Backpackers Tokyo

Deuter AC Lite 24 Backpack Review

The Deuter AC Lite 24 is a lightweight ventilated day pack with a suspended mesh frame that’s great for warm weather day hiking and general outdoor use. It has five pockets in addition to the main compartment and comes with a rain cover and a lightweight hip belt. While it’s made with heavy-duty durable fabrics, the AC Lite 24 only weighs a little over 2 lbs, making it very easy to carry on hikes, bikes, and for urban commuting. A women’s version is also available called the AC Lite 22 SL, which has a shorter torso length and women’s specific shoulder straps.

Specs at a Glance

  • Weight: 2 lbs 1.6 oz (960 g)
  • Volume: 24 liters
  • Gender: Men’s (the women’s model is the AC Lite 22 SL)
  • Sizing: 15-20 inch torso length
  • Pockets: 5 + main compartment
  • Hip belt: Yes
  • Suspended Mesh Backpanel: Yes
  • Rain cover included: Yes
  • Hydration compatible: Yes
  • Material: 600-denier polyester/210-denier nylon

Suspended Mesh Frame

The Deuter AC Lite 24 has a suspended mesh back to keep you cool in hot weather The Deuter AC Lite 24 has a suspended mesh back to keep you cool in hot weather.

The first thing you’ll notice about the AC Lite 24 is that it’s a ventilated backpack with a suspended mesh back panel. I like to think that the “AC” in the product name stands for “air-conditioned,” because air flowing through the cavity behind your back helps you keep you cooler so you perspire less.  You’ll find that ventilated backpacks like the AC Lite 24 are far more comfortable to wear on hot sweaty hikes than packs that sit flush with your back. Ventilated pack frames, including the AC Lite 24’s, can also feel springy and lighter to carry because they act like springs, absorbing the energy of your gait, and channeling it back to your hips.

The pack has a trekking pole holder for those times when you need your hands free. The pack has a trekking pole holder for those times when you need your hands free.

Pockets

The AC Lite 24 has five pockets, in addition to the main compartment which includes a hydration sleeve for a water reservoir or a laptop.

  • Two in the lid, both zippered including one on top with a key fob and one, hidden under the lid.
  • A side zippered pocket-sized for a large cell phone
  • Another stretch side pocket, open on top and sized for a large water bottle or thermos
  • A bottom pocket, also zippered with a fabric flap, which holds the included rain cover, but can also be used as a hidden pocket.
The top lid has two pockets, one on top and one on the underside of the lid. The top lid has two pockets, one on top and one on the underside of the lid.

When I use this pack, I often take out the rain cover to save weight, since I avoid day hiking on rainy days. However, I can see the rain cover being useful for travel or urban commuting to and from work. I’m also not keen on using the large zippered side pocket to store my phone. I put other stuff like gloves, hats, and snacks in that pocket because I think it’s too exposed on the side of the pack there to put in any fragile objects. My really precious stuff goes in the top lid, especially when I’m traveling or commuting.

The pack has one open side pocket large eough to fit a one lite thermos or water bottle and one closed side pocket (see below) The pack has one open side pocket large eough to fit a one lite thermos or water bottle and one closed side pocket (see below)

Shoulder Straps

The shoulder straps are lightly padded with die-cut foam and breathable mesh. The left shoulder strap has a hydration loop to keep a hose under control and a fabric loop to hold your sunglasses, which is surprisingly useful. The sternum strap moves up and down a “rail” making it easy to adjust. There are also three elastic cord loops on the front of the pack to hold your trekking poles and additional cord loops on the seams that can be used to attach a helmet carry (sold separately).

There’s a side stretch pocket that zippers closed. There’s a side stretch pocket that zippers closed for security.

Hip Belt

The hip belt is designed to carry lighter day hike loads, between 10 and 15 pounds on the high end. You don’t need a heavily padded hipbelt for that like you would on a backpack that can carry 40 pounds or more. It has comfortable mesh for the back of the hips where the pack rests and mesh front extensions that are designed to wrap closely around your hips to hold the pack close to your body for maximum stability. It’s really comfortable even if it’s unpadded.

Packs with suspended mesh frames, even low volume packs like this one, really do need a hip belt to cushion the lumbar area and compensate for the backward lean of the frame and open air-cavity behind your back. This one works well and is much more comfortable than the simple webbing straps you find on some day packs.

The AC Lite 24 includes a rain cover which is stored in a separate pocket at the bottom of the pack. The AC Lite 24 includes a rain cover which is stored in a separate pocket at the bottom of the pack.

Durability-Deuter Guarantee

The AC Lite 24 is made with surprisingly tough fabrics including 600-denier polyester and 210-denier nylon fabric, which give it excellent durability and abrasion resistance. But if you do manage to tear the fabric either by accident or overuse, Deuter, like Osprey offers a lifetime guarantee on all of their packs and will repair any Deuter pack free of charge, no matter its generation or the reason for damage or defect. There is a reason why Deuter is the largest and most successful backpacking company in the entire world!

More recommended day packs

Recommendation

The Deuter AC Lite 24 is a multi-purpose day pack that’s at home on the trail, on a bike, in town, or on a plane. It has a ventilated suspended mesh back panel that helps reduce perspiration and keeps you more comfortable on hikes, which is a highly sought-after feature on a day pack, that’s actually more common on multi-day backpacks. I’ve owned and used many Deuter day packs over the years and I think they’re very durable and a really good value for the price. On that note, the AC Lite 24 is a keeper. A women’s version is also available called the Deuter AC Lite 22 SL.

Disclosure: Deuter donated a pack for review.

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