Here I give the Deuter Futura Vario vs Deuter Aircontact Lite by comparing their 2018 versions. My conclusion is that the former is a better pack. What do you think?
The two packs look similar from the front as you realize from the pictures above, but see the suspension systems, they are very different:
What this is about
If you are familiar with Deuter packs then you probably know that in 2018 they launched the new and very modified versions of their famous Deuter Futura Vario packs. You can read more about the Futura Vario 50 + 10 in my separate review. They currently have only this pack and the corresponding version for women, the Futura Vario 45 + 10 SL. It appears that the 60 liters pack will be discontinued, and I must say – pity, such a great backpack.
On the other hand, they have also launched a new series under the name Aircontact Lite. So you have some of the packs from this series in my reviews here in the site, please check the Aircontact Lite 65 + 10, Aircontact Lite 60 SL, and Aircontact Lite 35 + 10 SL.
About the notation and the comparison
• The number + 10 in the names of the packs means extra volume which you have in all these packs when you expand their collar. So this is a good design which Deuter uses in many of their packs. For example, in the beginning of your tour, you might have more stuff in the pack, like the food, and this will change the place and end up in your stomach as you can imagine, so you can then cinch the pack and reduce the collar to its normal position.
• The letters SL mean ‘slim-line’ so this is for women or for people with a smaller body size in general.
• I take the Futura Vario 50 + 10 and compare it with the Aircontact Lite 50 + 10. Note that the latter has no bottom compression straps while the largest packs in the series the Aircontact Lite 65 + 10, Aircontact Lite 60 SL have these straps.
Basic features – comparison
Here is the table with some numbers and features so that you can get some idea about the two packs and to understand my rating which is presented farther below.
COMPARE PACKAGE FEATURES
Weight, lb (kg)
Hip belt pockets
Dimension H, W, D (cm)
50 + 10
Payable Every Month
50 + 10
top, front, bottom
76, 34, 32
50 + 10
Payable Every Year
50 + 10
80, 30, 26
* Note that the link in the table points to the Aircontact 65 + 10 which has the same features as the Aircontact 50 + 10 except for the bottom straps that are missing in the 50 + 10 liters pack. You realize this also from the top picture above in the text.
In view of these numbers and the details in my separate reviews, I can now give the following rating for these two packs. As you realize I do not use any quantitative notation but the meaning of these plus and minus symbols should be obvious:
choose your plan
50 + 10
50 + 10
I guess it is necessary to say a few words about the reasons for those pluses and minuses and why I gave them for various features, so here it is.
There is no big difference here, this is a good design in both packs and the padding is appropriate. Both are with adjustable torso length although the two systems are very different. The Futura Vario has a strap-based system which allows for setting the torso size at any length. The Aircontact Lite pack has a ladder-type system which is then a discrete type. So I would say both are really good and reliable.
The hip belt
I find the continuous transition from the lumbar padding to the hip belt a better design, this is what you have in the Futura Vario pack, see the picture above. This fits the body better. But the quality of the padding and the foam is pretty much the same.
Here I have no doubts at all. I would always go for the tensioned mesh system which you can see in the Futura Vario pack. Note that this system was invented by Deuter and introduced in their Futura series in 1985. Nowadays, many brands have been introducing some variants of this same system. There is no better design for ventilation.
The Futura Vario pack is a clear winner here; it has 9 pockets plus 1; the latter is on the bottom where the rain cover is stored. Note also that it has 2 upper zippered pockets on the sides, and this is my favorite feature.
The Futura Vario is again a clear winner here and here is why.
- It has 3 access points, as compared to 2 in the Aircontact Lite pack.
- It has more pockets.
- It has a rain cover which is missing in the Aircontact pack.
- This Aircontact Lite 50 is without bottom straps (they are available in the two largest packs only, 65 + 10 and 60 + 10 SL).
Here, the Aircontact Lite is a clear winner with the ratio of 34 liters/kilogram, as compared to 29 liters/kilogram in the Futura Vario pack.
I give the same rating here, both packs are designed to carry the load comfortably. I could give more to the Futura pack simply because of the better ventilation and the associated comfort, but this is already taken into account above.
The price is $230 for the Futura Vario pack, and $200 for the Aircontact Lite pack. The latter is without the rain cover and the price difference is very close to the value of the rain cover. So they are close here.
What do you think?
I wonder how you see this and what you think about my arguments. Have I missed anything important here? Please let me know, there is a comment box below. You might want also to see how Deuter Futura Vario compares to Deuter Futura Pro, so see this comparison.
Thank you for reading and have a nice day.