Since our last review of the REI XT 85, I've made some personal adjustments to my gear and philosophy of hiking towards a more minimalist/lightweight approach. By no means do I consider myself an "ultralight hiker" because...well...I don't care much for titles and I also don't have the money to buy in to that camp where every ounce saved costs you $100 out of pocket. That being said, I no longer want to bring the kitchen sink with me into the woods for dayhikes or multi-day treks.
To this point, I've tried several bags that could serve as my "main bag" for everything over a day hike. I circled through bags from Osprey, Teton, Gregory, and Kelty, not to mention the many others I tried on in the store. After buying, selling, re-buying and driving myself (and my wife) crazy, I've finally landed on a pack that I feel is a phenomenal value for the money and can serve a variety of needs for a variety of hikers.
Enter the Deuter ACT Lite 65+10. In my opinion this is a perfectly balanced pack that meets all of my requirements. Let me be clear that "hike you own hike" applies here, and the pack that works best on my back may not work for you. That being said, this pack is worth a look for anyone who wants a great pack that can handle whatever you throw at it.
Most of the other packs had glaring issues that weren't compatible with my hiking style: some had super short lashing cords, some had no sleeping bag compartment or bottom access, some were just too crazy expensive to justify the purchase. So what are the reasons to look at the Deuter ACT Lite 65+10? Glad you asked!
- Deuter is a reputable brand. Combine German engineering with simply being one of the biggest names in Europe for backpacking gear and you have a winning combo.
- This pack is simple: it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of more expensive packs. But that doesn't mean the quality is compromised. In fact, I prefer a pack that is toned down and checks all the big boxes for a multi-day pack without incurring a giant price tag so you can have an included rainfly, taped seams, or special whatchamacallits. Save money and weight. There's top access and bottom access. Two mesh side pockets (that can swallow a nalgene and more). One mesh front stuff pocket. Two lid pockets. Trekking pole loops. Hip belt pockets. Compression straps. All you could ever need (opinion).
- Space: 65+10 means 75, it's just marketing. The +10 is the upper portion of the main compartment in the bag that can rise up above the backpanel and be secured with the floating lid (non removable). That's plenty for light/medium winter camping. You won't be mountaineering with this pack, but for most other uses and loads under 40-50# you should be fine.
- Comfort: this is literally the most comfortable pack I've ever worn. Not in that sagging old couch way, but in the supportive while not bring too rigid kind of way, with plenty of cushioning along the spine while maintaining breathability.
- Stabilization: didn't see any sway in the bag with a 30# load.
- Adjustability: plenty of adjustments for both compression and comfort (shoulder straps, load bearing straps with two level based on hikers build), hip straps...it also can fit hikers with torsos from 15-21 inches...which is a one-size fits all approach...very nice.
- Extras: lid attachment loops, extra attachment loops mid-body of pack (for helmet or other items), ice axe loop, bottom compartment is fully separate via an internal zipper...
- Price: $209 (at time of review)
I could go on but I think that gives a general overview of the specs and my general consensus that this is one of the most comfortable and supportive packs in it's price bracket (and indeed more expensive packs). Again, it will vary from personal to person but 75 ltr is plenty of space for all my gear without leaving tons of extra space unused. Feel free to ask any questions! I got my Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 from REI, of course.