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Hands-on Gear Review

Deuter Air Contact 65+10 Review

Deuter Air Contact 65 + 10 Updated
Price:   $279 List | $269.00 at CampSaver
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Pros:  Super comfortable suspension, lots of pockets and other features.
Cons:  Heaviest pack in the review, bulky hip belt.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Deuter

Our Verdict

The Deuter Aircontact 65+10 is the Cadillac of backpacking packs. It was one of the plushest packs we tested but also one of the heaviest. It scored right in the middle of our review for both quality and price. If you love the features and the fit, it is a good value. If you have the cash, we recommend the Arc'teryx Altra 65, our Editors' Choice pack. If you want a lighter and more versatile pack, go with our Best Buy winner, the Osprey Aether 60.

Update - November 2016
The Deuter Aircontact 65+10 has been updated, with the main changes in the backsystem and the addition of more straps. New color options are also available for this season. Scroll down for a more detailed comparison of the new Air Contact 65+10 vs. the older version.

The Deuter Aircontact 65+10 pack is among the most comfortable packs in our review. We had a hard time choosing a "top pick" for most comfortable and the Aircontact was a contender. However, after extensive side-by-side testing, the Altra and Baltoro barely edged out the Aircontact in comfort and suspension. We did think the Aircontact had a burlier suspension and similarly comfortable shoulder straps as the Osprey Aether 60 and 70. Even hiking all day with 50 pounds, the Aircontact straps and waist belt spread the pressure evenly and the pack felt exceptionally good.


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Score Product Price Measured Weight Volume Access
94
$475
Editors' Choice Award
4.94 lbs. 65L/3966in Top & Front
92
$260
Top Pick Award
4.38 lbs. 65L/3966in Top & Front
90
$330
Top Pick Award
5.13 lbs. 75L/4577in Top & Sides
88
$300
Top Pick Award
5.19 lbs. 65L/3966in Top, Front & Bottom
87
$240
3.63 lbs. 65L/3967in Top & Bottom
85
$290
5 lbs. 70L/4200in Top & Front
85
$290
4.81 lbs. 60L/3700in Top & Front
82
$200
Best Buy Award
3.75 lbs. 75L/4577in Top & Bottom
80
$199
3.63 lbs. 65L/3966in Top
77
$220
Top Pick Award
2.5 lbs. 58L/3539in Top
76
$220
5.56 lbs. 78L/4750in Top & Front
76
$279
6.19 lbs. 65+20L Top & Bottom

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Ian Nicholson
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Wednesday
November 2, 2016

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The New Deuter Aircontact 65+10 vs. The Older Version


Deuter has confirmed that the Aircontact 65+10 has been refined. The backsystem has been updated with a new design intended to ensure comfort and a perceived lighter load. Using the same Vario adjustment system, the padding has been increased and the newer version has a bigger piece from the top to the middle of the back that can be removed and adjusted according to height/length. Additional straps have been added to the bottom of the pack and up to the u-shaped zipper for the ability to strap a sleeping pad or other item to the bag. New color ways for this season include: Forest-moss and Midnight-Ocean. In addition, the list price has increased by $10.

Check out the new Aircontact 65+10 below on the left in Forest-moss; the older version can be seen on the right.
Deuter Air Contact 65 + 10 Updated
Deuter Air Contact 65 + 10
 

Here's a summary of the key differences between the new Aircontact 65+10 and the previous version:
  • New backsystem — Using the same Vario adjustment system, the new version of this pack boasts added comfort when adjusted correctly.
  • Additional Straps — Strap a sleeping pad or other lightweight items to the bag with the addition of more straps.
  • New colors — The Aircontact 65+10 is now available in Forest-moss and Midnight-Ocean color options.

We have not yet tested the newest version of this backpack. The text and ratings in this review still reflect the previously tested version.

