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Lowe Alpine Mountain Attack 50, $149
Here’s a state-of-the-art wolf in yesterday’s clothing. The Mountain Attack’s unadorned, retro styling belies the notion that materials and designs must be high-tech to make the grade. In fact, there’s nothing dated about this pack’s suspension. It relies upon a reinforced frame sheet that is easily jettisoned for climbing (although the remaining foam backing cannot be removed). We loved the fact that the padded hipbelt can also be removed to further cut weight and bulk. Without the hipbelt, the hip stabilization straps cleverly transform into a tuck-away web belt for added stability. The mesh lining on the shoulder straps and padding are intended to improve ventilation, but we found they became matted and soaked in wet, snowy conditions. Although the overall design is decidedly minimalist, there is a pouch for a hydration bladder, as well as tool loops and lashes — although the unique two-pronged buckles are a bit fussy since they have to be undone to secure a tool. And we kept thinking we were missing something: Surely Lowe Alpine hasn’t neglected to include some sort of
attachment system? We’re still looking.
Internal frame. Removable hipbelt. Hydration sleeve.
Foam back padding not removable. No crampon attachment system.