Deuter ACT Lite 65 + 10 Review

  • Wilderness Backpacker

Deuter ACT Lite 65 + 10 Overview

Sleek, robust, and full of luxuries without a spike in price, the Deuter ACT Lite 65 + 10 is a great companion for those with the need to explore the outdoors without sacrificing style, comfort, or their piggy bank.

What’s best about the Deuter ACT Lite 65 + 10 backpack is the heaps of amenities you get for the price: Attachments for a tent and/or sleeping bag, an adjustable frame, an enormous main compartment with 10 extra liters of expansion, trekking pole attachments, plus more straps than a mistress’s rec room. All this and more for just a bit over $200.

Due to the comfort, number of usable features, and price the Deuter ACT Lite 65 + 10 is our Budget Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker. Read the full review of the backpack below, and make sure to check out our comprehensive backpack guide to learn more about how and why we chose this model.

ACT Lite 65 + 10 Specifications

Feature Type Feature Specs What This Means
Frame Type Internal Standard internal frame backpack. (Not external)
Adjustable Torso Yes VariQuick adjustment allows 6 inches of customization.
Number of Exterior Pockets 7 Two mesh water bottle pockets, two hip belt pockets, two top lid zippered pockets, one mesh stuff-it pocket.
Sleeping Bag Compartment Yes Large bottom zippered compartment, separated from main chute if you want. Can fit anything in there.
Hydration Sleeve Yes Velcro holder and sleeve does work for bladder and there’s a port for the hose. The sleeve runs the length of the pack, also meant for storage.
Main Pack Access Top and Bottom Drawstring top with floating lid buckle, or zippered bottom compartment.
Detachable Top Lid No The top lid has two zippered pockets, but is sewn on. It does have handy survival tips though!
Trekking Pole/Ice Axe Loops Yes Easy to use, on back of the pack.
Sternum Strap Yes, adjustable Standard.
Materials

Deuter-Super-Polytex 600 D

Deuter-Ripstop 210 D

Macro Lite 210 D

Durable denier fabrics throughout. Custom for Deuter brand.
Load Range 30-50 lbs Not specified by Deuter, but should be comfortable in this range.
Warranty Limited Lifetime Will replace a pack that is defective, will repair a pack that needs repairing for a cost. Excellent customer service.
Pack Size One Size  Adjustable to fit most (though not all!).
Capacity 65 L + 10 L As the name states, it expands up to 10 extra liters through the top collar and lid.
Dimensions 34H x 14W x 13D in. A vertical, rather than wide, backpack.
Weight 4 LBS 6 oz. (70 oz.) On the heavier side, but very manageable.
Torso Fit 15-21 in. VariQuick adjustable torso makes this a breeze.
Hip Belt Fit 24-50 in. Huge range of adjustment.
Retail Price $209.00 Low price for a high quality, feature-filled backpack.

Gear Review of the Deuter ACT Lite 65 + 10

Origins: Easing You In

The Deuter ACT Lite 65 + 10 was my partner in crime for a weekend romp through the Angeles National Forest. The weather in the middle of November switched from mildly warm days to frigid nights the moment the sun dipped below the horizon, so I had to prepare accordingly. Plus, I knew I’d have no cell service and very little human communication. I had to make sure I was not only warm and cozy, but that all the necessities were on hand in case of an emergency.

I piled spare clothes, food, water, a book, first aid, toiletries, an oversized tent, an outdated sleeping bag, and even more extra-warm clothing into the Deuter ACT Lite. I had enough room for a two night trip and then some. I didn’t think I would end up using the extra ten liters (and I actually didn’t) but I was more comfortable knowing I had everything I needed with a bit of spare room just in case.

deuter-act-lite-65-10-loaded-up
There’s nothing better than having spare room when you’re off the grid, and Deuter seems to be well aware of this.

I trekked deep into woodland until the tall pines and wide oaks of the forest surrounded me. I placed the ACT Lite down and realized that although I had packed a good 40 pounds into the backpack, it never felt like it. That amount of weight seemed daunting at first, but the adjustable VariQuik frame did its job.

deuter-act-lite-65-10-back
You can move the frame along those loops for plenty of adjustment.

This allows a quick adjustment of the shoulder straps so you can dial in the right torso height. Some frames don’t provide enough adjustment, but the VariQuik system can be moved up or down six inches, and there are two separate areas for your load lifters to help keep the pack fitted to you. The adjustment is easy, and kept the pack feeling light and comfortable.

Revelation: The Moment I Knew

It would be a sin not to mention the plethora of straps on the Deuter ACT Lite. I discovered a lovely plain cradled peacefully between a few mountains in the San Gabriel range — a decent place to settle for the evening.

deuter-act-lite-65-10-close-up_

Now, my sleeping bag is a bit outdated; it’s heavy, clunky, and the strings have been chewed off by my dog out of what I assume was anger for not inviting him to come on this trip. However, due to the surplus of buckles and straps on the ACT Lite, I was able to secure it tightly between the main and top compartment.

deuter-act-lite-65-10-straight-on

Likewise, my tent is heavier than one would bring on a solo trip. (Or my gear is just the old clunky kind.) It’s a two person behemoth that weighs over four pounds. The straps along the bottom of the pack secured it tightly and safely without any issues the entire weekend.

