Expert Review: Deuter - Aircontact 55+10 Pack
This review is my honest opinion of the backpack, which I purchased with my own money in May of 2021.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the backpack, which I purchased with my own money in May of 2021.
The Deuter Aircontact 55+10 is a perfect beginner to intermediate two to three-day backpacking pack. This pack is designed to fit a wide variety of sizes with its excellent adjustability and is a highly durable and organizationally-friendly bag. This is a fantastic go-to bag for weekend excursions.
About the gear
- Model: 2021 Deuter Aircontact 55+10
- Gender: Men’s
- Size: One Size
- Pack capacity: 65L
- Height: 5’9”
- Weight: 165 lbs
- Experience: 10+ years of backpacking
- When I bought it: May 2021
- Length of trips: Overnight, 2-day, 3-day
- What I carried:
- Sleeping pad: 2020 Klymit Static V, off-brand
- Sleeping bag: Off-brand
- Tent: 2021 Nemo Aurora 2p, Kammok Mantis Hammock
- Other: Snow Peak GigaPower 2.0 and Trek 900 pot/pan, food, water
- Total pack weight: 20-30 lbs
- Used for: Backpacking
- Where I’ve used it: Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah; Badlands National Park, South Dakota
- Terrain: Desert, mountains
- Seasons I’ve used it in: Summer and Fall
How it performs
What I was looking for
When I purchased the Deuter Aircontact 55+10, I was looking for an easily adjustable pack, ideal for weekend backpacking trips, and excellent storage and organizational ability. In addition, I wanted a bag that I could easily pick up and take on an overnight or two-day trip without worrying about over or under-packing. I also didn’t want to spend a fortune on a backpack.
Why I chose this gear
I decided to purchase the Deuter Aircontact 55+10 because of its relatively inexpensive price tag, great adjustability, and storage capabilities. I considered a few other options, including the Gregory Paragon 58l, Osprey Aether 65, and Mystery Ranch Terraframe. I ended up going with the Deuter because I like the strong reputation that Deuter holds in the backpacking and trekking community. It’s on the cheaper side of those options and has the organization and adjustability I wanted out of a backpack.
What I love about it
- Durability: I have not encountered any durability issues with this pack thus far. The zippers, buckles, and fabric are all still in excellent shape after running it through the dirt, rain, rocks, and more. The pack comes with a rain cover that is stored in the bottom that works very well. Deuter also has a phenomenal repair service that’s easy to navigate.
- Ease of use: This pack is very easy to use and super self-explanatory in terms of organization and application. There is one main pocket that cinches open and closed and zips open from the front, a bottom pocket that can zip open from the outside and inside, a rain cover in the bottom pack, and a few other easy features to use and self-explaining. The only issue is with adjusting the torso length. It is easy to do but can be tricky figuring out which setting fits best.
- Adjustability: I am overall very pleased with the adjustability of this pack. Using Deuter’s VariQuick adjust system, I can change the torso length of the pack quickly and without hassle. A velcro latch slides off and can be moved up and down the pack for the ideal length. The only downside is that it can be hard to figure out which setting is best for one’s size as there are no guidelines.
- Capacity: The capacity of the Aircontact 55+10, as the name suggests, can extend anywhere from 55 to 65 liters. The extra space lets this bag easily go on overnight backpacking trips and up to a few days. I’ve found that the sweet spot for this bag is two to three nights. It can handle a pretty heavy load but is ideal for a weekend trip because of its slim profile. It can be tough to fit a lot of extra gear in it.
- Weather Resistance: The polyester/nylon material of this pack allows it to be quite weatherproof and water-wicking, and the rainfly that it comes with adds a fantastic layer of waterproofing. Fortunately, I haven’t experienced weather that’s been too bad, but with the rainfly, it holds up to rain really well.
- Features: This pack comes with a plethora of features, including a 3L hydration pocket, a raincover, a lightweight aluminum x-frame, a front and top loading main pocket, a bottom pocket that can open up to the main pocket for more space, side water bottle pockets, load-adjustment straps, two lid pockets, trekking pole attachments, and more. For the price tag of this bag, it has a surprising amount of useful features, and I think that is one of the highlights of this bag. I particularly think the front-loading and bottom-pocket-expanding features are stellar and super helpful to customize my organization and get to items at weird places within the bag.
- Organization and pockets: This pack shines in this category. I can access the main compartment from the cinch top and the zippered front pocket. The bottom pocket, which I use to store my sleep system, can also be accessed from the main compartment and can fully open up if more room in the main compartment is needed. The pack’s lid has two pockets, one on the top and one underneath. The lid can also be removed from the pack and used as a day pack. There are also mesh water bottle pockets and a hydration pocket in the main compartment. Overall, the organization is really well designed and has so much versatility.
- Hip belt: The hip belt on this pack is padded very nicely and is super comfortable. It has a super sturdy buckle and adjustable straps for a custom fit. There are also two mesh pockets on each side of the hip belt that’s perfect for storing a headlamp, pocket knife, snack, or more. Overall, a great hip belt with minimal features, but simplicity is key here.
- Pack Access: As discussed in the organization section, the pack access of this pack is fantastic. The main compartment is both front and top accessible, and I can access the bottom pocket via zipper from the main compartment. Super versatile and easy to use.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Weight: The biggest downside to this pack is the weight. It weighs over 5 lbs, which is definitely on the heavier side of a 55-65L pack. I haven’t really had any particular issues with the extra weight, which can even make it feel sturdier, but if weight is a top priority, one might want to look elsewhere.
- Suspension and comfort: The Aircontact pack uses an aluminum x-frame for a sturdy support system. After around 30 lbs, I did get a bit sore, but it’s also super important that backpackers make sure their torso size is on the correct setting for their size. So, overall, the suspension and comfort aren’t too bad, but it can’t handle super heavy loads, hence why it’s a great weekend bag.
Favorite moment with this gear
My favorite moment with this backpack was in August of 2021. I went on a last-minute weekend backpacking trip in the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. We got on the trail without any issues, hiked about 5 miles in, and found a perfect spot to set up. We started getting settled, pulling out the tent, and setting it up when we realized that the rainfly wasn’t in the pack. What a rookie mistake, huh? And to make it even better, a thunderstorm was rolling in quickly. So, we packed everything back up, found the best cover we could find, and waited the storm out. Our packs were getting hit with more rain than we would’ve liked, but I threw the raincover on and hoped for the best! After the storm had passed, I was stoked to see that my gear was still very dry. The pack did its job REALLY well. It definitely made me realize the importance of having a good weatherproof pack and a solid raincover.
Value for the money vs. other options
This pack is a great bang for the buck. The retail price of $265 sits right around the same price as the Gregory Baltoro 65 and Osprey Atmos 50. While I would get a more custom fit with Gregory and Osprey as they have different sizes, the Aircontact is a high-quality option that goes head-to-head with the features, durability, and weight of those packs. The expandable size, front and top loading ability, and highly adjustable length put this pack in the running for any top weekend adventurer!
Overall, the Deuter Aircontact 55+10 is the perfect weekend backpacking bag for anybody looking for a high-quality bag without spending an arm and a leg. The excellent adjustability, storage and organizational features, and sturdiness of this bag make it the ideal option for a casual two to three-day backpacking trip.