The Lowe Alpine backpack is small enough to take on day trips, yet large enough and with six compartments of different sizes to hold all your essentials, a common failing with cheaper bags. Made of durable and sponge clean material, it will survive a short rain shower too. It’s well made and is unlikely to fall apart after a few months. In fact, the manufacturer guarantees it for life for faulty workmanship.
There are some neat features: padded webbing on the rear encourages airflow, helping to cut down that unpleasant build up of heat you can get with some rucksacks, especially if worn against a rainproof jacket. It’s also very light, so you don’t have a bag that’s heavy before you even start to put stuff in it.
The rucksack has some other nifty attributes. All the pockets are lined or coated with plastic to help to cope with damp weather and to keep the bag water resistant. There is a pocket at the top for your headphones and in this compartment is a handy hook on a bright orange cord, for house keys or anything else you need to access quickly or don’t want to lose. There are two mesh bottle pockets; one for water, one for sunscreen or sunglasses maybe. The main compartment is fairly roomy and has a gusset at the bottom. Inside this is a separate elasticated pocket, possibly for a wet swimsuit or shoes. Finally, there is a third compartment, divided by a zipped pocket, affording three more spaces to store your stuff. The zipped pocket is perfect for your purse or wallet; much better than the pickpocket’s favourite place –the back pocket of your jeans. And the other two could hold your map or guidebook or spare sweater.
The straps are sturdy, wide and padded slightly, to be more comfortable. There is also the webbing to counteract heat build up. There is an easy-release clip to fix straps across the chest, useful if the bag is fairly heavy as it takes pressure off the shoulders.
The rucksack comes in two shades of blue and is aimed at the female market, but I don’t think a guy would baulk at the colours or the design.
As with all rucksacks, the straps when on their tightest mean they dangle a bit. Don’t be tempted to cut them too short; when you are wearing a thick coat, you will need a bit of excess. If you do cut the straps, get your friendly shoe repairer to sew a hem, to save the straps from fraying.
There are times when you want your hands free – for taking pictures, reading a guidebook, using your phone, keeping your balance over rough ground – when only a rucksack will do. This one would seem to tick all my boxes for a handy bag around town. Or even on the plane.
Dimensions: 42cm x 30cm x 9.5cm
Online price: £29.99