Hands-on Gear Review

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

The ACT Lite is a mid-price pack with a simple design comparable to some of the more expensive packs in this review.
By: Jane Jackson & Briana Valorosi  ⋅  Jul 18, 2018
Price:  $220 List  |  $220.00 at REI
Pros:  Inexpensive, comfortable, easy to use
Cons:  Smaller capacity than it appears
Manufacturer:   Deuter
67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 15
  • Comfort - 24% 7
  • Weight - 23% 8
  • Suspension - 23% 6
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7
  • Features - 15% 5
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  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Our Verdict

For the price, the Deuter Aircontact Lite is a great pack explicitly designed with women in mind. Sold for a bit less than most of the packs in this review, the ACT Lite still has many of the same features of the more expensive models out there. The shoulder straps width, padding, and comfort are comparable to the Gregory Deva 60, while the simple design is similar to the simplicity and ease of use of the Mountain Hardwear Ozonic 60. The one downside to the ACT Lite is that for its capacity and bulk, it actually doesn't fit all that much inside it and seemed to have a lower volume than a lot of the packs in this review. All in all, the Deuter ACT Lite is comfortable and straightforward and is notable as a simple backpack for carrying lighter loads. It rated consistently well across all of our metrics and offered a great value.

2018 Product Update
Deuter has updated their ACT Lite line to the Aircontact Lite. See the new version in the image above, and get the scoop below.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

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The New Aircontact Lite 60+10 SL vs. the ACT Lite 60+10 SL


Deuter changed the name of this pack from the ACT Lite to the Aircontact Lite. They've told us that the new version has a heavier-duty construction and an improved hip belt at the same weight as the old pack. The new version is $10 more expensive than the ACT Lite. Compare the new Aircontact Lite 60+10 SL, pictured below in Arctic-Navy, with the previous version shown in green.


Hands-On Review of the ACT Lite 45+10 SL


The Deuter ACT Lite is an inexpensive pack with a simple design. Offered in only a single size, the adjustability options are easy to configure, yet extensive enough to suit many body types. Its design is women's specific, providing comfort and support. It's an ideal lightweight pack for the woman looking for comfort and simplicity.

Here  our tester demonstrate saddling up after a snack break with the Deuter ACT Lite!
Here, our tester demonstrate saddling up after a snack break with the Deuter ACT Lite!

Comfort


The ACT Lite is a simple, single-size, adjustable backpack that we found to be quite comfortable. Like similar one-size adjustable backpacks, such as the Thule Versant 60, the padding across the back and shoulder straps are thick and comfortable. The wide straps work well for those with an athletic build. For a pack with more narrow shoulder straps, we'd recommend the Thule Versant.

Designed with women's specific sizing, the ACT Lite offers a shorter torso and conically shaped hip fins that add to the comfort of wearing this pack during long days. This contender is similar in comfort to the Osprey Ariel 65 and The North Face Terra 55, and less comfortable than the Lowe Alpine Manaslu.

The ACT Lite is best suited for medium to light loads  and does not carry heavy loads very well.
The ACT Lite is best suited for medium to light loads, and does not carry heavy loads very well.

Weight


The ACT Lite weighs in at 4.31 pounds, making it most similar in weight to the Thule Versant 60. Because its design is more simple than the Versant, the ACT Lite feels lighter. Surprisingly, it feels a significant amount heavier than it is, but this may be attributed to a heavy pack load, which it doesn't sufficiently support. On our backs, this pack felt more comparable to the Gregory Deva, which weighs around five pounds!

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

Suspension


With an adjustable torso length, the suspension's function depends on a proper fit. When fit properly, the suspension distributes the weight of the pack well under lower weight loads, though it does not distribute weight well when packed heavy. For a one size adjustable pack that works better with heavy loads, consider the Mountain Hardwear Ozonic, which can carry a lot of weight with ease.

The ACT Lite has a large main compartment that is only accessible from the top and the bottom sleeping bag compartment. This makes it hard to get to gear that may have been packed lower in the main body of the pack.
The ACT Lite has a large main compartment that is only accessible from the top and the bottom sleeping bag compartment. This makes it hard to get to gear that may have been packed lower in the main body of the pack.

Ease of Use


The ACT Lite has been designed with simplicity in mind, and we find it easy to use. Few adjustment points make figuring out a proper fit easy. Few pockets allow for ease of organization and ease of access to all of our belongings. Some awkward design features take away from the ease of use: the sleeping bag compartment has an arched zipper on the front of the pack that is inconvenient to open and close, yet retains an element of durability. 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. This system was easy to adjust and fine tune a fit just for you.

Hiking through talus tests the packs' ability to stay stable on uneven terrain. The ACT Lite did ok in this terrain  but does not compare to some of our higher scoring models.
Hiking through talus tests the packs' ability to stay stable on uneven terrain. The ACT Lite did ok in this terrain, but does not compare to some of our higher scoring models.

Features


One of the simpler backpacks in regards to organization options, the ACT Lite only has three enclosed compartments, including the main compartment, which we think is incredible! The organization of this backpack has pockets where they were necessary, with three separate access points into the main compartment. Sadly, there is only a single waist belt pocket, and we have come to expect two waist belt pockets as standard, considering that all but one other pack in this review has two.

In the past, our biggest complaint with the ACT Lite is its lack of sleeping bag straps on the outside. This updated model now has this feature, and we were glad Deuter stepped up and made this change. Packs with similar feature sets are The North Face Terra 55 and the Mountain Hardwear Ozonic. One feature we wished the ACT Lite had is the option to narrow the shoulder width, like the Arc'teryx Bora AR 61 has, though the pack has a range of other adjustments elsewhere that can keep the pack stable.

Best Application


The ACT Lite will best serve you on 2-6+ day backpacking trips, where pack load is considered light to mid-weight. This backpack is not our first choice for heavier pack loads. For the woman new to backpacking and also for the experienced backpacker looking to carry less (not necessarily less weight, but less gear), the ACT Lite is just right.

Here  we measure the volume of the sleeping bag compartment using ping pong balls. The ACT Lite had a total capacity of 64-liters when measured in our home "lab".
Here, we measure the volume of the sleeping bag compartment using ping pong balls. The ACT Lite had a total capacity of 64-liters when measured in our home "lab".

Value


At a suggested retail price of $220, the ACT 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. For both the beginner and the advanced backpacking woman, the ACT Lite is a middle range priced value. There are less expensive packs in our review that offer more features but may lack in ease of use or a compromise in weight.

Conclusion


From the company that has been making backpacks for over one hundred years, the women's specific Deuter ACT Lite will 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, and enough adjustment options to comfortably configure to most body sizes and preferences. Whether new to backpacking or experienced and looking to simplify, this model is a good value for a simple yet comfortable backpack.

Jane Jackson & Briana Valorosi

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