An alpine guide’s review: The climbing pack that does it all

Posted by in Ambassador, Deuter USA Blog Posts

I have been using the Deuter Speed Lite 20 for over five years now and find it to be the right pack for everything from grocery shopping to fast and light alpine climbing.
Speed lite is the perfect lightweight climbing pack.

The pack’s features seem endless as well as its capacity. It’s a 20-liter pack, but with the side straps you can attach ropes, jackets and even the Deuter External Pockets to maximize storage. It has a piolet (ice axe) holder that is actually made to hold a piolet and does this very well. It comes with helmet holder attachments, but I usually just use the side straps for holding my helmet.
There's a very good ice axe holder on the outside.

Deuter rates the pack high in all categories except trail running and travel. I have found there are better packs for trail running, but I still like this as my personal bag for travel.

I use the pack most for multi-pitch rock climbing, as the straps adjust to keep the profile small but the 20 liters is more than enough for jackets, food and water, first aid and sometimes a second rope for rappelling.
The author, looking sharp with his Speed lite on a high alpine climb.

The pack performs well for resort skiing and light/fast ski mountaineering. The side straps hold skis well and the pack is light to keep you out of getting thrown into the “back seat.”
Makes a great minimal ski touring pack too.

Speed lite is an alpine master, comfortably hauling cams, crampons, food, water and an extra jacket. With its ability to accommodate side packs adding up to 10 liters of extra room, it will be up to you to how far you want to push it in the big mountains.

You can find my latest trip report with the pack here.

Also makes a pretty good bike pack. The Speed lite 20 is also my go-to pack for mountain biking. While Deuter makes some great packs for biking, I only have so much space in my closet. So I use this pack solely for all biking pursuits. With the Deuter Streamer hydration pack and easy-access mesh side pockets, it keeps you moving longer without stopping, which means better workouts and more fun.

Too fast for the camera! After using this pack the last five years, I’m not sure what I would do without it. Maybe get a bigger closet and buy ten activity-specific packs …

A pack designed to help you get lots of vert.

About Karsten Delap

Karsten Delap

Originally from the flat lands of Indiana, Karsten has found his obsession in the mountains. He has climbed extensively throughout the United States including Grade V big walls in The Black Canyon, Long’s Peak, and Zion National Park. Karsten’s experience outside of the U.S. includes many peaks over 17,000ft in Boliva and Equador, as well as major alpine objectives in Africa and Argentina. Lately Karsten has been traveling to more exotic climbing locals such as Armenia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand for work and play. Karsten spends his springs working in the High Sierra and the rest of the year traveling the world working for Fox Mountain Guides heading up their alpine programs. Karsten gained AMGA Alpine Guide Certification in 2013 becoming the first guide in the Southeast to achieve this certification. He also successfully completed the rock guide program in 2009 becoming the Southeast’s second AMGA Certified Rock Guide. Karsten has successfully completed the AMGA Ice Instructor Course, Leave No Trace Masters Educator Program and AIRIE Level II Avalanche Course. He has also passed his Canadian Avalanche Association Operations Level 1 certification and his American Avalanche Institute Level 3 certification. Karsten is a licensed Provider for the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor and Climbing Wall Instructor Programs. He is also a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (WEMT-B), and has his ACA Advanced Swift Water Rescue Certification that he puts to use volunteering for the Brevard Rescue Team as their “go-to” man for high angle technical and wilderness rescues and backcountry searches.