We check out the 25-litre ultra-lightweight fast-movers pack from Lowe Alpine.
We've just got our sticky paws on two packs from Lowe Alpine - one is an Alpine Attack mountain pack, more about that next week - but this is all about the Lightflite 25 day-pack, which depending on your preference is either 'lightweight', 'utra-lightweight' or in hang tag speak: 'hyperlite'.
A Tad Over 400g...
Whichever label you go for, it's a real world 420 grammes with all mod cons and accessories attached, which isn't at all bad for a 25-litre day-pack, or according to the blurb, as light as 300g if you strip off extraneous bits and bobs like the strap-mounted bottle pockets and removable padding.
With modern lightweight kit, 25-litres is about right for summer day use, but what looks promising about the Lightflite is that while it's light, it's more of a lightweight all-rounder than a pukka racing sac that should cope nicely with light-hiking, running, biking and double up as a race-pack if needed.
Top Banana Build Quality
What we like about Lowe Alpine packs is that they never cut corners on materials or construction. We've seen their testing rigs at the Kendal pack-development centre where fabrics are tested for abrasion resistance and tear strength and we know that seams are double-stitched then bound for added protection and stress points are bar-tacked right across the range.
Top build quality in other words. In this case that means tough but light NHC70 fabric and generally well-specced fabrics. There's a fair bit going on for a 'minimalist' pack as well.
The pack uses a big top-opening panel-zip for easy access, there are twin side stuff pockets for rapid stowage - we can just about reach them on the move, though there's no compression arrangement for them - twin belt pockets and two removable bottle pockets that sit on the front of shoulder straps.
The pack is hydration system compatible too, but some racers prefer to use bottles, hence the option. Finally there's a shock-cord compression web on the back of the pack for even more stowage if needed, plus a little compression too. Oh, finally a small pocket high up caters for valuable, keys etc.
Check out the shoulder straps and you'll notice the narrowing at the top, this is Lowe's 'Adaptive Fit' design which swivels to match your shoulder angle and we've found to work really well. The rest is pretty minimal, light removable foam padding, light spacer mesh next to the back and a simple waist strap connecting the big, pocketed, hip-fins.
Stuffed with stuff for photographic purposes, it sits neatly on the back, and feels stable and steady when cinched up tight with good wrappage from those hip-fins. One thing we've noticed already are that there are no top-tensioner straps at shoulder level, which is something we'll be keeping an eye on, though our quick trial bounce about suggested they simply aren't necessary.
Seems like a nice, neat, lightweight all-round day pack for fast-moving stuff with Lowe's traditionally top-notch build quality and we're looking forward to giving it a try over the next few months.
Price is £55 and you can find more info at www.lowealpine.com.