Deuter Airlite 28 backpack review: a ventilated day pack for summertime hiking adventures Hiking Gear

Deuter Airlite 28 Backpack

The Deuter Airlite 28 is a lightweight, comfortable day pack that’s ventilated, offering great airflow for warm-weather hikes in the South. Our trail-tested review.

Thoughtful design and innovation are immediately apparent in the Airlite 28 from the first wear. This full-featured daypack was specifically designed to increase airflow and ventilation, through a mesh back panel, perforated straps, and an innovative curved frame that keeps separates the pack’s ample, airy mesh from our bodies. It’s a fantastic pack for cold-weather adventures, keeping our backs cool and dry on extended ascents in the mountains. But the pack truly shines in the South’s notoriously scorching summertime months, offering ample room to breathe and keeping us comfortable on the trail, even when we’re packing moderately heavy loads of day hike and camera gear.

Deuter Airlite 28 review: a ventilated, lightweight day pack perfect for warm-weather hikes in the South

The Airlite 28 is our first foray into the large line of outdoor and travel gear offered by Deuter. With quality construction, function, comfort, and ample ventilation, we’ve loved using this backpack on our favorite day hikes throughout the South, from the Georgia mountains to the Blue Ridge Parkway, especially during our warm-weather seasons.

Deuter Airlite 28: our trail-tested review

The South’s terrain is spectacularly stunning and wildly diverse. And the South’s climate is notoriously warm and humid. Since we spend most of our time hiking the warm-weather South, a backpack with airy ventilation is high on our list for on-trail comfort.

The Airlite’s flexed frame and mesh back support position the bulk of the pack off our backs, allowing air to circulate between our back and the pack. The result? A cooler, drier fit, even when the temperature starts to swelter. And post-hike, there’s nothing worse than a soaked shirt sticking to your back after an awesome adventure – but with the Airlite’s airy fit, we’re dry and ready for a comfy ride home.

Deuter Airlite 28 backpack review: a  flexed frame and mesh back support offer outstanding ventilation, making this one of our favorite backpacks for summer adventures

The backpack offers ample room for day hike necessities: we’ve loaded it up with water bottles, dog bowls, extra clothing, first aid supplies, extra camera lenses, and food and snacks, with room to spare. (Check out our hiking gear list for our favorite gear and essentials for day hikes in the South.) Inside, the pack is roomy lengthwise – but unlike unframed daypacks, the flexed frame does cut down on the bag’s depth. The pack’s interior features a pocket for a 3L hydration pack pocket, though the rest of the cargo area becomes slightly more difficult to access with a full hydration bladder inside. Despite the shallow depth, we still stow fairly large gear without any issues – and that ample airflow and ventilation fully make up for the reduced depth. And an exit port on the pack’s top allows for easy hydration hose routing down to the elastic bite valve loop on the backpack’s straps.

Our favorite backpacks: the Deuter Airlite 28's innovative flexed frame and mesh back offer outstanding ventilation for warm-weather hikes

On the exterior, the pack’s durability shines, featuring high-quality nylon, stitching, zippers, and cording. For exterior storage, the daypack features a large open pocket on the front, mesh compartments on the waist belt for smaller items and two stretch mesh pouches on the sides to keep water bottles close at hand. There’s also a zippered pocket on the top of the pack, with a key hook for storing keys and enough room to stash valuables like a wallet, mobile phone, and sunglasses. And in case the weather turns to drizzle mid-adventure, an included rain cover unzips from a pouch on the bottom of the pack.

A top zippered pocket on the Deuter Airlite 28 backpack offers easy access to keys and small gear: our trail-tested Airlite 28 review

Like the back support, the shoulder straps and waist belt are made from lightweight, breathable mesh, which helps to cut down on the amount of fabric riding on our shoulders, hips and lower back. The adjustable waist belt, chest and shoulder belts and compression straps on the front of the bag keep the pack firmly set on the comfortable hip pads for a balanced, lightweight load.

The pack balances the weight of the contents well and doesn’t leave any area of the shoulders or hips to bear the brunt of a moderate load. And while the backpack weighs just over two pounds, the backpack’s frame system helps absorb the cargo weight so well, it feels lighter on the trail than similar-sized, lighter-weight unframed packs.

Deuter Airlite 28: review wrap-up

The lightweight, comfortable and ventilated design of this backpack makes it a great pack for warm weather day hikes. Its durable construction and attention to detail will keep this backpack on our backs for years to come – and it’s sure to see some incredible adventures along the way.

So where can I find them?


While we received a sample pack to test, all opinions above are our own and based on our own, trail-tested experience. Some links on Trailful are affiliate links, which means that the merchant might pay us a commission if you purchase a product after clicking our links. This helps support our work, at no extra cost to you. We only recommend gear that we personally use and love.
Thank you for your support! - the Trailful crew


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Eric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, backpack, kayak and cycle the southeast. He’s the editor and founder of Atlanta Trails, Asheville Trails, and Trailful, digital magazines that highlight the South’s best outdoor adventures and top Southern-worthy outdoor gear. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.