This new 2018 Deuter Aircontact Lite 35 + 10 SL Pack for women is the smallest pack from the new series, full of features and with an excellent suspension system.
Key features & benefits
- Women-specific design.
- Adjustable harness.
- Bottom compartment.
- Expandable collar.
- Massive padding.
What this is about
The Aircontact Lite is a new series which Deuter launched in 2018, it appears it is going to replace the packs from the ACT Lite series that has been around for many years already. So this 35 + 10 liters pack is a women-specific design, and it is the smallest in the series so far. The largest pack for women in this series is the Aircontact Lite 60 + 10 SL pack.
So in this new series, you have a better comfort and more breathable materials are used. Zippers are improved so you can use them with gloves. The pack looks very cool in general.
This is a top loading pack with a floating and removable lid. It is floating because of the expandable collar which gives an extra 10 liters of volume. This explains the number +10 in the name of this pack. This may be useful in the beginning of the tour when you have extra food in the pack and need more volume, and as it is reduced you can fold and compress the collar back in its normal position. In principle, the lid is removable, but I would not advise doing this because there is no flap to cover the pack and it simply looks ugly without the lid. Besides, the lid contains pockets and attachment elements so you might need them.
But this relatively small pack still has a separate bottom compartment which is with the volume of some 10 liters or so, and you have a true divider which is with zipper, so the two compartments are really separated. You can open it and use the whole space as one larger compartment.
Who is it for
This is a pack for women, this explains the letters SL in the name. This is what Deuter uses for women-specific packs and the meaning is “slim line”. This implies several substantial features like the difference (with respect to the version for men) in the shoulder harness width, a different profile in the hip belt shape, the overall size is different (note that the packs for men are always bigger), buckles are softer and smaller, etc.
Size-wise, with the total capacity of 45 liters (with expanded collar) this pack is perfect for overnight trips and also as a daypack. Note that it has the usual attachment elements (more below) so you can attach lots of stuff from outside.
Weight-wise, the pack weighs 3.48 lb (1580 g) so I wouldn’t call it an ultra-lightweight pack. You will see in the comparison table below that it is a bit heavier than its competitors, but the difference is not drastic. In fact, there are reasons for such a weight, the padding is exceptional here. This pack is built to carry the load comfortably.
Overview of features
The suspension system
This is a great feature of this pack. You have an X-shaped aluminum frame which gives stability while remaining flexible, and it transfers the load to the hip belt. On the back you have two main padded sections on the side, with a ventilation chimney in the middle, see the picture below. This is behind the word Aircontact in the name of the pack. So this is an open cell foam with a hollow chamber inside.
But a few comments here. I have just tried this pack with a moderate load and I notice that I always feel those two foam pads making some pressure on the sides in the middle section of my back. After many hours, this might become irritating, but this is very individual and clearly depends on your body shape. The fact is that I have no such a feeling when I use the packs from their Futura series; I was testing both of them one after another and could feel the difference.
The harness is adjustable and they call it the Vari Quick System. This is a ladder-type system visible in the picture above, with a Velcro connection and a tab which wraps around a couple of the ladders which you choose. I have just changed it in the pack which I tested so can confirm it is very easy to do this. Though you will notice that there are no numbers or letters to guide you, so you might need to try a few positions to find your best fit. In this short video you will see how this is done:
The hip belt is with a dual density foam for stability and for cushioning, you can clearly see and feel the difference in the padding. The belt is attached to the back in such a way that you have some freedom of movement, the attachment is not rigid at all. This is quite different from the Futura 28 SL pack where you have a smooth transition from the lumbar padding to the hip belt and this transition is very rigid. I am sure that this robust and bulky padding system works better and better as you add more load.
The pull forward straps on the front are dual, you have a V-shape on both sides. So when you pull it forward, you have a perfect hugging around your hip bones, there are two straps on each side that converge to the front buckle. This is always the best system and I love to see it here.
Two pockets are in the lid (one outside and the other is underneath the lid), two zippered pockets are on the hip belt, and two stretch mesh pockets are on the sides. You also have a large mesh stretch pocket on the front, it is with a buckle on the top; here you can store your gear needed on the go, and your wet stuff as well. So such a setup with pockets is quite typical and good enough, nothing exceptional here.
- There are 4 loops on the front, for a helmet holder (sold separately), and you can use them to attach various other items.
- Additional 4 loops are on the lid, so you will use them as you need. For example, you can attach a solar cell charger.
- Dual loops for trekking poles are on the bottom, and they are paired with two bungee tie-offs higher on the pack.
- There are two attachment loops on the bottom as well, those are orange loops visible in the pictures. Note that you have two more in the same color on the front, and here you have the bungee tie-offs attached but you can still attach other things as well.
- Two compression straps are on each side of the pack. The lower are with inside-out feature, in other words, you can pass them through the stretch pockets to cinch the pack, or over the pocket to stabilize any item carried in it.
- There are no bottom compression straps; those are available only in the largest packs in the series.
- On both sides of the hip belt, you have straps to cinch the belt and move it closer to the pack. This is for an extra stability with heavier loads on a rugged terrain.
Please see more in this video; it shows the mentioned bottom straps bit this is not available in this size:
Good and less good features
Here is my short summary:
- Adjustable & removable lid.
- Adjustable suspension.
- Top quality materials and workmanship.
- Adjustable hip belt.
- Many small but useful details.
- No bottom straps.
- No rain cover.
This series is without the rain cover. So if this is essential, check their Futura packs or the packs from the Futura Vario series. As mentioned above, the bottom straps are only in the largest pack form the series.
The price & rating
Currently, it costs around $190 on Amazon, but please check the links, this may be different when you read this text. There are no reports and reviews on Amazon. At some other sites be careful; the reviews are mixed with those with packs from the ACT Lite series. You will see the same confusion even on the Deuter site. See how I rate this pack for several criteria; I use the same formulas for all packs:
My rating breakdown of the Deuter Aircontact Lite 35 + 10 SL Pack
- Weight: 3.48 lb (1580 g).
- Volume: 2136 + 610 in³ (35 + 10 liters).
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 28.3 x 10.2 x 7.9 in (72 x 26 x 20 cm).
- Torso fit: 14 – 18 in (36 – 46 cm).
Deuter Aircontact Lite 35 + 10 SL women’s pack vs Competitors
I decided to compare this pack with two top-notch packs from the similar size range. So the Maven is in the class of very lightweight packs, and I think the difference in the weight is not a big deal. You realize that all three of them are rich in features, and those are indeed among the best packs on the market. You will be doing fine with any of them. Please follow the links to see more.
COMPARE PACKAGE FEATURES
Weight, lb (g)
Pole attachment loops
Lite 35 + 10
Payable Every Month
35 + 10
Payable Every Year
Payable Every Year
top, side, bottom
I have no doubts whatsoever that this Deuter Aircontact Lite 35 + 10 SL Pack for women is a top quality item. Have just had it in my hands and after more than three decades of carrying backpacks in mountains, I can feel when something is good. Besides, I have been using the packs of this brand for a couple of decades already. From the front, it may look similar to their Futura packs and also the Futura Vario packs, but you have a completely different concept in the suspension here. All in all, this is a quality and reliable hiking pack. I have included it in my list of best day hiking backpacks for women.
Note that they have yet another light series of daypacks, and this Deuter Speed Lite 30 SL is the largest of them for women, have a look. If you feel you need more options to see, no worry, have a look in my page with packs below 35 liters and packs 35 – 55 liters, the best models are presented there in detail.