Lowe Alpine Zepton 50 2010

Zepton forms part of Lowe Alpine’s new Hyperlite range. The range is designed to be lightweight but also comfortable to carry and durable. The combination of lightweight yet strong and durable materials is allied to a stripped-down design that focuses on the essential features needed for day or multi-day trips to the hills.

Design
The key to the design of the Lowe Alpine Zepton 50 is the use of Dyneema fabric, which weight for weight is stronger than steel and superior to other fabrics. To make the sack light the design is minimalist. So you get the basic ‘one compartment and lid’ design. All the webbing straps are cut down to 10mm width, rather than the usual 20mm. But importantly the back system still retains some stiffness, so objects in the rucksack don’t dig into your back. Also there is comfort from the padding and Adaptive Fit hipbelt. Better still, there is Airflow mesh in the back panel to reduce a sweaty back sensation. The shoulder straps are also ventilated with large holes, again to reduce the build-up of sweat. The pack can be stripped down to 1kg in weight by removing the lid, which would be useful for Alpine trips in particular.

On the hill
The Lowe Alpine Zepton 50 is 10 litres bigger than some comparable sacks we looked at, and the lid can be extended a little, making this a roomy option that easily swallows a day’s gear. Lobbing kit into the main compartment was easy and the back system doesn’t barrel, thanks to some metal stays. The big stretch wand pockets are ideal for shoving trekking poles into while the compression straps allow trekking poles to be held securely. You do get dedicated ‘pole tip grabbers’ on the front of the sack too. Some stretch material around the sides of the lid allow this to fit neatly. The external lid pocket opens well and easily takes standard maps and guidebooks. The lid can be removed for Alpine summit assaults, and it can be extended to allow the main compartment to be overfilled. In production this sack will appear with a webbing strap that links the lid to the body of the sack to prevent the lid from slipping forward. Our sample lacked this feature but it looks like it should prevent water creeping into the main compartment. In use this sack feels very comfortable and is very much the sort of sack you fill with gear, chuck on back and then forget about.

Capacity 50 litres
Materials Dyneema/Spantex on 210d nylon substrate, coated 3 times
Features sprung steel wire frame back system; Adaptive Fit hipbelt; one main compartment; floating lid; rope strap; compression straps; stretch wand pockets; external lid pocket; internal lid pocket; twin ice axe/pole attachment points; hydration system-compatible
Back sizes 46cm, 51cm (men’s); 41cm (women’s)
Weight 1200g (51cm back length); 1000g (stripped weight)
Made in Vietnam
Stores in the UK 75
Stockist details tel. (01539) 740840;  www.lowealpine.com

Verdict
The Lowe Alpine Zepton 50 has a durable yet lightweight design; back system fit and comfort; all essential features are provided. But other rucksacks are lighter or have features of benefit to particular users. In summary, functionality, durability and weight make it ideal for general hill use. It won the ‘Best in Test’ accolade in our test.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine April 2010