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Lowe Alpine Airzone Trail ND 24 - Women's Review

Lowe Alpine Airzone Trail ND 24
Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $135 List
Pros:  Comfortable and supportive, great airflow
Cons:  Heavy, doesn't carry laptops and books well
Bottom line:  A great pack for long day hikes where you need a lot of room.
Editors' Rating:   
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Weight (oz):  42
Volume/Capacity (liters):  24
Back Construction:  AirZone breathable back
Manufacturer:   Lowe Alpine

Our Verdict

The Lowe Alpine Airzone Trail ND 24 is Discontinued as of January 2018
The Lowe Alpine Airzone Trail ND 24 was our favorite women's daypack that we tested and the winner of our Editors' Choice award. Lowe Alpine took some of the new suspension mesh back technology that we now see in full-size backpacks and applied it to a daypack, and we loved the result. This pack is comfortable and supportive, and we never felt too sweaty or got a soaking wet back while hiking with it. It's also packed with features, like a detachable rain cover and trekking pole holders, and hip belt pockets that are big enough to hold a smartphone. There's enough storage space for a couple of layers and your food for the day with room to spare. The main compartment is set behind the mesh back, which means you'll never feel bulky items poking you, but the curve in the frame makes it hard to carry multiple flat items, like a laptop and several books. This daypack is designed to be used on the trail, and not as a commuter bag for work or school. If you're looking for something like that, check out our Top Pick for Around Town, the Osprey Tempest 20.

Like the looks of the Trail 24 but need something a little bigger?
Lowe Alpine Airzone Trail ND 32 - Women's
Check out the Lowe Alpine Airzone Trail ND 32, which has all the same great features but a bit more volume. If you need some extra space for mountaineering gear and a rope, this pack will carry it all. It weighs 2.7 pounds, and has the same great suspension system as the 24, helping you carry the extra weight comfortably.


RELATED REVIEW: Best Daypacks For Women

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Cam McKenzie Ring

Last Updated:
Monday
August 28, 2017

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The Lowe Alpine Airzone Trail ND 24 is a great daypack for those who like to get out for long days in hot climates. It's made of 210D ripstop nylon, and, as the name suggests, has a 24-liter internal volume. It's only available in one size (the torso length is 16"), but it still fit our main tester well (5'6" with a 19" torso).

Performance Comparison


The Airzone Trail ND 24 was the highest scoring daypack in our women's specific review. It topped the "pack" in almost every metric that we tested it in, besides weight, and was hands down our favorite pack for most day hiking purposes.

Our Editors' Choice winner is a great daypack. It can hold all your day hiking essentials  and the open mesh back left us without a sweaty back even on a hot day in summer.
Our Editors' Choice winner is a great daypack. It can hold all your day hiking essentials, and the open mesh back left us without a sweaty back even on a hot day in summer.

Comfort


This pack topped our comfort rating, tying with the CamelBak Sequoia 22 for the most comfortable pack in our review.


There are many features that make this pack comfortable. The hip belt, lumbar area, and shoulder straps are all very well padded, providing a lot of support once this pack is loaded down. The back is an open mesh suspension design, with a large gap between it and the body of the pack. This creates great airflow, and it keeps your back much cooler than a regular pack without it. The back of the main compartment has a rigid curve to it, which keeps the contents of the pack from pushing up against your back. There's nothing more annoying than having a full hydration bladder or a pointy item pushing up against you all day when hiking. There is a downside to this design though, as the curve makes it challenging to carry a laptop along with other gear. If you want a daypack that can double as a laptop pack for commuting, check out the Osprey Tempest 20.

The padded shoulders straps and hipbelt are very comfortable  and the suspended mesh panel lets air circulate  keeping you less sweaty.
The padded shoulders straps and hipbelt are very comfortable, and the suspended mesh panel lets air circulate, keeping you less sweaty.

Features


This daypack also topped the rest of the models that we tested for the features that it comes with. While many of the packs that we tested had similar features, such as hip belt pockets and rain covers, we really like Lowe Alpine's approach to these extras more than any other pack.


The hip belt pockets are nice and large and easily held a smartphone in a large case. The rain cover is detachable (though it weighs only a few ounces, so why bother? Detach it on a nice day, and you may forget it the next time when you really need it), and it doesn't take up any room or stick out of the bottom of the pack, like the Osprey Sirrus' does.

This rain cover stows in its own pouch in the bottom of the bag. It weighs next to nothing  but could really help keep your belongings dry when the skies open up.
The pockets on both hipbelts are great for holding a phone or other items you want to have quick and easy access to.
 

We also liked the Airzone Trail's trekking pole storage more than the Sirrus'. That model stows under your armpit, which works for a few minutes if you need your hands free for a short scrambling section, but is not great for longer periods. On the Airzone, there are tab holders for the bottom of your poles and a bungee cord to secure the top, so if you only like to use your poles on downhill sections, they'll be out of your way until you need them.

