Lowe Alpine Altus 42-47 Review
Capacity, Fit and Comfort
This pack has a very fully featured carry system considering its moderate size and so is suitable for longer trips with compact gear. It’s not designed to be the lightest pack but I think has a good comfort to weight ratio. I found the weight of gear was transferred well to the hip belt via the internal aluminium frame. I never had any problems with comfort as the Air Contour + back system kept my back cool and seamlessly integrated and pre-shaped hip belt didn’t create any pressure points.
Being primarily a runner it was a luxury to have such a comfortable carry system and so many large pockets to stash gear. That’s not to say this pack is in any way suitable for running due to its size, weight and hip belt but I found it to be a pleasure to hike with.
Design and Durability
The pack doesn’t go over the top with bells and whistles (actually it does have a whistle on the sternum strap but not a bell which I think would be overkill) but it does have some really nice useful and practical features. My favourite design feature was the U shaped zip opening on the front, this gives good access to main compartment of the pack. It prevents those annoying moments where you realise the thing you need is stuck at the bottom and that everything else you carefully packed is going to have to be pulled out and strewn across the ground to retrieve the item of interest.
The pack also has 2 daisy chains which are neatly tucked under a panel of material and would allow the attachment of equipment or webbing. Low Alpines useful tip gripper pole attachments are included on either side of the pack and poles are further attached using the compression straps. If you are carrying an axe then this can be secured using the ‘Headlocker’ axe attachment system. The pack has a waterproof cover included which a tucked into a pocket in its base. There are some other little touches which are really useful such and the large stretchy side pockets for quickly and easily stashing items such as water bottles and even an ‘SOS Panel’ under the lid which gives instructions for the action to take in the case of an emergency.
One great advantage of the designers not being too pernickety in their gram-counting is that this is made to be a very durable pack which should last for years. 450 denier (very thick) fabric is used on the bottom and sides where the most abrasion is anticipated and the main body of the bag is made with 210 denier ripstop.
My initial trial of the pack makes me hopeful that this will prove the ideal pack for my holiday walking the Beacons way this summer. I like to pack quite minimally and so think the 42L version will be just right to carry my reasonably packable kit which is mostly designed for running. If I need that extra bit of space then another 5L is available to me which is a great back up. I was really impressed by the comfort of the pack and love the ease with which the main compartment can be accessed via the zipped U shaped opening. This is certainly not for the extreme weight watchers but the added weight compared to some packs is certainly repaid in comfort and durability.