Lowe Alpine Escape Flight 36 Travel Backpack | Tested and reviewed

The lowe-down: how does Lowe Alpine's travel-specific Escape Flight stand up to long weekends in London, the bog-standard commute, and lugging stuff home from Lidl?

Lowe Alpine Escape Flight 36 possible feature image

by Fliss Freeborn |
Updated on

The Lowe Alpine Escape Flight 36 travel backpack is a more minimal take on a mid-sized travel pack than other offerings - but has its own spartan charm, with a simplified, comfortable carry and plenty of uninterrupted space for gear.

It works well for most types of travel, fitting well in overhead luggage racks on trains and buses - and it's especially good at adapting to commuting too. It’s roomy, carry-on compatible for most reasonable airlines and crucially, pretty lightweight for the price.


  • Very spacious
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to pack and unpack


  • Minimalist design may not suit everyone
  • Less comfortable with heavier loads

Features: straps, pockets, bells, whistles, buttons

This is a streamlined pack which is fairly minimal on built-in features, miles from the completely blinged-up Osprey Sojourn. Happily, you get a clamshell-style opening in the Lowe Alpine Escape Flight, which enables you to see everything you’ve packed at a glance - no rummaging around for forgotten bananas here.

Lowe Alpine Escape Flight 36 opening system

The main compartment has a jolly orange interior, a nice change from the dark hues which sometimes mean you find your socks still hiding in there three weeks later. A zip mesh pocket on the inner lid of the bag helps separate smaller items of clothing or anything you want to stay neatly folded, and internal luggage straps will help to keep anything else you need secured while in transit.

Pockets and compartments

Lowe Alpine Escape Flight 36 Inner full shot

The Escape Flight has just one major compartment, as described above, with a separate laptop sleeve at the back and a small valuables pocket accessed from the top. The valuables pocket is a good size for things like passports and jelly babies, but the laptop packet is positively cavernous.

You could fit every size of laptop into it (not a given as many brands seem to think MacBooks are the only thing people use these days) plus whatever documents, certificates or files you need to keep flat. It’s also nicely padded so you could possibly forgo your laptop case to save weight and bulk. The zips are lockable for both the main compartment and the laptop sleeve.

Mesh lid of Lowe Alpine Escape Flight 36 Bag

There is also a mesh water bottle pocket on the outside of the bag which does the job nicely as long as you’re not bending over too much and don’t have a ludicrously large hydration station. It happily fits a 1-litre Nalgene, but anything larger (i.e. those rum barrels that some people like to take to the gym) and you might be struggling.

Compression and strap storage

Lowe Alpine Escape Flight 36 strap system

There are two thin compression straps at the top of the bag, which cinch the load in as needed. However, these are probably much more useful when viewed as extra storage straps for bulky items like jackets and jumpers that you may be taking on and off as you meander your way through various departure halls which range from Mordor to Svalbard in terms of their ambient temperatures. Sure, the straps do cinch the bag down when there’s not much in it, but because there’s not evened out with a bottom set, the load can look and feel quite uneven when cinched.

Lowe Alpine Escape Flight 36 worn on a 6ft 2 person

The other party trick of the Escape Flight 36 is that the straps can be unclipped at the bottom and stored for transit, so the bag can be carried like a briefcase, using the well-built, substantial side pocket. This is useful for if you have to check the bag in, or carry it anywhere where straps might become an issue.

Back system: panel and harness

Lowe Alpine Escape Flight 36 back system

The majority of the Escape Flight’s bulk and weight is in the back panel, which is rigid and padded to cushion your darling laptop from any sort of bruising. It also gives the bag a good structure for packing, and means it can be stored quite easily because it slots into narrow spaces well when it’s empty.

The carrying system is minimalist - there is some amount of padding and mesh ventilation on the straps themselves, but the back panel is solid foam; nothing to keep the sweat from accumulating here. It’s comfortable enough though, and the chest strap helps take some of the strain - but for carrying loads heavier than 12kg over a long period of time (say, a city-break where you can’t check into your hostel before 3pm), I’d be wishing for hip straps and a little more of a technical back system.

Lowe Alpine Escape Flight 36 chilling on a park bench

Bear in mind, however, I am a small female for whom 12kg is a significant percentage of bodyweight - a larger male who also tested this backpack found no such issues with heavier loads, so it’s definitely up to you and what you usually cope with carrying.

Volume, shape, and weight

The relatively spartan strap and harness system is for a good reason: because the Escape Flight 36 comes in at just one kilogram. That’s excellently weighted for such a spacious but well-built bag, and means that when you’re carrying lighter loads - say just clothing and a travel towel - the pack feels barely there. It’s also useful if you’re taking it with you as part of a larger holiday where you need to store it; not only will it fit nicely into the bottom of a rigid suitcase, it’s also not going to take up much weight while it's in there.

closeup of Lowe Alpine Escape Flight 36

The pack itself also feels surprisingly roomy - mostly because there’s little else getting in the way of the capacious main compartment. Having such a large, uninterrupted space to play with feels slightly daunting  - there’s no specialised pocket for your toothbrush or Tamagotchi here, so packing cubes might be a real help if you’re looking to fit a lot in in an organised fashion.

It’s deliberately sized for the majority of carry-on limits for global airlines, but bear in mind that if you’re traveling with Easyjet or Ryanair and are only 5’2”, it’s going to look huge when you’re wearing it fully loaded and you’ll probably have to pay a little extra for it as a larger carry-on bag.

Value and sustainability

opening the Lowe Alpine Escape Flight 36

In terms of price, £100 for a backpack isn't crazy, but it's not cheap as chips either. But we think the Lowe Alpine Escape Flight 36 offers excellent value for such a versatile bag, and due to its good build quality, that £100 will see you through many years of usage.

Lowe Alpine, who come under the same company as Rab, have got pretty good sustainability and ethics credentials - they're a carbon neutral company who are leaders in the fair-wear movement. They're also keen on fixing and repurposing gear, which means you can send your stuff back to them to be repaired, rather than buying a new item. That's a big plus for us!


A great all-rounder for travel and commuting, and really good value for what it is: a well made bag at a decent weight.

How we tested this backpack

Lowe Alpine Escape Flight 36 in use at a train station

Our tester for the Lowe Alpine Escape Flight was Fliss Freeborn, a writer for LFTO. Fliss took the bag with her on a recent long weekend away in London, and it performed brilliantly as she schlepped all over the place eating her way round markets and staying on various friends’ floors. She has also tested it out on commutes and for grocery shopping in and around her home city of Glasgow.

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