The Deuter Speed Lite 20 (recently upgraded to the Lite 21 series) is a great daypack perfect for almost any day activity that you can think of. Its lightweight, durable and streamlined design allow it to be one of the more versatile packs on the market right now, and all that at a great price!
It was for these reasons, and more, that we decided to award the Deuter Speed Lite 20 our Editor’s Choice award in our best hiking daypack buying guide. In other words, this was the pack that we could recommend the most to anyone; casual users and seasoned hiking veterans alike.
So, if you’re on the market to buy a new daypack to suit your hiking needs, or if you just need something to use to get around urban areas in the most comfortable way, this pack should be perfect for you!
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Deuter Speed Lite 20 Daypack
There’s a lot to love about this pack, but most of all it’s the overall comfortability and ease of use that really makes the Deuter Speed Lite 20 great.
It has a fairly unique V-shaped design that spreads the weight of the pack evenly between your shoulders, making it hug the shape of your back.
This will allow you to move quickly without shifting your centre of balance too much at all. This makes it great for fast-moving activities where you don’t need to carry too much gear, like skiing, mountain biking, short hikes, or even trail running.
Another thing that we enjoy about this pack is that it is hydration sleeve compatible. This is great because it means you can use it to replace your conventional hydration packs that don’t offer as much gear storage space.
Also, the tensioned Delrin thermoplastic frame in the back panel is removable, so the pack can be folded into a tiny ball and can easily be stored inside a larger backpack for summiting purposes (or any other shorter activities on a longer trip).
The Speed Lite 20 is, however, by no means perfect. There were a few things that we didn’t like, starting with the back panel. The “breathable” mesh padding on the Speed Lite 20’s back panel, while very comfortable, offers pretty poor ventilation.
For anyone who sweats a lot, this might be a bit of a deal-breaker, as the sweat build-up becomes quite noticeable, even on a moderate day.
The other things we didn’t like were the hip belt and sternum strap that lacked any kind of padding, and the fact that the pack doesn’t adjust very well, making it less suitable for larger people.
See Other Daypacks
Finding the correct daypack for your needs and budget remains a tricky task and sifting through the troves of reviews can be time consuming and confusing. To make things easier, check out our expert review on the top hiking daypacks here.
Capacity and Weight
While the Deuter Speed Lite 20 is not the lightest 20L pack ever, it definitely isn’t heavy. Its 538g weight makes it great for fast-paced activities, as mentioned before. Although it does have a slight weight disadvantage when compared to some other 20L packs, it makes up for that by having more features and being more functional than the others.
20L may not be perfect for absolutely every day activity, but it’s plenty of space for shorter hikes or general day-to-day use in an urban environment.
You might have to think a bit harder about what you want to take for the day, but 20L is definitely enough space to carry all your necessities (whether that be food, water, a camera and a first-aid kit for a hike; or a small laptop/iPad and other business tools).
Ventilation and Comfortability
As we mentioned, the ventilation of the back panel is one of the few things we dislike about this pack. However, although it lets almost no air through, the padded mesh panel is extremely comfortable and spongey.
The same goes for the compression shoulder straps, which are some of the most comfortable that we’ve tried in a small and lightweight daypack.
The aforementioned V-shaped body helps distribute the weight between your shoulders, so even if you load this thing up a fair amount, you won’t feel too much strain.
The issue here, however, is that the unpadded hipbelt doesn’t offer as much support as we would like. We might argue, though, that being just a 20L pack you won’t be carrying a ridiculous amount of gear with you and therefore don’t necessarily need a lot of support from your hips.
While the Speed Lite 20 isn’t quite as feature-packed as similarly sized packs such as the Osprey Talon 22, it still offers a decent bit of functionality. As we mentioned before, it has an internal hydration sleeve (up to 3L) and is small enough to replace a hydration pack completely, but it also offers all the other essentials that a daypack needs for hiking.
The panel loading main compartment is large, but maybe doesn’t open up as much as we like. Aside from that, there are four exterior pockets, including two side and two front stretch-mesh pockets.
As always, these are essential on any daypack for storing things that you’ll need constant access to on your hikes, such as water bottles, snacks, rain jackets, etc. There are a number of loops and lashings on the outside of the pack where helmets, trekking poles and ice axes can be attached, further adding to the versatility of the pack.
Materials and Design
Deuter’s Speed Lite 20 is made from tough Hexlite 210 ripstop nylon, and the frame is made from Derlin POM plastic, which offers lightweight and flexible support.
This pack is pretty durable for such a compressible and lightweight design, and the zippers were tightly sealable. It held up well against everything we through at it, and we’re positive that it will stand the test of time for daily use for anyone else as well.
We liked the unique U-shaped design that we’ve already mentioned a couple times before. It makes for comfortable use, and looks good to boot. We even found that it looked stylish enough to be used to take to work or to class. All in all, a very nice and simplistic design from Deuter.