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Lowe Alpine Aeon ND25 Review

A straightforward, useful daypack that's good for hot days and quick jaunts.
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Price:  $120 List | $119.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Adjustable torso length, tons of pockets and diverse features, good strap adjustability, good ventilation
Cons:  Extremely small hydration pocket, smaller capacity than expected
Manufacturer:   Lowe Alpine
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 7, 2020
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 12
  • Comfort - 25% 6
  • Versatility - 25% 7
  • Weight - 25% 7
  • Ease of Use - 15% 6
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Aeon ND25 is a simple daypack with thoughtful features that make it an easy choice for shorter adventures. An adjustable torso length helps this bag work for women of nearly every height, and good strap adjustability helps ensure a comfortable and secure fit. However, the hydration sleeve is quite narrow and challenging to use, and we're surprised at how little this supposed 25L bag actually fits. But for adventures that are less gear-heavy, it's a decent, slightly above average pack that just might be exactly what you're looking for.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Adjustable torso length, tons of pockets and diverse features, good strap adjustability, good ventilationComfortable, lots of good features, water reservoir includedComfortable, well-ventilated, adjustable torso length, included rain coverAdjustable torso length, very durable, great features and pocketsMoves with you, durable build, well-balanced load carry, good pockets and carry options
Cons Extremely small hydration pocket, smaller capacity than expectedOn the heavy side, expensiveHeavy, ill-fitting hipbeltRuns a bit small, front stow pocket a bit smallNo hydration reservoir clip (loop only), not meant for downpours, very long torso
Bottom Line A straightforward, useful daypack that's good for hot days and quick jaunts.A versatile daypack that can hold a lot of gear.This pack is loaded with features, and if it fits, you'll love it!A versatile, durable, and comfortable pack for the trail or town.A comfortable pack for even heavy loads over long distances with good balance and solid features.
Rating Categories Lowe Alpine Aeon ND25 CamelBak Sequoia 22 Osprey Sirrus 24 Osprey Tempest 20 Black Diamond Nitro 22L
Comfort (25%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
Versatility (25%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Weight (25%)
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
6
Ease Of Use (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
Durability (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
Specs Lowe Alpine Aeon... CamelBak Sequoia 22 Osprey Sirrus 24 Osprey Tempest 20 Black Diamond...
Weight (oz) 27 36 41 26 31
Volume/Capacity (liters) 25 22 24 20 22
Back Construction AirContour back (moulded back panel with spaces and large-hole mesh) with Flexion harness Ventilated back panel with molded pods Ventilated tensioned mesh AirScape backpanel; large spaced padding covered by large-holed mesh OpenAir backpanel; ridged foam covered by large mesh
Hydration External hydration sleeve External hydration sleeve and 3L Crux reservoir included Internal hydration sleeve External hydration sleeve External hydration sleeve
Hipbelt Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Compartments 1 2 1 1 1
Rain Cover No No Yes No No
Additional pockets 7 7 5 8 5
Outside Carry Options Trekking pole and ice axe/helmet attachments, side pockets, bike light loop, hip belt pockets, front stash pocket Trekking pole and ice axe attachments, side pocket, hip belt pockets (one zip), daisy chain, hydration hose clip Trekking pole attachment, ice axe loop, side strech pockets Lidlock helmet attachment, trekking pole quick-stow, large stretch front pocket, ice tool loop with bungee tie-off, side pockets, hip belt pockets, sunglasses shoulder stow, bike light loop Ice axe loops, dual 5-loop daisy chains, expandable side drink pockets, front stuff pocket, hip belt pocket, small zippered top pocket, four shoulder strap loops
Whistle Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Key Clip Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Materials Abrasion-resistant nylon coated with TriSheild 200D ripstop nylon, 400D plain-weave nylon 210D nylon body, 420D nylon bottom 70D x 100D nylon body, accent and bottom 420HD nylon packcloth 210D ripstop nylon, 210D Dobby Abrasion
Notable Features Ice axe loops, trekking pole attachment, adjustable back, (re)movable whistle, removable sternum strap Hydration bladder included, multiple pockets in both hip belts, internal storage pockets, exterior pocket felt-lined Integrated rain cover, ice axe loop, trekking pole attachment, adjustable back Helmet attachment, trekking pole quick-stow, sunglasses quick-stow, bike light loop, shoulder strap pocket, stowable ice axe loops Bike light loop, main zip opens all the way down, ReActiv shoulder straps connect to each other behind the waist and waist belt not attached to frame to facilitate twisting, front expandable pocket reinforced with internal structural foam panels

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Aeon ND25 is one of several sizes of women's specific daypacks offered by Lowe Alpine. The ND stands for both Nanda Devi, a Hindu Goddess, as well as "narrower dimensions" and can also be purchased 20L (which we previously tested), 16L, and 33L, as well as numerous unisex options. Though offered in a single size, a velcro adjustable torso length helps extend its usability. It's made of non-ripstop, TriShield coated abrasion-resistant nylon.

