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Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > Lowe Alpine Nanon 50 60 Pack > Test Report by Hollis Easter

Lowe Alpine Nanon 50:60 Pack
Test Series by Hollis Easter

Initial Report - 18 September 2009
Field Report - 24 November 2009
Long-Term Report - 26 January 2010

The Nanon 50:60 is a lightweight pack designed by Lowe Alpine. It holds 50 to 60 liters of gear.

Quick navigation links:
Lowe Alpine Nanon

Reviewer Information:

Name: Hollis Easter
Age: 28
Gender: Male
Height: 6'0" (1.8 m)
Weight: 205 lb (93 kg)
Email address: backpackgeartest[a@t)holliseaster(dah.t]com
City, State, Country: Potsdam, New York, USA
Backpacking Background: I started hiking as a child in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. As a teenager, I hiked my way to an Eagle Scout award. I love winter climbing, and long days through rough terrain abound. The peaks have become my year-round friends. I also love climbing rock and ice.

I am a midweight backpacker: I don't carry unnecessary gear, but neither do I cut the edges from my maps. I hike in all seasons, at altitudes from sea level to 5,300 ft (1,600 m), and in temperatures from -30 F (-34 C) to 100 F (38 C).

Product Information:

Side view
Side view

Manufacturer: Lowe Alpine
Year of manufacture: 2009
URL: www.lowealpine.com
Listed weight: 3 lbs 0 oz (1.36 kg)
Actual weight: 3 lbs 0.6 oz (1.375 kg)
Listed volume: 3,000 to 3,600 in3 (50 to 60 liters)
Recommended load: 22 to 33 lbs (10 to 15 kg)
Size: Regular (also available in XL for longer torsos)
Color: Dark Pear (also available in Ochre and Dark Aqua)
MSRP: not listed

Product features (from manufacturer materials):

  • Designed for "those people who want lighter packs but also want functional features that help to organize their loads during the trek."
  • Super lightweight pack that still carries well
  • Lightweight but durable Dyneema fabric body
  • Lightweight Centro adjustable back for maximum comfort from a precise fit
  • Lightweight version of AdaptiveFit hipbelt ensuring maximum comfort
  • 10mm webbing straps reduce weight with no loss of function
  • Airflow mesh in back panel reduces moisture build up
  • Front compression pocket for wet gear or additional quick access items
  • External lashing points
  • Large stretch side pockets
  • Key clip
  • Lid lash points
  • SOS panel
  • Secure internal lid pocket
  • Unique walking pole tip grabbers for secure storage
  • Reflective logos
  • Hydration pocket
  • Ventilating harness
  • Hipbelt pockets
  • Extendable lid
  • Also available in women's-specific "ND" version

Initial Report - 18 September 2009:

Shoulder harness
Shoulder harness

Preamble:

I've been a Lowe Alpine man for much of my recent hiking life: I bought myself a Lowe Alpine Cholatse 35 back when I started getting into winter climbing, and the Lowe Alpine TFX Summit 65+15 was one of my first tests here at BackpackGearTest.org. Both are rock-solid, bombproof, comfortable packs, and they've always been my favorite tools for anything but the really gear-intensive winter backpacking trips. Just as certain brands of boots tend to fit particular kinds of feet, some brands of packs fit certain bodies better than others: I think I have a Lowe Alpine back.

So I was very excited to get the chance to test one of Lowe Alpine's newest ventures: the Nanon 50:60 pack. There's a common complaint about Lowe Alpine packs: they're bombproof, but they're also heavy. The Nanon (and its stripped-down sister, the Zepton) are Lowe Alpine's answer: lightweight packs that are still designed to offer that Lowe Alpine durability and comfort. Neither was yet available in stores as of September 18, 2009; our information about them came from a pre-release PDF from Lowe Alpine.

