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June 2023

Gear Review: Deuter AC Lite 28L (SL)

Gear Reviewer: Morgan Forbes

Imagine being encompassed by the mountains of Madeira as you navigate through steep, treacherous, narrow trails that allow no room for error on either side. Despite the UV index feeling higher than the summit and the constant embrace of humidity, you continue to push through unfavourable obstacles on what feels like a tightrope walk with no end in sight. When uncertainty lies on either side of you, trust is found in your gear. Although Portugal held some uncertainty for me as a new destination, my gear certainly did not. Sometimes you use a piece of gear for the first time and you just know. That was the case with the Deuter AC Lite 28L backpack.

A backpack is key to many of life's greatest adventures, and arguably one of the most important gear purchases. I had the pleasure of not only travelling abroad with this pack, but putting it through the wringer amongst our adventures through England, Portugal and the mountain scene on the island of Madeira. The Deuter AC Lite 28L backpack is well thought-out and aesthetically pleasing, expertly balancing back-saving support, detail oriented features and versatility.

Let me further explain!

I'll start with what I believe to be the most important component - comfort.


A backpack is nothing if not comfortable - consider this pack a structured pillow for your back. The round profile frame (made of permanently elastic spring steel) creates a moulded frame that distributes weight to all the right places. The padded hip belt, adjustable sternum belt and the addition of the new AC Lite women-specific version, allows for further customization to cater to YOUR comfort needs.

But wait, there's more! The cherry on top in the comfort department is how lightweight and airy the Deuter AC Lite pack is. This pack features Deuteur's Aircomfort back system for maximum ventilation. The suspended mesh panels allow air to circulate while moving, naturally ventilating your body and minimizing unwanted heat while carrying a backpack.


The features on this backpack seem endless - the more I use it, the more features I stumble across. There is a large zipper opening down the full length of the front which provides an excellent overview of contents. One of my favourite features is the zipper/pocket on the top/back of the brain on the backpack. It's very quick and easy to access without having to open the bag itself. It's made a great spot to put things like car keys, sun screen, money/ID (while travelling) and of course more easily accessible snacks - you can never have snacks in enough places.

Now for the hard part... but because this is an honest review, here you have it, there's no hip pockets! If you're anything like me, I know hip pockets are very near and dear to your heart - it's probably been your go-to pouch for your phone, snacks and or lip chap. However, it's time for me to acknowledge that as much as I've wanted my phone to fit "perfectly" in hip pockets, it never has.

My friends will be happy to hear me admit that I've lost my phone and created an unnecessary scavenger hunt far too many times as a result of my phone hanging halfway out of my hip pockets. The Deuter AC Lite pack not having hip pockets has actually been a blessing in disguise. I'm here to report, you really don't need them! There's a zipper on the side of the pack that leads to a perfect phone pocket. This desired feature keeps my phone safe while also being easily accessible. I'm proud to announce I made it through 7 flights, 2 countries and 17 days of 20-30 km walks/hikes with my phone remaining securely in my pack.

Thank you Deuter.

Some Other Features

  • Attachment loops for a helmet holder
  • Pole holder
  • Glasses holder on the shoulder strap
  • Rain cover
  • Inside compartment to keep your valuables safe, elasticated inner compartment for storing wet/sweaty clothing, water recevoir etc.
  • Compatible with 3.0 litre drinking system/bag


Whether it's a day hike, rock climbing or travelling, this backpack has exceeded my expectations and is the ideal companion in all departments. The Deuter AC Lite has proven to be the perfect travel pack - it fits perfectly in the overhead compartment as well as under the seat in front of you. Its various compartments make for a spacious and organized set up.

When it comes to climbing, preparing for a trip to the crag is effortless. My harness, gear and helmet fit in the pack with ample room for other various necessities. The outside of the backpack is also very accommodating with a selection of attachment loops and pockets. Our climbing rope fits securely on top of the pack overtop of the pack with the drawstring pulled. The brain of the pack confidently holds the rope in place to and from our crag adventures.

All that’s left to say now is - thank you Deuter for taking my adventures to new heights!