Gear Review: Deuter ACT Lite 60 + 10 SL Women's Pack
I've had my Deuter ACT Lite 60+10 for an entire summer backpacking season now. Last spring I went into REI hoping to exchange my one-size-fits-all cheap generic pack for a pack more suited to my body. I had gone into the store assuming I would walk out with an Osprey, having only heard stellar things about their packs. However, as I began trying different Osprey packs on it became very apparent that they did not fit me the way I had hoped. The sales associate quickly offered an alternative: a Deuter pack. He fit it for my body, loaded it up with 30lbs of weight, and cinched me in and let me to roam around the store. With the other packs I had put on I did one lap and came back, knowing that they didn't work. But, when I put the Deuter pack on I wandered the store aimlessly, tried on a few shoes (and found a pair I liked!) before finally returning to the sales associate. I told him I found a winner! This pack fit me perfectly, and I suddenly felt bad for putting my past self through the agony of hiking with an ill-fitting pack but was relieved my future self would be saved from the aches and pains I had grown so accustomed to on backpacking trips!
The good: This pack is comfortable. From the moment the sales associate fit the pack for me and I hoisted it on I knew it was a pack I could carry for extended periods of time. Despite the fact this is also a one-size-fits-all pack it is designed specifically for women and the fit is customizable so it is much more comfortable than my previous pack. The weight of the pack is also evenly distributed. I've had issues with fully loaded packs pulling me back but I felt very balanced while wearing this Deuter. I took this pack, loaded down with 50lbs of gear on my 10-day trip through Alaska and not once did it chafe or rub on my collarbones or waist, even the days it was on my back for 9+ hours while bushwhacking! Another plus for this pack is that it has zippered pockets on the lid and plenty of storage on the outside, which is great for keeping all your important gear readily accessible!
The bad: This bag is not a front loading backpack, so every morning I need to make sure I strategically pack my bag, because it is a real pain when I realize I forgot something important at the bottom of my bag and I need to take everything out to get to it and then repack it. Another downside of the Deuter 60 is that the water bladder pouch is only accessible from the inside, which means if I refill it during the day I will also need to unpack everything to get it to properly fit in its pouch and then repack the contests of the pack around it.
The final word: This pack is amazing. I love it so much I am planning on buying the smaller versions for short trips since the 60+10 is a little superfluous for an overnight trip.