SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

Gear Review: Deuter Speed Lite 20

One of the ongoing challenges of snowshoeing at varying elevations is finding a functional daypack that snowshoes can quickly be strapped onto, and later removed from, as conditions change. I recently took Deuter’s Speed Lite 20 for a spin, and my search is now over.

Deuter has successfully followed the ultralight trend with this pack, weighing in at a mere 1 lb 2 oz. Despite the light weight, it does not feel stripped down. Substantial mesh and padding in the shoulder straps and back offer a comfortable fit, and Deuter has managed to incorporate a surprising number of additional features. A large front stash pocket is a convenient space for essentials you need to access quickly, while a smaller zipped pocket holds valuables. The bright orange liner of this second pocket has been thoughtfully stamped with the Alpine Emergency Signals. Side mesh pockets can be used for water or snacks, and if you’re a fan of bladder-type hydration systems, the Speed Lite 20 is compatible with that too. At first, I thought the finger pull loops on the zipper slides seemed a little gimmicky, but they ended up being one of my favorite features. Really easy to manipulate, even wearing gloves or mittens.

Several features make the Speed Lite 20 particularly suitable for snowshoeing. First of all, this is one tough daypack. It’s made from a durable ripstop fabric that a stray crampon isn’t likely to tear. The bottom is further reinforced with a second fabric layer. At 1200 cubic inches, the pack is large enough to carry gear, food, emergency supplies and water for a full day on the snow. A final plus is the Speed Lite 20’s ability to carry a pair of snowshoes by virtue of the side compression straps. I easily strapped on my snowshoes, and thanks to the pack’s tapered, narrow shape, my arm movement was not hampered in the least.

I’m looking forward to using the Deuter Speed Lite 20 for those frequent situations where there is bare ground at a low-elevation trailhead, and snowy conditions higher up. This hard-working and lightweight pack will allow me to comfortably carry my snowshoes until such time as I need them.

For further information on the Deuter Speed Lite 20 and other Deuter products, see http://deuterusa.com.