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Review: Lowe Alpine Women’s AirZone Ultra ND26L Hiking Pack

Written by Fiona

June 10 2024

I have been using the Lowe Alpine Women’s AirZone Ultra ND26L Hiking Pack in recent months. Here is my review… although, first, let me give you an overview of the AirZone Ultra packs.

What are Lowe Alpine AirZone Ultra packs?

Lowe Alpine, which is owned by Equip Outdoor Technologies Ltd, has introduced the AirZone Ultra packs for lightweight mountain adventures.

They are available in four sizes, 26l, 36l, ND26 and ND36. ND stands for “narrow dimensions”. The ND26 has received an ISPO Award.

The packs include a fabric created from recycled fishing nets with a “streamlined, comfortable design”. They also have a ventilated FormKnit™ breathable suspended mesh carry system.

The packs are designed to be lightweight and low on bulk.

Lowe Alpine Women’s AirZone Ultra ND26L Hiking Pack

  • Features include:
    Weight: 0.72kg
    Volume: 26 litres
    Dimensions: 53 x 33 x 28cm
  • Back Length: 17″ / 43cm
  • Main Fabric: 100D (100% recycled) Ocean High Tenacity Nylon Ripstop with Trishield Coating
    Back System:AirZone™ FormKnit™
    Convection channel allows for excess heat to escape from back system
    Quick access drawstring closure with weather flap
    Internal zipped security pocket
  • 3 litre water bladder sleeve with dual exit option
    Large front stash pocket
    2 stretch mesh side pockets for water bottles, or similar
    Ultralight compression straps help stabilise the load
    Dual hipbelt pockets: One zipped and one mesh stash
    Walking pole attachment points
  • Price: £140
  • Buy Lowe Alpine Women’s AirZone Ultra ND26l and other AirZone packs in the collection.

My thoughts: Lowe Alpine Women’s AirZone Ultra ND26L Hiking Pack

I have been using this pack for summer walking in the hills and mountains. It’s a great size for packing all my layers and for food and water. In the winter, I use a larger pack and one that has a more robust and waterproof design.

I really like the lightweight feel of the pack and it’s a bonus to have the AirFlow back system. The pack is really comfortable to use and I have not suffered with a sweaty back.

The main compartment has a drawstring closure at the top and then a flap of fabric that clips over the top. This is not robustly waterproof so it is not a good choice for winter use or when the forecast is especially wet.

Saying this, I was surprised by how well the closure system kept out the rain on a recent walk (we have returned to winter conditions in June in Scotland). I walked through many sudden downpours and the kit inside the pack did stay dry. I wouldn’t want to trust it was extended rain, however.

The outer stash pocket is large and stretchy and really useful. I stash items such as a jacket that I might want to put on and take off regularly, as well as food.

The stretchy side pockets are great for water bottles and other bits and pieces.

One annoyance is the size of the hipbelt pockets. I like a pocket that is large enough to take my max size iPhone. I am not sure you would even fit a smaller phone in this pocket. I haven’t even bothered trying to use the non-zipped pocket because it seems too small for anything useful.

The internal zipped pocket is where I put valuable items such as van keys and my PLB. It’s a great size and in a useful location.

The hipbelt and shoulder straps are fairly minimalist in design but comfy enough. The pack is easy to adjust to fit and I have greatly enjoyed carrying it in the hills and mountains. It is important to try on the pack for size because there is no adjustability in the length of the pack.

However, there are many packs in this collection so hopefully you will find one that is the right size and fit and with the volume you are looking for.

I appreciate the ND – narrow dimension – because I am a slim build.

The hipbelt clip is easy to use but the two smaller clips, one on the sternum strap and one to close the top of the pack, are too small in my opinion. I find them a bit of a fiddle because they are so small. It would be better is Lowe Alpine increased the size of these clips.

The recycled material is an environmental positive. The fabric is also PFAS-free (Lowe Alpine stopped purchasing fabrics containing PFAS in 2019). This is all good news but it’s more of a nod to caring for the planet than anything else because I could see no other reference to eco or environmental considerations in the making of the AirZone packs.

Overall, I have found the Lowe Alpine Women’s AirZone Ultra ND26L Hiking Pack to be a really useful and lightweight summer hiking pack.

  • I received the pack in return for an honest review.

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