The Aeon is a high-end pack for running, hiking, and traveling. The lightweight design manages weight well without sacrificing durability or comfort. Out of all the bags I have tested, it provides adequate scope to fit both water bottles and an extra layer on warmer days.
Lowe Alpine’s lightweight and flexible Aeon 22 & ND20 daypacks are the subjects of this review. Lowe Alpine is one of the most well-known and respected brands in the backpacking industry, and they just celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2022—so they must be doing something right. They’ve been pushing into the tourism sector in recent years despite their roots in mountaineering backpacks. They’ve also carried their knowledge with them.
Their usual fit pack is the Aeon 22, and their women’s fit is the ND20. Both bags are almost similar, with the exception that the ND20 is two liters smaller and has some minor modifications in the harness system that are tailored to a woman’s physique. Later on, in the “Aeon 22 Regular Fit versus ND20 Women’s Fit” section, we’ll go over all the finer points, but for now, we’ll call them both “Aeon.”According to the company, the Lowe Alpine Aeon is designed for the “multi-activity outdoor enthusiast,” according to the company. Long day treks, short trips to the local crag, or a day shredding trails on your XC mountain bike are all possibilities.” But, to be quite honest, we’re not interested in climbing mountains with this thing—at least, not for the sake of this review. Instead, this review will show whether this bag can be used as a daypack for your more significant one-bag travel page. That’s exactly what we’re looking for.
Is the Lowe Alpine Aeon worth the additional capacity in your pack over other daypacks we’ve examined, like as the Cotopaxi Batac and Tortuga Setout Packable Daypack? Let’s have a look.
Aesthetics & Materials
The Lowe Alpine Aeon has a rugged appearance, which is appropriate given its intended use. While this bag wouldn’t seem out of place in Portuguese towns like Porto and Lisbon, it appears to belong in rural Spain.
We favor more streamlined and basic urban packs here at Pack Hacker, but the Aeon’s overall look has been pleasing to us. We asked our Instagram followers what they thought of the pack’s design, and just under half responded they loved it. So… not the greatest outcome. (Quite a throng!)
We do polls like this all the time, so make sure you’re following @packhacker on Instagram if you want to be a part of the next one.
Anthracite (black), auburn (red), azure (blue), and greystone are the four colors offered for the Aeon 22. (gray). The ND20 is available in three colors: anthracite (black), lagoon (teal), and crimson wine (purple). The color palette is large and diverse, and we believe that at least one hue should appeal to your preferences. We chose the Aeon 22 in greystone and the ND20 in lagoon, and we couldn’t be happier with our decisions.
The way Lowe Alpine has branded the exterior of this pack is fantastic. The Lowe Alpine emblem is on the lid and shoulder strap, and the model name is on the front—which is helpful given the Aeon’s large number of bags. Finally, both exterior pockets have a Lowe Alpine emblem molded into the plastic of the zipper pulls. It’s pretty fantastic, and we like how inventive the branding is.
A 210D nylon is the principal material utilized. But this isn’t just any nylon, either. Lowe Alpine’s TriShield® coating has been applied to this nylon, which is a high-performance Silicone PU binding that boosts weather resistance, abrasion resistance, and rip strength by 200 percent! That’s some very cool stuff. This item isn’t going to tear, it’s not going to be scuffed up, and you won’t have to worry about it in the first place. This lightweight material has amazed us, and its endurance has been proven after three months of rigorous testing.
To finish, all buckles are Woojin, and all zips are YKK #5. Both are high-quality brands, and although we haven’t had the opportunity to thoroughly test Woojin buckles, they have a good reputation—they perform well and should continue to do so for a long time.
Regular Fit Aeon 22 vs. Women’s Fit Aeon ND20
Lowe Alpine’s standard fit pack is the Aeon 22, while the women’s fit is the Aeon ND20. It’s excellent to see such a prominent business manufacturing women’s gear, and Lowe Alpine’s website nicely summarizes their history of making women’s fit backpacks:
“In the 1970s, Greg Lowe produced the first-ever women’s fit packs, dubbed the ND series. We began a trend in the backpacking world by designing these packs to recognise that women are hikers, mountaineers, and climbers who deserve to have gear that suits them. Since then, we’ve been working to improve our women’s packs to ensure that they meet the physiological and anatomical needs of female backpackers. As a result, we have a 40-year track record of industry-leading research and an extensive field testing program. This has resulted in a collection of unrivaled women’s backpacks in terms of quality, style, and comfort.”
Aside from the 2 liter capacity difference, the ND20 varies from the Aeon 22 in four critical areas: back panel length, hip-belt, shoulder straps, and load distribution. Because women’s torsos are shorter than men’s, the back length of the ND20 is somewhat shorter, making it a perfect choice for teens! The hip belt and shoulder straps are likewise shorter and curved differently to fit a woman’s figure. Finally, the load distribution is changed such that the ND20’s weight is carried at the bottom of the pack—this is accomplished by making the ND20 slightly shorter, broader, and deeper than the conventional fit version.
Components from Outside
The Lowe Alpine Aeon has a lot going on on the outside, but we have to start with the harness system, since it provides one of the most comfortable carries we’ve ever had.
