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LTR - DEUTER ACT LITE - Bob Dorenfeld

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  • geartest7000
    Hi Ryan, It s time for my LTR - posted at https://tinyurl.com/qy8eksb In all, the Deuter has been a great backpack and I look forward to more trips down the
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 27, 2014
    • 0 Attachment
      Hi Ryan,

      It's time for my LTR - posted at https://tinyurl.com/qy8eksb
      In all, the Deuter has been a great backpack and I look forward to more trips down the trail!

      Text follows below

      Regards,
      ~Bob Dorenfeld




      *DEUTER ACT LITE 65+10 *
      *TEST SERIES/
      By Bob Dorenfeld /**/ /*
      *Initial Report: August 22, 2013
      Field Report: November 27, 2013
      Long Term Report: January 28, 2014

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      *INITIAL REPORT *

      */Product Information & Specifications /*

      Photo: Deuter
      *Photo: Deuter*

      Manufacturer: Deuter
      Year of Manufacture: 2013
      Manufacturer's Website: www.deuter.com <http://www.deuter.com>
      MSRP: US$199.00
      Listed Weight: 3 lb 15 oz (1760 g)
      Measured Weight: 4 lb 2 oz (1870 g)
      Color: Midnight/Silver
      Volume: 4550 cu in (75 L)
      Material: Ripstop 210 & Duratex Lite
      Torso: 15-21 in (38-53 cm)
      Dimensions (HxWxD): 31.5 in x 14 in x 12.5 in (80 cm x 36 cm x 31.75 cm)
      Carrying Capacity: 45 lb (20 kg)
      Number of interior compartments: 2
      Number of interior pockets: 1
      Number of exterior pockets: 5
      Adjustable Shoulder Harness
      Bottom Compartment Access with Internal Zip Divider
      Ice Ax Loops
      Hydration Sleeve and Tube Exit




       

       */Initial Impressions /*

      My ACT LITE 65+10 backpack arrived packaged flat in a plastic sleeve,
      with all straps buckled and pulled tight for shipment. After removing
      the information hang tag and loosening all of the straps I can find no
      obvious defects: the new backpack looks good and ready for use. It is
      remarkably light - at a fraction less than 4 lb (1.8 kg) listed weight
      it's almost half the weight of my previous backpack. The seams appear to
      be sewn securely, all of the zippers operate smoothly, and the strap
      buckles and cord tighteners work as designed. The main features of the
      pack as described by Deuter's literature (web site and hang tag
      information) match well to the pack as I find it - exterior and interior
      storage, loops, interior compartments, straps. See Trying It Out, below,
      for more on how I was able to set the backpack's initial fit and
      adjustment to my back and shoulders.

      Description of Features:

      Deuter calls their ACT LITE 65+10 a "Trekking Backpack", which to me
      means a pack somewhere between day and expedition size; its feature set
      is to my knowledge representative of packs of this size. I will here
      describe most of the parts of the pack, but not every detail, nor how
      each feature works. There will be additional photos and description
      later in this Test Series as they become relevant for my Field Use report.

      Throughout this report I'll call the front of the pack the area I load
      from: that is, the bottom and top large compartments, and the slip
      pocket plus the side wand pockets. The rear, or back, side rests against
      my back and is where the shoulder straps are attached.

       

      Front     Back     Side
      Front     Back     Side


      Starting at the bottom front of the pack there is a sleeping bag
      compartment with front double-zippered semicircle opening. At the
      interior top of this compartment is another double-zippered flap that
      lets down to open the entire interior of the pack into one large
      compartment, if desired. The bottom compartment exterior zipper is
      covered by 1 in (2.5 cm) of elasticized ripstop against rain or snow.
      Moving up the pack, there is the large interior top-loading compartment
      with a hydration sleeve against the back of the pack. This
      generously-sized sleeve is more than big enough for a 3 L water bladder:
      in fact, the sleeve's bottom extends all the way to the bottom of the
      pack itself, with the top 6 in (15 cm) below the stiff top of the
      backpack. A bi-directional hydration tube opening at the top stiff rim
      of the pack directs the tube to either left or right. There is no side
      or front access into the top main compartment. Two X-pattern aluminum
      stays form the backpack's interior frame, with a hook-and-loop closure
      to protect their tops from contacting the pack's contents. Above the
      stiff top of the pack is an additional 7 in (18 cm) extendible ripstop
      sleeve which can accommodate more gear. Two drawstring cords with
      cord-locks can close off the top compartment at two levels: the top of
      the stays, and the top of the extendible sleeve.

