Deuter vs Osprey: An In Depth Backpack Comparison

So, you are thinking of buying a new backpack - either an Osprey or Deuter, but you don't know which one is the best choice?

In this detailed comparison I am going to show you what these backpacks have to offer, how they differ and which one would work better for you.

Rather than try to cover the whole range of packs from both these manufacturers, I will go over the most important features and give you some examples to help you figure things out.

It's not an easy choice, I know, but my goal is to make it easier.

The first section is a detailed comparison of two popular hiking / trekking packs, but further down is another travel pack comparison of two popular options to give you another perspective. (You can use the Quick Navigation above to jump to each section).

Are you ready? Let's dive right in.​

Osprey Atmos 65

Osprey Atmos

Deuter ACT Lite 50 + 10

Deuter ACT Lite 50 + 10

Trekking Pack Comparison

When making a comparison like this, it pays to break things down into the main areas that are important to look at in a backpack purchase. I believe these are:

  • Size
  • Weight
  • Durability (material)
  • Purpose
  • Features (like pockets, wheels, handle)
  • Price

Size​

Before you even start, you need to know what size pack you are thinking about. Both these companies offer backpacks in a variety of sizes, so the choice is ultimately up to you. Just remember, more space means more weight - both in material (of the pack) and in what you will carry.

Weight

To help you compare some of the packs, I will show you the difference in weight of some comparable packs. But remember, it is always a compromise when it comes to weight - more features or thicker more durable materials mean more weight. But, if those things are important, the trade off might just be worth it.

Let's take the Osprey Atmos 50 for example, as it is one of Opsrey's bestselling (and most awarded) packs​. Let's compare that with the Deuter ACT LITE 50 + 10.

Osprey​ Atmos AG 50

4lb

(Medium size which is 50L internal capacity)

Deuter ACT LITE 50 + 10

3 lbs 13 oz​

(Only one size)

Materials & Durability​

In general, both Osprey and Deuter use quite similar (high durable and light) materials for their packs. However, they do differ a little and some of the features (like pockets) use quite different materials.

They are both quite smart in their designs and use the lightest materials where they can (ie. where the least wear/abrasions occur) and the heaviest materials where they count (like the bottom - as you put it down on rocks all the time :>).

Here is ​a quick comparison of two popular packs and their materials

Osprey​ Atmos 50

  • PES 600 Polyester
  • Dynajin 210 Nylon - Hard wearing 420 denier and 210 denier density nylon for the most heavily wearing sections
  • 210 Baby Rip / Bright RS - Lightweight 210 Nylon material often used on the top of packs

Deuter ACT LITE 50 + 10

  • 100D x 630D Nylon Dobby for the majority of the backpack
  • 210D High Tenacity Nylon for accents
  • 420HD Nylon Packcloth - for the heavier wearing areas

Features & Purpose

When you talk about backpacks, it could be for hiking, walking, traveling, biking or just for work. So, rather than tell you that this pack is right for you - you have to see the kinds of "features" it includes (or does not have) and whether this is an issue for you.

Some people like to just stuff everything in one single compartment, while others like lots of places to organize their stuff. You have to figure out what you will use the pack for and ​what features you would like (or cannot live without).

Having said that, Deuter and Osprey do differ quite a lot on this front, so take a close look at the specific packs you want and how they compare. 

If you look at the Atmos vs the ACT lite for example, they are both great trekking/overnight hiking packs but Osprey adds quite a few more features (frills?) to their backpacks. Here is a quick side by side comparison:

Osprey​ Atmos AG 50

  • Adjustable lid with 2 zippered pockets
  • Lid is removable and flapjacket covers main pack
  • Anti-gravity system with trampoline suspended mesh for maximum airflow and comfort
  • 2x side mesh pockets with dual loading (top and side) for easy grabbing while walking
  • Bottom compartment access (with removable divider) 
  • Stretch mesh front stow pocket
  • Stow-on-the-go trekking pole holders (for easy stow while scrambling or using hands for something)
  • Compression straps, ice axe holders, bungee cords etc

Deuter ACT LITE 50 + 10

  • Adjustable lid with top pocket & inside (valuables) pocket
  • Extendable top main pack section (that is the +10 in the name of the pack)
  • Air Contact back padding - gives some airflow (more airflow can be found on the Futura Air Comfort packs)
  • 2x side mesh pockets (top loading only)
  • Bottom compartment access (with zippable divider)
  • Stretch mesh front stow pocket
  • Compression straps, ice axe holders, bungee cords etc

All in all, these backpacks are pretty similar in terms of size, access (top and bottom)  and main features but they differ in a few areas too.

