Lowe Alpine Manaslu Review
Cons: Excessive features, overly complicated design, heavy
Manufacturer: Lowe Alpine
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Lowe Alpine Manaslu is a pack that errs on the side of more rather than less. If you are looking for a model that will carry everything but the kitchen sink and is comfortable as well, then the Manaslu is for you. It took us a few trips to learn the ins and outs of all the different compression straps, zippers, and pockets that the Manaslu provides.
Comfort and Suspension
Just by looking at it, one can tell that the Manaslu is a comfortable pack. The waist belt and shoulder straps are very thick — with firm padding that doesn't cause the pack to slosh around when loaded up. The back paneling is mesh and ventilated for breathability, making the pack comfortable even when hiking in warm conditions; the ventilation helps minimize chaffing that occurs when a sweaty pack rubs on the skin. The one downside to the Manaslu is the waist belt, which was a bit stiff feeling on the hips and didn't rest as comfortably as some of the other packs with similar designs.
The Axiom 5 suspension system of the Manaslu provides plenty of comfort in its extra cushioned shoulder straps and waist belt. We liked the cushy, cozy hip belt. One downside to the Manaslu's suspension system is the way the lower back bulges out near the hip belt attachments.
The Manaslu falls on the heavier side of the spectrum. The Manaslu has a claimed weight of 4 pounds 13 ounces, though it weighed in at 5 pounds 4 ounces on our scale. A lot of this weight feels like extra bulk and the pack has features that seem excessive. Without a few of the compression straps and even a few of the exterior pockets, the pack would function almost the same and weigh a lot less. Overall weight is a metric where the Manaslu falls a bit short.
Overall, the Manaslu received average scores in this category. In general, the pack has many extravagant features — extra compression straps and buckles — that make it overly complicated to use. With fewer features, the pack would be easier to use and also lighter. With its multiple access points and pockets, the Manaslu does provide plenty of room for organization. These features make the pack easy to use, while the adjustment and accessory compression straps make it a bit confusing.
This pack is definitely on the feature-heavy side of the spectrum. With multiple lashing options, compression straps, exterior pockets, and numerous access points, the Manaslu has pretty much everything one desires in a fully outfitted backpacking pack. There are three different ways to access the interior, which is a nice way to avoid unpacking and repacking the pack after grabbing something from deep within. The hydration sleeve and rainfly are also excellent features for those looking for a fully equipped backpacking pack. For some, this can be too much.
The hip belt is comfortable but is difficult to adjust. We found that once you get it set up for your body, it's difficult to change. Most other models in our test were significantly easier to use.
The Alpine Manaslu falls in the middle of the price category for models we tested. It is well made and durable, with materials that will last and stand up to the elements. However, it is cumbersome to use and we tested many packs that were just as comfortable with a more well-designed feature set and adjustment.
Overall, the Lowe Alpine Manaslu is a durable, heavy-duty pack with plenty of features. These positives are also the downsides to the Manaslu in a lot of ways. The pack is quite heavy and has a complicated design that can be perfect for some situations and excessive in others. If space and packing options are important to you, the Manaslu is a great option.
— Jane Jackson