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Lowe Alpine Altus 42:47 Backpack | Review

Planning a hut-to-hut trek or quick overnight escape in summer? Here’s an option from Lowe Alpine our editor thinks is well worth considering

Why We Chose The Lowe Alpine Altus: Versatile, high spec design, good price.

This is a pack that clearly has had some serious thinking behind it.

It’s a proper mountain backpack, one of those options that will be in use all-year-round. In winter the 42:47 litre capacity makes it the ideal size for big days out when you need to be carrying all your warm kit, technical equipment, safety items and thermos flask. In the warmer seasons, it’ll be perfect for carrying your kit on a hut-to-hut trek in the Alps and we expect there’ll be plenty of people hiking with this on the Camino de Santiago. On top of all that, this could easily manage all your camping kit for a simple overnight during the weekend, though the ultralighters out there might even think it’ll be a bit luxurious in that regard.

There’s an incredible amount of volume adaptability here, with two straps on each side, a floating lid and big stretch pockets. The main external pocket on the front is perfect for stashing a down jacket and a coat, while the side ones are ideal for a big water bottle – they won’t quite take a rollmat though. Other pockets include two zipped stretch mesh ones on the hipbelt (just the right size for a pack of Jelly Babies) and external and internal pockets in the lid, the latter of which has a clip for your keys.

Access into the main compartment of the Lowe Alpine Altus is through a drawcord under the lid and also via a U-shaped zip across the front. With all the adjustment straps done up, this front zip is a little fiddly to get into while on the go, but it’s still a useful feature for when you’ve made it to your alpine hut, you’ve got the pack on your bed and you want to dig out that pair of flip flops to wear to dinner.

The back system is one of the stand-out aspects of the Lowe Alpine Altus. Photo: Chris Johnson
The big stretch pockets are ideal for storing your flask. Photo: Chris Johnson
A combination of foam and air channels aids comfort and breathability. Photo: Chris Johnson

Onto the all-important carrying comfort, and this is where the pack really excels. Commenting on this OM editor Will Renwick who used the Altus on a trip to the Brandenburg Alps, said: “The back system is one of the stand-out aspects. I’ve used a different make of backpack on each of the four or five long distance walks I’ve been on in the past couple of years, and this is definitely going to be coming on my next one.

“There’ll be plenty of people hiking with this on the Camino de Santiago”

“It holds closely and very comfortably, with the curved lumbar support tucking nicely into the lower back and the pre-curved hip fins offer enough support without feeling like they’re getting in the way and limiting movement. I think this could be a really helpful back design over big miles.”

One of the key features of the back system – which has Velcro length adjustment – is the 15mm aluminium frame which forms a tennis racquet shape across the back (with the head at the top). This spreads the weight out, channeling some of it down to the hips to lessen the impact on the shoulders.

This pack excels when it comes to all-round carry comfort. Photo: Chris Johnson

The pack panel features a combination of foam with air channels cut into it plus a slightly suspended mesh.

“What I really liked about this design is that it keeps the weight of the load as close to your back as possible, rather than hanging off it,” said Will. “It might not offer the same amount of ventilation as a pack with a trampoline mesh style back system, but there’s definitely still airflow there.”

Other details on the Altus include a waterproof cover that’s stowed in the base, two little tip locks for your walking poles, two ice axe headlockers, a removable space divider on the inside, an external hydration bladder sleeve, and a whistle on the sternum strap.

As we said at the beginning of this review, it’s a pack that has some serious thought behind it. Is it to the point of overcomplicating things though? The ultralight, purist backpackers would probably say so. The general outdoor enthusiasts, however, will love this. We reckon so anyway.

Final note: as well as coming in a range of capacities and colours for men and women, the Lowe Alpine Altus also comes in different back lengths.

Using the Lowe Alpine Altus out on some via ferrata in the Alps. Photo: The Outdoor Guru

Lowe Alpine Altus 42:47 Backpack

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