Lowe Alpine Alpine Ascent 32 Pack | Review
Lowe Alpine's new light-ish weight technical Alpine Ascent 32 mountain pack is a well thought-out balance of sturdiness and sensible weight saving.
'A classy, sleek, technical mountain and alpine pack that carries in a taut, sturdy way and features most of what you need in a well-thought out package. Good all-round technical choice'
Outdoors Magic: Light but sturdy, clean lines, stable, taut, comfortable carry. Useful top-pocket, twin gear loops, neat Headlocker axe points, grippy, snow-hostile moulded back-panel. Decent value and great build quality.
Outdoors Tragic: Fast access to main compartment limited, dangling waist-belt tails if you're slim, using top-tensioner straps as rope carrier is uncomfortable.
Outdoors Grabbit? Light, stable, sleek and supportive with careful choice of fabrics adding selective toughness, the Alpine Ascent 32 is a dependable mountain all-rounder for anything from general mountain outings through to lightweight alpine days, summer or winter. It carries really well and close with the non-slip back panel helping to keep things planted. That said, access to the main compartment is limited compared to panel-opening packs, the waist-belt tails dangle annoyingly and while you can use the top tensioners to stow a rope, we found it uncomfortable. Those quibbles aside though, it's an excellent, lightweight technical mountain pack.
Lightweight mountaineering pack / thermo-moulded back system with grip zones / 330D Cross/TriShield Dura/HydroShield zoned fabrics / compression straps / gear loops on hip-belt / top tensioner rope carrier option / zipped top-pocket / zipped top access to main compartment / twin ice axe loops with Headlocker attachments / twin wand bucket pockets / hydration system compatible/ daisy chains on front
Full Review Below
Lowe Alpine Alpine Ascent 32 Pack | Performance
Lowe Alpine has revised its Ascent range of technical mountain packs for this spring 2017 and while the new Ascent Superlight is getting the lion's share of attention, the 'next rung down' Alpine Ascent 32 trades a bit of weight for added durability and support.
It's still a sub-1000g pack using light but tough fabrics, with beefed-up materials in high-wear areas and a supportive, snow-shedding moulded back panel with grippy areas to minimise movement against your clothing.
It feels reassuringly sturdy, with great build quality, and carries in a taut, stable way with no swaying, looseness or discomfort. Slim lines and clean profile are ideal for mountain use and the pack's generally well thought out. The classic Head Locker ice-axe attachment mechanism has been revised for this year and works well - the top point uses the compression straps - and there are twin gear loops on the wrap-around hip-belt.
Good to see a top pocket for stowage of stuff for easy access and just as well given that the tall, zipped profile makes it awkward to reach anything that's buried deep down inside. You can also add shock-cord to the twin front daisy chain if you choose.
One feature that sounds good on paper is the ability to stow a rope under the top-tensioner straps, but we found it actually made the back system quite uncomfortable, which is fine if you're just cragging, but could be irksome on longer walk-ins. It also fouls the hydration tube if you used one. Maybe one to try in the shop before splashing out.
Finally good to see easy to grab zip-pulls and a full sleeve and righthand tube outlet for those who use hydration systems.
Lowe Alpine Alpine Ascent 32 Pack | Verdict
The new Ascent Superlight might be stealing the headlines, but the Alpine Ascent arguably offers a better balance of weight, durability and all-round performance.
It's a sturdy, but still light, well thought out pack with most of what you need included and little of what you don't. Fast access to the main compartment isn't ideal and we didn't love the top-tensioner / road carrier hybrid functionality, but other than that we were impressed with the pack's sleek lines and taut carry.
A really decent, well-made, all-round technical mountain pack that'll handle anything from summer cragging through to lightweight alpine days and winter mountaineering in Scotland.