      On the outside front of the pack, above the bottom compartment is a
      large slip pocket about 11 in (28 cm) wide by 8 in (20 cm) tall; there
      is no closure at the top of this pocket aside from a short strap and
      buckle to secure the pocket top to the pack top. The slip pocket is
      constructed of mesh fabric except for two angled bands of solid gray
      material that serves as a visual design element, but may also provide
      some strength for the pocket's front. Along both exterior sides at the
      same level as the bottom compartment are two mesh wand pockets with
      elasticized tops, each about 6 in (15 cm) square. Gear attachment points
      on the outside front of the pack include two strap loops hanging from
      the bottom of the pack where the bottom compartment zippers end, two
      short 1.5 in (4 cm) cord loops at either side of the wand pockets, and
      two longer 4 in (10 cm) cord loops (with cord-locks) located midway up
      the large slip pocket. Four of the 1.5 in (4 cm) cord loops are also
      found along the outside edges of the top exterior pocket. Along each
      side of the backpack are two horizontal compression straps, located
      across the wand pockets and at the top level of the interior stays. Two
      additional pockets complete the top of the pack: an exterior one forms
      the top closure, with a horizontal single-zippered closure facing the
      back, and inside this top pocket is a smaller zippered enclosure against
      the top. To secure the pack's top exterior pocket to the main body is a
      large flap permanently attached along the pockets rear edge to the rear
      edge of the pack a small distance above the stays. An additional two
      straps with buckles complete the attachment and allow the top pocket to
      be raised or lowered, depending on how full the main compartment is
      packed. There is a compression strap under the hinged top pocket, from
      front to back, to help secure the load on the main area but under the
      hinged top.

      Moving now the to rear or back of the backpack, their is a carrying
      handle securely attached at the top of the internal frame. The shoulder
      straps are attached to the back using Deuter's Vari-Quick System, with
      stabilizer straps attached to the top of the internal frame to either
      side of the carrying loop. (See below in Trying It Out for more about
      the Vari-Quick System). Running in a Y shape along each side of the
      pack's rear are the thick back pads, extending down to the bottom of the
      pack. The hip belt extends out from either side of the bottom of the
      back pads. There is an air space between the back pads, centered from
      the pack's bottom along the Y and exiting at the top on both sides
      between the back pads and the shoulder pads: this forms the Aircontact
      feature that Deuter says will reduce sweating while wearing the pack.
      About half-way down each shoulder strap are the attachment points for
      the adjustable sternum strap; these attachment sliders allow generous
      vertical adjustment to fit the wearer. Stabilizer straps run from each
      shoulder strap and attach to one of two points at back of the pack,
      depending on the height of the user and how the Vari-Quick System is
      adjusted. The right shoulder strap has a short 3.5 in (9 cm)
      hook-and-loop wrap positioned midway along the strap length, presumably
      as a hydration-tube holder. The wide padded part of the hip belt wraps
      towards the front of the waist, completed by 1.5 in (4 cm) wide fabric
      ending in the front buckle, which can be tightened or loosened from both
      sides while attached. Also, each waist belt features a short strap and
      buckle forming an additional point of attachment to the back of the pack
      to fine-tune the fit while hiking; Deuter calls this feature Variflex. A
      small 5 in (13 cm) wide by 4 in (10 cm) high zippered sundries pocket
      completes the right side of the padded waist belt, while the left side
      has a ripstop band with openings front-to-back (perhaps for inserting or
      hanging items).