Description:

My Nanon is the Dark Pear color, which strikes me as a relatively light green. Most of the pack is made with a Dyneema grid-patterned fabric, though there's also some green nylon taffeta in the extension/spindrift collar, and the pockets feature a mix of stretchy green fabric and a stiffened reinforcement material that seems to be some form of nylon laminate. Dyneema is an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fiber, extremely strong and resistant to stretching, and used frequently in rock climbing. It's very light.

Hipbelt pockets and AdaptiveFit features

Before I delve into describing the whole pack, I'd like to give an overview since there's a lot to talk about. The pack is basically a top-loading rucksack with a large extension collar and a lid with two pockets. The sides of the pack both feature stretchy pockets, and there's a "shove-it" pocket on the front of the pack for holding quick-access gear. The harness is light but padded, and features adjustable torso length and hipbelt pockets.

Let's start with the harness system, since I check the harness for comfort before I even look at the rest of a pack. The Nanon features Lowe Alpine's Torso Fit Centro system, which offers adjustable torso length through a single strap adjustment hidden inside the backpanel. For the Nanon, I simply reach around the edges of the lumbar pad, unstick some hook-and-loop fasteners, then fold the lumbar pad out of the way. Inside, there's a ladderlock plastic buckle and a piece of webbing running up to the shoulder yoke. The strap has colored marks every inch (2.54 cm) corresponding to the colors on Lowe Alpine's pack size guides (available at many outdoor outfitting shops). This makes it very easy for me to adjust the pack, even without the sizing guide: I try on the pack, see how it fits, then make small adjustments—these are easy to estimate because of the colored marks. Afterwards, it's simple to tuck the lumbar pad back into place, and I have a pack whose torso length is perfectly sized for my body.

Torso Fit Centro adjustment system
Torso Fit Centro adjustment system

A word about shoulder yokes: the Nanon's shoulder straps run parallel to each other and are not joined in the middle. This is wonderful news to me, since I've seen more and more manufacturers moving toward joined yokes where the straps connect in a graceful curve. Those packs are beautiful; they also abrade and then cut the skin over my C7 vertebra, which is extremely uncomfortable. So I rejoiced when I saw that Lowe Alpine had chosen to stick with the older parallel-straps model.

Side view with access zipper
Side view with access zipper

The Nanon's shoulder straps are a bit narrower than I'm used to, but they seem comfortable enough. They're made of a white foam encased in a see-through mesh fabric. To save weight, there are numerous cutouts in the foam. The straps are flexible without being flimsy. The straps connect using a standard sternum strap that can be adjusted up-and-down using a fairly common rail system. Each strap has a pair of elastic straps running sideways, presumably to allow me to attach my hydration tube, altimeter, or other small items. I would prefer a more solid attachment for the altimeter, but we'll see.

The shoulder straps are tensioned with webbing that's significantly narrower than the standard sizes. Given that fairly thin nylon webbing can easily hold a car, I'm not too concerned about strength, and I'm glad to have the reduced weight. The shoulder harness also features adjustable load lifter straps at the top, used to pull the pack in toward my body.

The hipbelt is genius. Seriously, I've been wanting someone to design a belt like this for years. Standard hipbelts rarely fit me very well, because the slope of my hips is wrong. Many packs have rigid hipbelts that chafe, cut my hips, or slide around. The Nanon features a pair of simple refinements that give me a lot of hope for the future. First, the padding on the belt is asymmetrical. There's a wedge of foam near the top of the belt, and this wedge locks in atop my hip bones. That keeps the belt comfortably positioned without needing to be incredibly tight. In my initial testing, it's really comfortable.

The second innovation is this: the hipbelt is only firmly attached at the bottom of the belt. The upper section of the belt is connected by a pulley system to the the pack body. This has the net effect of allowing a firm connection around my hips while letting the hipbelt pivot to follow the curves of my hip. I put a lot of weight in the pack (more than its rated capacity) to test it, and I found the hipbelt comfortable even when the shoulder straps were taking no weight. I think this is Lowe Alpine's AdaptiveFit system, and I'm really excited to hike with it. The hipbelt also has a pulley system that allows me to tighten it by pulling forward rather than to the sides; it's very comfortable.

