Lowe Alpine Axiom Cerro Torre rucksack

Lowe Alpine Axiom Cerro Torre rucksack

A well thought-out women's pack for long weekend treks

From a neat 60l up to a whopping 80l, there's lots of space to play with and fill in this rucksack. It's full of useful features but not over-fussy. But pink - really?

Our pros and cons...
  • Simple but effective features
  • Easily-adjustable once you get the hang of it
  • Great access points to all parts of the pack
  • Ditch the pink, please!
  • Larger capacity option for men's Cerro Torre
  • Very stiff to begin with but softens after wear

The American Lowe brothers were innovators of their time. Greg Lowe designed the first ever pack with an internal frame, the first adjustable back and the first plastic buckle used on a modern day backpack - all integral to the rucksacks that we use today.

Lowe Alpine was sold to a UK company in the 1980s, but straddled the Atlantic for a while - the brothers continued to design packs, clothing and equipment. Now totally based in the UK, innovation is still at the forefront of Lowe Alpine, a brand widely respected in the industry.

The Cerro Torre, the largest of the women's packs, is a staple of the brand's range and has now been updated to include the Axiom back system enabling the wearer to fully adjust the pack to fit them perfectly.
 

Clearly not a pink person - Jo testing the Lowe Alpine women's Cerro Torre pack
Jo testing the Cerro Torre

 

 

 

First impressions

Pink, oh no! A great-looking pack but why do manufacturers think women want pink on all outdoor kit. There are many other good, more neutral colours like blue, green, yellow, red, purple but please, no more pink! Personally I avoid pink on my outdoor kit at all costs!

The pack was easy to load up with three days worth of kit for a wintry walk up to Pico Aneto in the Pyrenees, including ice axe and crampons, and was fully tested over two trips.

The pack was easy to load up with three days worth of kit for a wintry walk up to Pico Aneto in the Pyrenees, including ice axe and crampons, and was fully tested over two trips.

Comfort

Initial feel - loaded with expedition essentials the pack weighed between 12-14kg and felt very stiff to begin with. The pack is solidly built and took a while to soften up and mold around my body so felt a little uncomfortable to begin with. 

After wearing the pack for six days the waist belt had molded and the shoulder straps had softened enough to be much more comfortable. I'm sure after more wear it will only become more comfortable.
 
Jo giving the pack a thorough testing in the Pyrenees
Women's Lowe Alpine Cerro Torre

Design

An easy pack to use - simple but with some good features. For example, the front straps of the pack can be taken off when not needed, the rain cover is stowed out of the way and the waist belt pockets fit a camera and snacks. I really liked the addition of the removable hydration pack sleeve which is easy to use, easy to take out and use separately - a bonus for the pack.

Axiom back system

A little fiddly to use to begin with. I found it easier to adjust the pack when it was on the ground than on me. However, it was great to have the option for adjustment in more than one dimension, which made a lot of difference to the feel and fit of the pack.
 
I'm sure that headband is pink, Jo!
Jo testing the Cerro Torre

Rotating hip belt

This is a great addition to the pack and only found on a couple of other similar packs by other manufacturers. The pack moves easily with your body movement without putting you off balance when climbing up steep slopes or scrambling.

Durability

With dual haul loops front and back, a great addition, you can really throw this pack around. The fabric is strong as are the straps and buckles, which feel that they are up to the job and are easy and not fiddly to use. The pack is a little weighty, nothing major for its class, but the added weight is offset by the quality of the pack.

Cerro Torre on test

Accessibility

A good number of packs in this class have side access points allowing you to get to your kit in the main body of the pack without having to open the lid. This pack goes one step further with the U-shaped zip, which opens up the whole front of the pack allowing greater access. The zips have large pulls - the same on the bottom access section to the pack, so much easier to use with thick gloves on.

Overall look

A neat pack that holds it's own out on the hill. One of my clients tried it out for a day and was impressed with its structure and features. Not totally impressed by the pink bits though!

Cerro Torre

Things I would change

I prefer to have a side opening for the pockets at the side of the pack as well as a top opening, much easier for putting a water bottle back when you have the pack on your back. I also moved the rear straps for the top lid so that when the pack is not full, the lid does not fall forward onto the front of the pack but stays more on top, making opening the lid zip easier when the pack is on. These are the only two things that I would amend/change on this well-designed pack.

Summary

Overall a great pack for its size and price (£170). Easily-adjustable and, once the pack's waist belt and shoulder straps had softened, it became much more comfortable for long days out on the hill. It is a shame that the pack doesn't come in a larger size capacity, as in the Men's version, so that the main body is more roomy and you aren't filling the top section over your head when you need the extra 20l capacity.

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Our overall rating - 8/10
                   
Quality - 8/10
                   
Value - 7/10
                   
Performance - 8/10
                   
Appearance - 6/10
                   
Size - 7/10
Suitable for activities:
  • Hill walking
  • Mountaineering
  • Walking
  • Trekking