Kit review: Lowe Alpine TT Carry-On 40 Travel Rucksack
I have a massive fondness for rucksacks. There, I’ve outed myself as a Rucksack Lover. If I’m going to be absolutely truthful I own a wardrobe of rucksacks and not a single handbag. I have rucksacks for almost every occasion, from a short run to a multi-day hike, to a two-week holiday and back to a day’s Munro bagging and a bike ride in hot weather. I think the G-Force is secretly jealous because whenever I happen to buy or be given another rucksack he starts talking about “utterly needing” a new daypack.
I had my heart set on a travel rucksack
But the one rucksack that I didn’t own but coveted was the travel rucksack. This is the bag that is the perfect size for qualifying as hand luggage allowance on no-frills flights. With the rising cost of numerous add-ons when booking flights the only way to go for a weekend trip is to own a hand-luggage sized bag.
I could have gone for one of those wheeled bags but it’s not really my style and I have always preferred a rucksack over a suitcase.
So when on-line outdoors shop e-outdoor White and Bishop asked if I’d like to review a piece of outdoor kit for them I chose a Lowe Alpine TT Carry-On 40 travel rucksack from their travel bag section. The test came when I headed to Bavaria for the Gore-tex Outdoor Bloggers Summit. I was flying with Easyjet and on a hand-baggage ticket only.
Travel rucksacks with lots of pockets
Another confession I have to make about rucksacks is that I like a pack with lots of pockets. Many people might find it annoying to have so many pockets that you can’t recall which pocket holds which precious item but I personally have quite a good memory for pocket stowing (years of practice!) and so pockets mean a lot to me.
The Alpine Lowe Carry On 44 travel bag comes with a satisfying number of pockets. The main luggage compartment is deep enough to fit a couple of changes of clothes for a weekend break, a book, wash bag and even a spare pair of trainers. Additional suitcase style straps keep everything in place when you zip up this compartment.
The next compartment is a laptop pocket. I could fit in my 15-inch MacBook, as well as the cable. In this compartment is a host of small and useful pockets. These I used for my passport, Euros, mobile phone, a notepad and pens and a memory stick. There is also a safety hook for keeping safe a set of keys.
On the outside of the rucksack is another useful smaller pocket with a waterproof zip. This is ideal for travel tickets, loose change and business cards! Or whatever you need to access at speed.
Another handy mesh pocket offers a place for carrying a water bottle.
Lot of straps = a great travel rucksack!
Almost as gratifying as the pockets, are the number of straps! The travel bag can be used as a rucksack, a shoulder bag or simply carried upright at arm’s length. The straps offer all these options, and if not in use the straps can be secreted away. Further straps allow for the traveller to decrease or increase the size of the pack according to needs. My rucksack was at full capacity for the Bavaria weekend but on another trip overnight to a friend’s house I used the compression straps to make the bag much smaller and more compact.
The sweatiest bit of owning a rucksack is at check-in when you hope that the ticket person isn’t in a foul mood. I have always travelled with a non-regular rucksack and so there is always the danger that it could be rejected at check-in, or the check-in person makes you pay hundreds of pounds extra to put the bag in the hold. Fortunately I’d already given the Lowe Alpine rucksack a try out in the hand luggage measuring device and I knew that it fitted. Sadly, my check-in lady was in a good mood and so she didn’t ask me to show her if it fitted in the frame. I have to say I would have relished proving that it did!
The rucksack also proved to be comfortable for carrying on my back and much easier to transport that the wheeled bags. While wheels do make the suitcase a lighter proposition, they still have to be lugged up and down stairs, up and down curbs, along cobbled streets and, quite often, they make a horrible noise!
I’m off to wedding no.5 of 2011 this weekend in London and I already have my Lowe Alpine travel rucksack packed! I’ve managed to fit in a posh dress, a posh jacket, posh shoes, make-up bag, clean underwear , a change of causal clothes, laptop and passport. The G-Force has been forced to check-in his kilt to the hold at an extra cost of £35! Hee, hee!