Well, I finally picked up a new pack to replace the Pacific Crest Denali that was riding too low and killing my shoulders after a few miles. I headed to Altamonte Springs and Travel Country. I met with Brian to go over the packs and spent the next couple of hours with him going through three packs. First up was the Gregory Z55. I really liked it and loved that fact that it shaved a full pound off my pack weight. Next up was the Deuter ACT Lite 65 + 10. This was neck and neck with the Gregory and looks like what my PC was used to model. Feature for feature they’re almost identical but the Deuter dropped almost a full pound weighing in at 3 lb 11 oz. The final contender was the Mountain Gear Koa. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I didn’t like it as much.
Brian was very patient and kept swapping weight back and forth between the Gregory and Deuter. I don’t know how many times I walked around the store. 🙂 What was cool is that everyone on staff was very willing to help. Several of them would make suggestions or comment how one pack rode better than another as I walked by. It was a very long process but in the end I walked out with the Deuter. I think I’ll be very happy. I can’t wait to get some miles on it.
The Deuter has held up very well over several extended hikes. The torso adjustment makes it pretty simple to get a proper fit for a wide range of torso lengths. There is a small zippered pocket on the right hip belt that is handy for holding a compass, first aid kit, or other small objects.
This pack has three compartments: top, main body, bottom. I use the bottom section to store my shelter (hammock, undercover, etc.) If you need a larger body section the floor can be unzipped. The top section has three separate compartments. I use the small outer compartment for my phone, car keys, headlamp, and other items I want readily available. The larger compartment stores my tarp, rain gear, and other quick-access items. The third compartment is on the inside when you flip the top pouch over.
The body has a nice collar that allows you to stuff a little more in the pack. I find it useful when I have larger items during winter hikes. I’ve had no problem carrying my full load at 30-35 pounds. It’s a very comfortable pack and I see it being my main pack for a very long time.