High Gear: Lowe Alpine Diran 65 mountaineering pack review
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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