New for this spring, the Lowe Alpine have come up with a really adaptable rucksack in the Aeon. There are male and female specific fits, with a variety of sizes available from 16 to 35 litres. I tested the largest of these.
The fabric is a tough treated nylon, the 35 is a simple top loader, but augmented with a very discrete zip on one flank which gives access to the middle of the pack without undoing the lid. All of that 35 litres seems useable. Inside, it’s pretty roomy, with a slight teardrop shape and a flat back panel that makes finding kit inside a simple affair. There’s a huge outer lid pocket plus a smaller one inside, a medium sized and vertically zipped mesh front pocket, stretchy side pockets and multitool attachments and loops to allow for poles, axes and so on. The side pockets are very roomy and stretchy too, and slightly protected from tears by a flap of material, which forms part of the side compression strap system. I liked this – it’s a good compromise for a pack designed to get lots of abuse in different contexts. The Aeon is also hydration compatible.
Stability seems to be where all the really interesting stuff has happened. The back length is adjustable and the pack really hugs the back even when at capacity. The brand have redesigned the harness system (‘Flexion’) and that, combined with their simple and compact ‘air contour’ ventilated back panel makes for a stable carry, with a nice amount of freedom in the hips without sacrificing weight transfer. The hip belt seems barely there but has pockets where you need them and does the job of spreading the load without drawing attention to itself. In winter conditions the mesh back panel does collect a little snow as compared to foam, but that is easily shaken off.
The Aeon isn’t a specialist climbing or winter pack, and it’s not meant to be. It does ‘all round’ exceptionally well, so well I almost forget I’m wearing it. I think I may have found my new favourite daysack.
► Verdict: Well designed, durable all round mountain pack.
► Best for: A bit of everything, from commute to crag and beyond.
Review by David Lintern @davidjlintern