|Lowe Alpine Zepton 50 Hyperlite in action on the hills|
“For me the stand out thing of this pack is it’s simplistic useability and comfort. It really does feel like you have a monkey hugging your back. No need for concious careful footing when out on the hills – you can just march or stroll along without a care in the world.”
It must be said – if there’s any particular kit I can be deemed to be obsessed with – it’s rucksacks, tents and sleeping bags. And I suppose the main reason for this is that these products are constantly evolving, are important for comfort and consequently can make or break a trip out in the hills – especially on week long hikes.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that rucksacks top the list for me in many respects nowadays as I have to consider the space and weight of my video camera gear et al. Side compression straps prove handy for me when it comes to attaching and securing tripods, for example.
So, my thoughts on the Lowe Alpine Zepton 50 Hyperlite backpack?
|Simple but effective design|
The ‘hyperlite’ range of rucksacks are designed to be lightweight, comfortable and durable. Stripped down in nature, with 10mm webbing straps, external hooks and loops, removable lid with secure internal pocket and SOS information (handy I suppose), stretch panels, walking pole tip grabbers, hydration pocket and errr….that’s about it.
Basically, a one compartment pack with a floating lid. Nothing else. On my scales with seven average weigh ins – 1180gs. Not bad at all, really.
All said and done, there is some stiffness in the back thanks to which helps prevent anything from within sticking into you – and the mesh panel helps prevent moisture building up on those long hard slogs.
The hip belt lacks small pockets for storage (I do like them as a feature), but it does live up to it’s name for an ‘adaptive fit’. It’s easy to loosen or pull on the straps to get the pack to sit nice and snug on your hips and overall I didn’t feel any opposite pull if I was twisting my torso around making my way through narrow gates or the odd scramble upon gritstone tors and the like.
The pack is designed to take loads of up to 15kg. Generally, my loads are close to that mark for a trip lasting several days with camera gear – and the Zepton 50 handled it all in it’s stride.
|Doesn’t look it – but it’s really comfy to wear|
Constructed with Dyneema fabric (which is stronger than steel and many other fabrics) the pack feels tough but light and its water repellency is extremely good, too. Very good in fact. Though you do have to be aware that if you remove the lid – water ingress is possible via the mouth of the main compartment. It can be closed shut with a cord, but it still leaves a window of opportunity for rain – there’s no storm flap per se.
Even so, I didn’t take the lid off that much anyway and so I never experienced any problems with the pack leaking or wetting out.
|Springy mesh panels keep sweat at bay|
The shoulder straps have mesh panels too for ventilation and this worked extremely well – but I’ve found them to be quite abrasive. So, do be careful with any lightweight clothing as you may encounter pilling.
Over time, the material of which the straps are constructed have softened but it’s still worth mentioning – it’s a minor gripe and one to be mindful of with waterproof jackets, too – as it can cause the DWR of the clothing to wear away and in turn wet out in heavy rain.
|Wand loops – they’re huge!|
Stretch pockets can be found at the base sides of the pack – handy for drinks bottles, tent poles etc – but not easily reached when you’re on the go and don’t want to pause and take the weight off your back. If these were angled towards the wearer more, I’d be inclined to forgive the absence of hip belt pockets.
The wand loops are huge and will easily fasten axes and walking poles – where the tip ends can be inserted into handy grabbers.
The main compartment has good volume and depth (I suspect it’s a little larger than Lowe Alpine state, to be honest) and it’s a joy to throw in your kit so easily and be readily accessible. The lid itself can be adjusted if the main pack is overflowing slightly but still swallows around the edges (with some strap adjustment) to prevent water ingress.
|The right number of straps in all the right places|
One aspect I really like about the Zepton 50 are the ‘Tri Glide’ straps which are situated at the top of the main shoulder straps – these really do pull the pack in closer to you to enable more efficiency in aerobic activities (you can stand straight as opposed to having to lean forward slightly). Having done the odd run with the pack on – it helps immensely and they stick and grip exceptionally well, too.
They can easily be loosened for better airflow and of course it all helps if you have a short back and find the rucksack is lifting slightly as you move.
|Taking in the views without a care in the world|
The chest strap can be adjusted height wise – to accommodate varying chest depths and proved a boon to my broad dimensions. No snagging, or digging in at any time.
Another nice feature is the hydration pouch which resides inside the main compartment. You’ll often find in sacks of this type that they practically sit along the whole length of the pack (52cm on my tape measure, by the way) – in effect making it difficult to reach inside and pull your Platypus or Camelbak hydration bladder out. With the Zepton 50 the pouch sits high with it’s base reaching about two thirds of the way down the length of the pack – and of course you’ll find a perfectly sized hole to slip through a drinking hose, too.
So, making a stop to collect water you’ll find that all you need to do is open the lid and reach inside and that’s it! No messing around pulling kit out. For sure, you have easier options perhaps on other rucksacks out there where the hydration bladder resides externally – but I often find they alter the shape and snug fit of a pack on your back. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of such features but it’s those little details that make the difference. So, it’s some clever thinking on Lowe Alpines part.
I suppose overall, it’s that attention to detail that makes the Zepton 50 stand out. Be it the use of Dyneema, the simplistic alpine style design and of course it’s total weight. Straps pull or loosen easily, zips glide with no snagging and have nice big grips. It’s a rucksack I fell in love with after just one trip out, if I’m honest.
It’s the best compromise on weight, features and design for my hikes and filming in the outdoors and I’d say for most other hill users, too. You even have the choice to attach a foam roll mat and the like at the base of the sack if needs be.
- Simple and elegant design
- Attention to detail is good as well as the weight for it’s size/volume
- Fantastic Dyneema fabric which is extremely strong, durable and water repellant
- Extremely comfortable and adaptable
- No hip belt pockets – I do like these for little things like snacks or compact camera etc
- Stretch side pockets are not angled for easy reaching of a drinking bottle and can be cumbersome to use (bit too tight. They’re stretch volume could be just that tad bit bigger
- Shoulder straps are quite abrasive – be wary with waterproofs and lightweight clothing
|The Zepton 50 and me got along just fine|
But for me the stand out thing of this pack is it’s simplistic useability and comfort. It really does feel like you have a monkey hugging your back. No need for concious careful footing when out on the hills – you can just march or stroll along without a care in the world.
Remember, when it comes to purchasing a rucksack, back length and all your vital torso stats must be noted. Where I may find one pack to be extremely comfortable, you may not. So, always best to try before you buy (even take gear with you and place inside to simulate your likely adventures).
Some of you may know that Lowe Alpine have recently been part of a buyout by Equip Outdoor Technologies Ltd – of which Rab are a part of. I have some interesting news on these circumstances of which you can be rest assured that Lowe Alpine will continue to produce quality products at affordable prices.