      All of the main-body fabric of the ACT LITE 65+10 is waterproofed
      inside, but not the three exterior mesh pockets (two side, one front).

      Finally, a couple of words about color and styling: I like the two-tone
      dark blue and light gray color scheme. It's understated and goes with my
      preference for subdued clothing while hiking. Deuter placed their brand
      logos at several places on the front and back of the pack, but not
      ostentatiously. The light gray bands along the front echo the interior X
      stays, while the usually not-visible bottom of the pack is a darker
      gray. The inside hip belt and shoulder straps (front and back) are a
      neutral dark gray, as are all of the straps and buckles.

      This completes my initial impression and description of the Deuter ACT
      LITE 65+10. In the next section I'll check out the instructions, then
      try on the loaded backpack for first fit.

      */Reading The Instructions /*

      Deuter provides information and instructions for the ACT LITE 65+10 in a
      12-page card-stock hang tag attached to the pack. In addition to
      English, many other languages are provided for each section of the
      cards. Most of the text is printed in a small but nonetheless readable
      font. Contact details for the Deuter company are included. One card has
      a cut-away sample of a shoulder strap showing the foam layer inside and
      demonstrating one aspect of the "Advantage Aircontact" system, and
      summarizing a study conducted for Deuter concluding that their
      suspension system was significantly cooler and more sweat-free than
      other backpacks. I will comment more on this feature in the Field Use
      section below.

      The rest of the instruction cards contain feature descriptions and
      fitting instructions. Since the card may be the same one included with
      another pack model, some feature description diagrams and text do not
      apply to the ACT LITE 65+10; this is sometimes noted where applicable,
      but in other places not. Deuter could have done better proofreading of
      the feature text and diagrams, but overall I found the descriptions
      useful and mostly relevant to the ACT LITE 65+10.

      I tested the fitting instructions and diagram by pretending that I
      hadn't worn this type of pack before, and followed every guideline as
      presented. The labeled profile diagram was easy to understand and
      correlate with the explanations.

      */Trying It Out /*

      To begin, let me say that I have never had any special fitting
      requirements for backpacks. Except when I once tried a non-adjustable
      pack that wasn't sized correctly to my height, I have always been able
      to make a pack work for me. Thus I was confident that by following
      Deuter's fitting instructions I could get the ACT LITE 65+10 comfortably
      adjusted.

      Fitting diagram
      *Pack Fitting Diagram*


      Loading the pack to about 30 lbs (14 kg) with demo gear and distributing
      it as Deuter suggests in the their pack fitting diagram (pictured here),
      I strapped the waist belt reasonably tight, clipped in the shoulder
      straps and the sternum strap, and standing in front of a mirror observed
      the suggested angles and clearances on my body compared to the diagram
      (A, B, C, D, F). I saw right away that the factory-set Vari-Quick
      adjustable shoulder-strap height (C and E) was too high - it was set to
      begin insertion at the 3rd loop counting from the top. (The Vari-Quick
      system uses four of the horizontal loops at one time, see "Back" photo
      above.)  I experimented by setting it to begin one loop lower (that is,
      shortening the distance between hip belt and top of shoulder strap),
      retrying the fit, and repeating: eventually I arrived at loops 6-9. At
      this point the stabilizer straps felt good and their angle closely
      matched the diagram (A), as did the angle from my armpit to the shoulder
      strap attachment to the pack back (C). The hip belt rested comfortably
      on my hips, and as Deuter suggested, lifting my leg did not lift the pack.

      Walking around my back yard with pack in position felt good - I didn't
      notice any obvious sore points or places where the pack was rubbing. The
      backpack felt solid when I lifted it by the top handle to my raised knee
      for swinging onto my shoulders, and I had no trouble slipping my arms
      under the shoulder straps. I slid the sternum strap attachments down a
      bit to fit nicely across my chest. Removing the pack was not hard since
      I could easily find and grab the handle directly behind my neck and
      swing the pack around. At this point I've finished trying out the
      backpack's fit to my body - further observations and adjustments will
      come during field testing while hiking all day.

