Dave puts the redesigned, lightweight, fully featured Lowe Alpine Alpine Attack through its paces.
The new Alpine Attack ticks every box for the modern alpinist; a lightweight, durable, clean design capable of carrying ice tools, skis and heavy loads in comfort.
The Lowe Alpine brand has been making a great comeback recently since being bought into the Equip UK fold. It never really went away but was beginning to look a little jaded and tired. With new investment, a new design team and some great athletes the newer kit is taking its place amongst the great brands once again.
The Lowe Alpine Alpine Attack is a fully redesigned pack and is the lightest pack in the Attack series. The awesome Andy cave has had some input into the design so you can be sure it’s designed with climbers in mind. It is a fully featured climbing pack and is plenty big enough for all mountain adventures, from cragging to ski mountaineering and everything in between. I found the Alpine Attack more than big enough for every situation I tested it in from winter climbing to popping down the climbing wall. The pack can be extended to 45 litres with the large extended skirt and the floating lid and that makes it more than enough for adventures that need an overnight stop.
The Alpine Attack is made from Trishield ripstop fabric with a special silicone treatment that offers even more resistance to wear and tear. The fabric certain felt tough and I could feel the ripstop nature of it, the silicon treatment made the fabric slippery over rock surfaces when thrutching up chimneys and also proved useful when it rained as it provided a good DWR treatment. The removable lid was made from Trisheild fabric and a tough panels at the front a back. The lid pockets were great, plenty big enough for all sorts of kit, the top pocket had a glove friendly zip tag and a key clip. I could easily fit gloves, hat, energy bars, guidebook plus more. The inside pocket of the lid was great for stashing my phone, wallet and other valuables. I would have preferred the key clip to be in the inside pocket. I can understand that when you get back to the car you may not want to open the lid to access your key but I feel that I am accessing the top pocket regularly and that the inside one has my valuables in it and is less likely to be opened through the day.
The lid was easy to remove if you feel the need to lighten the pack further. The stated weight of the pack is 1.22kg, the trust CGR scales weighed the test pack at 1.132kg and with the lid removed it went down to 993g, so nice and light. I didn’t really need to remove the lid as I often climb with the lid tucked into the main body. I got around the lid strap dangling around at the bottom of the pack by bring it up and clipping it onto the haul loop. This worked a treat and was a great use of the brilliant Loadlocker buckle which is bombproof and always works, even with gloves on. The lid also had 4 Hyperlon loops in case you are so overloaded you need to stash your crampons on the top, there were also 4 sewn loops on the main body for shockcord lashing.
The whole pack a nice, light feel to it and it was a great carry. The hip belt was easy to adjust and tighten with the Adaptive Fit system which means that you pull the straps toward you and not away. It’s not a new idea but it does work well and helps make the load carrying easier to adjust on the move. The hipbelt also had two gear loops as well as ice clipper slots so there are plenty of options for glacier work and skiing. The back stays were easy to remove and replace so you can take some weight out for normal day to day cragging and pop them back in if you know you are going to be load lugging. The back of the Lowe Alpine Alpine Attack was stiff enough without the stays for all the activities I tested it in, including winter climbing. In climbing mode I had full head motion and this was great as I’ve tested plenty of packs that fell short on this, the range would be limited however if the pack was fully loaded with the extended lid. And joy of joys the Alpine Attack has wand pockets – a handy addition for carrying ski stuff and poles as well as stuffing rubbish into them.
The shoulder straps were very comfortable and felt just right for my medium sized frame, they were easy to adjust tight and loose and the sternum strap was burly and had four bartacked adjustment loops. There are a full range of straps for getting the adjustment just right for extended carries. There are also hose straps on either side to locate your hydration hose if you use one.
The haul loop was easy to grab and there are two extra ones on the front of the pack to help stabilise it if you intend to do a lot of hauling. The side compression straps also worked very well. The top one fully opened with a buckle to help strap skis in and cinch my ice axes with the help of the Webcatcher system. The system works like the Loadlocker buckle. Just undo the clips, fix your ice axes handle into the space, hook the buckle into the loop, clip the side buckle and cinch tight. It worked reasonably well but I thought it was awkward with gloves on, especially at the end of a tiring day. It was, however, a very secure method of attaching the axe handle to the pack. The head of my ice axe was attached using the Headlocker attachments, these are now well established and Lowe Alpine were the first company to use this system. It is very simple in use just pull the bar, feed it through the hole on the head of your axe and let it go. The bar turns and effectively traps the axe head to the pack. This works well with gloves on, is easy to use and very robust, a nice design.
In conclusion the Lowe Alpine Alpine Attack is a great all round, lightweight climbing pack. Versatile enough for any mountain adventure you are planning including hutting tours, ski touring and just general cragging. It has fast become my professional pack of choice and clients are always asking about it. Well done Lowe Alpine for redesigning a classic pack and making it fit for modern climbing.
I tested the 35:45L version of the pack, it also comes as a larger 45:55L pack and the colours are Black and cool looking Gold.
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