We told you about Lowe Alpine's new for 2010

Hyperlite Packs last week, but the company's

range of TFX big packs

has had a complete revamp for next year with a couple of stonking

looking new packs making a debut.

Lowe Alpine TFX10 back system

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Lowe Alpine TFX10 back system
Top-end TFX10 adjustable back

system. Note moulded venting channel

What's Changed?

The TFX range was first updated back in 2007, but it's

about to be refined even further. The most obvious upgrade is the the

back system. TFX packs carry well, but were relatively heavy. For 2010

however, Lowe has slashed weight by 20-30%. Everything's been fine

tuned with wastage reduced and excess fat slashed.

Lowe Alpine 2010 TFX packs

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Lowe Alpine 2010 TFX packs

TFX10

There are three back systems in the range, the top-end version is the TFX10. It's aimed at

carrying big loads in comfort - think 55-70lb - has a more obvious, but

simple and robust adjustable back system, plus 'adaptive fit' hip-belt

and shoulder straps to automatically accommodate a wide range of body

shapes.

The lumbar pad uses something Lowe Alpine calls 'Rebound Foam' which

recovers well from being compressed and gives better stability, comfort

and load transfer.

Lowe Alpine TFX10 Expedition

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Lowe Alpine TFX10 Expedition

TFX Expedition - Dyneema

fabric and a weight of

2.2 kilos for a 95-litre

pack

The pack we were really impressed by is the top of the range TFX Expedition 75-95

- £180. It's a stripped down, simple, but very light

expedition pack that's intended to still be strong and carry heavy

loads in comfort.

Weight is 2.2 kilos for almost 100 litres of carrying capacity. The

fabric is light but super strong Dyneema-based stuff and the rest of

the weight saving is down mostly to what's been left off. There are no

pockets, but lots of lash points and a compression system that can be

used to cinch the pack right down for summit use once you're on the

mountain. The main hip-belt can be replaced with a minimalist belt to

save even more weight.

Lowe Alpine TFX Expedition removable hip-belt

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Lowe Alpine TFX Expedition removable hip-belt

Main hip-belt can be

replaced with minimalist version to save weight

on summit pushes when full compression helps too.

It feels ridiculously light in the hand but still has Lowe's build

quality and, they say, load-hauling capabilities.

Lowe Alpine TFX10 pole holders

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Lowe Alpine TFX10 pole holders
Ingenious pole holder on Fitzroy

pack

The rest of the range has been lightened too. The Fitzroy 70-90 -

£180 - has more bells and whistles with side pockets, side

entry and more and there's also an alpine crossover pack called the

Cerro Torre, which has no side pockets and works either for backpacking

or for alpine peak bagging, though it's not intended for technical

climbing.

TFX 8 and TFX 6

Next down is the TFX8 range of packs. These use a standard rather than

adaptive fit hip-belt, a slightly softer foam, and spacer mesh on the

straps and back system rather than the smoother fabric used on the

TFX10 packs. There's also a central ventilation channel over the spine

called the 'supportive channel'.

Lowe Alpine TFX8 back system

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Lowe Alpine TFX8 back system

The TFX8s are slightly cheaper - the Makalu 65-85, which is a

well-specced pack aimed at trekkers with bellows side pockets, front

entry and compression straps will retail for £160 while the

simpler Appalachian 65-85 workhorse retails for £140.

Last but not least, the TFX6 uses a simpler, but still effective back

system for two entry-level packs, the Khumbu and the Outback priced at

£130 and £120 and both weighing in at around 2250

grammes.

ND Women's Packs

The range of TFX ND women's specific packs has

also had some extensive tweaks. Because Lowe Alpine's market research

shows women like to organise their loads more efficiently, they have

lots of handy pockets and compartments all round.

Lowe Alpine TFX ND packs 2010

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Lowe Alpine TFX ND packs 2010

The back systems are based on smaller dimensions, as you'd expect, but

the lumbar pad on the women's packs has been modified and tapered, so

it now sits lower on the back rather than high on the waist as the

previous version tended to do.

Lowe Alpine TFX ND packs 2010

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Lowe Alpine TFX ND packs 2010

Finally, as with the men's packs, there are some new colours to enjoy.

There's no ND Expedition pack this year, but Lowe Alpine is looking at

one for the future.

Lowe Alpine TFX ND packs 2010

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Lowe Alpine TFX ND packs 2010
ND lumbar pad redesigned so the

pack sits properly at hip level

The new TFX packs should be in the shops from around February 2010.

Full details of the current Lowe Alpine range at www.lowealpine.com