Lid pocket with insets
Lid pocket (insets: key clip and SOS panel)

A pair of straps runs from the pack body to the outside of the hipbelt, allowing me to cinch the base of the pack closer to my waist. There's also a pocket on each side of the hipbelt, zippered and big enough to hold my compass, lip balm, granola bar, etc. I've found the zippers a bit difficult to manage: they like to get themselves stuck in the fully-open position. We'll see whether time and use loosen them up. So far, I haven't seen any issues with my hands hitting the pockets while walking.

Throughout the Nanon's design, Lowe Alpine has reduced weight by choosing lighter components. All of the buckles are a "skeleton" design that omits unnecessary plastic while (I hope) remaining durable. We'll see. Also, most of the straps are quite narrow—which permits narrower buckles, saving weight again.

Although the Nanon is lightweight, it still offers a full suspension and frame system. The frame is a plastic back panel stiffened with a removable metal stay. I don't intend to remove the stay, but it's long enough to use for an emergency splint (with substantial padding) if I weren't carrying a SAM splint. The back panel is covered with a 3D mesh that Lowe Alpine claims will keep my back cool while hiking.

Although it's a relatively simple design, the Nanon offers a lot of choices for stashing gear. The main pack bag is similar to the classic top-loading rucksack, but there's a small zipper on the wearer's left, which grants access to the main cargo area without undoing any buckles. There are two pockets in the lid, a pair of stretchy pockets on the sides of the pack, a shove-it cargo pocket on the front of the pack, and a zippered pocket within that cargo pocket. Lots of options.

The two lid pockets are both zippered, and I found that the zippers were both easy to use. The zipper pulls are large enough that I can easily grasp them, and the zippers are long enough that I can put things into the pockets without much trouble. The inside pocket was large enough to hold my first aid kit, headlamp, fire starters, and a few other things; the top pocket easily held a topo map, my GPS, some snacks, and a small dry bag of assorted gear. I like it when the pockets on a pack are big enough to hold maps without folding. The top pocket also features a key clip, which is nice for preventing where-are-the-keys anxiety at the end of the trip. The "SOS panel" mentioned in Lowe Alpine's description is actually a diagram screen-printed onto the inside of the lid, showing distress signals and emergency numbers for many places around the world.

Trekking pole tip grabbers
Trekking pole tip grabbers

The side stretch pockets are an interesting addition, and I don't yet know how I'll use them. When I had the pack fully loaded, I worried that it would strain the stretch fabric to stuff a water bottle in there; we'll see. The side compression straps run over the top of the stretch pockets, and help keep items from falling out.

The front cargo pocket (what I'm calling a "shove-it" pocket) intrigues me. It's a feature I've never had before, and I'm waiting to see what I think. The pocket is easily big enough to hold my rain jacket and the tarp for my hammock, and I suspect that I'll carry those items in it. There's also a zippered pocket inside the shove-it pocket's flap; unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to get anything into this pocket when the pack is fully-loaded. It would have been more useful (for the sewers in my audience) if Lowe Alpine had built it as a cargo or welt pocket rather than a patch pocket. In any case, the whole thing cinches down with the pack's compression straps, which keeps items from falling out of the shove-it pocket.

Within the main pack bag, there's an elastic pocket for holding my hydration bladder, with a port connecting to the outside. I was pleased to see that the port easily accommodated the bite valve and cover from my Platypus Insulator system, which is my winter hydration system of choice.

The pack has an unusual set of plastic "tip grabbers" for trekking poles, which Lowe Alpine claims will allow me to store my poles securely. We'll see. The "tip grabbers" live on a pair of straps which double as ice axe loops; both a secured at the top using a standard clip system.

There's a rope compressor at the top of the pack, which is basically a strap used to carry a rope atop the spindrift collar. Simple but effective. While I'm mentioning the collar, I'll point out that there's plenty of room in the extension collar: enough to cinch it down with either of two drawcords, or twist it to prevent snow from getting in. I don't plan to bivouac with this pack, but I can get both of my (US size 13) feet into the pack, and the collar extends up to the middle of my thighs. It wouldn't be comfortable, but it might make enough of a difference to help me survive. (I never used to think about this sort of thing before I got into winter climbing. Hmm.)

