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Gear Review: Deuter ACT Trail SL Backpack

Sometime around 11 years ago I bought my first Deuter backpack. My oldest son had had a Deuter Fox 30 for years, and I had been impressed how well it was holding up (it held up so well I sold as he aged out). At that point I was chewing through a daypack a year. I’d slide into October and the stitching would be coming out, mesh ripping into shreds and so on. It didn’t help I used these full day backpacks to backpack with during my ultra light years. We had stopped into the REI in Portland, Oregon and I bought a Futura Zero 40 SL backpack. (They actually still make Futura packs, just not that massive).

That pack fit my me (I have a short torso), and it was the first backpack that didn’t hurt my lower back – which I messed up in the early 2000’s. I’ve cruised down and up many trails, racked up thousands of miles with it on. And outside of being slightly dingy, the pack is in great shape.

But it is a lot larger than I need now. I hike differently now. 20 mile days are not something I have done in years. I had been looking somewhat this year, and finally decided I was worth a new backpack.

I picked up a Deuter ACT Trail SL 28 (SL is the ladies specific fit – also cheaper on Amazon). It is a top loader, with a front zipper option, so you can enter from the front. It has a stowed pack cover, and a wet bag inside. It can hold a helmet and keep your phone and ID safely¬† in the interior pocket(don’t have me lecture you on leaving phones/ID in your vehicles!). One thing I like is the top lid, the outer compartment, the zipper is on the top, rather than at the back end, towards your head. This will mean the lid will sag less, which was one of the few things I didn’t like in my old pack.

The zippers are considerably lighter than older Deuter packs, and the zipper pulls let you insert your finger into them to pull quickly. And tightening up the pack is easily done on the lower sides, with less straps needed.

However, this isn’t a UL backpack. It weighs in at 2 pounds 9 ounces. But like all Deuter backpacks, that extra weight gets you a solid backpack. I hope that this one holds up as it previous sister did – and that I get a decade or more out of it (and the Futura isn’t being tossed. It is a great backpack).

More to come on this as I break it in.


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