Performance Comparison


Hiking the rim of the Grand Canyon in the Aeon.
Hiking the rim of the Grand Canyon in the Aeon.

Comfort


Right out of the box, we noticed how thin all the straps and padding are on this daypack, and worried if it would be comfortable for long days on the trail. However, the Flexion harness and hip belt with microstretch properties and large breathable holes are more comfortable than they look and the low profile design is something we came to appreciate over the course of our testing. The AirContour back panel is fairly small overall and thin, with large spaces and wide-net mesh covering the underlying structure. With moderate weight, this pack is pretty comfortable to wear. However, the external hydration pocket isn't the best - it's quite small, and can be easily overfilled by a standard 2L bladder, making the back bulge out, pressing less-than-comfortably against your spine. But if you're more of a water bottle person anyway, this may not matter to you.

Minimal padding and venting keep the Aeon light  but sacrifice a little in breathability and fully-loaded comfort.
Minimal padding and venting keep the Aeon light, but sacrifice a little in breathability and fully-loaded comfort.

Versatility


Plenty of pockets, loops, clips, and wonderfully useful features litter this pack without making it look like a Christmas tree - though if you use them all simultaneously it might! We especially like that it's one of very few packs to actually have two hip belt pockets. If you're someone who regularly stows trekking poles across your bag, the Aeon has special TipGripper attachments that keep your poles from jabbing anything while they're stowed. It also has a bike light loop and Lowe Alpine claims the bungee cord clip for the trekking poles can also be used as a lid lock feature. While this is technically true, it's not the most secure feature and we don't feel overly confident using it. If you find yourself in light to moderate rain, this pack does a pretty solid job of repelling water for short amounts of time, but don't expect it to keep your laptop safe in a deluge.

Disappointingly  neither of the two hip belt pockets come even remotely close to fitting an iPhone 8+.
Disappointingly, neither of the two hip belt pockets come even remotely close to fitting an iPhone 8+.

Weight


At 26.8 ounces, the Aeon ND25 is on the lighter end of daypacks with this kind of structure and build. However, while Lowe Alpine claims this will get you a 25L capacity, in practice we don't think it's anywhere near this large. We can fit significantly more into packs with advertised capacities of 22L and even some 20L. In reality, this bag feels closer to a 20L option.

Though it's full of pretty useful features  we feel like the capacity of this "25L" bag is closer to around 20L.
Though it's full of pretty useful features, we feel like the capacity of this "25L" bag is closer to around 20L.

Ease of Use


We love packs with adjustable torso lengths - they make it so much easier to find the perfect fit for YOUR body, as we're all different. Though it comes in only one "size", the Aeon is impressively adjustable and all of our testers were able to find a good length for them. Long side zippers help make this bag easy to load and unload and it easily fits a full-sized laptop inside. Just about all the pockets are solidly useful, making this pack an easy one to use. The one exception is the hydration bladder compatibility system. Our main tester typically hikes with a 3L bladder. To fit it in the Aeon, she could only fill it 2L full and even that was a pretty big stretch and severely compromised the comfort of the back panel. Even if you slip a small, 1L bladder in that narrow pocket, the elastic loops to hold the hose onto your shoulder straps are intensely small. It took several minutes of finagling to fit a pretty standard hose mouthpiece through each of these loops. They're actually SO tight, we couldn't back the hose out the same way and had to detach it from the bladder and pull it through that way. If you're a hydration bladder junkie, this daypack is likely to be a big source of frustration for you.

The velcro torso adjust is a great feature. But for anyone who loves using a hydration bladder  this pack is a pain.
The velcro torso adjust is a great feature. But for anyone who loves using a hydration bladder, this pack is a pain.

Durability


The TriShield coated, abrasion-resistant nylon that makes up this daypack isn't ripstop, which we think is a shame. Other than that though, it seems actually pretty sturdy with solid construction. We had no issues concerning the durability of this bag despite our desert hikes, close encounters with rough boulders, and taking it through TSA security. But just in case something does happen, Lowe Alpine has a repair program for their packs.

A reinforced bottom adds a little credibility to the durability of this pack.
A reinforced bottom adds a little credibility to the durability of this pack.

Value


The Aeon ND25 is about an average price for daypacks of this caliber. We think it's a pretty decent bag, but it doesn't blow our socks off. If you don't need to use a hydration bladder and otherwise like the rest of what you're reading about this bag, it's solid. But if you're not sold on these particular features, there are plenty of other options out there with similar or better value.

Conclusion


The Aeon ND25 is a solid all-around performer. It's reasonably comfortable and fairly lightweight while still having some excellent and useful features. It's not great for use with a hydration bladder and has a smaller capacity than we expected, but for moderate or quick hikes, it's a pretty good choice.

Loaded up with a 13" laptop (in a black sleeve) and everything we need for the day to work at the local coffee shop.
Loaded up with a 13" laptop (in a black sleeve) and everything we need for the day to work at the local coffee shop.


Maggie Brandenburg