Lowe Alpine Airzone Trek ND 33:40 Women's Backpack Review

by - Tuesday, July 05, 2016

For year round outdoor adventuring, a midsize (33-40L) expandable backpack is the best thing ever. A larger capacity allows you to use the pack for family trips (Mo-o-o-o-o-m, can you hold this?) or winter pursuits (hello, puffy jacket!) and ensures you can pack all the safety essentials you need and creature comforts you crave.

Bigger does not have to mean heavier! With the materials available today, it's possible to get a large and light backpack with thoughtful features such as rain cover, hiking pole loops, compartments and more. Weighing in at little more than my 28L pack, my 33-40L pack allows me to stow everything IN it rather than hang things off every strap.

While there are several great backpacks on the market, I selected the Lowe Alpine Airzone Trek ND 33:40 Women's Backpack based on its female-specific fit, AirZone technology, and convenient features. Details below.

Disclosure: Webtogs provided me with a backpack of my choice to review, but all words and opinions are my own.


Testing

Since March, I've used my Lowe Alpine Airzone Trek ND 33:40 Women's Backpack for: winter, spring, and summer hiking; cross country skiing; and cycling (city pathways, road, and mountain biking). No matter the weather or weight load, the backpack was comfortable to wear and the Airzone technology kept my back from getting overly hot or sweaty. My back is noticeably cooler with the Airzone Trek ND compared to other backpacks I own.

In wet snow and heavy rain, the pack cover kept pack contents dry. You should still, however, pack electronics in a waterproof case and put extra clothes/sleeping bags in waterproof stuff sacks as a best practice. You never know when your hydration pack could leak or your kids decide to "help" pack and put an open water bottle in your backpack (been there). Better to be safe than sorry!

What I Liked

Female Specific (ND) Fit

The ND (narrower dimensions) fit means a shorter back length (16-18") and female specific hip belt (33-45"). "The result is a range of women specific packs recognized as being the most comfortable on the market." - Lowe Alpine.com 

Since I'm 5'3"and 120 lbs, Lowe Alpine's Airzone Trek ND 33:40 fit me perfectly after a few simple adjustments. The Centro Adjustment system made it easy to shorten the back length. Tightening the rest of the straps were the same as on other backpacks.
  • Pro tip: Take the time to fit the pack properly so you will be comfortable. Weight should rest on your hips vs. pull on your shoulders and neck. Test the pack with weight in it to ensure there are no hot spots.
Note: If your waist is less than 26" and your hips are less than 33", this pack may be too big for you! My waist is 27" and hips are 34" and the hip belt is almost as small as it can go.

Backpack Testing on Midnight Peak, Kananaskis
The pack is made for women so it isn't too wide.

AirZone Technology

The AirZone back panel, with tensioned mesh and cutout, keeps the pack away from your back and allows air to flow through to prevent dreaded swass (sweaty a**) and keep you comfortable. I will be looking for this feature when I upgrade my backpacking backpack! It makes a world of a difference on a hot day!

AirZone back panel

Features

It's amazing how many thoughtful features this 3.1 lb (1.4 kg) backpack has! My favorite things about this pack are:
  • Hydration compatible + stretch side panel pockets allow you to keep water in a hydration bladder and a Nalgene bottle of electrolyte solution in the pockets. Even when scrambling, my Nalgene bottle was secure in a side pocket (not the case in my 28L pack by a different company).
Hydration compatible with hose port
  • Lash points, pole holders & pole tip grippers, and ice axe loop make it easy to attach items that should not go inside your pack. 
    • The only thing missing was bungee cord and a cord lock toggle stopper. I picked some up at the Dollar Store and created a custom cord system for easy external storage. The 2016 model of the Trek ND comes with stretchy cord and connectors so you don't have to do it yourself.
DIY cord system
  • Pockets Galore! This pack has top (1-zippered on lid, 1 zippered under lid), side (2 stretch mesh + 2 long, zippered pockets), and front (1 stretch mesh) pockets with zippered, stretchy pockets on the hip belt (2) and harness (1). I'm not keen on the boob (harness) pocket as it's too small for my phone and its location means I can't clip on a camera case on that side, but I have put the rest of the pockets to good use. 
The front and side pockets are super stretchy
and can each accommodate one Nalgene bottle.
  • Expandable capacity means you take the pack on a solo bike ride or carry gear for you and two kids on a winter hike. The Airzone Trek ND 33:40 is a 33L pack that expands to 40L when the lid straps are extended.
I was able to fit all this plus lunch and water in the pack with room to spare.
    The pack at full capacity on an ice walk in March.
  • One issue with larger packs is that it can be hard to access stuff deep down in the pack. This pack solves that issue with lower entry with zip-out divider! Zip it up to make two compartments, or unzip it; the choice is yours. (The PRO version of this pack also has side entry.) Great time saving features when you need to get your rain jacket stat! 
  • Speaking of rain... The built-in Rain Cover is light, effective, and brightly colored should you ever need to signal for help. I like that it is attached to the pack so I can't forget it!
We hiked all day in the rain and pack contents stayed dry.
  • The AdaptiveFit hipbelt and harness flexes to fit you perfectly so the pack moves with you and doesn't chafe.
  • There's also a key clip in the lid, whistle on the sternum strap, and SOS panel under the lid.
  • The colour is beautiful, but if you'd prefer something more subdued, it comes in black. 
  • Finally, the whole pack is made of durable 210D mini-ripstop nylon. The material seems too pretty to be tough, but the pack has been put down on jagged rocks and sat upon several times and still looks good as new! 
Lowe Alpine Airzone Trek taking a break

Lowe Alpine

Founded by two climbing brothers in 1967, Lowe Alpine makes innovative packs that move with your body and allow you to travel fast and light. They made the first internal frame pack and first compression straps, load stabilizers and sternum strap and they continue to innovate!

What I'd Like to See

I would prefer no harness pocket or a larger, removable harness pocket (large enough to hold today's larger cell phones). The current harness pocket is much too small for a Samsung Galaxy phone.

Bottom Line

The Lowe Alpine Airzone Trek ND 33:40 is a high quality, 4-season backpack with women specific fit. It is made with all the features of a backpacking backpack, but is light enough to use as a daypack. I would recommend it to anyone who has outgrown their daypack and wants to travel fast and light, and most of all comfortably. 

Where to Buy

Lowe Alpine products are available at fine outdoor retailers such as Webtogs


Webtogs "is an e-retailer of premier outdoor clothing and equipment. Official UK stockist of Mountain Equipment, The North Face, Rab, Marmot, Keen and more. Our aims as a retailer are simple. Stock the best stuff and have it in stock all the time, deliver gear for free over £30, let our customers return items easily and give the very best customer service of any outdoor website." 

Thank you to Webtogs for the opportunity to review this great backpack!

Related Posts


You May Also Like

0 comments

Join the conversation!