Deuter AC Lite 26 (2016)

Features

There are a lot of rucksacks around this price but few have a buckle lid as on offer here – and that sets the Deuter AC Lite 26/AC Lite 22 apart from others. You also get an Air Contact mesh ‘trampoline’ back system to hold the pack away from your body. The hipbelt is stiffened to provide support to the load too. Stretch side pockets and a good lid pocket are also provided. The drawback is the weight of 960g. 4/5

Fit

The £70 AC Lite 26 is designed for men; for women there is the smaller AC Lite 22 at £65. There is no adjustment on the back length, unlike some other mid-priced options. The sack did fit me well however, with the hipbelt padded fins sitting nicely on my hips and the shoulder straps fitting nicely. There are no top tensioning straps though. 4/5

Comfort

The Deuter AC Lite 26/AC Lite 22 is held away from the body by the ‘trampoline’ of mesh so this feels comfy and not too sweaty. The hipbelt fins add comfort and the shoulder straps are nicely shaped with soft padded edges. This is far more comfortable than most rucksacks that we looked at due to all those features, and this makes it a great choice for hillwalkers. 5/5

In use

I prefer this rucksack over many as it has a single-buckle lid and I also like its close fit and comfort. The lid has a map-sized pocket and I like the mesh side pockets too. But I’d prefer an extended snow-lock drawcord closure for the main compartment, and an external front stretch stash pocket would be really nice. But overall this is still great for hillwalkers. 4/5

Value

There are a lot of rucksacks costing around £70 to £80 but this one sits apart from many in terms of performance for the price. 4/5

Verdict

A buckle-lid design with great airflow across the back makes the Deuter AC Lite 26/AC Lite 22 great for most hillwalkers, although it is a little heavier than some. It wins Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.2/5

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Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine August 2016