      So far I'm pleased with the operation of the zippers and all of the
      straps and buckles: there were no problems encountered during a demo
      loading of gear. I can see various ways that I might use the exterior
      attachment points, and I'm sure that I'll try all of them during Field
      Use to see what works best for me. My filled 3 L water bladder fit very
      easily into the over-large sleeve.


      */Projected Field Use /*

      I expect to be using the Deuter ACT LITE 65+10 at high forested
      altitudes in the Southern Rocky Mountains. I'll be backpacking trails
      ranging from easy with good tread and little elevation change, to
      moderate and difficult trails involving rough tread and significant
      elevation changes over a day's walk.  I'm looking forward to testing the
      Advantage Aircontact suspension system and the pivoting hip belt
      feature, and of course monitoring how comfortable the pack is overall
      while hiking.


      This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be amended to
      this report in approximately two months from the date of this report --
      please check back then for further information.

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      FIELD *REPORT

      *
      I have now used the Deuter ACT LITE 65+10 backpack for a total of 8 full
      hiking days, and 3 partial days, including 5 overnights.  Pack weight
      varied from a low of 30 lbs (14 kg) to a high of 45 lbs (20 kg).  My
      gear was distributed on and within the pack mostly in the same pattern
      throughout all of these trips, mainly because that's the best way for me
      organize my stuff and balance the pack.  During all of these hikes, and
      especially on my first 3-day trip with the backpack I spent a lot of
      time adjusting and readjusting the various straps and buckles so I get
      the pack as comfortable as possible.   In my report below I'll go into
      more detail on what needed adjusting and how easy or hard I found the
      process.

      First Trip (Breaking in the Pack):

      Getting the Pack Adjusted
      I scheduled my first trip in one of my longtime favorite places - Lost
      Creek Wilderness in Colorado.  I was planning to complete an
      approximately 28-mile (45 km) loop on moderate to difficult trails at
      elevations between 8000-11000 ft (2400 - 3400 m), but because I couldn't
      get the pack completely comfortable on my hips I decided to make it an
      out-and-back journey, using the fully-loaded Deuter on the first and
      third days, and as a daypack for the middle day.

      Starting out on Day 1 I stopped twice during the first mile (2.5 km) to
      adjust the torso length using Deuter's Vari-Quick system (see above in
      Trying It Out).  It was very easy to rethread the strap.  I ended up at
      the shortest possible torso length, which somewhat surprised me
      considering that my back measurement is 17 in (43 cm),  2 in (5 cm)
      greater than the pack's specified minimum of 15 in (38 cm).  But onward!
       Over the next two miles (3 km) I spent time adjusting the stabilizer
      straps at the top of shoulders, finding that the initial setting I used
      when fitting the pack at home had raised the shoulder straps too much.
       A slider buckle allows the stabilizer's attachment point to move
      forward or backward along the top of the shoulder: forward will bring
      the back of the pack closer the shoulders, but at the same time tends to
      raise the shoulder strap above the shoulder, changing how the pack sits
      and distributes its weight.  After much experimentation I put the slider
      in about the middle of its range, and left it there for the remainder of
      my 3-day trip.  These straps are easily reached and adjusted by either
      hand while the pack is on and while walking. The purpose of the
      stabilizer straps is to bring the pack closer to the top of the back,
      keeping it from swaying side-to-side on steep or otherwise challenging
      trails.  Alternatively, when the these straps are loosened the pack
      sites away from the back, allowing air to circulate and cool the body.
       An added benefit of this adjustment is just the way the backpack feels
      - tighter or looser, and the subtle ways it increases or decreases pack
      pressure on other parts of the body.

      I usually pull my waist belt moderately tight.  But one adjustment I
      overlooked for most of Day 1 is the rear hip belt strap that lets me
      pull the lower part of the pack closer to my body - turns out that it
      was too loose for me, so once I made that adjustment the backpack sat
      better on my hips.

