It's back to the future with a special limited edition super pack.
We popped up to see the nice people at Lowe Alpine in
Kendal yesterday for a sneak look at some interesting new kit - some
of it we're not alowed to talk about, some including some new
award-winning packs we'll dish the dirt on on early next week, but for now, here's a scoop look
at the company's 40th birthday present to itself, the limited
edition Extreme Attack 20/20 which is due out later this
Unbelievably, it's 40 years since the Lowe brothers first started
producing climbing equipment in the States and to mark the occasion,
there's a special one-off in the offing. The idea, says Lowe's pack
head Martin Hurn, was to look forward rather than back, so this is
all about the future, not some weird retro haversack.
The new pack's a carefully thought-through technical climbing
beast with some very neat features. The '20/20' name is down to one
of them. In normal guise the sac is a very slim front to back, low
profile affair to create minimal interference with climbing.
Undo a zip however, and it expands into a 40-litre approach
pack. The idea is that you pack your ropes and gear in to the bottom
of the route, rack up, then slim the pack down to a neater climbing
size. They've even taken the time to make sure the pack looks just as
good in normal or extended mode. Very clever.
The whole sac is littered with ingenious touches. The areas at
risk from ice tool abrasion, for example, are reinforced with a
material, and we're not joking, called Super Fabric. It feels
as tough as a pickled rhino hide and apparently costs a lot.
The back system's a serious bit of kit too. Smooth surfaces stop
snow sticking, while the hip-belt is a cunning self-adjusting item
that compensates for different hip shapes and clothing choices. The
straps are cunningly profiled to allow maximum mobility and are
similar to the ones on the Alpine Attack 25 and there's a minimalist
back-length adjustment gubbins as well.
Details are equally impressive. There's a main compartment zip
opening, so to compensate for the lack of a lid pocket, Lowe has
fitted a large, hanging internal stash pocket. Buckles are the
cunning DMM-produced alloy items designed to be used in heavy gloves
and mitts and the whole thing has an air of quality about it.
Looks like a cracking climbing sac. The bad news is that at the
moment, the company plans to produce just 'several hundred' 20/ 20s,
so they're going to be like hens' teeth when they appear in
July/August 2007. Price is projected to be a not unreasonable
£100, if you can find one that is...
The good news though is that in the future, some of the features
from the 20/20 will be finding their way onto other packs, so you
may, for example, find expandable volume walking sacs in the shops in
the next few years.
For the present rather than the future Lowe Alpine range, see