The ACT Trail 22 is an "interesting" daypack offering from Deuter. There are some great features on this pack and quality construction, but it lost us on the single small water bottle holder and the extra zippers. Every time we bent over our water bottle flew out of the pack, and that ended up being a deal breaker for us. The back of this bag has a lot of padding, but it tended to dig into our backs, and there's none at all on the hip belt, which also influenced our comfort. For a more comfortable bag with a more useful design, check out our Editors' Choice winner, the CamelBak Sequoia 22. We also preferred our Best Buy winner, the REI Co-op Trail 25, over this pack, and it'll save you $40!
Deuter ACT Trail 22 Review
Cons: Heavy, only one small water bottle holder, hipbelt is not padded
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Deuter ACT Trail 22 is made of 210D nylon in the body of the pack and 600D polyester for the bottom. It comes in one size (19-inch torso length), and in case you weren't sure if you loved or hated the flower, it's removable.
This pack did not impress us when it came to comfort. The back is well-padded, but the padding runs in two strips down the length of the back (in an attempt to improve airflow), and as a result, all you feel is two strips digging into your back. We appreciate attempts to keep us cooler on hikes, but we couldn't feel any airflow back there, particularly when compared to how well the open mesh backs on the Osprey Sirrus 24 and Deuter Futura 22 worked. While the wide hip belt did a better job at helping to keep the load off our shoulders compared to the one-inch webbing on the REI Co-op Trail 25, there is zero padding on it. After a half-day hike, our hips had marks on them, and we were no longer comfortable using it.
This pack does have some great features, including a rain cover that stows in the bottom of the pack, ice axe and trekking pole holders, and a side pocket for your sunglasses or GPS unit (where the other water bottle holder should be).
What we didn't like was the single water bottle holder. Even the smallest bottles fell out of it as soon as we bent down or even just turned quickly. There is an internal sleeve for a hydration bladder, but not everyone has or uses one of those. We also weren't a great fan of the central compartment zipper access. This bag is a top-loader, but there is also a U-shaped zipper that opens the pack from the bottom. This seemed a little unnecessary to us, as the pack is already small enough that you can reach in and grab what you want without having to dig around too much. The extra zipper adds unnecessary weight and bulkiness.
This is one of the heavier packs that we tested (37 ounces). The heavier materials used add to the weight of the pack, but also make it more durable. This pack would need to get a little heavier to be more comfortable (padded hip belt) but could lighten up a bit by ditching the additional zipper entry. If you're looking for a lightweight pack for quick backcountry missions, check out our Top Pick, the Mammut Lithia Speed 15. Our Top Pick for Short Hikes, the Lowe Alpine Aeon ND20, is lighter than the ACT and more comfortable.
This pack comes in only one size, and the back measures 19 inches. It does have load-lifters on the shoulder straps, but because of the non-existent angle between the top of the pack and the shoulder straps, they aren't very effective at shifting the weight up off the hip belt. Also, the hip belt barely reached around to cover our hip bones, and we wear a size 2 pant. While having your hip belt come too far across the front of your abdomen is also uncomfortable, it seems like most people will have the opposite problem with this pack.
The ACT Trail did impress us with its durability. It's made with 210D nylon (which is thicker and will last longer than packs made of only 100D nylon), and the bottom is a reinforced 600D polyester, which is a high wear spot. One thing we considered is the buckle systems and their ease of replacement. In the case of this pack, the hip belt buckle is sewn in, and if it breaks, you'll need to cut the hip belt and melt the edges (so that it doesn't fray), to replace it with a thread-through buckle.
We could see this pack working well for people who use a hydration bladder, or those who need an included rain cover but not too much room for their gear. It's also good for those who either don't use their hip belt much or like to be able to stow it away easily.
This pack retails for $120. Considering that you'll also need to buy a $20-30 hydration bladder (since the water bottle holder doesn't work well), that makes this one of the pricier setups in this review. We do feel like it's a durable model though, and it should last a while. If this feels like a lot to spend on a daypack, check out our Best Buy winner, the REI Co-op Trail 25, which retails for only $80.
The Deuter ACT Trail 22 turned out to be one of our least favorite packs that we tested. That's not to say that it's a bad pack, and it might even be the best one for you, but there were too many misfires in our estimation, particularly compared to some of the great daypacks available these days. Deuter even makes a better option themselves, the Futura 22 SL.
— Cam McKenzie Ring