We preferred the trekking pole storage option on the Airzone (left). While the Osprey Sirrus' design (right) lets you stow your poles quickly  it's not very comfortable to hike with them like that over any distance.
We preferred the trekking pole storage option on the Airzone (left). While the Osprey Sirrus' design (right) lets you stow your poles quickly, it's not very comfortable to hike with them like that over any distance.

There are water bottle holders on each side, and they are both large enough to hold a 1 liter Nalgene or similar water bottle. There's also an ice ax loop, side compression straps, and a small pocket on the front for quick access items like snacks or a map. There's both an inner and outer pocket on the hood with a key clip, and the pack closes with a cinch cord rather than a zipper. Overall it has a very simple design, which we liked. Some packs have lots of little pockets and attachments, which can make it easier to organize your gear, but also harder to find everything!

The side pockets are large and can fit a big water bottle.
The side pockets are large and can fit a big water bottle.

Weight


This was the one category that the pack did poorly in, as it is the heaviest model in our review. At 42 ounces, it's about 1.5 pounds heavier than the lightest pack that we tested, the Mammut Lithia Speed 20.


While we couldn't tell the difference between this pack and the Osprey Sirrus 24 (41 ounces) and even the Deuter ACT Trail 22 (37 ounces), it was definitely noticeable once we had the 20-25 ounce packs on. However, those packs were not quite as comfortable as this one, nor did they have some of the great extra features, like open mesh backs and rain covers. If weight is always your key consideration first, then a lighter pack like the Mammut Lithia Speed 20, our Top Pick for Fast and Light, is a better option than this one. For the rest of us, your shoulders will probably appreciate the extra pound for all of the padding that it gives you.

While this pack was heavier than some  when heading out on a 10 mile hike in the Adirondaks we were happy to have the extra padding and comfort.
While this pack was heavier than some, when heading out on a 10 mile hike in the Adirondaks we were happy to have the extra padding and comfort.

Adjustability


The Lowe Alpine Airzone Trail ND 24 only comes in one size (16-inch torso length) and the back is not adjustable.


It fit our main tester just fine (5'6" with a 19" torso), unlike the Osprey models that we tested that felt very short in the back even though they were supposed to fit up to 20". The main shoulder straps have load-lifter straps on top (to help lift the load up your back and not have it all sit on your lumbar area), and the hip belt is long enough around to accommodate a range of hip sizes, unlike the two Osprey models that we tested, whose hip belts are very short and fit only the smallest of ladies.

Load-lifter straps on the shoulders can help distribute the weight across your back  though we didn't find them as effective on a daypack as we did on larger backpacking packs.
Load-lifter straps on the shoulders can help distribute the weight across your back, though we didn't find them as effective on a daypack as we did on larger backpacking packs.

Durability


We were really impressed with the durability of this pack and gave it high marks for this category. We experienced no issues or construction flaws during our testing process, and couldn't find any major complaints in online user reviews.


This pack is made from 210D ripstop nylon, so if you do get a tear it shouldn't travel the length of the bag. The main reason we scored this pack a little lower than the CamelBak Sequoia 22 and the Osprey Sirrus 24 was because they both have reinforced or higher denier material on the bottom. This tends to be a high wear area for any pack, so the beefier the bottom, the better.

Pack bottoms are one of the quickest places to wear out. The bottom on this pack is 210D ripstop nylon  but other packs have even thicker material or an extra layer for more durability.
Pack bottoms are one of the quickest places to wear out. The bottom on this pack is 210D ripstop nylon, but other packs have even thicker material or an extra layer for more durability.

Best Applications


The Lowe Alpine Airzone Trail ND 24 is best used for people taking longer hikes where they'll want room for more gear along with extra padding and suspension. It's also a great choice for hiking in hot weather, thanks to the open mesh back.

Hiking it hot weather for long distances? The Airzone Trail is the pack for you!
Hiking it hot weather for long distances? The Airzone Trail is the pack for you!

Value


This pack retails for $135, which is almost twice the price of our Best Buy winner, the REI Co-op Trail 25. You do get a lot more comfort and suspension technology for the price, and if you're hiking with heavier loads and more gear then we consider that worth the price. For $10 more, you can get the CamelBak Sequoia 22, which includes a 3L reservoir (those usually retail for $20-30).

Conclusion


We really loved the Lowe Alpine Airzone Trail ND 24. It's comfortable and provides a lot of ventilation, so it's a great choice if you live in a hot climate or mostly hike during the warmer summer months. This pack has a lot of great features but a simple overall design, which we appreciated, and is built to last. The framing of the bag and the higher denier material do make it a little heavier than some of the other daypacks out there, but if you're carrying a heavier load on your day hikes you'll appreciate the extra padding and structure.
Cam McKenzie Ring

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Most recent review: August 28, 2017
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