At first glance, the Deuter ACT is an odd looking sack. It has a plethora of features more commonly found on far bigger bags. The front zip is a particularly curious addition, being rarely found on sacks smaller than 50 litres.
The waist belt and shoulder straps are extremely substantial for a bag of this size. The back system is quite rigid; consisting of a thin frame sheet, with a tubular plastic hoop which lends further support. The compression straps are well placed, and secure the load well when the bag is not full.
This is all impressive, but seems rather excessive for a bag whose stated volume is firmly in the ‘sandwiches and waterproofs’ size range. Rucksack volume claims vary wildly between manufacturers, and should always be taken with a fist full of salt. The capacity of the ACT is considerable for its stated 24 litres, but it is still definitely a day sack.
However, when it is stuffed full, the ACT carries far better than many bags of this size; retaining a stable, balanced feel even with a 10 – 15 kg load. The large front pocket will take a helmet, or is good for easy access to waterproofs.
A zip pocket on the hip belt will hold snacks or a small compass. The sack has both facility for a hydration system, and a mesh bottle holder on the side. It will carry one ice axe and / or two walking poles on the outside.
The ACT 24 would be ideal for a high load, low volume situations. A day’s winter walking where the walking axe and crampons spend much of the time on your back, for example. Equally, the ACT would be ideal for carrying heavy camera gear around. 1250g is fairly meaty for a bag this size, but this is worth it if you are going to be carrying a bit of weight.
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