FlexionTM shoulder straps are ultra-thin and conform to your body flawlessly. We were hesitant about how comfy these straps might b given their thinness, but they’re fantastic. We’re not sure how this works—and the fact that it’s simply a daypack surely helps—but Lowe Alpine has clearly devoted a lot of time and effort into making these things as comfy as possible. Given their vast trekking experience, it seems obvious…The ultra-thin straps are also a plus when you’re packing the Aeon into more giant one-bag travel pacs since smaller straps mean the bag will take up less space.
Back sweat is unavoidable, but the Aeon will fight it for as long as it can—and just glancing at the “Air Contour” back panel, you can tell there’s some serious stuff going on here. This back panel is very well ventilated, body-hugging, and supportive, and its performance throughout testing has been outstanding.
The shoulder straps and back panel are even height-adjustable, allowing you to customize the fit to your liking. Between the rear of the pack and the back panel is a sleeve with a velcro connection mechanism that allows you to adjust it up and down. If that’s your thing, there’s even enough for a water bladder —with a little buckling loop to keep the hose tight.
The Lowe Alpine Aeon has a hip belt. The Lowe Alpine Aeon also has a hip belt, which isn’t unexpected given that this backpack is designed for climbing and mountain riding. With the already outstanding carry and the addition of the hip belt, you’ll be able to move about with comfort when carrying this pack. It’s a good hip belt with a compartment on either side for tiny things like keys, but it’s too small for phones and wallets.Also, the hip belt isn’t removable, which might result in hanging straps if you’re not using it, and it does add a little additional weight when putting this item within a bigger one-bag travel pack.
The load-lifter straps, which move the weight of the pack closer to your back, and an adjustable, detachable sternum strap round out the harness system. The shoulder straps include fabric loops to keep the load-lifter straps tight as well.
There are straps hanging all over the place on the front of the pack. This is acceptable given that this is more of an outdoory adventure backpack, and each strap has a purpose—you simply may not use them all the time.
Using the Multi-Lock ToolTM, the JOBY GorillaPod 3K was attached to the Lowe Alpine Aeon. First and foremost, each side of the pack has a Multi-Lock ToolTM. Then, there’s an adjustable cord loop at the top, and at the bottom, there’s a fabric loop and a round plastic connection point. As the name implies, this is a method for attaching a variety of objects to the exterior of your pack, such as an ice pick, walking poles, or a helmet. We didn’t use this too much, but it did serve as a convenient method to transport our JOBY GorillaPod 3K outdoors.
The Lowe Alpine Aeon has compression straps. This pack has two compression straps on each side. When you’re not carrying a lot of goods, these straps come in handy since they allow you to preserve a small profile while also limiting how much your belongings bounce about inside. Unfortunately, there is no mechanism in place to hold the straps in place, thus they hang about on the outside. The EVERGOODS MPL30 is an excellent example of a bag that effectively controls superfluous straps, and we would have liked to see a similar method here.
The Lowe Alpine Aeon has a water bottle pocket. Finally, two huge water bottle compartments are included, which are necessary for a more adventurous bag. The mesh pockets are quite elastic and deep enough to accommodate about any bottle size, which is fantastic. We love them and believe Lowe Alpine has nailed it with this essential component.
The Inside of the Pack
The Lowe Alpine Aeon includes two exterior pockets: a huge mesh compartment on the front and a quick-grab pocket on top. The front mesh pocket is elastic and holds a surprising number of stuff—we used it to store our headphones and snacks.
We chose the top compartment on the lid for our more critical quick-grab belongings, such as passports and wallets, since the zippered access is toward the rear.
Surprisingly, there is even another pocket in the pack’s cover. This is accessible by unbuckling the front and pulling the lid up to reveal a hidden zipper beneath. Again, this is a great pocket, and we’ve found ourselves using it more than we expected—it even comes with a keychain, which is a lovely touch.
An SOS panel may be found on the bottom of the lid. This is pretty useful considering the bag’s original use. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use them, but this diagram explains how to make hand signals, dial emergency phone numbers, and use the whistle on the front linked to the sternum strap to create sound signals. (It’s a good thing, too, since none of this was familiar to us!)
The Lowe Alpine Aeon has enough room for a 15-inch laptop with a case. Finally, the Lowe Alpine Aeon’s main compartment is simply a massive bucket in that you can pour a bunch of stuff. We like how this pack opens, and the drawstring has a helpful pull tab and —is efficient and straightforward to use. While there’s enough space inside for a 15-inch laptop, there’s no separate laptop compartment, which isn’t ideal. If you’re going to carry a computer, make sure it’s in a case.
Testing & Durability
This pack has been used in rural Spain, urban Portugal, and throughout the UK in the previous three months. This pack has shown to be really adaptable, and we believe it will perform well in a variety of settings.
The Lowe Alpine Aeon is a well-made pack that is meant to endure when it comes to durability. Apart from a little blemish on the front of the greystone Aeon 22, all components are solid and durable, and the materials show no wear and tear. It’s handled everything we’ve thrown at it so far, and we’re certain it will for a long time.
This pack is a little different from the normal daypacks we use on one-bag travels, but we’ve had a lot of fun with it. The Aeon is a true workhorse bag that performs a fantastic job. We found it took up a bit more room than we’d prefer in our bigger one-bag travel pack, but the advantages of having a more robust daypack on vacations made it worthwhile.
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