There were even a few straps and buckles that, after a quick inspection, I couldn’t assess the specific means for. But this pleased me; clearly this pack is meant for more than just a weekend trip. I did figure out what all of those extra straps and buckles were for: strapping and buckling! Who would have guessed?

deuter-act-lite-65-10-front
Straps everywhere.

The straps make the Deuter ACT Lite a jack of all trades: a backpack for a quick weekend in the wilderness, a backpacking trek around Europe, or even a lengthy sabbatical for those who want to thru-hike a long and winding trail. It’s just the right size to triumph in flexibility for outdoor travel, which I knew the moment I finagled all those straps in place.

Digging Deeper

The Deuter ACT Lite is more than a comfortable carry, and certainly more than a big pile of straps. There’s a separate section in the main compartment meant for a hydration bladder, but it’s huge, way bigger than a bladder would ever be.

deuter-act-lite-65-10-main-chute
The bladder attaches to the orange velcro. The flap extends down the rest of the pack, so it’s huge.

I typically forgo the bladder (water bottles are my thing) and put dirty laundry in there. Obviously the literal kind, like sweaty socks and soiled shirts, but there is room for your figurative dirty laundry as well…dirty laundry that can never be seen or dug up again…in the Angeles National Forest. Hey, we all have our skeletons. No judgement.

There are also tons of nylon loops spread throughout the Deuter ACT Lite for anything that you’d rather clip or tie on the outside rather than store on the inside. Remember those old cartoons where Goofy or Elmer Fudd would go camping and they had their entire house strapped to their backpack? The straps and loops on the ACT Lite make that a real possibility.

deuter-act-lite-65-10-loaded-up

Now, let’s talk about pockets. The top lid has two zippered pockets that proved to be very useful for storing books, extra equipment, and my surplus of Pokéballs.

deuter-act-lite-65-10-safety-informatin
Underside of the top lid. Wilderness survival tips included, and a sneaky zippered pocket.

The mesh pockets on each side of the pack are deep enough for a thermos or Nalgene, and the mesh pocket that covers the mid-section was perfect for a book and some snacks.

deuter-act-lite-65-10-mesh-pocket

When strapped on, the two pockets on each side of the hip-belt were enough to store smaller items I needed with haste, like my pocket knife and gum (you never know who you’ll meet in the woods, might as well have fresh breath).

deuter-act-lite-65-10-hip-belt

Finally, there’s a bottom compartment that is accessible via zipper on the outside of the pack. This is large enough for your sleeping pad, or a smaller sleeping bag, or even an extra pair of shoes. Basically, store whatever you want that is separate from the main chute. The separation is done with a zippered flap for easy use.

deuter-act-lite-65-10-bottom-compartment-three
Bottom compartment empty. You can see the zippered flap that makes it separate from the main chute.

Comfort

During moderate hiking through the woodland and with a big thanks to the VariQuik, the ACT Lite rested on my shoulders and back easily, unlike my guilt for not bringing my dog along. Perhaps I deserved to have the strings on my sleeping bag torn.

Durability

The Deuter ACT Lite was built to last. If I had this strapped to my back during the impending apocalypse, I’d feel set.

Style

I have only called two things “sexy”: My girlfriend and the Deuter ACT Lite. Its design is elegant and polished, and looks great when strapped on. Ryan Reynolds is pretty sexy too, I guess.

Grievances

There are only two issues I have with this pack. Because the main compartment is so long, it would have been nice to have a duffle-like zipper came completely open. Although there is access to the ACT Lite from the bottom, I enjoy being able to organize what I have in a wider space, and you do not get that with this pack. The Arc’teryx Altra 65, however, has this exact feature, and it works wonderfully.

The other small complaint is that there’s no detachable daypack. I know this is not a requirement for packs this size, but I always appreciate the extra space. You do receive the extra 10 liters of space with the Deuter ACT Lite, but I would have preferred those extra liters to be in a day pack, not in the main chute. It would be awesome if the top lid doubled as a detachable daypack, but it’s sewn on.

Final Word

Overall, The Deuter ACT Lite 65 + 10 backpack is a loyal companion. I felt like a true adventurer with this pack, and though the city of Los Angeles was just an hour’s drive down the mountains, the ACT Lite alone made the trip feel like I was hundreds of miles from civilization. Plus it’s brimming with rugged capabilities and a crazy number of features for the price. What’s to lose?

Where to Buy Deuter ACT Lite 65 + 10

We tested the Deuter ACT Lite 65 + 10, which is the Men’s version of the pack. The Women’s version is the Deuter ACT Lite 60 + 10 SL — SL stands for Slimline and was developed by a female team of athletes and designers at Deuter. Beyond the 5 liter difference and a small flower attached to the pack, you’ll find a back system, shoulder straps, and hip belt specifically made for a woman’s physique. You can find both backpacks below.

Dave C Wright

Dave C Wright is a writer and musician based in Ventura County, California. He’s an avid camper who enjoys surfing and paddleboarding, wilderness exploring, and travel. His collection of Muppets and Marx Brothers memorabilia is extensive. Visit Dave's website to see just how funny he can be.

Review Policy: We do not accept payments or gifts from brands and vendors, and strive to provide unbiased, independent advice. Brands typically provide review samples which we return, and in some cases we purchase the item so we can keep using it long after the review. Affiliate Policy: We support the hours that go into our reviews and testing through affiliate commissions on purchases made through links in this article. These don't effect the outcome of our reviews or selection of gear, as per our Review Policy.