Don’t tell my crag pack, but I have a major crush on the Deuter Guide Lite 28 SL. Last month, my climbing partner and I set out to complete our big wall day in the Gunks (thirty pitches of 5.10 in less than twenty-four hours), and I knew that we had to go fast and light. Deuter came to the rescue with their Guide Lite 28 SL, and I was happy to put it to the test.

This alpine model was designed to comfortably carry up to 22 lbs (10 kg) for both climbing and mountaineering adventures. This minimalist pack is extremely lightweight yet durable and very functional. For our objective, the fit and function of this pack were more than perfect. With its one main compartment, it was easy to pack and keep the weight down. The pack is made of polyester and ripstop nylon and clocks in at 34.9 oz. That’s nothing!

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Deuter specifically designs their SL packs to fit a female frame, which I have always loved and appreciated. Sizing is always so subjective, but the well thought out design basically hugs a woman’s torso and works wonderfully with average to smaller shouldered women. The hipbelt and shoulder straps, designed to fit a female shape, are easy to loosen or tighten for better load control. For comfort and close fit, the back is padded with a removable foam sheet frame that is both breathable and extremely flexible. With all of these specs in mind, I barely even noticed I was wearing a pack as we ran up and down approach trails between our climbs.

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I found that the climbing specific features on the Guide Lite 28 SL were invaluable. While we mostly used the pack to carry food, water, and layers, I utilized the gear loops located on the waist belt for loose cams. The hipbelt is comfortable around my waist, regardless of weight hanging on its loops. There are also attachment loops for a helmet as well as daisy chains to strap on extra climbing gear. A rope is easily draped over the top of the pack and cinched down securely. For small valuables and snack items, there is a top loading main compartment with a zippered pocket on the exterior and one hidden on the inside as well.

The Deuter Guide Lite 28 SL goes beyond days at the crag, when you are trying to move fast with little weight. Made of a thin yarn, its tight weave is exceptionally abrasion resistant. If you are adventuring during the winter months, you’ll make good use of the reinforced ski straps and ice axe loops. I am looking forward to putting it to work this winter as an ice climbing pack. I give this alpine pack the official thumbs up. The bottom line is: the Guide Lite 28 SL offers top performance by providing a secure, compact fit with minimal weight.


This pack retails for $149. You can purchase your own Deuter Guide Lite 28 SL here. For a larger version of this pack, check out the Guide 40+ SL.

Disclosure: I am currently an ambassador for Deuter and the gear has been provided for this review. As always, all opinions are honest and my own.

All photographs courtesy of Deuter.

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