The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Deuter Speed Lite 20 Review

A great all around 20-liter daypack that is designed for maximum versatility.
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Price:  $89 List | $75.00 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, low profile
Cons:  Thin waist belt, front pocket is difficult to get into
Manufacturer:   Deuter
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 22, 2017
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62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 16
  • Comfort - 25% 5
  • Weight - 25% 7
  • Versatility - 25% 6
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7
  • Durability - 10% 6

The Skinny

The Deuter Speed Lite 20 presents a balance between low weight and simplicity, with just the right features and comfort. We especially liked using it as an airline "personal item" and for long day hikes. The water bottle pockets are slightly bigger than those on the otherwise similar Osprey Daylite. Overall, the Speedlite is an excellent day pack with the features you need for your next adventure.

Choose the size that's right for you!
The Deuter Speed Lite line comes in a variety of capacities including the Speed Lite 10, pictured to the right, and the Speed Lite 15. Regardless of the size you choose, the Speed Lite pack from Deuter will be a great choice of daypack for any adventure.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

This little pack sure packs a big punch. With its well thought out features, the Deuter Speed Lite brings home strong scores for its ability to transition through a vast amount of activities.

Performance Comparison



On our overall scoring rubric the Deuter comes in near the bottom. Across the board, scores are fairly uniform, making it a good all around choice. It just doesn't stand out in any one way, in a field of excellent products.

For day hiking essentials  the relatively low volume of the Deuter Speed Lite 20 holds all you need.
For day hiking essentials, the relatively low volume of the Deuter Speed Lite 20 holds all you need.

Comfort


For such a small pack, the Speed Lite has a well-cushioned back panel and shoulder straps. Though it may not provide as much ventilation as the Litus 22 from The North Face or even our Editors' Choice, the Osprey Talon 22, its flexible fit remains comfortable and stable across the board for several torso sizes.

When filled with a heavy rain jacket, group med kit, water, snacks, headlamp, and a few other necessities, the Speed Lite proved to be quite comfortable.
The Deuter on our 5'10" lead test editor  Jed Porter.
The Deuter on our 5'10" lead test editor, Jed Porter.

Weight


The latest version of this pack is very close, but just a little heavier than the our Best Buy winning minimalist pack, the REI Co-op Flash 22. On the Deuter, however, there are more amenities, including a minimal frame structure with padded back paneling and shoulder straps, which add a little bit of weight to this pack. The Top Pick Marmot Kompressor 18 is our lightest pack and one that is by far the most minimalist that we tested. All three of these backpacks are great for traveling and work well as personal items, or can compress and fit in your luggage or backpacking pack.

If you're looking for a spacious and lightweight pack, be sure to read our review of the Granite Gear Virga 26 that works for day hikes and ultralight overnights and is mega light weight.

Versatility


This is an essentials-only pack. It is perfect for running the Grand Canyon from rim-to-rim or summiting a multi-pitch climb.

It's small enough to take the place of a hydration specific pack, as well as being compressible and packable enough to accompany you on your next backpacking venture. There are a few outside lashing options to accommodate extras, such as your ice axe, trekking poles, and helmet. These lashing options made it a little more versatile compared with the Osprey Daylite and far more versatile than the Fjallraven Kanken Classic 16.

Upon removing their innovative and versatile signature compression strap system  Deuter has lightened the Speed Lite 20 but somewhat decreased its utility. This is the latest version. Overall  we prefer the older version just a little bit.
Upon removing their innovative and versatile signature compression strap system, Deuter has lightened the Speed Lite 20 but somewhat decreased its utility. This is the latest version. Overall, we prefer the older version just a little bit.

Ease of Use


This is a pretty simple pack with just the right amount of handy bells and whistles. Though slightly less featured than the Osprey Talon, it still performs just as well.

It not only held all the essentials for our pack test, but it held a 13-inch laptop (without any room to spare).

For 2018 Deuter changed the compression strap configuration. Versions of this pack from the recent past had very useful side straps. There was a pair of them and they could be extended all the way across the pack to lash skis, an ice axe, or a tripod, while still maintaining the compression feature. The latest pack we tested has just one pair of straps that do not work as well or with the same versatility.

One of the drawbacks of this pack is the thin hip belt, which really only aids in some stability. However, it can also be removed.

With small packs it is sometimes difficult to distinguish carrying comfort. Small loads don't tax the carrying system like larger loads do. To really test these packs we loaded them down with inordinately dense loads and hiked on rugged terrain. With more than you'd ever really carry in it  the Deuter Speed Lite demonstrates its sophisticated shoulder straps and back panel.
With small packs it is sometimes difficult to distinguish carrying comfort. Small loads don't tax the carrying system like larger loads do. To really test these packs we loaded them down with inordinately dense loads and hiked on rugged terrain. With more than you'd ever really carry in it, the Deuter Speed Lite demonstrates its sophisticated shoulder straps and back panel.

The size of this pack is both a blessing and a curse, and you should be fully aware of your needs, coupled with the capabilities of the Speed Lite. If you're looking for a pack that is capable of holding a multitude of layers and gear, this is probably not the pack for you. Yet, if you're looking for something on light and fast days for trail running, multi-pitch climbing, and peak bagging then it says it all in its name; the Speed Lite is the pack for you.

Durability


Within the duration that we used and abused this pack, it proved to be quite durable. It protected camera equipment while dirt biking around the Utah desert. The zippers seal incredibly well; however, one thing to be aware of is that the buckles are Deuter's proprietary design. This means that when one breaks, it may be difficult and complicated to replace.

Best Application


The Speed Lite can accompany you in just about any situation where a daypack is needed. Not only can it be used in place of a standard hydration pack for actives such as climbing, running, skiing, hiking, or cycling, but this pack allows you to bring even more gear along than a hydration pack. It's a minimalist's pack with a little extra punch.
All the tested 2018 Day Packs. Clockwise from upper left: Arc Teryx Brize  Gregory Zulu  CamelBak Fourteener  Top Pick Mountain Hardwear Scrambler  Deuter Speed Lite  REI Coop Flash 22.
All the tested 2018 Day Packs. Clockwise from upper left: Arc Teryx Brize, Gregory Zulu, CamelBak Fourteener, Top Pick Mountain Hardwear Scrambler, Deuter Speed Lite, REI Coop Flash 22.

Value


For $89, this pack is a great deal. This pack has more features than some of our heavier packs and with extra lashing and stow options, it can carry just as much.

Conclusion


The Deuter Speed Lite 20 is your basic day pack, with a few features that set it apart. Our only wish is that Deuter kept their signature strap system on this small pack.

For comparison  since we have tested it  reference it here  and in some ways prefer its design  this is one configuration of the strapping system of an older version of the Deuter Speed Lite 20.
For comparison, since we have tested it, reference it here, and in some ways prefer its design, this is one configuration of the strapping system of an older version of the Deuter Speed Lite 20.


Jediah Porter