High Gear: Lowe Alpine Diran 65 mountaineering pack review | SummitDaily.com

High Gear: Lowe Alpine Diran 65 mountaineering pack review

Fritz Sperry
High Gear

For the last two seasons, I've been using the Lowe Alpine Diran 65 pack for overnights and traverses. Whether I'm carrying skis and overnight kits — be it solo, bivy gear or tents — this pack succeeds.

All-season weapon

Lugging that much weight demands a good suspension system. It needs to adjust well for differing loads, i.e., skis (on or off) and multi-night provisions, as well as a sleeping bag and pad. Since I was using it for skiing and didn't want to deal with the extra weight of a daypack, it had to compress down to a smaller ski pack. It compresses well, which also makes it suffice for base camping and day hiking or climbing.

On-the-fly adjustments

The Axiom suspension system is a semi-free floating, adjustable harness. Super-adjustable is more like it: When you have 65 pounds on your back, being able to make subtle changes on the fly is great. The shoulder-strap height in relation to the waist belt is an off-the-back adjustment — you have to remove the pack to fine-tune things — but it's a sliding system, so you can get it just right.

Minor miscues

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I wish the Diran had bigger waist pockets and maybe loops for climbing gear, too, but you can find clip-on pockets for the belt at most mountain shops. The water pouch pocket could also be a little bigger — I like to go through three liters before pumping more water and there's no hole for a reservoir tube. (That said, running it out of the top works just fine.) The shoulder strap does have a loop to keep a reservoir hose in place.

There is an ice axe loop, but only one. Perhaps you would want two for winter and glacier camping, when you need a second tool for ice climbing, but the trekking pole carrier can be rigged to accommodate a second tool if you had to go that route.

The bottom line

My Lowe Alpine Diran has taken a lot of abuse and stood up to the test. I highly recommend this pack if you're looking for a pack large enough to accommodate skis on longer trips but versatile enough to double as a day pack in the field.

Lowe Alpine Diran 65 — $189

Type: Backpacking, trekking

Suspension system: Axiom 3, with sliding shoulder straps

Capacity: 65 liters, plus 10 liters expanded

Weight: 5.3 pounds

Pockets: Four (one main with two compartments, one upper, two hip)

Hydration compatible: Yes

Other features: Included raincover, stowable ice axe loop, trekking pole loop, exterior lashings, compression straps

The Lowe Alpine Diran 65 comes in three colors: anthracite, crocodile and Atlantic blue. The pack is available online at http://www.lowealpine.com.