Why we chose it: Excellent carry comfort, versatile, great feature-set
Last year Lowe Alpine made it into our Outdoor 100 product guide with the hugely impressive Airzone Pro and the year before their Altus was featured. For 2020/21, they’ve made it in again and with what’s potentially our favourite option from them to date, the Cholatse 42:47.
Who Is The Lowe Alpine Cholatse Backpack For?
Everyone, really. We can see this backpack being used for all kinds of outdoor activities. It’s best application would probably be summer weekend wild camps, but we could also see it as being great for hut-to-hut trekking in the Alps or for multi-day hikes along, say a national trail. There are also aspects of it that make it more than suitable as a daypack for winter mountain use.
Materials and Design
This is a tough old bag. With it’s high denier ripstop nylon throughout, you don’t need to worry about it ripping on a rogue branch, that’s for sure. Perhaps the only weak point, you could say, is the stretchy mesh side pockets – not that we’ve had any problems here though.
The carry system involves a thermo-moulded back pad, slightly raised mesh, soft foams across the hipbelt and shoulders and a supportive PU sponge lumbar.
There’s around 6 inches of length variation, giving you the potential for what’s pretty much a custom fit. This is super easy to do adjust as well. All you need to do is pull the pack panel off its velcro pad and you can then slide it along its aluminium rails either up or down.
The lid will ‘float’ a little bit, giving that extra 5 litres of volume, but it’s not removable. As for access to the main compartment, you can either dive in through the drawcord sealed top, or you can open up the buckles and big U-zip across the front of the pack to have duffle bag-like access, thus saving you having to dig around for items.
As you can expect from a Lowe Alpine bag, there’s plenty to talk about in regards to features. We’ll start with the pockets, of which there are plenty. You’ve got a large overlid one and an underlid one too. There are stretchy zipped pockets on the hipbelt that are big enough for a smartphone and some snacks and there are those stretchy side mesh ones too. Inside, there’s a pouch for a water bladder and then on the front there’s a big stash pocket which has a long zipped pocket on it that’s the perfect size for an OS map and more. That stash pocket, by the way, is not only big enough for stashing a down jacket, but we even found we could lodge a climbing helmet into it.
“You can definitely feel quite nimble with this thing on.”
Useful details include tip grippers for trekking poles, an ice axe head locker, a little key clip, an emergency whistle on the sternum, reflective details, daisy chain loops that you could, say, hang your climbing gear on and then stowed at the base you’ve got a waterproof cover.
Then there’s the adjustment options here. With the sliding back panel, harness adjustment and forward pull hipbelt, you can really tweak this to fit perfectly. When you’re working with different volumes, you’ve also got adjustment straps across the bag to help the pack grow or shrink depending on the load you’re carrying.
By the way, you’ll find this not only in multiple volumes but in different sizes and different fits for men and women.