In a departure from Lowe Alpine's previous tradition, there is no rain cover included with this pack.

Summary:

So far, the Nanon 50:60 looks like a highly adjustable lightweight pack with a lot to recommend it. It fits me well, offers flexible packing without too many bells and whistles, and holds my gear without too much fuss. I can't wait to get out into the woods with it!

Front pockets
Front pockets

Field Report - 24 November 2009:

During this period, I used the Nanon for four days of hiking in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. So far, I love the Nanon. There are a few things I wish were different, but I am very satisfied!

Field Conditions:

Nanon in use
(the fabric that rests
against my back is a black color,
which makes it look like the pack is
poorly adjusted even though it isn't.)

September 12-14, 2009: Duck Hole and Mountain Pond

Temperature:Wind:Elevation:
40 F (4 C) to 70 F (21 C) up to 15 mph (24 kph) around 1,500 ft (460 m)

A friend and I hiked along long-disused lumber roads from Coreys Road to Duck Hole, one of the wildest places in the Adirondack park. In many places, the trail sees so little foot traffic as to be almost indistinguishable from the surrounding forest, and it took some skill to remain on the right path. I was surprised to see how quickly the forest has filled in this once-busy corridor.

At Duck Hole, we spent a very enjoyable evening listening to the resident chorus of loons. It began to rain overnight, and we waited out the morning rain inside a lean-to while listening to the loons. We returned by the same route and camped near Mountain Pond before heading to the airport on the morning of the 14th. Total distance hiked was about 23 miles (37 km). The second night was clear and starry, and therefore quite cold.

October 31, 2009: Hurricane Mtn

Temperature:Wind:Elevation:
45 F (7 C) gusts to 54.1 mph (87.1 kph) 3,694 ft (1,126 m)

Several friends and I made the 1,600 ft (488 m) climb to Hurricane Mtn in the eastern Adirondack Mountains to celebrate Halloween. We'd planned to wear costumes for the event (and had, actually, intended to climb a different peak) but the weather forecast made us select a less-exposed route. On the summit, I measured sustained winds that approached 50 mph (80 kph), which was neat: when I jumped into the air, I would land a couple of feet away from where I began. Total distance was about 6 miles (10 km).

Commentary:

Lean-to near Duck Hole
Lean-to near Duck Hole

I've used Lowe Alpine packs for years because they fit me well, and the Nanon is no exception. If I had to write a review consisting of a single word, I would choose "comfort". I just love the way the Nanon carries, and it's been a joy to use it.

I thought I'd start by giving a run-down on my current packing methods, since they form the basis of my comments.

I open the main pocket of the Nanon and slip my Platypus 3 liter hydration bladder into the hydration sleeve, and I run the drinking tube out through the slot. I roll up my closed-cell foam sleeping pad (torso-length, since I use it under my legs and feet), place it into the pack, and then allow it to unroll. This lines the pack, keeping the contents protected from the weather, and it also gives the pack some structure.

Into the space thus created, I place my rolled-up Warbonnet Blackbird hammock, then some clothes, then my Jetboil Flash stove, fuel, sleeping quilt, hammock underquilt, and food. If I think I'm going to need to refill my bladder during the day, I just lay it on top of the items in the main pack, rather than using the dedicated sleeve.

Once filled and cinched down, that makes a pretty solid, comfortable mass in the pack. I put my tarp and raincoat into the shove-it pocket on the front, which makes them easy to access in wet weather. I also stashed my gaiters in there when I wasn't wearing them. The shove-it pocket seals down pretty well as long as the main pack is full.

Into the front pocket, just outside the shove-it pocket, I put a bit of food. I don't want anything heavy in there since there's quite a bit of leverage (it's a long way from my back), so I use it to hold my emergency snacks. Since I'm hypoglycemic, I try to make sure that my hiking partners always know where I have a stash of energy foods.

