The Deuter Rise Lite 26 SL is a women’s specific winter backpack that’s ideal for winter day trips, such as skiing, snowboarding, hiking, climbing and snowshoeing. Being a women’s specific backpack, the torso length and width are designed for a smaller female frame as compared to a men’s pack and frame. The profile dimensions allow you to easily move or swing your arms while skiing, without grazing the sides of the pack. The pack attachments and straps are designed to quickly and easily adjust to allow you to carry skis and skins, snowshoes, snowboard, helmet, avalanche shovel, and more.
Specs at a Glance
- Weight: 2 lbs 9 oz.
- Volume: 26 liters
- Gender: Women’s (a Male version, the Deuter Rise Lite 28 is also available)
- Frame: Internal Delrin Loop
- Hydration compatible: Yes
- Pockets: 6 including main compartment
- Materials: 1000d PU coated nylon and polyester
Backpack Storage and Organization
The Deuter Rise Lite 26 is a top-loading pack with a sewn-on lid. The lid has a top pocket, with a key fob inside that’s good for stashing goggles, while the bottom pocket is good for stashing toiletries or a map. They both zipper shut.
The main compartment has a drawstring closure that’s easy to open and pull shut while wearing gloves and mittens. It has a wide top that makes it easy to see and find items inside. There’s also one side pocket, pleated to allow for expansion. There’s also one small hip belt pocket that can fit a power bar, my chapstick, a small plastic ice scraper I carry when skiing, sunblock, and compass. It’s not big enough for my smartphone, but in winter,I keep that in a pocket on my pants to keep it closer to my body for warmth
The pack a front pocket that opens and closes with a zipper. It has a special compartment inside that conveniently holds an avalanche shovel and probe. I don’t ski where there is avalanche danger, but for expert backcountry skiers, this would be handy. I tuck my ski skins in here and they fit perfectly. When snowshoeing, this pocket is perfect for stowing my lightweight wind shell, and extra mitts, etc.
Backpack Frame and Suspension System
Women’s backs are not as long as men’s, and the SL carrying system is designed to be shorter. The shoulder straps and hip band are sewn into the pack and I wasn’t sure about the kind of “fit” I would get. But I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to adjust the shoulder load lifters, shoulder strap length, and sternum strap (adjusted, or slid, up/down on sliders) to create an excellent fit for my smaller frame. The hip belt has both a slight upward tilt and a slight curved shape to accommodate my female waist and hips; this was quite comfortable, even under a full and heavy load.
The hip belt was thinly padded. But given that this pack is designed for more lightweight use, it felt like just the right amount of padding and helped to ensure a snug, or body-conforming fit when carrying my skis. The integrated, internal U-frame combined with back cushioning, provided stability on this light pack, allowing the pack to easily and comfortably bear the weight of my skis or snowshoes.
The shoulder straps are a bit narrower on the women’s version of this pack, again, taking into account our smaller frames by nature. I was pleased that the shoulder “straps” were long enough to nicely accommodate my puffy layers when I needed to wear them, and yet allowed me to trim them tight and remain comfortable when I was down to base layers. Again, the slender profile of the pack kept the load close to my body and allowed my arms to move freely while skiing with poles. I really liked this and enjoyed the freedom of movement.
Gear Carry and External Attachment System
There are two side compression straps, one on each side. Corner loops are provided on the front of the pack and on the top of the brain, for tying down external items such as a helmet or climbing rope. An optional helmet holder is available that attaches to these loops. There are also external straps to hold collapsed poles or an ice axe. When not in use, the lower ice ax loop (which adjusts), tucks inside a small hidden pocket so that it will not dangling or get caught on branches.
For carrying skis, snowboards, or snowshoes, there is a set of external, adjustable straps on the outside of the shovel pocket. When not in use, they are stored or tucked into a hidden pocket of sorts on the outside flap. A really cool design! For snowshoes or snowboard use, you bring both ends of the straps out to the far sides of the external shovel pocket flap. For skis, you thread both ends of the top set of straps, off to one side (left or right) and thread the lower set to the opposite side. This creates a nice offset or diagonal for carrying skis. This was easy to do, even with gloves on. And again, when not in use, you tuck the straps in their pocket… you’ll never notice they are there. There are also reinforced ski loops on the sides that can be used for an A-frame ski carry, with the side compression straps, and a voile ski strap to lash the tops together.
The Deuter Rise Lite 26 SL is a fabulous snow sports backpack for women. It’s lightweight and conforms well to the shape of a women’s frame and hips. It’s also very comfortable. My day packs have never really fit the “niche” for cross-country skiing or downhill skiing. They’re a bit too floppy and not form-fitting enough. And carrying skis on my daypacks has proved challenging. However, this pack, at a very affordable price, fits that niche ever so nicely. I’ve been very impressed with the fit, even under a load of skis or snowshoes, and recommend you give it a try.
Disclosure: Deuter provided the author with a pack for this review.Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored gear reviews, articles, and hiking guides.
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