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Deuter Speed Lite 20 Review

Price:   $89 List | $68.95 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, innovative buckles, many lashing options
Cons:  Thin waist belt, front pocket is difficult to get into
Bottom line:  A great all around 20-liter daypack that is designed for maximum versatility.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Deuter

Our Verdict

The Deuter Speed Lite 20 presents the perfect balance between low weight and simplicity, with just the right features and comfort. Both compression straps reverse around the pack, allowing it to hold far more than its volume suggests. This attachment option is ideal for attaching an ice axe, rope, extra clothing, skis, and even some camera equipment, like a tripod. We especially liked using it as an airline "personal item" and for long day hikes. The water bottle pockets were slightly bigger than the similar Osprey Daylite. Overall, the Speedlite is an excellent daypack with the features you need for your next adventure.

Choose the Size That's Right for You!
Deuter Speed Lite 10
The Deuter Speed Lite line comes in a variety of capacities including the Speed Lite 10, pictured to the right, and the Speed Lite 15. Regardless of the size you choose, the Speed Lite pack from Deuter will be a great choice of daypack for any adventure.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Daypacks For Hiking and Travel


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Jediah Porter

Last Updated:
Friday
December 22, 2017

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This little pack sure packs a big punch. With its well thought out features, the Deuter Speed Lite brings home strong scores for its ability to transition through a vast amount of activities.

Performance Comparison


On our overall scoring rubric, the Deuter comes in near the bottom. Across the board, scores are fairly uniform, making it a good all-around choice. It just doesn't stand out in any one way, in a field of excellent products.

The Speed Lite 20  from Deuter  on an autumn day hike in New York's Catskills.
The Speed Lite 20, from Deuter, on an autumn day hike in New York's Catskills.

Comfort


For such a small pack, the Speed Lite has a well-cushioned back panel and shoulder straps. It may not provide as much ventilation as the The North Face Litus 22 or the Osprey Talon 22, but its flexible fit remains comfortable and stable across the board for several torso sizes. When filled with a heavy rain jacket, group med kit, water, snacks, headlamp, and a few other necessities, the Speed Lite was quite comfortable.

The Speed Lite 20 on the back of our 5'10" lead test editor  for your size calibration.
The Speed Lite 20 on the back of our 5'10" lead test editor, for your size calibration.

Weight


This pack is a little heavier than our Best Buy winning minimalist pack, the REI Co-op Flash 22; however, there are quite a few more amenities, including a minimal frame structure with padded back paneling and shoulder straps, which add a little bit of weight to this pack. The Top Pick Marmot Kompressor 18 is our lightest pack and one that is by far the most minimalist that we tested. All three of these backpacks are great for traveling and work well with personal items or can compress and fit in your luggage or backpacking pack.

If you're looking for a spacious and lightweight pack, we like the Granite Gear Virga 26, which is an excellent option for day hikes and ultralight overnights. Weighing just 16 ounces, it's mega lightweight, especially for its volume.

Versatility


With the number of features this pack offers its user, the opportunities are endless. Deuter paid close attention to offering useful amenities while simultaneously combating weight. That being said, it is an essentials-only pack, which is perfect for running the Grand Canyon from rim-to-rim or summiting a multi-pitch climb.

It's small enough to take the place of a hydration specific pack, as well as being compressible and packable enough to accompany you on your next backpacking venture. There are numerous outside lashing options to accommodate extras, such as your ice axe, trekking poles, and helmet. These lashing options made it much more versatile compared with the Osprey Daylite and far more versatile than the Fjallraven Kanken Classic 16.

A standard water bottle in the side pocket of the Speed Lite 20.
A standard water bottle in the side pocket of the Speed Lite 20.

Ease of Use


This is a pretty simple pack with just the right amount of handy bells and whistles. Though slightly less featured than the Osprey Talon, it still performs just as well. It not only held all the essentials for our pack test, but it held a 13-inch laptop (without any room to spare). The outside carry options allow you to at least occasionally carry much more than the 20-liter capacity would normally suggest.

Deuter packs are known for their clever side compression straps that can be reversed to surround the entire pack. It's a simple solution that greatly increases the utility of your bag.
The Speed Lite's compression straps in "normal" side mode.
 

The most unique and useful features on this pack are the side compression straps, which add an enormous amount of versatility. They can be extended all the way across the pack to lash skis, an ice axe, or a tripod, while still maintaining the compression feature. Only a few competitors that we tested came with compression straps, and the Speed Lite's were by far the most useful and versatile.

One of the drawbacks of this pack is the thin hip belt, which really only aids in some stability. However, it can also be removed. The size of this contender is both a blessing and a curse, and you should be fully aware of your needs, coupled with the capabilities of the Speed Lite. If you're looking for a pack that is capable of holding a multitude of layers and gear, this is probably not the pack for you. If you want something on light and fast days for trail running, multi-pitch climbing, peak bagging, and even some light ski mountaineering ascents, then it says it all in its name; the Speed Lite is the pack for you.

Getting in and out of the zippered panel opening main compartment of this simple pack is a breeze.
Getting in and out of the zippered panel opening main compartment of this simple pack is a breeze.

Durability


Within the duration that we used and abused this pack, it proved to be quite durable. It protected camera equipment while dirt biking around the Utah desert. The zippers seal incredibly well; however, one thing to be aware of is that the buckles are Deuter's proprietary design. This means that when one breaks, it may be difficult and complicated to replace.

Best Application


The Speed Lite can accompany you in just about any situation where a daypack is needed. Not only can it be used in place of a standard hydration pack for actives such as climbing, running, skiing, hiking, or cycling, but this pack allows you to bring even more gear along than a hydration pack. It's a minimalist's pack with a little extra punch.

Value


For $89, this pack is a great deal. This pack has more features than some of our heavier packs, and with extra lashing and stow options, it can carry just as much.

Conclusion


The Deuter Speed Lite 20 is your basic daypack, with a few features that set it apart. Notably, Deuter's signature compression strap system lends versatility that most of the other packs do not have.
Jediah Porter

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: December 22, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
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4 star: 100%  (1)
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