I use the lid pockets for small items that need to be kept in a corral: toiletries, sunglasses, snacks, and maps. Things like my firesteel, mUV ultraviolet water purifier, and MP3 player go into the zippered pocket inside the top pocket. I fill the bigger zippered pocket (the one that's on the "bottom" of the lid) with my first aid kit, headlamp, bag of emergency tinder, spare parachute cord, and the like.

I've been getting used to the hipbelt pockets, and I think I like them. They're pretty small, and the zippers tend to stick when I open and close them (which means I need two hands; difficult while using trekking poles), but they're handy for small items. I can fit a single granola bar into the right-hand one, and that's what I do. I tied my compass's lanyard to the left pocket's zipper pull, and I store the compass in that pocket. This makes it really simple to pull out the compass, shoot a bearing, and stow it again. I like it! I do wish the pockets were larger, though.

The hipbelt is genius. It is completely comfortable, and I am thrilled by it. The little wedge of foam keeps the belt locked into my hips, and I've experienced no chafing or pain so far.

A few small things: the fabric of the pack is water-resistant, not waterproof. This hasn't been a big problem, but it's something I noticed. I'll probably invest in an aftermarket pack cover. I will say that the fabric seems very durable so far—I can't see any visible wear despite the bushwhacking on the way to Duck Hole.

I'm a bit perplexed by the strap lengths Lowe Alpine has chosen. The main straps that hold the lid on are stretched pretty tight when the pack is fully loaded; an extra bit of length would be welcome here. However, the load lifter straps are long enough that they could be quite a bit shorter without any loss of function.

The trekking pole attachments held my poles very securely, and I didn't notice them bouncing around. Although the poles extend well below the bottom of the pack when stowed, they don't seem to catch on brush as I pass by. I'm somewhat surprised by this, but it seems to be true.

I wish there were some hard (non-elastic) attachment points on the shoulder straps. I like to hang my altimeter from the left shoulder strap, and I worry about it getting lost if I hang it on the elastic loop there. I realize that this is probably just a psychological thing, but it's a powerful one.

One final fly in the ointment: the Nanon doesn't work very well for lightly-equipped day trips. I found, on Hurricane, that the contents of my pack tended to shift around even though the pack was fully cinched down. On flat ground, that might be a mere annoyance, but it made the wet and rocky descent of Hurricane's trail a bit more exciting than I might have wished. So, in future, I'll either pack more or use a different backpack on light trips.

Summary:

I'm in love with the Nanon. It's been extremely comfortable with total weights up to 35 pounds (16 kg), and it's simple to adjust while I'm walking. The shoulder harness is very nice, and the hipbelt is outstanding. Durability has been good so far, and the pack feels pretty stable while I'm hiking. I would buy a new one if mine got lost, and I've suggested the model to my local outdoors store.

With friends on Hurricane
With friends on Hurricane

Long-Term Report - 26 January 2010:

During this period, I wore the Nanon on six hiking days, all of which took place within the Adirondack Mountains of New York. With a few small caveats, I am still in love with the pack. It fits well, carries comfortably, holds a lot of gear, and feels nearly weightless. It is highly durable, and I plan to continue using it well beyond the end of the test.

Standing atop Rocky Peak Ridge
Standing atop Rocky Peak Ridge

Field Conditions:

November 29, 2009: Lyon Mtn and Catamount Mtn

Temperature:Wind:Elevation:
35 F (2 C) up to 15 mph (24 kph) 3,820 ft (1,164 m) and 3,168 ft (966 m)

Two friends and I set out for an early-winter warmup on two northern peaks in the Adirondacks. We did a loop climb of the new and old trails on Lyon Mountain, for a total distance of approximately 9 miles (15 km). We then proceeded to Catamount, a smaller peak that blends hiking and scrambling. We made it through the rock chimney and over some exposed rock, but we were stymied by verglas on the upper summit. We decided that discretion was the better part of valor and, tails between our legs, retreated. We'll be back. Total distance on Catamount was approximately 4 miles (6 km).

