Are you tired of searching for a hiking or backpacking pack that actually fits you? Most packs are designed for men’s bodies and women often have difficulty finding one that feels just right, but the importance of a perfect fit increases as trips lengthen and weight loads increase. No one should ever feel like they can’t find the right gear for their favorite adventures, so Deuter went the extra mile and made back systems specifically for the female figure. Now women, kids and smaller guys don’t have to work so hard to find the perfect pack for their figure.
What’s different about Deuter’s ‘Slim Line’ SL pack system?
Torso lengths are shorter (and ridiculously easy to adjust, as with most Deuter backpacks) and the SL hip belt is slightly more cone-shaped to accommodate a woman’s hips and a greater arch in the spine. The hip belt also has slits to make room for a woman’s sharper, more pointy hip bones. Shoulder straps are closer together, narrower and anchor to the pack a bit lower. This helps avoid underarm chafing and prevents uncomfortable pressure on the chest. Their S-shape keeps them in place them on your shoulders and a soft exterior lining makes them more comfortable on skin during big days on your feet. Since they’re so simple to adjust on-the-fly, anyone can find a Deuter pack that fits them well.
Not sure if your body fits a standard pack or SL pack? First, measure your torso length. Start at the C7 vertebrae – the bump on your spine at the back of your neck – and measure to your iliac crest (bump on your lower spine, between the top of your hips). SL packs are meant to fit torsos 13-to-20 inches long. If you measure greater than 20 inches, go with a standard back system. If your torso length qualifies you for SL packs but you’ve got more broad shoulders or a thicker build, you may still find more comfort in a standard Deuter system. The best suggestion I can make when fitting a pack is to come into Tahoe Mountain Sports, or your own local Deuter pack dealer, and try a few on for yourself. Add weight to the packs before you try them on and move around with them. See if they bug your underarms or if they ride too low on your waist. With so many styles and technologies in Deuter’s quiver, there’s no reason to blindly buy a backpack. If you can’t physically try your pack on before purchasing, be sure to take measurements and do sufficient research.
Here’s a good instructional video on how to fit your Deuter backpack:
Here’s a rundown of some of the more popular Deuter hiking backpacks.
ACT Trail 28 SL
With eight more liters of volume to stash an extra layer, more water, tools, or even a sleeping bag, the Deuter ACT Trail 28 SL is the perfect mountain pack for bigger day trips or ultralight overnights.
Aircontact 70+10 SL
This pack offers a major edge when it comes to carrying heavy loads. Even when packed to the gills, the Deuter Aircontact 70+10 SL is stable, controlled and surprisingly flexible. Hip belts move with you when you hike and climb, and this pack feels almost like an extension of your self.
Guide 40+ SL
The Deuter Guide Lite 40+ SL pack provides plenty of room for weekend backpacking trips and overnight ski trips, or big days climbing and mountaineering in any season. The removable foam back panel is useful as a trail seat around camp. Reinforced ski straps with ice axe and extra gear loops, plus extra durable outer material make this pack ideal for rugged mountain terrain.
ACT Lite 45+10 SL
Light, reliable and totally customizable, the Deuter ACT Lite 45+10 SL backpack offers not only the perfect fit and style for shorter hiking excursions, but a freedom of movement not seen in many mid-sized packs. With light, hollow-core aluminum X stays and a Vari-Quick System shoulder harness adjustment to fit any torso length, this bag fits like it was custom-built.
ACT Lite 60+10 SL
This sleek, lightweight pack has great compartments for stashing gear and provides optimal comfort no matter what it is you’re carrying. The Deuter ACT Lite 60+10 SL takes women trekking through the Rockies or conquering eight-thousanders without oxygen like Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner. Or how about Jordan Romero, the youngest person to summit Mt. Everest, who wore this Deuter SL pack on the climb.
Aircontact Pro 65+15 SL
Designed to carry as much weight as you want, the Deuter Aircontact Pro 65+15 SL transfers the load from your back to your hips. The roving, generously padded hip belt keeps you comfortable and balanced over uneven terrain. Three access points – top loading pocket, front panel pocket and bottom sleeping bag compartment.
The majority of the information in the above pack reviews is courtesy of Active Junky 2013 Women’s Backpacking Gear Guide.
Want more info about the different Deuter packs and back systems? Read https://www.tahoemountainsports.com/how-to-pick-a-backpack-which-deuter-back-system-is-best-for-you/
Deuter SL Shoulder Strap – ACT Lite
Deuter VQ Shoulder Straps
Deuter VQ Shoulder Straps – ACT Lite
Adam Broderick manages the web content at Tahoe Mountain Sports. When he is not in the office, he tries his best to be in the field doing something awesome.