Lowe Alpine Altus 42:47 Rucksack Review

For those who are really eager for a quick fix and a short rucksack review, don’t worry I've got you covered, but read on beyond the next paragraph if you're after a more detailed lowdown on the features and how they perform.   

This pack is brilliant; it is supportive, great under heavy loads, and ideal for a mountain goer who climbs, travels and wild-camps. I’ve tested it with the notoriously awkward & pointy climbing equipment, multi-day camping gear, travelled with it & filled it with photography equipment, and I’d always arrive at the same conclusion - it is comfy no matter what is in it and it seems pretty bombproof. And for a 42+L pack there is plenty of space for it all . So if you’re looking for a one-pack-wonder that will be used for a bit of everything this is a superb option.   

Now, for those who like a little more detailed info, keep reading! 

Lowe Alpine AltusThe bag is full of features, yet not to the point where they become annoying and impractical. This seems to be a trend in the bag world at the moment so I was pleasantly surprised to find it didn’t follow suit. Most functions I found on the Altus have a genuine purpose and usability , besides the internal divider.

The scapular pad behind the shoulders is real easy to adjust - just a velcro system that allows you to dial down the correct back length, with absolutely zero slip nor movement when loaded heavily, bonus! This is integrated into Lowe Alpine’s “Air Contour +” carry system, which has a good shape and follows the curvature of the spine really well. While I haven’t found it to be cool nor ‘ airflowy ’, this isn’t something I expect from a bag - a slightly sweaty back is a small price to pay for a load that remains comfortable. So if you’re after something that keeps your back much cooler in warmer weather you may be better with a bag from Lowe Alpine's Airzone range. The lumbar support from this system is fairly pronounced, it sits really well at the lower spine with a comfortable density of padding - not too soft and bouncy nor too hard.

The hip belt is stiffly formed and create s a really nice cup over your hip bones. I think this is fairly rare from a bag this size, no? A blessing here is the softer more spongy foam, I found this made it super comfy even when full. When scrambling and on steeper terrain the aluminium frame minimised the wobble - it was nice to feel the bag moving with me instead of throwing me off balance. The pull-forward buckle makes it super easy to adjust, and one of my absolute favourite features is being able to tuck away all the excess belt behind the hip belt pockets. Gone are the days where the excess strap flap s around in strong wind and whips me in the groin area …game changer for slimmer males... Although, I couldn’t fit a huge amount in the hip pockets.

An innovative floating lid system with slimmer compression straps on the side that shave some weight, with a clever compressible fabric that joins the lid to the bag, meaning when it is fully extended the lid doesn’t want to slide forward and hang off the front of the bag (this can also be tied down when not extended). The placement of the extendable straps could be better placed as they are in the way of the side compression straps, so it can hard to undo or tighten them when the lid is tied down. 2 pockets on the lid, one internal and the other external, are both roomy, and seem highly water resistant. The closure/ top opening is made from a stiff & very durable fabric with 2 different heights to synch down with toggle cords. Here you’ll also find a rope clip/ compression strap, which holds a rope brilliantly.  

The mid access U zipper is a neat feature, there was no faffing with bottom zips and it was handy to lay the bag flat on the ground and pack from above in a more chronological order. It also helped paying attention to packing the heavier items closer to the back, meaning a more stable load. The internal divider is at an awkward angle for the zippers to start at, so when the base of the pack was full the zipper couldn’t start. If it was really a necessity, you’d have to start packing with the divider half closed. The bottom of the bag seems to taper quite significantly too, I love this as it was out of the way of the elbows on steeper terrain, but I wasn’t able to fit my bulkier items in as easily as I have with other bags of the same size – worth noting if your sleeping bag is winter weight and/or simply bulky. A niggly feature connected to this is the size of the stretchy pockets on the side, if the bottom is jam-packed full the pockets aren’t big enough to fit even a slim bottle let alone a wide Nalgene.

I was quite excited about the minimalism of the pole attachment, but I'd have liked it to be a little more secure for Z / foldingLowe Alpine Altus poles. The height between each strap/ tip connector is a tad too long for it to work perfectly, however it works brilliantly with telescopic poles, it’s absolutely no faff! I was fairly reserved about the big floating pocket at the front, but I couldn’t be happier it’s there now – it’s very well designed. The space behind it will just about fit a helmet for the crag or using it on the bike, or waterproofs/ spare layers, and the zippered pocket is the perfect place for guidebooks/ maps/ or other quick access items.  

At 1.7kg, the bag is far from lightweight, but it really didn’t feel clumpy nor heavy on the back. I think the weight for such durable & weather resistant fabrics is welcomed. So while there are a few features that annoy me, I think all around the Altus 42:47 is a very solid pack that has some brilliant design features, it has a massive scope for all outdoor sports. I genuinely can’t wait to carry on testing this bag on longer more minimal multi-day stuff, and find out how it performs in winter with split-boarding. If you need a 40+l pack to do everything with, this is undoubtedly one of the best choices on the market. 

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