December 6, 2009: Mount Arab and Mount Morris

Temperature:Wind:Elevation:
10 F (-12 C) up to 21 mph (34 kph) 2,545 ft (776 m) and ~3,200 ft (~975 m)

We ran up Mount Arab to warm up for the day's exploration of the disused ski slopes on the flanks of Mount Morris, one of the higher peaks in the northwestern Adirondacks. Standing on the summit, I looked out at Santanoni Peak and remembered the life of my friend, Dan Wills, who had died in a plane crash on Santanoni a few weeks before. It felt right to honor his memory from a mountaintop. Total distance was about 8 miles (13 km).

December 19, 2009: Cascade and Porter Mtns

Temperature:Wind:Elevation:
5 F (-15 C) to -19 F (-29 C) up to 22 mph (35 kph) 4,098 ft (1,249 m) and 4,059 ft (1,237 m)

We celebrated the last weekend before official winter climbing season with a trip up some of the easier High Peaks. The temperature on the summit was amply cold to furnish icicles in my new beard. We saw lots of people and had some gorgeous views! Total distance was around 7 miles (11 km).

December 21, 2009: Ice climbing at Azure Mtn

Temperature:Wind:Elevation:
0 F (-18 C) up to 15 mph (24 kph) not relevant

A friend and I went to scope out the early-season ice on the south flanks of Azure Mountain, our favorite local ice-climbing venue. Conditions were thin but climbable; we had a great time. Total distance was about 2 miles (3 km).

December 31, 2009: Cross-country skiing at Clarkson University

Temperature:Wind:Elevation:
32 F (0 C) none not relevant

My first day of cross-country skiing in 15 years was a blast, if a trifle awkward. We did some moonlit skiing, for a total distance of about 2 miles (3 km).

January 9, 2010: Rocky Peak Ridge and Giant Peak

Temperature:Wind:Elevation:
5 F (-15 C) up to 20 mph (32 kph) 4,420 ft (1,347 m) and 4,627 ft (1,411 m)

We ascended two gorgeous High Peaks on one of the first clear days this winter. Both peaks are steep, and we ascended them via the steep Zander Scott trail. Ice bulges in the deep col between the peaks made us glad for the ice axes we brought. On the summits, we had clear views of hundreds of peaks in New York, Vermont, Ontario, and Quebec. What a stunning day!

Commentary:

Nanon in lidless mode
Nanon in lidless mode

During the Field Report phase, I was concerned about the way that small loads sometimes sloshed around inside the pack. I reasoned that it might help to remove the top lid, so I took it off. I climbed Arab, Morris, Porter, and Cascade Mountains with the pack in lidless mode in order to have some meaningful field experience to share.

With the pack in lidless mode, I use the spindrift collar like the collar of a dry bag: cinch it tight, roll it up tightly, then strap it down to the body of the pack. I found that this was a relatively effective way of closing the pack, and it certainly kept snow out.

Without the lid, the pack suffers from organization issues: fewer pockets means diminished organization. That's to be expected, and it's easy to fix, but it's worth pointing out.

Those caveats aside, the pack works beautifully without its top lid. It also takes on a slightly more squat profile, which is somewhat less likely to catch on overhanging branches while bushwhacking. I enjoyed using the pack in lidless mode, but I eventually switched back to using the lid both because I value the organizational convenience and because winter arrived, giving me reason to carry more gear in the pack's body.

I love the key clip in the lid pocket! The rotating ball-and-socket joint charms me every time I use it. I wish the clip were easier to open with gloves on, but I can't have everything. The clip is also conveniently placed near the lid zipper, which means I can lock my car while the key is already clipped in. This helps prevent brain-dead car problems during those 5 a.m. starts.

It can be hard to load the front pocket when the pack is full, and that still irritates me. I would recommend that Lowe Alpine consider making the front pocket with bellows construction so it could expand. This is a small point, though.

