Deuter ACT Trail 20 SL

1 review
5-star:   1
4-star:   0
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0


Weight 2 lb 8 oz / 1130 g
Volume 1220 cu in / 20 L
Size 22 in x 9.8 in x 7.9 in / 55 cm x 25 cm x 20 cm
Material Deuter-Microrip-Nylon / HexLite 210



This pack rocks for carrying a heavy day-load, and…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $60


This pack rocks for carrying a heavy day-load, and carrying it well! The harness and Delrin rods distribute weight evenly and the shoulder and waist straps are well-designed, making the pack comfortable to wear for a full day of cross-country trekking with a dense load.


  • Harness well-designed for women's torso
  • Support system distributes weight well
  • Can get water bottle without taking off pack!


  • Lid pockets are very small

I've been a long-time Osprey fan/user because their harnesses fit so well, and this is the first non-Osprey pack I've bought in the last 15-20 years. I've had it about six months and have used it extensively for both on- and off-trail photo hikes in the Aleutians. I'm very, very impressed with my first Deuter pack!

I am reviewing the 2011 model, which I bought new in early 2012 at a dirt-cheap close-out price. Deuter bills this as a "women's fit" backpack, and I have to say that it fits my frame quite well. I'm 5'8", 140 pounds, average build with a small bust and an 18.5" back. 

I find this pack fits me very comfortably, especially with a heavier load. The shoulder straps are nicely shaped and I get no rubbing around my neck or edge of my armpit.  I probably have the shoulder straps at about the halfway mark, so there's a lot of room to fit someone with a considerable larger or smaller chest/torso. Ditto the waist belt - I've got a 30" waist and it should easily fit someone quite a bit smaller or larger.

I typically carry about 20-25 pounds of gear: binoculars, one camera, two lenses, two flashes, two tripods, assorted filters, water, snacks and, because I live in the Aleutians and you never leave home without cold-weather gear, rain gear, a pullover, hat and gloves.  The water bottle is carried in the mesh side pocket, raingear in the mesh front panel pocket, tripods on the outside using the accessory loops and lower compression straps to hold them in place; everything else is carried in either the main compartment or tucked into the lid compartments, with room to spare. 

Photo equipment is dense and there aren't many options for layering light versus heavy items - even so, I find this Deuter does an excellent job of distributing weight. The back panel and shoulder straps are well padded so it is quite comfortable to pull the pack in close to reduce sway or sagging. Most of my hiking is off-trail, up, down or across mountains, with some scrambling - the fact that pack stays close, doesn't sway or sag or otherwise throw me off balance is huge plus.

The waist belt isn't padded but is shaped such that the lack of padding is hardly noticeable. Even on day-long hikes (6-8 miles) with my usual load, I have yet to notice any sore spots on my shoulders, hips or back that would indicate uneven weight distribution. With lighter loads (10-15 pounds) the pack tends to ride up above my hips somewhat, and I actually prefer the fit/comfort with the heavier load.

Our conditions are never warm so I can't speak to the merits of this pack in a hot climate.  Deuter advertises an "AirContact Back System" that is supposed to improve air flow across the back, and I do notice some airflow there, but never enough that I start to get chilled in our usually-cool-if-not-downright-cold weather. I can't say whether it is or is not enough air flow for warm-weather hikers.

The fact that the main compartment can be accessed either from the top or via the front panel is a great option, making it easy to locate and replace/remove just what you need without unpacking everything. The front mesh pocket is perhaps a bit small for bulky items like softshell jackets, but it easily holds my rolled-up rain pants and rain jacket, hat and gloves without bulging.

A couple of features that I really like: easily-accessible included rain cover (it rains a lot here!), and a side mesh pocket that is shaped such that I can remove and replace my water bottle without having to take off my pack! The rain cover fully encloses the pack from top pocket to bottom, and wraps around both sides far enough that it will cover the side pockets and objects attached to the accessory loops. 

I've not been out in torrential downpours but have used the rain cover in everything from mist to moderate rain with high winds, and find that it does a good job of keeping the pack and its contents dry.  In heavier rain moisture will accumulate on the back panel around the neck/upper back, but that is typical of any pack with its own rain cover rather than a poncho over hiker + pack.

My only complaints, if I can even call them that, are that the lid pockets are pretty small and since they don't stretch, it's hard to fit more than a couple camera batteries, some snack bars and car keys in them. The zipper side pocket is nice for storing an i-phone sized cell phone or similar object, but it can be difficult to get stuff in/out of this pocket if the main compartment is stuffed.

I'm really impressed with this first Deuter pack and will certainly consider this brand for future purchases!

Where to Buy

sponsored links
Help support Trailspace by making your next purchase through one of the links above.

Manufacturer's Description

Visit Deuter's ACT Trail 20 SL page.