      The shoulder straps are probably the easiest for me to play with, their
      effect is immediately obvious: tighter means more weight on my
      shoulders, looser means more weight on my hips.  I find that I'll change
      the shoulder straps about once every hour or two, and only a half inch
      (1 cm) or so at a time.

      There is one other adjustment to the pack that, like the torso length,
      is not a dynamic adjustment while hiking, but requires the pack to be
      off the back.  This is the attachment point for the shoulder straps at
      the top of the pack: there are upper and lower options (see photo) what
      will change the angle of the shoulder straps as they wrap up and around
      the shoulders.  On Day 1 I left the straps attached to the upper point,
      and never really felt like the pack sat right for me.  On Day 3 I moved
      them to the lower point, and the pack sat better for me with less
      fussing with all the other dynamic strap adjustments.  However, for me,
      this changed the angle of the stabilizer strap (see point A on the Pack
      Fitting Diagram above) so that instead of sloping up from my shoulder to
      the pack, it remained either level or had a slight downward slope.  This
      is fine for me, as long as the pack is still comfortable.  However, I
      think the Pack Fitting Diagram and Deuter's accompanying instructions
      should probably have mentioned that it's OK for the stabilizer strap
      angle to change direction.

      Deuter positions the hydration tube holder (hook-and-loop strap) rather
      high up on the shoulder strap - too high for me.  But it's easily moved
      down to a more convenient position, although without the benefit of the
      hook-and-loop attachment point that keeps the small strap from coming
      off.  More than once I accidentally dropped it onto the ground while
      removing the tube; I could add my own hook attachment point to keep that
      from happening.

      The right-side waist-belt pocket was useful - I use it for tissues and
      lip balm, but it could store more than that if needed.  I never did have
      a use for the horizontal sleeve on the left-side waist belt.

      Using as a day pack
      The Deuter made an excellent day pack for my 10 mi (16 km) day trip
      along moderate to steep trails, creek crossings, and a bit of
      cross-country willow brake hiking.  I only carried about 10 lb (5 kg) of
      gear - at that weight shoulder and hip straps are very forgiving and the
      pack was never uncomfortable.

      Packing and Organizing Gear in the Backpack
      For me this was the easiest part of using the Deuter ACT LITE backpack.
       Most of the dimensions and functions of the various compartments match
      my previous pack, so I was able to use the packing system I'm used to.
       I'll summarize here what I did differently in the ACT LITE, and whether
      it was an improvement for me.  I'll also describe any flaws or negative
      aspects of the pack that I saw affecting how my gear got packed and
      distributed.

