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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.
Top Pick Award
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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
Manufacturer:   Deuter
By Jane Jackson & Briana Valorosi  ⋅  Nov 19, 2018
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81
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 16
  • Comfort - 24% 9
  • Suspension - 23% 8
  • Weight - 23% 8
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7
  • Features - 15% 8

Our Verdict

We are blown away by Deuter's newly updated AirContact Lite. We liked the first version we tested, but this one is much better. 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 can feel a tad bulky for smaller folks.


Compare to Similar Products

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


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. (If you prefer narrow shoulder straps, we recommend the versatile and lightweight Thule Versant). 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 on this new pack. It is sleek and straightforward, while still providing plenty of padding. We almost prefer it to the outrageously comfortable belt on the Osprey Aura because the AirContact's belt is more streamlined but still provides plenty of cushion.

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.

Suspension


A suspension's function depends on a 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. We preferred the AirContact Lite to the similarly sized Mountain Hardwear Ozonic for heavy loads. 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 newly designed Comfort Lock hip belt help maintain a close, stable fit. We liked the stability this pack's suspension system provides, though it is not as well-ventilated as the Osprey Aura AG.

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

Weight


The AirContact Lite weighs in at 4.31 pounds, about the same as the Thule Versant 60. But because the AirContact has a simpler design than the Versant, it feels lighter. The AirContact's weight is also more functional, much of it is found in the pack's well-padded back panel and suspension system. In contrast, the Versant's heft can be attributed to the pack's extra features.


As a result, the AirContact Lite has a suspension system that can support heavy loads, while the Versant has a more minimal suspension. This difference allows the AirContact to carry loads of gear with ease.

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.

Ease of Use


The AirContact Lite was designed with simplicity in mind, and we find it wonderfully easy to use. Similar to The North Face Terra, 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. We also appreciate that the pack isn't loaded with pockets. 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. Overall though, this system is easy to adjust and fine tune a fit just for you. We appreciated the simplicity and effectiveness of its design.

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.

Features


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 simpler backpacks we tested, and it keeps organizational options straightforward, which we think is incredible! This backpack offers pockets only where they were necessary.


The simplicity and functionality, combined with the pack's ability to carry heavy loads made the AirContact Lite one of our favorites. Packs with similar feature sets are The North Face Terra 55 and the Mountain Hardwear Ozonic.

Best Application


The AirContact Lite will best serve you on 4 to 7-day backpacking trips, especially when carrying heavy loads. This pack is a simple top-loader with only a few organizational pockets, so it is perfect for ladies who like simplicity and functionality. There are no superfluous features on this pack, and we liked it that way. The AirContact is comfortable, easy to adjust, and easy to pack.

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


At a suggested retail price of $220, 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. There are less expensive packs in our review that offer more features, but they are often heavier or more complicated to use.

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 comfortably configure to most body sizes and preferences. 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.


Jane Jackson & Briana Valorosi