A super light and fully featured hiking pack with a hybrid carry system that works well for fast paced mountain activities.
- Well featured
- Stable carry
- Just comes in one back length
- Pocket on RH shoulder too small for soft bottles.
The back end of last season we reviewed the Deuter Trail 26 which proved to be a good quality hiking pack. The Deuter Speed Lite 25 is, in essence, it’s lighter weight brother. The main difference being that it’s designed specifically for faster paced mountain adventures with a running vest style that offers a more stable carry when moving at speed.
The Deuter Speed Lite 25 is a fully featured day pack with a whole host of features that make it a put on and stay on pack. It has plenty of pockets, a valuables pocket at the top with a key clip. This is plenty big enough for a wallet, lightweight gloves, glasses and all the other bits and bobs you’ll need quick access to on a day out. There is also a large, stretchy front pocket for stowing a lightweight hard shell and two stretch side pockets for poles and drinks bottles. This can all be cinched up tight with the four side compression straps.
The main compartment is accessed with a full zip and offers plenty of room for extras such as an insulating layer, waterproof pants, gloves, first aid kit and emergency shelter and butties. I still had room to spare for a few extras when the conditions allowed or more bulky kit for winter hiking. There is a separate, elasticated compartment that can be used to stash wet items and keep them part from the rest of your kit or the Speed Lite can accommodate a hydration bladder of ups to 3 litres, there is a hose exit and hose fixings on both shoulder straps as well as a hook and loop stabilising tab on the inside of the main compartment.
The Deuter Speed Lite 25 has plenty of storage pockets. I wasn’t so keen on the hiking pole stow as my poles are folding. I stored them in one of the spacious side pockets.
Both compartments zipped up with YKK Vislon zips – it’s important to note that the zips are not watertight (Aquaguard) so anything other than a light shower and your kit is going to begin to get wet. Deuter do offer a rain cover but it is an optional extra on this pack.
The fabric is 140D Bluesign certified and made using recycled materials. It has a fully waterproof coating so should get you off the hill with most kit dry in a downpour. The back is soft and perforated to help keep air flowing through your back. It has a really neat back with foam inserts in a herringbone grid to keep a little distance between the perforated fabric and your back. In testing this worked as well as any pack I own but at least it isn’t pretentious by having a complicated back frame. It works well and dried out quickly once I removed it for rests or after a hike.
The Deuter Speed Lite has the same Delrin frame that we mentioned in the Trail 26 review. It’s super thin and flexible and wraps around the back panel to offer enough support for comfortable carries as well as offering stability for heavier loads, such as winter hiking or snow shoeing. It is fixed so cannot be removed but it’s so light I don’t think there is any need to. The fixed frame, however, means that the back length is fixed and so it will be important to try a pack on for size and fit as shorter body lengths will mean the top of the pack will rise above your shoulders and may interfere with head movement. Looking upwards when scrambling for example.
The hybrid harness offer a stable carry for scrambling. You can see the longer back length.
The hybrid carry system is a modern running style setup with mesh chest straps, pockets and soft hip wings. The chest strap is easily adjusted using a press clip (much better than many others I’ve used). It fits nice and snug and offers an excellent fit, pulling the pack close and giving stability over fast or rough descents. There are tension straps at the top to help achieve that perfect fit. In keeping with the running pack styling each shoulder strap has a pocket. I liked the larger LH pocket which is zipped and is big enough to accommodate most phones. I have my iPhone SE in a watertight case and it fitted in fine with room for a couple of smaller energy bars.
I’m still experimenting with the shoulder strap pockets and the waist belt pocket offers more options.
That said I have been keeping my compass in there and my phone in the zipped pocket on the waistbelt. The RH pocket is a little different and I have yet to find a use for it – I have been keeping couple of energy bars in it as it’s too small for holding a soft flask, I have been trialling using my soft cup in it for drinking from becks. It would fit the compass but I don’t like leaving my compass exposed. I’m still experimenting with the pocket set up so maybe I may change it but the current one works well. As I said earlier the adjustable sternum strap works with press locks and this means that once I have adjusted it to my body shape it doesn’t move. No whistle on the buckle (which are pretty useless anyway and you should invest in a loud dedicated whistle).
Finally the Deuter Speed Lite 25 is finished with dual ice axe loops which when tucked into a loop double as hiking pole retainers. Daisy chain webbing for adding shock cord or a helmet holder, SOS info on the inside and a glasses holder on the RH chest strap (although the arms would need to be pretty thin!).
The Deuter Speed Lite 25 comes in three colour options.
The SRP is £100 and it can be bought direct from Deuter GB and specialist retailers.
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