          * No problem stuffing my 0 degree (-18 C) down sleeping bag into the
            lower bag compartment - I liked the extra room to easily add my
            lightweight fleece.  The zippers operated easily from either
            direction, and the elastic zipper cover nicely fit over.
          * Into the main compartment went my 4 lb (2 kg) tent, clothes,
            kitchen bag with stove, fuel and pots.  I liked the generous water
            bladder sleeve, turned out it was easy to insert or remove the
            bladder even with all other gear sitting in front of it.  I found
            the water tube hole in the backpack to be a bit small, but then I
            have that complaint for all packs because they are made for the
            most popular brands of hydration systems, whereas the larger bite
            valve of my system always takes a bit of twisting to get it in or
            out.  Deuter designed left and right exit points, and I found that
            the left one (when facing toward my front) better directed my tube
            to the right shoulder strap. I didn't need the bladder securing
            strap at the top of the pack on the inside, as my gear was enough
            to hold the bladder in place without slipping too far down to the
            bottom of the pack.
          * Also into the main compartment, but above the gear already packed,
            went my food bag and a couple of miscellaneous items.  I extended
            the top cover to about half of its maximum height, and using the
            interior top strap secured the main compartment gear, then secured
            the top cover using the pack's two outside hold-down straps.  I
            would have preferred that the interior top strap be on the outside
            of the pack, that is, over the exterior of the top cover, as I
            find that holds the pack contents tighter.  However, I feel that
            Deuter's design is adequate.
          * Into the top compartment went most of my small gear and personal
            items.  The two zippered compartment, one accessible from outside
            and the other inside from underneath, were easy to use and I could
            place my items exactly as I was used to doing.
          * My least favorite feature of the ACT LITE is the elastic mesh slip
            pocket on the outside front of the pack.  Besides not having a
            zipper closure (only a single strap) to make sure nothing falls
            out, it was inconvenient for me to store very much because once
            the backpack is loaded I found that the tension on the fabric made
            it hard to get into the pocket.  I ended up putting many of the
            personal items I like to store in that position into the top
            compartments (outside or inside).  Another workaround for me was
            to clip a small zippered bag next to the slip pocket and slide it
            inside.  However, I did find one handy use for this elastic slip
            pocket: my map easily stored there.
          * The other two elastic slip (or wand) pockets are located on the
            bottom sides of the pack.  I used them only for items that I
            wouldn't need very often, such as a small saw and my pack
            raincover.  However, I'm not sure that the fragile mesh material
            will hold up very well when I take the backpack off trail - it
            seems like branches and rocks may tear them up rather quickly.  I
            will monitor this situation and report later if it appears to be a
            problem.
          * Each side of the backpack has two compression straps - I use mine
            to hold gear as well as to compress the main compartment.  My rain
            jacket and my Therm-a-Rest nestled very nicely under these straps,
            while also accommodating my sandals (one per side).
          * I found no lack of tie-down options on the outside of the pack, in
            fact more than I normally use since I like to keep my gear
            inside.  But sometimes I'll hang wet items to dry, or trash that
            I've picked up along the trail.
          * My walking pole attached to the pack fairly easily, although I
            will have to add a piece of shock cord to the bottom loop to keep
            the pole from dangling loosely.  But I liked the attached shock
            cord with tightener at the midpoints of the pack, one per side -
            makes it really easy to slide a pole in and out and secure it.

      Second Trip:

      For my second trip I chose a 14 mile (23 km) round trip in the South San
      Juan Wilderness along easy to moderately difficult trails and elevations
      from 10,100 to 12,100 ft (3100 to 3700 m).  I completed the hike in two
      days, packing and organizing the backpack just about the same as my
      previous trip.  The only change I made to the pack's configuration was
      to make sure that the hip belt stabilizers were pulled so that the
      bottom of the pack fit snugly to my hips.  Unfortunately I had some
      trouble getting the pack comfortable for almost the entire trail
      distance, whether I was hiking uphill or down, along level track or
      rocky grades.

      A problem with the Deuter back suspension
      On this second trip I discovered two parts of my pelvis I didn't know
      existed: At the top rear of my pelvis, on each side of my spine, there
      is a small bone bump that feels about 0.25 in (.64 cm) high.  Pressure
      PointThe photo here shows my best guess as to which part of the pack's
      suspension is pressing on the bump on my left side (the right side was
      unaffected).  The pack construction appears to be symmetrical.  However,
      none of the normal pack suspension adjustments would alleviate the
      pressure, which remained quite irritating almost all the time walking or
      standing with the loaded pack. The only remedy was the loosen the hip
      belt and the hip stabilizers, dropping the pack bottom uncomfortably
      below the tops of my hips and shifting most of the pack's weight to my
      shoulders.  Of course, this is the opposite of how a backpack should be
      worn, so I couldn't last more than 5-10 minutes hiking with the pack in
      this position.  Thinking that perhaps some other pack adjustment was
      causing the hip belt suspension system to press on that small bone
      protrusion, I examined and made some adjustments as described in the
      above section "Getting the Pack Adjusted".  I wish I could say this
      worked, but nothing helped for the rest of my hike back to the trailhead.

      Three days after returning home from this second trip I could still feel
      some soreness on the spot at my left pelvis; fortunately after a week
      the pain went away.



      Other Observations
      I really liked the way the pack likes to stand up on level ground
      without support - very useful when I can't find a convenient tree or
      rock to lean it against.  I found that the pack dried quickly after
      getting wet in a series of severe thunderstorms that blew rain in under
      my tent's rainfly alcove.


