Tuesday, 25 November 2014 13:06

Lowe Alpine Alpamayo 70-90 reviewed

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Lowe Alpine Alpamayo 70:90

Price: £180

Colours: Gold/Black,Bondi Blue Sand, Crocodile reen Zinc

Weight: 2.49kg

Back for another year the latest incarnation of the Lowe Alpine Alpamayo has been tweaked with the incorporation of the company's Axiom back System. A serious load carrier and trekking pack it's optimised for carrying 25 - 32kg, so one for multiday use where the strapping and support system can start working properly. Lighter than in previous incarnations it combines high capacity with real-life functionality; adustable on the move and complete with a removable hydration/mini daypack.

What the manufacturers say:

New for 2014. The Alpamayo is a pack built with adventure travel and trekking in mind. The front entry system allows for immediate access to the entire contents of your pack and the robust build means that no matter where your adventures take you, your pack will always be up to the task.

The 2013 model has been updated to include our Axiom+ Back System, an exclusive new technology that ensures a perfect fit every time. 

Also included is a removable Hydration Pack with enough capacity for an extra clothing layer and other smaller items, perfect for shorter excursions and day trips.

With the Axiom back system the length and straps are highly adjustable on the move

 

On Test:

The Lowe Alpine Alpamayo has been around for around 15 years now but while the product name may be familiar it's evolved over those years and the 2014 model has continued the evolutionary process. Back in 2000 it weighed in at around 3.2kg but this year, thanks to the lighter TriShield® GRID / N420 fabric and a decade of tweaking that's been cut by 700g to a more managable 2.5kg. It's still an out and out load carrier with a 70/90 litre capacity and now you get a couple of additional accessory straps just in case the 90litres isn't enough!

The Alpamayo balances easily

 

Before you read any further you need to realise this isn't a "general purpose" pack, it's designed for carrying big loads over long distances in relative comfort. Leave it half empty and not only are you probably carrying a heavier sack than you need but you won't be getting the best out of the Alpamayo either. Like the Gregory packs it actually gets more comfortable the more you put in it with an optimum range between 25 and 32 kilos. The Axiom back system, used in the Alpamayo in the 2014 version, is an integral part of the load carrying profile of the pack in allowing complete adjustment without having to take the pack off.

 

On first use, packed half full, the shoulder straps felt stiff and inflexible, even having followed the fitting instructions, but what was also instantly noticeable was the balance of the pack. Full or empty it stands easily, with a nice big grab handle for easy lifting. The hipbelt is well padded and joyfully simple to adjust. A positive "clunk" of the buckle, and a simple pull on both adjuster straps and the hipbelt hugs the body. It's important to adjust the hipbelt before adjusting the back to get the best balance and fit but after a couple of goes the system becomes second nature.

When it comes to filling the Alpamayo you get a choice of top or front access, which together with the side compression helps maintain a well balanced load but without losing fast access to essentials - and for the "on the move" bits and pieces the two stretch pockets on the sides will easily handle a couple of water bottles and bags of trail food. A really neat touch is the pole grip system that means even with poles strapped to the pack you have full access to the front and top pockets, and when it says pole grippers it really does mean grip; poles are held firmly and securely.

The other interesting feature is the removable hydration pack which simply unclips for independent use with enough room for a fleece and a lightweigh shell alongside a 2 litre platy.

Removable Hydration pack

 

With a weekend wild camp kit in and the pack still half empty the shoulder straps were a little unforgiving but with everything packed for a more extended trip they suddenly came into their own and after half an hour you couldn't feel them at all. The adjustable chest harness with multiple positions at times felt superfluous with the pack well balanced and the load transferred onto the hipbelt but on steeper ground and scrambling it made a difference. Having an integrated whistle built into the chest strap is also a nice touch.

 

Overall

If you want a dedicated load carrier for a multiday trip the Alpamayo is definitely one for you. The huge capacity is enough for multiple days on the trail while the front and top access system, along with the spacious front pocket and stretch side pockets means you can still have your essentials on hand. The Axiom back system allows very precise fitting and puts the Alpamayo up alongside the Gregory Baltoro, our default load carrier for years, in terms of comfort all day long. With a street price of around £140 it's got to be a serious contender when heading off on a trek.

 

Features

  • A versatile pack using the revolutionary Axiom + back system with pivoting hip belt, complete front entry and swivel hip belt.
  • Front entry system gives wide access to the contents, even whilst poles are stowed.
  • Lightweight TriShield Grid fabric main body ensures maximum strength to weight ratio.
  • Heavy-duty load lifting handle aids lifting a heavy pack on to a partner.
  • Pockets include two stretch side pockets suitable for water bottles, hipbelt pockets, a secure internal lid zipper pocket and a large front pocket for fast access to essential items.
  • Other features include unique walking pole tip grippers for secure storage, an internal load compressor, stowable ice axe loops and inside / outside compression straps.
  • Raincover included.
  • Fits torso length 17-22inches (C7 to iliac crest).
  • Recommended load: 25-32kg
  • Volume: 70L (main compartment + hood) + 20L extension collar.
  • Weight: 2.49 kg

 

Last modified on Sunday, 23 October 2016 12:41

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