I started looking for a new 30-40 liter rucksack for my TMB hike a month ago, to give me more space than I could get in my 5 year old 28 liter Deuter Aircomfort system pack. The Aircomfort system consists of a frame and plastic mesh that’s suspended away from your back by a few cm. On the 28 liter pack, it has performed well as an all weather pack, keeping me cool hiking in the Alps for a few years. Deuter claim that this system reduces fluid loss (through sweating) by up to 25% over a traditional pack. The only trouble is that it is a little tight for fleece, shell, 2 litres of water, hat, gloves, and lunch. Adding a SLR would put it over the edge.
I specifically wanted a pack with a mesh pocket on the side along with straps to secure a tripod to the side of the pack. In addition I was looking for one with a separate lower compartment and the ability to clip a GPS or my camera mounting system to the sholder straps.
In the Aircomfort range, there is a Deuter Futura 28, Futura 32, Futura Pro 38, Futura Pro 42, and Futura 40+10 Vario that are all pretty close to these specs. The Vario seemed the most flexible, and also included nice features such as D-rings on the shoulder straps for clipping a GPS. I tried the Futura 40+10 Vario on a short hike, and while it did support the load well, one of the steel bands that held the pack away from the mesh kept popping away from the pack. I’m not sure if this was an issue with the pack itself, or with the way I’d filled the pack, but with the weight of the pack at 2050g I decided to take it back for a swap.
The replacement I chose was the Deuter ACT Lite 40+10. This is from the Aircontact range - which unlike the Aircomfort is based on an aerated foam system that contacts your back. This improves control and stability of the pack, and provides a pack that is a fair degree lighter than the Aircomfort at 1500g. Deuter say that the Aircontact system reduces sweating by up to 15%. This pack comes both in a male and female version (denoted by the SL tag) with narrower shoulder straps and a more padded waist belt.
The build of the pack allows you to pack it tall and thin, or to fill it out width ways. Two pairs of straps on each side along with a bungee cord on the front allow you to compress the body of the pack well. The only area of the pack that’s not covered by compression straps is the lower compartment, which isn’t a big issue. Overall the pack seems comfortable, and has held up well on two 20km hikes over the last two weekends.
- SOS label on lid compartment
- Separate base compartment with zipped inner pocket
- Removable, lightweight multi-chamber aluminium X-frame
- Top lid pocket with front pocket and valuables pocket
- Lid compartment eyelet fixings
- Contoured shoulder straps with soft edges
- Inner separator pocket
- Mesh side pockets
- Ice axe loops
- Elastic cord attachment
- Compression and stabiliser straps
- Double-layered base
- Compact multi-layer hip belt construction
I recorded the video below while using it on a hike a couple of days ago:-