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Gear Review

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Word of Warning for Petite Women

  • Gender: Female
  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I rented this pack for a weekend backpacking trip in Joshua Tree, and this pack was the worst. I'm glad I rented the pack before purchasing anything so now I have a good idea of what I want in a pack, and this is definitely not it. I am 5'4" ~120lbs, and because it is one-size-fits-all pack, I had the pack set to the lowest possible setting, and all of the weight of my pack was above my shoulders, making it extremely uncomfortable. All of the women on the trip rented the same pack, and for taller ladies, it seemed to be just fine, but for all the petite women, the hike in to camp was a nightmare (on top of all our own gear, we all carried 10 liters of water- around 25 lbs extra weight!).
The fit of the pack is really the only thing that I have a complaint about. The sleeping bag compartment fit my compressed bag and sleeping pad easily. There are plenty of compression straps to help keep everything stable. The detachable lumbar pack was a nice feature. The water bottle holders were too far back for me to reach with the pack on, but I just had a buddy grab it for me, so it wasn't too big of an issue. There was ample room for all of my gear.

Responded on

This pack does not have a detachable lumbar pack. That's the (very similar) Pro version. The two packs have a different type of frame and adjustment system. So it's possible that Women's Aircontact 70+10 SL Pack actually would have been comfortable... Also, are you sure you rented the SL (Slim, aka Women's) version? I can't make the regular non-SL comfortable, but I can adjust any Deuter SL to feel comfortable. (I'm also taller than you at 5'7")

Responded on

Hey carp94545,
Just a reminder:
Your height is not the only factor in sizing a backpack!
Although you are 5'4" tall, your back length is very likely to be longer than 16 inches(which is the smallest setting on these packs).

Making the backpack too short for you would certainly have brought the weight up, putting it more on your shoulders, instead of on your hips.

If you ever have any questions on sizing backpacks, let us know and we'll help you out right away!