Deuter Airlite 22 Backpack

If we could promise 25% less perspiration when hiking, would you be interested? Well, we can’t make that promise, but the Airlite 22 backpack from Deuter claims their Aircomfort Flexlite System can reduce perspiration by up to 25%. They sent us one, and we set out to see if it would perform as advertised.

Deuter Airlite 22 in Granite-Silver
Deuter Airlite 22 in Granite-Silver

First, we’ll get the specs out of the way. It’s got 22 liters (1340 cubic inches) of storage, as the name implies. Total weight when empty is 2 pounds, 3 ounces (980 grams), and it’s 20 inches high, 9.8 inches wide, and 7.1 inches deep, front to back. The combination of Deuter Microrip Nylon and Deuter Ripstop 210 keeps it light and allows it to resist water pretty well too. There’s a good size front pocket, a larger interior compartment, a top zipper that allows access to a small pocket for things like your wallet, keys, and phone, plus mesh pockets on the sides and the hip belt. Other details include a rain cover that is almost too well-hidden, and compression straps along with loops for your trekking poles or monopod. All the hardware and stitching seem to be of high quality, with YKK zippers and pulls that are big enough to grip well.

Deuter Airlite 22 in Granite-Silver
Deuter Airlite 22 in Granite-Silver

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Right away, we liked the Airlite 22 as a pack for short day hikes. Because it’s hydration-ready for up to a 3 liter system, it could also be a nice choice for cyclists as well (more on this later). But how to test the claims of a 25% perspiration reduction? Turns out that’s not so easy, although we’re sure Deuter had a fancy lab and geeks in white coats to help them come up with that number. Our budget is a bit more limited, but we did hand it off to one of the guys in our group of volunteer testers who is known to be pretty ripe by the end of the day, and asked him to give it a try. And then it rained. And rained. And rained some more. Lower perspiration? Sure. Drier? Not so much. So we waited for it to not rain. And waited. Finally, we got a few days of sunshine. Not super hot, but hot enough to make most folks break a sweat while out on a hike. After several hours with a pretty full pack, the end result was “Definitely cooler”. Turns out that the curved bars and mesh panel really work well to get some airflow between the pack and your back, reducing temps, but also helping to keep things dry. And that adds to overall comfort. We’ll call it a win.

The Airlite 22 is a small and light pack to begin with, and after having a couple of other contributors try it out, we all agree that it really does keep your back cooler. We can’t say for sure that it’s 25% drier, but it is enough to notice. Living in the dry high desert, we tend to hydrate more as we hike, as we lose it through our skin pretty quickly. So as it gets hotter out, we hope to see even better results. Other than that, it worked as expected. There was only one minor issue we found. Inside, there’s just a little bit of velcro loop, and a pocket for a hydration bladder, with the exit for the hose dead center on the top of the pack. Some users may prefer it to exit on one side or the other, and this compromise would be ok, except that there is nothing to assist with the routing, so the bite valve will flop all over the place. That dampens our enthusiasm for using the Airlite 22 when cycling, but it should still be ok for hiking, and if you just use the side pockets for water bottles instead, it’s not an issue at all. Note also that our test pack was in Granite-Silver, but Arctic-Navy is available as well.

– Brian

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