      Third Trip:

      Because I'd been having a problem getting the hip suspension to feel
      comfortable, I planned a day hike this time, on a moderately steep trail
      with 1300 ft (400 m) total ascent and descent, and about 9 mi (15 km)
      round-trip distance.  With a starting weight of only 22 lb (10 kg) I
      wanted to test if my normal backpacking weight of 38 lb (17 kg) was the
      cause of the hip soreness described above in "Second Trip".  Trash
      run!I'm happy to say that I experienced no problems on my hip on this
      entire day trip of about five hours of hiking time.  Even after
      reloading the pack with an additional 10 lb (5 kg) of trash found at a
      campsite it was very comfortable.  As in my previous trips, I played
      with all of the adjustment straps on the hip belt (stabilizer and front
      tightener), shoulder (stabilizer and front tightener) - all provided
      comfortable positions depending on how I wished to fine-tune the pack's
      weight distribution.  Note that this time I didn't have a stuffed 4 lb
      (2 kg) sleeping bag in the bottom compartment; I am almost sure that
      this is the source of the rear hip discomfort experienced previously due
      to the padding pressing too hard on my hip.  However, the miscellaneous
      small gear and trash stored here on this day trip was soft enough to not
      press against that sore spot.

      For my next test I'll hike with the pack weighing at least 35 lb (16 kg)
      but with the sleeping bag in the upper compartment, and other smaller
      items in the lower compartment so that it's not packed as tightly.



      /Loaded for Trash!/






      Fourth Trip:

      As planned, for this day trip I packed some of my other small gear into
      the bottom compartment, moving the sleeping bag upstairs into the main
      area.  The rest of my gear was arranged more or less like a normal
      backpack trip.  Good news: little or no soreness on the top of my left
      hip.  I hiked 6 mi (10 km) on moderate tread with a few steep ups and
      downs.  This seems to confirm that the cause of my previous hip
      discomfort was the combination of tight packing in the bottom
      compartment and fully weighting the pack with gear.  Knowing this, if I
      want to continue using the Deuter backpack I can make adjustments to my
      gear distribution.


      Summary of Field Test

      Overall I like how well the Deuter ActLite65+10 worked for me on all of
      my trips.  Like shoes, fitting a pack can be a trial-and-error process,
      but I feel that the extra attention I paid to learning how the various
      straps and buckles worked was well worth the effort.  Although I am
      disappointed that the foam padding design for the hip belt created a
      problem with my pelvic bone, I was able to find a somewhat satisfactory
      workaround for this issue.  I also liked that the backpack stands up on
      its own when loaded - it's well balanced, at least for the way I pack
      it.  I found all of the zippers to be easy to operate, and the cord and
      cord locks also were trouble-free.  Dirt and grime wiped off easily, and
      the pack dried quickly after getting wet in the rain.  The top extension
      (the "+10" in 65+10) was easy to use and accommodated some really tight
      stuffing when I packed out the campsite trash.  The side compressor
      straps combined with the front top straps held the pack's contents quite
      securely.  The Advantage Aircontact suspension system performed as
      described by Deuter with respect to more air flow and less sweat - my
      back was cooler and drier compared to my previous backpack without this
      design.

      On the downside, I couldn't find a way to attach my hiking pole really
      securely to the attachment points provided on the front of the pack.  It
      seems they're not spaced optimally for my particular pole (28 in (71 cm)
      retracted) so that I couldn't get it to stay tight without flopping
      against the pack and slipping down.  But it looks like a couple of minor
      modifications to cords and straps, or perhaps an additional strap, will
      fix this for future trips.  I was also disappointed with the slip pocket
      on the front of the main compartment, since I would have preferred a
      sturdier non-stretch pocket with a zipper closure in order to secure my
      small loose items.  However, adding a couple of small zipper bags
      clipped just inside the slip pocket worked almost as well.  One small
      quibble: the hydration-tube holding strap on the right shoulder pad was
      not in the best position for me - too high on the shoulder.  So I moved
      it down 4 in (10 cm), but at that position there is no longer the
      matching hook for the loop to hold it in place, and several times the
      holding strap fell on the ground after removing the hydration tube at a
      camp or resting site.  But it could be an easy sewing job to add some
      loop material onto the shoulder pad webbing.

