Lowe Alpine Altus 32 Rucksack Review 2018
Billed as a go anywhere, do anything pack, the Altus range from Lowe Alpine combines the lightness and simplicity of a daypack with features that are often found on a technical pack for a truly all-round carry system.
The 32 litre might be the smallest of the range but is no less of an expert when it comes to tackling all manner of activities. We gave the pack to Andy from the web team to put it through its paces, scrambling and hiking in the mountains of Snowdonia.
Initial thoughts about the rucksack
In the car park, packing the rucksack for the day, there were a few details that already stood out for me. The first being the bold red colour which is always great when going anywhere remote. The second was the strong materials that have gone into the construction. I could already tell this was going to be a robust pack.
Air Contour+ Back System
The adjustable Air Contour+ back system offers great load support while remaining breathable and light to keep you comfortable from start to finish.
HeadLocker ice axe and TipGripper walking pole attachments
The Headlocker ice tool attachment system enables you to fasten any ice tools to your pack regardless of the head shape and offers quick and easy ice axe attachment while wearing gloves.
The TipGripper walking pole attachments secure the poles and can be extended out to accommodate larger tips. Both can be stored away when not in use.
Internal 15mm frame
A 15mm frame links into the lumbar and hipfins transferring the weight of the pack down into the hips for efficient and comfortable load carrying while still providing a huge range of movement.
Ergonomic padded hipbelt
The pack features a wrap-around belt that sits comfortably on the hips and the forward pull straps allow the belt to tighten evenly on both sides, improving comfort.
How did it perform?
Despite its smaller size, the 32 litre still comes with all the adjustments to tailor the fit of the pack to my body. A large Velcro patch under the shoulder straps can be released to increase or decrease the length of the back. A feature not often found on a pack this size.
I like the little features such as the foam being rolled up and around the shoulder straps preventing the edges from digging into my neck. The pack’s belt naturally hugs the waist with thick foam padding that cushions all around. All this adjustability means the pack sits close to the back and prevents unwanted movement.
As well as the main compartment, the pack comes with loads of additional pockets, from small hip belt mesh ones to lid and side pockets. A zip along the length of the pack creates an alternative entry to the main compartment. These are all easily accessible but are also well hidden creating a clean looking and secure pack. Perfect for that mountaineer who still wants lots of pockets but wants a pack with limited snagging opportunities.
As a do it all pack, it’s filled with features to suit a range of sports. Ice axe ‘T’ clips and walking pole attachments on each side which can also be tucked away when not in use and an additional loop on an already existing compression strap means the tools are held securely at both the top and the bottom.
Often the smaller sized bags don’t get given an adequate harness system to support the weight but this is quite the opposite. Strength combined with flexibility meant I rarely even noticed the pack on my back.
Lowe Alpine have continued to improve the breathability of their packs and the whole Altus range feature their new Air Contour+ back system. I was slightly sceptical with such a well-fitting pack, it leaves very little gap around the back for ventilation but this new system hugs the body while still providing air to circulate.
Not the lightest pack for the size I’ve ever had on my back but the way the weight is transferred into the hip belt and around the shoulders more than makes up for it.
It's very difficult to find a pack that can be used all over the mountain, for so many different activities and do them well. This is certainly one of those packs. Adaptable, strong and reliable it’s difficult to find an activity on the mountain this pack would not be suitable for
32 litres were more than enough for all my equipment and supplies needed throughout the day. However, what really sets this rucksack apart from others is how the designers have created such a low-profile pack which I never felt hindered me or got in the way during tight squeezes in the scrambles.
A pack which would easily be able to take being scraped and scratched over all manner of rocks and trees and still be fine. The rain had set in for the day and so out came the pack’s lightweight rain cover which easily clips into place. This combined with the naturally water resistant material of the pack itself made for a completely dry pack at the end of the day.
The red colour, grey straps and hidden features make this pack look clean and smart. I think it’s very aesthetically pleasing, looks like a very new and modern pack.
Pros & Cons
- Ideal for use all over the mountain for a wide range of activities
- Harness system creates a strong but yet flexible support all around
- Neat and tidy pack not only makes it look good but also massively reduces the snagging risk
- Strong materials and construction create a highly durable pack
- Fewer features compared to its two bigger siblings in the range
As a go anywhere, do anything day pack, the Lowe Alpine Altus 32 excelled in all conditions that I put it through. Secure and close to the back it gave me confidence on the exposed scrambles while being comfortable and flexible enough for me to move quickly when the terrain levelled out.
A great rucksack, ideal for anyone who wants the flexibility of a pack that can really do it all.
Women's Altus Range
Men's Altus Range