Hands-On Review


Likes


This pack has a super plush suspension with some of the beefiest padding in our review. Testers with bony hips loved it while others thought the waist belt was a little hot and bulky. The Aircontact is great for folks who are looking for a pack with a lot of features such as a bunch of pockets, good lashing points and a built-in pack cover, without having to shell out a bunch of money. We disliked the added weight of the pack cover at first, but then proceeded to use it on every testing trip in the North Cascades and the rain forest of the Olympic coast. It worked as a real pack cover and kept our pack dry even in driving rain. We liked the built-in straps on the lower part of the back; they easily fit a full length Z-Rest or most other large pads. The lid of the Aircontact is tall and while not quite as nice as the dual zippered Altra, the Aircontact is easy to get into and poke around. It has the second nicest lid in our review. We also liked the dual zippered cargo pockets on either side of this pack that easily fit larger items like Nalgene bottles. It is also one of the most adjustable packs in our review, enabling the user to dial this pack into their body.

Dislikes


The Aircontact has no shortage of pockets and plenty of built-in straps and lash points plus a built-in pack cover. All these features make it the heaviest pack in our review. If you use the features, the weight is worth it. But we generally prefer a lighter pack.

While some of our testers loved its super plush padding, making even 65-pound loads bearable, everyone had to admit the shoulder straps and especially the waist belt were bulky and on the warmer side. We mainly tested this pack in cool temps and still found the waist belt the most sweaty. If you are using this in warmer conditions we expect the sweat buildup would be a major drawback.

The flat zippered pocket on the back of this pack was hard to get into, especially if you are trying to get an item bigger than a container of sunblock out and the pack is full.

Best Application


This pack is ideal for backpackers and trekkers on longer trips or people taking short trips who want to carry a lot of stuff. It's a little bulky for ski touring and technical climbing. It's a decent pack for glacier mountaineering as long as you own a low-profile harness to fit under the waistbelt.

Other Versions


Deuter Air Contact 60 + 10 - Women's
Air Contact 60 + 10 - Women's
  • The largest women's specific version of the Aircontact series
  • 70 total liters of space
  • Excellent suspension system
  • Many organizational pockets
  • $270

Deuter Air Contact 55+
Air Contact 55 + 10
  • 55L version of the Aircontact series
  • 65L total space
  • $250

Deuter Air Contact 75 + 10
Air Contact 75 + 10
  • Expedition Version of the Aircontact Series for carrying seriously large loads
  • 75L with 85L of total space
  • $290
Ian Nicholson

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: November 2, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (5.0)

100% of 4 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
5 Total Ratings
5 star: 80%  (4)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 20%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Feb 23, 2016 - 10:49pm
Arkansmay · Backpacker · Mountain Home, AR
**This review is for the newest version of this pack which is the Deuter ACT Lite 65+10

**
Let me start by saying that I backpack with kids and I must carry most of the heavy stuff, so for multiday trips I needed a pack that can carry a large load in comfort. I'm coming from external frame packs, and I LOATH a foam pad against my back, so that eliminates many packs that I'm even going to consider from the get go.

I initially wanted the Osprey Atmos for the mesh back panel, but it does not come in a size large enough that suits my needs. It also seemed a bit more vulnerable to harsh usage than the Deuter and has a higher price point.

SO the salesman showed me to the Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 and thank goodness because I am now in love with it. It just fits, and with the new ACT/Aircontact system, it truly gives your back ventilation comparable to external frame packs.

As the OutdoorGearLab review states, this caddilac ride comes at the cost of weight but I feel the price is worth it. That aluminum undercarriage and plushy pads makes this pack capable of carrying large and heavy loads comfortably and it does do that. I did not find that the pads were making me any more sweaty than normal.

The pack is big, but doesn't feel so, even when loaded up tight.

You don't really notice the weight but you do notice the comfort. Also this pack is made with heavier, more durable material that seems more willing to take a slide down some rocks without busting open all over the woods, and I'll take that over featherweight fragility any day.

One of my favorite features is the forward facing(facing the front of you as you wear the pack)zipper pocket on the top (brain) lid of the pack. You can easily reach over your head and grab what you need in there. It seems very well thought out and sensible through and through.

