Lowe Alpine Manaslu 55-65 (2016)

Features

The 55 to 65 litre capacity of the Manaslu is ideal for many backpacking situations, and here it’s combined with the Axiom 5 back system, which allows back length adjustment. The body of the sack has a base and main compartment with an additional front opening. The lid floats to extend the capacity, plus there are compression straps and stretch side wand pockets. 5/5

Fit

The Manaslu 55-65 for men and the Manaslu 55-65ND for women comes in one size but you can adjust the back length on the pack by sliding the shoulder straps up and down along runners. There is also some rotation in the hipbelt to allow a better fit as you move. The whole back system hugs the body better than others at this price. 5/5

Comfort

This is very comfortable for a mid-price pack, thanks to excellent contouring of the shoulder straps, hipbelt and back panel as well as just the right level of padding. This pack feels comfortable with light and heavy loads, making it the clear favourite in this price band for me. You don’t get quite as much airflow as higherpriced sacks, but that’s its only drawback. 4/5

In use

This rucksack is a little heavy at 2390g and I’m not a fan of front openings, so I would rather have that front zip used to provide a pocket. Also I’d prefer the floating lid to have a baffle, to ensure no water creeps into the main compartment. But that aside everything else is great and easy to use, and I particularly like the front stash pocket, compression straps and deep snow-lock extension. 4/5

Value

This offers better fit, comfort and performance than the lower-priced sacks so it has to be reasonable value. 4/5

Verdict

If you cannot pay more than £150 this is ideal as it is a great all-rounder that will admirably meet the needs of many. It won Trail’s ‘Approved’ accolade. 4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine April 2016