      There were a couple of features that I didn't need during this test:
      combining the main top and bottom compartments into one via the zipper
      flap, and securing my water bladder via the orange hook-and-loop strap
      at the top of the pack.  Perhaps one day I'll find another trashy
      campsite that needs one large compartment!  And my water bladder sat in
      the sleeve just where I needed it without having to be secured by the
      strap.

      Long Term Report

      Observations
      Since the completion of my Field Report, winter temperatures and deep
      snow have descended onto the Colorado High Country, and while I haven't
      taken the Deuter out on any overnights, I have added three hikes using
      it as a fully-loaded daypack.  I did this twice on dry trails and once
      while snowshoeing, for a total of 11 mi (18 km) travel.  By "fully
      loaded" I mean my normal collection of gear for a day trip weighing
      16-20 lbs (7-9 kg), including food and cold-weather clothing.  Because
      there was a several-week to one-month break between these uses and my
      overnight trips, this turned out to be a good test of how well the pack
      continued to fit considering the hip belt problems I'd been having.
      Come next overnight-camping season I will reevaluate how I use the pack
      when loaded to 40 lb (18 kg) and see if there are any further
      adjustments I can make to avoid the hip issue I'd been having.

      The good news: for these final three uses I had few problems with fit on
      my hip, everything felt pretty good and I can second all of my positive
      comments above in the Field Report.  In addition I can add that the
      Deuter fit well overall while snowshoeing, which generally requires more
      arm, leg, and hip movement than walking on dry ground.  And, as a bonus,
      I was able to easily attach my snowshoes to the sides of the pack via
      the compression straps: they are more than long enough to extend through
      the snowshoes, allowing me to buckle them and pull them tight to keep
      the snowshoes from flopping about.

      Finally, I consider the Deuter ActLite65+10 to be a very
      well-constructed backpack, with an excellently-designed set of
      features.  Except for the hip belt problem (the source of which may
      indeed lie in my hip bone, and not the backpack) all of my dislikes are
      relatively minor.  Here's my succinct list of the backpack's pros and cons:

      Pros

          * Light-weight but durable and water-resistant materials
          * Rugged stitching throughout
          * Well-placed attachment points and devices (straps, buckles, loops
            and tighteners)
          * Smoothly-running zippers
          * Range of storage-area sizes from small to large
          * Shoulder harness and hip belt are adjustable in many dimensions
          * "Aircontact" back padding design resulted in less accumulation of
            sweat while hiking
          * Easily expandable top storage compartment
          * Generously-sized hydration sleeve will easily accommodate 3+ liter
            bladder
          * When packed, backpack usually stays balanced upright on ground
            without support
          * Pack maintains good balance and adjustment when both fully-loaded
            (volume and weight) and when only partially packed



      Cons

          * Front storage pocket does not have sealed closure, only one strap
            with slide buckle
          * Front and side pockets made of thin material that could snag and
            tear while hiking
          * Hiking pole attachment didn't hold my pole very securely
          * Hook-and-loop strap on right shoulder pad for hydration tube
            located too high for me
          * Hip belt padding irritated my pelvic bone (but this may not be
            fault of pack, and workaround may be available)





      *Acknowledgments
      * Many thanks to Deuter and to BGT for the opportunity to test and enjoy
      the Deuter ActLite65+10 backpack.

      Bob Dorenfeld
      Central Colorado Mountains
    • bigdawgryan
      Bob, Nice report and nice test series. No edits. Thanks for making my job easy. You are good to post your report in the proper folder. Please remember to
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 6, 2014
      • 0 Attachment

        Bob,


        Nice report and nice test series.  No edits.  Thanks for making my job easy.  You are good to post your report in the proper folder.  Please remember to delete your HTML file from the TESTS folder.


        See you on the next one.


        Ryan

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