Bottom line is, packs are personal so it has to fit YOU. If you find that this pack fits you, you wont be unhappy with it. Try one on.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jul 12, 2014 - 04:21pm
Spider Savage · Climber · The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
I have used this pack for about 4 years and about 400 miles on various trips. Also, I have had no less than 6 of my Scouts get them. The pack is just about perfect. Light, balanced, holds it all together without flopping about. Easily loads up for a ten day trip with bear canister. It's the BMW of backpacks. Not one complaint. No breakage on mine or on the kids. Just perfect.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jul 12, 2014 - 12:29pm
sanloz · Hiker · Frankston, victoria
Please note I don't have this exact pack, I have the 60+10L, same design etc.

In short, this pack is fantastic!

I am new to overnight hikes and this is my first bag and I love it. For someone who isn't experienced or physically adjusted to some of the extreme conditions I have placed myself in, with excessive amounts of gear, for me to walk out of the bush and say my back isn't sore says enough on it's own about the design choices deuter has made.

My first hike was Mitchell plateau in halls gap, so involved a lot of hauling myself over boulders etc. I made typical rookie errors and packed practically everything I could think to bring, including a radio, so I had approx 60lbs and zero physical training and this pack didn't rub me anywhere or leave my back sore at all.

I felt the waist belt may be a little warm (as outdoor gear lab mentioned) but for me that was the only drawback, but on the same note the excessively padded and broad belt aloud me to have the waist super tight when I felt I needed it without it cutting into me and rubbing, it also didn't cause any bruising to my hips.

I loved the side pocket, which I used for my camera, and I also liked the waterproofing between the top compartment of the bag and the bottom. I put all my sleeping gear in the bottom and food and clothes in the top, luckily I did because a water bottle burst (another rookie mistake, I put the fork next to the bottle!) and the top section of my pack flooded but my sleeping gear remained completely dry so I slept warm, which was crucial in the cold conditions we were facing.

My gf also has the same pack, were both girls, and the only thing I would warn about was she wasn't happy with hers and it rubbed her on her shoulders and hips. On that note I am far more broad and manly than her, with wide shoulders and hips; while she is a tiny, bony structure, so maybe this bag just isn't suited to skinny, small boned people? Just something to consider.

My pack weighs 2.6kg or 5.7lbs according to deuter site, so for the little extra weight I think it's worth the comfort. I will be buying a light pack anyway just to see how I go but I am concerned nothing will be this comfortable for me.
Now I have more experience and am packing lighter this bag just gets better!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Feb 7, 2013 - 10:42am
xtrykr · Backpacker · Winnipeg, MB
The Deuter Aircontact 65 + 10 pack is an excellent multi-day pack that comes with a lot of rich features, and for those that have a strong fetish for pockets, this thing will be a godsend to you. I got the pack in a very nice, sharp, and clean midnight/ocean color pattern, but it also comes in a green/stone color pattern as well.

Initial thoughts are the pack is very well made, with quality ripstop nylon pieced together with extensive (if not overkill) stitching. The shoulder straps and waist belts are very easy to adjust and are extremely comfortable. I have clocked about 10 days of use with this pack over the winter, doing mostly snowshoeing and trekking, and rest assured, it has held up to -35C temperatures, blowing wind/blizzard, and wet snow with absolutely no issues. I have loaded it to about 35-40lbs of gear so far, and there's plenty more room for me to pack other goodies in there.

My only qualms is that because it is so feature-rich, it comes at the expense of weight. It's advertised at 5 lbs and 15 oz., but when I weighed mine, it was about 6 lbs and 3 oz - therefore, for those looking to shed weight, there are probably better alternatives should you be willing to give up some of the amenities unique to this pack. For instance, the Arc'teryx Altra 65 is advertised as 4 lbs and 15 oz, just a bit over 1 lb lighter than the Deuter - however, this pack actually provides for 75L of space plus 8L of pocket space (giving a grand total of 83L of estate), so it's not really a fair comparison. I believe the Altra 65 is more comparable to the Aircontact 50 + 10 which weighs 5 lbs and 2oz on paper.

Anyhow, it's survived the Manitoba winter - if you're looking for a comfortable, 3-4 day pack that provides plenty of small little widgets and hooks, this is the pack to go for!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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