Gear editor Chris Townsend reviews the lightest rucksacks between 45 litres and 60 litres designed for backpacking. On test Lowe Alpine Eclipse 45:55 backpack


Just fitting into the lightweight category and being just big enough for backpacking the Lowe Alpine Eclipse is a good pack for overnight trips and for day use in winter but I wouldn’t choose if for multi-day trips both due to the capacity and also the comfort with heavier loads. It’s fine with 12kg but the thin flexible hipbelt won’t comfortably handle much more. Lowe Alpine says it’s for 11-16kg but I think that’s pushing it. Even on a pack this size I’d prefer a bigger more solid belt. The frame system transfers the weight okay and the mix of mesh and cutaway foam reduces sweat build-up so it’s a comfortable carry.

Unusually in a pack this size the Eclipse has a long side zip as well as a lid so access is good.  I’d make sure nothing water sensitive lies just inside the side zip though as it is a potential leak point. There is a pack cover in the base but with that in place you can’t use the zip of course. In a pack this size I’d rather save a little weight and not have the side zip. There are plenty of roomy pockets and attachment straps so organising gear and attaching items is easy.

Overview

  • : 1 out of 5
  • Overall: 4 out of 5

Pros: pockets, price

Cons: skimpy hipbelt

  • Capacity: 45 litres, 55 with extension
  • Materials: Trishield ripstop nylon
  • Closures: detachable lid with twin buckles, side zip
  • Compartments: One
  • Back: wire frame, foam pad, mesh
  • Sizes: One
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