The Osprey backpacks often have removable lids which gives you lots of flexibility for pack size, and also using the lid for other purposes. The Deuter has the expandable top section (the +10L) with the adjustable (but not removable) lid to accommodate that extra gear.

Osprey goes all out on the frills with the two-sided access to the drink bottle mesh pockets, the stow-and-go trekking pole holder and even an integrated whistle on the sternum strap clip. They seem to squeeze every inch out of their packs in terms of usability - often solving niggling problems that I have had with backpacks for years.​

​Harness & Sizing

There is also a difference in approach to sizing and adjustment of the harness - Osprey often offers various sizes (S, M, L) with smaller adjustments in the harness. But it depends on the model (when you compare the Atmos and Aether they have quite different systems). Deuter uses a vari-quick system where you can raise or lower the harness to suit various height people, but they have no sizes as such. ​

Although these two models (ACT and Atmos) have quite different ventilation systems (the Osprey Anit-gravity is way better)​ you can also check the Futura models which have more of a suspended trampoline mesh for ventilation - so are more comparable on this front (after all, Deuter invented this idea in the first place!).

Price

Both the Osprey and the Deuter packs are not on the cheap end of the spectrum because they make quality gear that is going to last you a while (some of my Deuter packs are over 15 years old and only a buckle has been replaced).

In terms of price they are quite similar, but checking Amazon I can see that these two models (Atmos and ACT Lite) are a little different. The Atmos 50 is usually a bit over $200, while the ACT Lite is under $200. This can vary over time with discounts and depending on where you get your pack of course.​

Travel Pack Comparison

Osprey Farpoint 40 vs Deuter Transit 40

Osprey​ Farpoint 40

  • Stowable shoulder/hip straps 
  • Large internal storage compartment for easy packing (with full length lid-side mesh zipper pocket)
  • Padded side and top grab handles + shoulder strap
  • 2x front mesh pockets (for water bottles)
  • 2x internal load compression straps + 2x front compression straps
  • Separate padded laptop sleeve (15") + tablet pocket including extra space (at front)
  • Lockable zippers with well-designed pulls/tabs
  • Weight: 3lb 3 oz
  • Size: S/M 20 x 14 x 8 inches, M/L 21 x 14 x 9 inches

Deuter Transit 40 

  • Stowable shoulder/hip straps
  • Large internal storage compartment for easy packing
  • Padded side and top grab handles + shoulder strap
  • No front mesh pockets
  • 2x internal load compression straps (no outside compression straps)
  • Front organization pocket and smaller stash pocket
  • Separate padded laptop sleeve (15") at rear with no specific spot for tablet
  • No lockable zippers but a lock can be used on the eyes of the zipper
  • Weight: 4 lbs 2 oz
  • Size: 22 / 13 / 9.8 Inch

These travel backpacks are perfect for someone who wants a hybrid pack that can be carries (in hand, or on shoulder) and as a backpack, but also stows the straps for when it is not needed (check-in or in overhead bin).

The main differences are in the weight (the Deuter Transit is nearly 1lb heavier), the laptop location (the Deuter is at the back, which is more secure and easier to carry) and a few other minor features (water bottle mesh pockets on the Osprey Farpoint).

Which Brand Should You Choose?

Osprey have been the kings of backpacks in the USA for decades. And on the other side of the globe from Germany, Deuter are almost everywhere (I live next door in Switzerland and have about 6 of them!).

Both of these manufacturers value quality and durability, so you won't have too many issues there (and the backpacks will last for years/decades - I have one that is 15 years old already).

What the choice really comes down to is the following

  • Features vs Simplicity (Osprey tends to have lots more and often smarter features, but check the details because in the travel pack above, I think Deuter did a better job)
  • Harness (Deuter invented the trampoline mesh back, but Osprey have caught up - both have great harnesses now)
  • Price - Osprey usually tends to be about 10% or more expensive than Deuter

There is no right or wrong answer on this one, but I found Deuter to be simpler and more robust looking (and cheaper) and Osprey are fancier more feature rich packs.

Hopefully you will now be better informed to pick the right pack for you.

If you want a specific comparison - leave a comment and I will do my best to help out!​