I spent countless hours on the "interweb" trying to…
Design: top-loading internal
Size: 4200 cubic inches
Number of Pockets: 5
Max. Load Carried: 35
Price Paid: $104
I spent countless hours on the "interweb" trying to find a great pack with low initial weight and a price that I could live with. Little did I know at that time there was a company named Deuter and they had just what I needed. I also was looking at the exact time that Deuter changed the pack ever so slightly, so I was able to get the last year's model for under $110 (the only difference was a change in the ice axe loops).
So I start charting out packs using the Editors Choice from Backpacker, then all the reviews I could find. Thank you TrailSpace and every one that takes the time to truly review a piece of gear. I must have had 15 packs listed that I was very interested in. My main concerns as stated prior are initial weight (this bad boy clocks in at 3 pounds), and obviously how much crap can you put in it (at 4200 cubic inches I have yet to fill this thing even close to full).
No matter how I cut it, Deuter ACT was always on top. Lightest biggest cheapest pack I could find. The info practically told me to buy this pack. Found it on E-omc for $104 (free shipping) and continued to try and refine my list of packs. 3 days later I ordered the Deuter.
My only real concern was the "A" frame design. Another reviewer mentioned that it gets narrow at the top (and it does) but I have yet to camp in a bear canister area and that seems to be why it was less accepting of his gear than mine. I used a Jansport Carson external for a while and was a little reluctant to give up my storage options for essentially a one compartment bag. However I found that no matter what, by the end of the trip I had taken everything out of my pack so this was just one of those "well deal with it when the time arises".
Well, I'm rambling and not making much noise in the way of a helpful gear review.
OK here goes. Weight: lowest on the market for that size pack! And it is the most comfortable thing I have ever carried on my back! Swallows all my stuff with ease. Mesh pocket on exterior is great for holding a jacket or other layers/ gloves/ stinky clothes. Yet to use the water bladder pocket. Even when packed with all my stuff, I feel like I could do an obstacle course with this thing on it really is that comfortable.
Rain does win in the end. The inner material looks waterproof but don't let that fool you.