This is the first post in our new series, “Hiked It. Liked It.” where we’ll feature gear that we’ve put some mileage on and post our thoughts on it.
All specsc as claimed unless *noted otherwise…
- Volume: 50 L
- Weight: 41 oz (XL), 40 oz (Reg); 38 oz (ND – Women’s) *as measured
- Max Load: 33 lbs
- Fits torso: 18-23″ (XL); 16-21″ (Reg); 15-20″ ND – Women’s)
- Pockets: (2) Side Pockets, Lid
- Frame: Internal Rigid Frame
- Material: Dyneema
This is a sleeper of a pack. Probably because Lowe Alpine is not as well known a brand in the US as, say, Osprey or Gregory. Adding to the mystique are the somewhat cryptic specifications. Depending on the source, you may find different specs published for these packs. There are only two sizes, Large and XL. I’m not sure how much leeway there is in the torso length; I think the extremes of the claimed range are pushing it. My torso is around 21 inches, and it just fits. The published weight’s are also a bit low. There are only two side pockets on the pack, some sites claim up to 6, and pack access is only via the top of the pack despite some claims of side access (probably meant as in “it has side pockets”). Once you wade through all of that what you’ll find is a very straight forward pack.
If you like lids, it has one. There are even S.O.S instructions on the underside of the lid and a little stash pocket for first aid kit, or whatever you may want to stash there! I’m not a huge fan of lids. I ditched the lid and saved 4.5 oz.
With the lid gone there are only two side pockets left. No hipbelt pockets, this would be nice but some lightweight add-on pockets made by your favorite cottage industry can always be added. I like the fact that the pack is sleek and stripped down. Nothing to hang up on when bushwhacking or moving through areas of brush and prickly stuff.
The throat of the pack is minimal. Have you ever seen a Granite Gear Vapor Trail? Well, the throat on one of those is about the size of this entire pack :) The pack is closed by a simple shock cord closure, so a pack cover would be a good call for use in rainy weather when the lid is missing (a good idea in general). The criss-crossed straps seen on the back of the pack below would have been used to secure the lid. I’m debating cutting them off since they serve no purpose, sans lid.
Feature wise it’s pretty minimal. You’ve got a hydration sleeve inside, and a couple of trekking pole holders on the back that are nice, if not a little over thought. For a framed pack the weight isn’t too bad, just a tad over 2 lbs with the lid removed. This isn’t exactly record breaking as far as weights go, but for the price these can be had at, it’s hard to beat. Speaking of the frame, it handles loads beautifully. The weight is transferred to the hip belt very well. The hip belt has a second adjustment that can be used to fine tune the fit, and it’s rigid enough to actually transfer load from the pack frame to the hips. I’ve carried 30+ lbs without any discomfort. When loaded up with 35 lbs I can feel the weight on my shoulders, so for me, the 33 lbs max load rating sounds about right. Loads under 20 lbs are not even there. Because of this I’ve been using this pack more and more, even when my loads are light enough to carry a lighter (frameless, or semi-framed) pack. The only complaint here is that the pack doesn’t compress nearly as well as say, my MLD Burn, so less bulky loads tend to float around a bit.
- Simple Design
- Load Handling
- Trekking Pole Holders
Not So Much…
- Compression system is so-so
- Side compression straps run over side pockets
- No hip belt pockets
Famous Last Words
If you’re looking for a simply designed pack to carry heavier loads and your budget isn’t totally flush, the Zepton may be the hot ticket for you. Hike It. Like It.