease. We love that the waistband is low profile and collapsible, making it easy to store at home or camp. The back is well-padded with extra support down low, another plus for us. We appreciate the simplicity and find it easy to pack and negotiate, even with multiple days of food, camping, and climbing gear. The pack is also highly adjustable, which is excellent for various torso lengths. Unfortunately, it does mean that the waistband and high pack frame can feel a tad bulky for smaller folks.

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Our Analysis and Test Results

The AirContact is a simple, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive pack. It is a work-horse — with the ability to carry heavy loads with no trouble. If you are looking for a pack that is simple and effective, this is an excellent option for you.

Performance Comparison


The suspension system on the Aircontact provided enough stability to move through uneven terrain with ease.
The suspension system on the Aircontact provided enough stability to move through uneven terrain with ease.

Comfort and Suspension


The AirContact Lite is a simple, single-size, adjustable backpack that we find incredibly comfortable. The padding in the back and shoulder straps is thick and comfortable. These wide straps work well for those with an athletic build. This pack also provides a ton of support and padding in the lower back, which is another huge plus for us.

Designed with women's specific sizing, the AirContact Lite has a relatively short torso and extra padding in the hip belt. The newly designed hip belt is one of our favorite features in this pack. It is sleek and straightforward, while still providing plenty of padding.

The back panel on the Aircontact Lite is supportive enough to handle heavy loads.
The back panel on the Aircontact Lite is supportive enough to handle heavy loads.

A suspension's function depends on the proper fit. Luckily, this pack offers an adjustable torso length. When fit properly, the suspension distributes weight effectively. We found that this pack can comfortably carry loads ranging from 15 pounds to over 50 pounds. It is also spacious enough to fit a ton of gear.

The AirContact has 3D mesh on the back panel and shoulder straps, which help ventilate these areas. The pack also provides ample support in the lower back with extra padding. The X Frame and Comfort Lock hip belt help maintain a close, stable fit. We liked the stability this pack's suspension system provides. We did notice that the high frame of the AirContact meant that your head is bound to clash with the back of the pack. As we plowed up burly hills and hopped over rocks and other obstacles, we kept finding that our head hit the pack.

The Aircontact stands tall  but that didn't hinder its carrying capabilities.
The Aircontact stands tall, but that didn't hinder its carrying capabilities.

Organizational Systems


The AirContact Lite comes with simplicity in mind, and we find it wonderfully easy to use. We also appreciate that the pack isn't over-pocketed. The fewer, but thoughtful pocket locations let us easily organize and access all of our belongings.

We especially like the size of the sleeping bag holder — which is large enough to fit our bag as well as a few puffy jackets to improve the pack's overall organization. One awkward design feature is the arched zipper that accesses the sleeping bag compartment. Its shape makes it inconvenient to open and close.

The AirContact Lite has only three enclosed compartments, including the main compartment. (It also has three separate access points into the main compartment.) It is one of the more uncomplicated backpacks we tested, and it keeps organizational options straightforward, which we think is incredible! This backpack offers pockets only where they were necessary.

We loved the simplicity of this pack - with very few external pockets except for this shove-it pocket which we used all the time.
We loved the simplicity of this pack - with very few external pockets except for this shove-it pocket which we used all the time.

Weight


The AirContact Lite weighs in at 4.31 pounds, but because the AirContact has a simpler design and much of it is within the pack's well-padded back panel and suspension system we feel it is well worth it.

As a result of the extra weight in the suspension, the AirContact Lite has a suspension system that can support heavy loads. If the weight doesn't concern you, but a cushy back panel does, then the AirContact is an excellent choice.

OGL Measured Volume Bottom Line:
Total Volume = 64 L
Main Bag = 49 L
Pockets = 6 L
Lid = 9 L

Packing up the Aircontact Lite was easy due to its simplicity.
Packing up the Aircontact Lite was easy due to its simplicity.

Adjustability


The Deuter is a one-size adjustable backpack that allows for simple adjustments to the shoulder straps, torso length, and waist belt. The minimal and well-placed adjustment points make figuring out a proper fit easy.

Tunneling lower compression straps allow you to keep the main contents of the pack nice and tight and still utilize the side mesh pockets without much hassle. You can also remove the brain, which expands significantly to accommodate big loads.

The hip belt is comfortable and simple  though the straps were excessively long.
The hip belt is comfortable and simple, though the straps were excessively long.

Value


Ranking towards the lower end in price but higher-end in comfort, of the models we tested, the Deuter AirContact Lite is a good value. It has a simple design offering few pockets, yet plenty of adjustment options on a one-size-fits-most backpack. Appropriate for both the beginner and the advanced backpacking woman, the AirContact Lite offers a solid value.

Conclusion


Deuter has been making backpacks for over one hundred years, and its women's specific AirContact Lite does not disappoint. It's a simple backpack in a single size that offers more than sufficient padding on the shoulder straps, waist belt, and back frame. It also has enough adjustment options to configure to most body sizes and preferences comfortably. Whether you're new to backpacking or experienced and are looking to simplify your systems, this model is a good value for a simple yet comfortable backpack.

Meg Atteberry and Jane Jackson