User Review: Deuter ACT Lite 65+10
Design: internal; thermo-plastic single stay
Size: about 4,000 inches
Number of Pockets: two net, one camera, exterior; two in main bag; three up top
Max. Load Carried: 45 pounds
Height of Owner: 6'4"
Price Paid: Warranty claim
The pack was always comfortable on my five day segment of the John Muir Trail but annoyed me in a few ways:
The shoulder straps, and straps that draw the pack bag closer to your shoulders continually slipped their settings. The problem was particularly acute descending the steep and very loose Paiute Creek Trail. The sloppy fitting pack was a distraction as it wouldn't behave the way an internal frame pack should. That was day two of the trip, with a full bear canister.
I am 6'4" and am not persuaded that the pack is optimized for people my height in light of the above...
That same morning the main hip strap buckle gave out within ten minutes of hitting the trail. Half expecting it to fail, I had taken the liberty of stashing a grams heavier, same size mainstream fastex buckle in the pack.
Dandy but for the Deuter hip strap system, with its very tight fitting strap guides, forcing me to slash away the back-stitched anti-fray fold in order to get the faulty buckle out, and install the new one. All in all a very frustrating episode.
The paucity of lash points on the pack was an issue at water crossings. I like a place to tie my boots to. There is one flimsy-looking loop beneath the poseur elastic net. My sandals rode on a caribiner on this loop when the boots weren't hanging from the same. It never gave out, but it made me nervous.
Another feat typically eluding all pack makers that this pack suffers from is the complete loss of space in the hydration pocket with a bear canister loaded. I had to keep the bladder under my top pack, creating a slipping top pack as it drained. I didn't notice right away because I thought it was the slipping shoulder straps...
The hydration port in the pack bag chewed-up time as it is too small for easy ingress/egress of my Camelbak bite block fitting. Often the valve lever would be forced open as I struggled to get the hose through, leaking filtered water into the dirt instead of my mouth.
I liked the roomy sleeping bag compartment, able to hold my long bag and my uninsulated parka, handy in hail or rain. The pack weighs less than half my old pack. Stuffing with brutality had zero effect on the fabric or stitching of the pack bag. The top pack is deceptively roomy, and cleverly divided. The poseur elastic netting actually held my stuffed Thermarest perfectly. The suspension is great when the straps aren't slipping.
Update: April 6, 2011
Following up on my previous review I must add that after contacting Deuter with the complaints I listed in my review they took back the offending pack and sent me a brand new, modernized model of the same.
So refreshing after being left high and dry by other companies.
I haven't taken the new pack out in the field yet. But I felt the people of Deuter deserve the story published.