Travel

Back to the pack: How Deuter converted me back to #teambackpack

  • Jul 19, 2013
  • 798 words
  • 4 minutes
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I picked up my first backpack before a backpacking trip to Australia when I was 20. I was young, naïve, and tempted by a massive sale. We all make mistakes. Of course, I got exactly what I paid for. My next backpack wasn’t much better. Ditto, for the one after that. Eventually, I gave up on backpacks altogether; I thought they weren’t ever going to work with my small frame. I switched teams, discarding my string of disused backpacks and replacing them with a fancy suitcase on wheels and a daypack. I didn’t need a backpack, I told myself. I was growing up.

But as I sat in my living room this past March, planning a 100 km long walk along rugged cliffs and deep sand dunes of the Wales Coast Path, I came to a fairly obvious realization. My rollie suitcase just wasn’t going to cut it. My daypack wouldn’t be much help either, even with the lightest ultralight camping gear on the market, it just wouldn’t be big enough. I knew what I had to do: go back to the pack, whether I wanted to or not. After a little bit of research and a lot of good advice, I settled on a Deuter’s ACT Lite 50+10 and set off for the UK.

What struck me first about the pack that it was pretty, which – I know – is a vain consideration. But since I’ve never been above a little bit of vanity, I reveled in its beauty for a while. Its maroon tones made my eyes pop, Its sleek lines would make me look good. But that initial glow faded a bit, as it always does. No matter what you bring on a multi-day hike, it will eventually look like you’ve taken it to a tractor pull.

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My Deuter ACT on the Wales Coast Path

Besides, none of that has anything to do with the bag’s practicality on the trail. That’s where the ACT Lite’s functionality comes into play. For the first time in my life, I strapped on a backpack, and didn’t feel that all too familiar demotivating wave that comes when I realize my pack is a bit of a burden to lift even when it’s empty — at 1.5 kg (3 lbs, 8 oz) this bag is light. Once I packed it up and put it on, I was in love. Well, maybe not like forever love, but at the very least memorable summer fling kine or love.

After a few easy adjustments to the straps, Deuter’s ACT Lite fit like a glove. It feels like an accessory, rather some sort a strange growth hanging from my shoulders, trying to wrestle me to the ground from behind. And that, I can tell you, is reassuring when you’re about to take on a trek that you know is going to push your limits. It was snug where it should be snug, roomy where it needed to be roomy. The pack moved like a virtual extension of my body rather than as an omnipresent counterweight to it.

Convenient pockets on the hip strap smoothed the urban portions of this trip: cash, tickets for London’s underground, and my BritRail pass were all easily accessible without having to take the pack off. The ACT Lite’s side pockets are also flexible enough to load while the pack is on your back, but their elastics have enough spring to keep your gear firmly in place. A built-in pocket for a hydration system helps keep you healthy on the trail, and when it was put to the real test on the Wales Coast Path, its Air Contact back system kept the air flowing and my body cool.

Deuter’s design distributes weight exceptionally well with the only strain being felt in my hips — exactly where it’s supposed to be. The only issue I had was with a bit of irritation from the shoulder straps, but with a small adjustment this problem disappeared. With less need to take the pack on and off, a great fit and even weight distribution, the ACT Lite 50+10 made me feel like I had super human strength. I carried my load with ease, or at least far greater ease than my pre-trek training regime of tweeting while drinking coffee would have predicted. Make room little black dress and Sephora travel make-up kit, the ACT Lite pack has just earned its place on my list of must-have, versatile travel pieces.

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My Deuter ACT didn’t throw off my balance as I walked this goat path over the Celtic Sea, and that’s a very, very good thing.
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