Lowe Alpine AirZone Ultra ND 36 | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Lowe Alpine AirZone Ultra ND 36 | Review

A lightweight walking backpack with lots of useful compartments specifically designed for women and those with smaller frames

The Lowe Alpine ND range launched way back in 1979, and while some take the letters to mean narrow dimensions, apparently it’s actually an homage to Nanda Devi, a peak in India and a goddess. Folklore aside, the back length measurement of the Lowe Alpine AirZone Ultra ND 36 has been specifically designed for women’s shorter sizing.

At just 850g, it is also the lightest member of Lowe Alpine’s AirZone family with a stripped-back design, making it the perfect pack for fastpacking and fuss-free overnights, plus its excellent ventilation carry system is made for hiking in hot temperatures. It is also about the right size for any day hikes that require extra layers, safety equipment and extra food and drink. 

Our tester Emma Cole using the Lowe Alpine Airzone Ultra in Pembrokeshire. Photos: Dave Macfarlane

The 36-litre capacity hiking backpack is comfortable, easy on the eye and a great pack for walking some trails in the sunshine. Oh, and it’s an ISPO Award Winner (2023) which means it has been certified as excellent.  


A real highlight is that the AirZone Ultra ND is made from 100% recycled nylon using Regen Ocean Nylon ripstop fabric, which is made from recycled fishing nets. The material is made in Vietnam in compliance with Fair Wear and social standards. The fabric also has Trishield weatherproof coating, so while it is not fully waterproof it will keep out light rain and spray. 

The robustness and quality of the fabric is evident in its feel and when out on the trails, it’s a pack made for moving.  

And the innovation doesn’t stop with main fabric. The ventilated carry system is also noteworthy as it uses the brand’s FormKnit construction. Made from a knitted construction, the system allows for plenty of airflow between the pack and the wearer’s back, and a convection channel lets heat escape easily. 


The AirZone Ultra ND benefits from a well-organised and easy access storage solution. There is zipped side access to main body compartment, a large front stash pocket for extra storage on the go, dual hip belt pockets – one zipped and one mesh, an internal zipped pocket for valuables plus two stretch mesh side pockets for water bottles, flasks or even a first aid pack. 

Plus the pack features walking pole attachment points and ultralight compression straps help stabilise the load. 

The fastpacking ethos of the pack is also evident in the super quick access drawstring closure mechanism which has a weather flap and attaches to the middle of the front stash pocket. 


The comfort and supportive fit of this pack gets top marks, and it’s always great to see brands making innovative packs for smaller proportions. 

A look at the suspended back system.

The intuitive stash pockets are excellent and easy to use on the go, while the ventilated back panel is just the right angle to allow airflow and provide enough support. 

My one concern is using this pack during a torrential downpour whereby the top fastening system wouldn’t hold out the rain and there isn’t a waterproof cover. So, when facing up to bad conditions, you’d be wise to bring along a separate waterproof cover or stash all your kit in waterproof drybags. 

If you like the look of this but want something without a suspended back system, the Rab Aeon Ultra 28L would fit the bill.

Pros Lightweight, Intuitive pockets, Comfortable
Cons No rain cover

Lowe Alpine Airzone Ultra ND 36

Selected for the Outdoor 100 Sping/Summer 2024 guide
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