Lowe Alpine Aeon ND25 Review
Cons: Extremely small hydration pocket, smaller capacity than expected
Manufacturer: Lowe Alpine
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Lowe Alpine Aeon ND25
|Price||$120 List||Check Price at REI|
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|$119.95 at Backcountry|
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|Check Price at REI|
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|$98.95 at Amazon|
|Pros||Adjustable torso length, tons of pockets and diverse features, good strap adjustability, good ventilation||Comes with hydration bladder, very comfortable hip belt, good capacity, solidly constructed||Great ventilation, backpack-like comfort, useful pockets and attachments, well built, intuitive use||Adjustable torso length, very durable, great features and pockets||Good for on-the-go, secure fit, fits more than expected, many shoulder strap pockets|
|Cons||Extremely small hydration pocket, smaller capacity than expected||U-shaped top opening is smaller, some pockets are less convenient||One size only, heavy, lame hip belt webbing system||Runs a bit small, front stow pocket a bit small||Opens unconventionally, meant for more specific use, not rainproof|
|Bottom Line||A straightforward, useful daypack that's good for hot days and quick jaunts||A super comfortable pack with a unique waist belt system and included hydration bladder for the serious day hiker||All the comfort and security of a full backpack in a bite-sized daypack||A versatile, durable, and comfortable pack that works just as well on the trail as in town||A lightweight, securely fitting pack, cleverly designed for use on the go|
|Rating Categories||Lowe Alpine Aeon ND25||CamelBak Sequoia 24||Gregory Juno 24L||Osprey Tempest 20||Chimera 18|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Lowe Alpine Aeon ND25||CamelBak Sequoia 24||Gregory Juno 24L||Osprey Tempest 20||Chimera 18|
|Weight (oz)||27 oz||36 oz||31 oz||31 oz||17 oz|
|Back Construction||AirContour back (moulded back panel with spaces and large-hole mesh) with Flexion harness||AirSupport(TM) backpanel; mesh covered foam panels with air flow channels||VaporSpan ventilated mesh||AirScape backpanel; large spaced horizontal padding bars covered by large-holed mesh||FlashDry backpanel; lightly padded and covered in fine mesh|
|Hydration||External hydration sleeve||External hydration sleeve and 3L Crux reservoir included||Internal hydration sleeve||External hydration sleeve||External hydration sleeve|
|Rain Cover||No||No||No, but DWR finish||No||No|
|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, expandable overflow pocket, hip belt pockets (one zip, two stretch), daisy chain, hydration hose clip||Lare exterior stretch pocket, 2 stretch side pockets, 2 zippered hip belt pockets, 1 zippered pocket, hiking pole storage, ice axe loop||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||Trekking pole and ice axe attachment, side pockets, expandable front stuff pocket, four small pockets on shoulder straps, loops on shoulder straps|
|Materials||Abrasion-resistant nylon coated with TriSheild||420D oxford nylon||210D Honeycomb Cryptorip nylon, 420D reinforced bottom||70D x 100D nylon body, accent and bottom 420HD nylon packcloth||70D ripstop nylon, closed-cell foam, elastic pockets|
|Notable Features||Ice axe loops, trekking pole attachment, adjustable back, (re)movable whistle, removable sternum strap||Hydration bladder included, hydration pocket has blue zipper pull, removable metal stiffening rod in center of back. multiple pockets in both hip belts, several internal stretch pockets, U-shaped top zipper||Sunglasses stow loops, hydration hose attachment, trekking pole attachment||Helmet attachment, trekking pole quick-stow, sunglasses quick-stow, bike light loop, shoulder strap pocket, stowable ice axe loops||Dyno Cinch System connects shoulder straps and waist webbing as one system, cinch cord for top and sides of pack all one system, main and small zippered compartments are opened via side zips for one-shoulder access|
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 in 20-liter (which we previously tested), 16-liter, and 33-liter, 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.
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 2-liter 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.
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! If you're someone who regularly stows trekking poles across your bag, the Aeon has special TipGripper attachments that keep your poles from jabbing everything 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 for bike helmets. 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.
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 25-liter capacity, in practice we don't think it's anywhere near this large. We can fit significantly more into packs with advertised capacities of 22 liters and even some 20 liters. In reality, this bag feels closer to a 20-liter option.
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 3-liter bladder. To fit it in the Aeon, she could only fill it 2 liters full and even that was a pretty big stretch and severely compromised the comfort of the back panel. Even if you slip a small, 1-liter 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-sized 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 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.
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.
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.
— Maggie Brandenburg