I still haven't fully figured out the reason for the different extensions on the ice axe loops. The ladderlock buckles allow me to change the length of the trekking pole loops, but I can't see any other purpose for them. I am still waiting for enlightenment here. I don't generally use the side elastic pockets--even though they hold items very securely, I get nervous and worry that my gear will fall out. For me, it isn't worth the psychological hassle. Let me point out that this is entirely a mental problem for me: the pockets work just fine, and I don't blame Lowe Alpine for my psychological problems. (I'm sure they're glad to hear that!)

I wanted more secure storage possibilities on the shoulder harness, so I got a Simblissity Unslack Pack to hang from the shoulder strap. This is an aftermarket pocket (previously tested by BackpackGearTest.org) that attaches to the shoulder strap. It holds my altimeter, weather monitor, GPS if carried, and an energy bar. I was unhappy with the elastic gear loops on the front of the shoulder straps, which prompted my purchase of the add-on pocket. I would recommend that Lowe Alpine consider adding a hard mount point or two onto the shoulder straps. A plastic D-ring would be fine.

I wish it were easier to attach snowshoes to the pack, but I have jerry-rigged a solution with cordage. Still, it would be nice if Lowe Alpine would make the side compression straps long enough to hold snowshoes and then put side-release buckles on them.

I finally found something I really dislike about the Nanon when used as a hiking pack: the ice axe attachments. The pack uses the standard bottom loop/top elastic combination, but the two attachment points aren't aligned vertically. This is fine—beneficial, even—when I'm carrying my Petzl Quark ice tools, since their curved shafts fit perfectly. However, when I'm carrying a standard mountaineering axe, the shaft and point of the axe extend horizontally well beyond my shoulders. In practical terms, that means that the axe snags every time I need to duck beneath a fallen tree or low branch. In Adirondack hiking, I do that often—at least twice a minute during much of the Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge trip. I had to pause to free the axe each time, which became very frustrating.

I recommend that Lowe Alpine re-align the upper axe attachments to be closer to the pack's center line. That would bring the axe shaft into line behind my head, which would keep it from getting snagged as often.

Otherwise, I still adore the pack. It is light, capacious, and fairly durable, although I note some peeling of the rubberized coating on part of the hipbelt. I am not concerned since the underlying webbing is sound. Otherwise, the pack looks brand new. The fabric seems to be self-cleaning: I know I've gotten mud on the pack repeatedly, and I have never washed it, but I can't find any traces of the mud anywhere.

Summary:

Minor carping aside, I love the pack. The Nanon 50:60 is one of the best, most comfortable packs I have ever worn. I find it very suitable for lightweight backpacking, ice climbing, and winter day hiking; it is also adequate for light summer day hiking. Although the pack is very lightweight, it is beefy and strong, and seems very durable. I have packs half its size that weigh just as much.

The harness fits me so well that loads seem to disappear—there are times when I'd swear the designers at Lowe Alpine stuck antigravity pods into this thing. Any lightweight pack will have design compromises, as I've detailed above, but it seems like Lowe Alpine has found the sweet spot here. The Nanon is tough, versatile, and delightful to carry. Although the test period has now ended, my pack stands ready: already loaded for the next adventure.

Further!
Further!

Likes:Dislikes:
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable harness
  • Non-joined shoulder straps
  • Hydration port is large enough for my winter system
  • Shove-it pocket
  • Pretty color
  • Large spindrift collar
  • Works very comfortably for winter day trips
  • Works well in lidless mode
  • Hipbelt pocket zippers can stick open
  • Lack of hard attachment points on shoulder straps
  • Zippered front pocket is hard to load with full pack
  • Hard to compress pack and use it for significantly smaller loads
  • Ice axe attachments tilt outward

I thank BackpackGearTest.org and Lowe Alpine for allowing me to test the Nanon 50:60 pack. It's fantastic!



Read more reviews of Lowe Alpine gear
Read more gear reviews by Hollis Easter

Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > Lowe Alpine Nanon 50 60 Pack > Test Report by Hollis Easter



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