Retailers' Descriptions

Here's what other sites are saying:

Deuter ACT Trail 20 SL Pack for WomenThere s no better way to enjoy day hikes and city tours than to carry the Deuter ACT Trail 20 SL Pack for Women with you. Offering optimum weight bearing ability and load control, it is no wonder consumers are raving about it. For starters, this 20 SL Pack for Women features an SL carry system that includes SL waist belt wings and SL shoulder straps for a perfect anatomic fit and conical shape for women who are always on the go. Its two Aircontact pads with special ventilating hollow chamber foam, and anatomically formed hip fins, allow you to move freely even if you re carrying heavy loads. Furthermore, soft edges on the straps, smaller buckles, and narrow tapered strap ends prevent the SL shoulder straps from chafing under the arms, and even gets rid of pressure points in the chest area, giving you superb comfort while traveling. Also equipped with additional ventilation channel between the Aircontact cushions and tensioned Delrin U-shaped frame, this pack offers everything you need to make the most out of your outdoor adventures. Choose the Deuter ACT Trail 20 SL Pack for Women today!

- SunnySports

Whether you've realized your old pack doesn't fit anymore or you are looking to invest in your first one, the Deuter Women's ACT Trail 20 SL Backpack is your ideal single- to multi-day pack. Its compact design features a women-specific shape to keep your load close and unique mesh back panels to ensure you stay as comfortable as possible no matter where the trail, ice, or rocks lead you.


On Sale. Free Shipping. Deuter Women's ACT Trail 20 SL Pack FEATURES of the Deuter Women's ACT Trail 20 SL Pack AirContact Back System with Delrin U-frame Rod Stuff-It Pocket Integrated, Detachable Rain Cover Stowaway Hip Belt U-Shaped Front Panel Access Side Pocket Large Side Zippered Pocket Ice Axe and Trekking Pole Loops Hydration Compatible Contoured, Padded Shoulder Straps with 3D-AirMesh Carry on compatible in.SLin. Women's Specific Fit FEATURES of the Deuter AirContact ACT Trail Back System Anatomically shaped shoulder straps with 3D-AirMesh cover Aircontact pads made of breathable hollow chamber foam bringing the load close to center of gravity Flexible, tensioned Delrin U-frame provides stability and carrying comfort Stow away mesh hip belt Anatomically cut hip belt bilaminate foam provides great load transfer and offers freedom of movement Air channel between the AirContact cushions helps reduce perspiration by 15% SPECIFICATIONS of the Deuter Women's ACT Trail 20 SL Pack Carry Capacity: 20 lbs / 9 kg Torso Length: 16 - 20in. / 40 - 50 cm Volume: 1220 cubic inches / 20 liter Weight: 2 lbs 8 oz / 1.13 kg (includes rain cover) Dimension: (H x W x D): 22 x 10 x 8in. / 55 x 25 x 20 cm Microrip-Nylon / HexLite 210

- Moosejaw

The Deuter ACT Trail 20 SL Women's Backpack is a lightweight daypack giving you convenient access to your gear and loads of technical features. Numerous external pockets and lash points equal maximum backcountry utility. Top-loading access as well as a front-entry, 2-way zip panel to let you access your deepest gear. Deuter Aircontact back system with Delrin frame rod creates a central air channel, allowing warm air to escape and fresh air to circulate between the pack and your back. You'll see 15 percent less perspiration than with other body contour packs, and a 5 degree Celsius reduction in heat between you and the pack. 3D air-mesh fabric lining adds breathability to the contoured, padded shoulder straps; stabilizer straps provide proper pack position. Soft hip pads and an anatomical, removable, bilaminate foam hipbelt wrap your body, stabilizing and controlling lateral movements of pack while on the go. Women's specific features from the SL Fit System include s-shaped shoulder straps with soft edges, closer-set shoulder straps that are both shorter and more narrow, a curved and angled waist belt, shorter back length and smaller buckles. SL system avoids chaffing, eliminates pressure points and provides a fit adapted to women's bodies or smaller framed men and larger youth. Side compression straps so you can cinch the pack in when you're carrying lighter loads. Main compartment has plenty of room for an all-day hike; 2-way zipper on the front allows easy access to buried items. Hipbelt pocket and 2 side pockets (1 mesh, 1 zippered) store water bottles, headlamp, first-aid kit, sunscreen and multi-tool. Top lid pocket holds your map, compass or GPS, spare batteries and other small equipment items. Mesh front stuff-it pocket is perfect to hold a light jacket or helmet. Hydration-compatible design features reservoir pocket and drink tube exit port for on-the-go hydration (reservoir sold separately). Integrated, detachable raincover included in a secret pocket in the bottom of the pack. Side compression straps let you cinch down loads for jostle-free carrying. Simple, lightweight tool loops let you quickly stash trekking poles and ice axes. The Deuter ACT Trail 20 is sure to be a hit - this lightweight Deuter daypack brings the popular features of the Trail 24 to a women's specific design. Color: Apple/Moss, Black. SL Fit System, Women's Specific Fit. Weight: 2 lbs 2 oz, plus 3 oz rain cover. Volume: 1200 cubic in, or 20 L. Carrying Capacity: 20 lbs, or 9 kg. Frame Material: Delrin. Dimensions (in): 21 H x 9.5 W x 8 D. Dimensions (cm): 53 H x 24 W x 20 D. Fits Torso Length: 16-20 in, or 40-50 cm. Hydration Compatible. Access: Top Loading with Front Access. System: Aircontact Trail. Materials: Microrip Nylon/HexLite 210, a 210 denier fabric with strong ripstop threads and PU coating and a more lightweight 210 denier fabric used for Deuter's light and fast packs. Deuter Limited Lifetime Warranty

- Tahoe Mountain Sports