1987 Lowe Alpine Pack: Can You Identify It?


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Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 13, 2009 - 09:04pm PT
Hi everyone,

I asked this question on the backpackinglight forum, and someone replied that Supertopo might have more people who would be able to answer it.

In 1987, I bought a pack by Lowe Alpine Systems. It was made in Ireland. It's a marvelous pack that's been around the world many times.

I made a "tribute page" for the pack and I'd like to know it's name. I removed the tag a long time ago. For some reason, I think I recall that the pack was called "Patagonia". I bought it in a French mountaineering shop. AFAIK, the Patagonia brand was not distributed in those parts at the time, and I wonder whether perhaps Lowe packs had different names around the world.

The pack doesn't have Torso-Trac, so it's not a Specialist, though they were contemporaries.

Pictures are here:

If any one of you's has some information or an old ad or sell sheet, I'd love to complete the page with the right information.

Wishing you all a fun weekend,
With many thanks,


ps: the pack is about to leave the States for New Zealand :)

Social climber
Nov 13, 2009 - 10:07pm PT
Mine is all grey cordura (and i"ve seen them in plain heavy nylon)....but it looks like a Lowe Expedition. Single bag. Large top pocket. No bells...no whistles. Bought mine in '82. Still have it. I believe if the top pocket "floats" it's a "special expedition".
My seams started to split a bit in 1986 so I sent it back to Lowe and they wrapped and sewed the seams inside the bag.....and I still carry it to this day.
NOLS used a modified version for a number of years....mid to late 90's maybe???

They show up on e-bay from time to time.


Nov 13, 2009 - 10:22pm PT
Not a Lowe Expedition, too small. The Expedition had two ice axe loops

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Nov 13, 2009 - 10:35pm PT
I had two LOWE Expedition packs and that is definitely not an expedition. It is too small. Why am I thinking LATOK? Just a wild guess as I know they had a pack by that name...

Mountain climber
Eastsound, Wa
Nov 13, 2009 - 10:46pm PT
I have a Lowe Expedition pack that I bought in 1973. Great pack, really tough,really simple. The generous top flap/ pocket is attached across the back which IHMO is superior for keeping the weather out . Mine has the full extension bivvy sack inside. Handy when your plans don't coincide with the weather.

I carried this pack empty ,laid flat under my legs to insulate them from the 38F degree seawater while traveling in a Nauteraid folding kayak on a 4 1/2 month kayak trip to the coast of Labrador in 1983. The pack was handy for quickly unloading the boat after a stormy landing on rocky beaches.

I think I paid $80 for it which was a lot at the time. It's green cordura.

The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
Nov 13, 2009 - 10:49pm PT
Nanda Devi??

Social climber
Nov 13, 2009 - 10:55pm PT
So I need to pay way better attention.
Mine does indeed have 2 loops....

I'll just sit back down now.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 13, 2009 - 11:01pm PT
I've got one... perhaps this weekend I'll pull it out of the garage storage and take some pictures of it to post...

...ice axe loops, check
...floating top, check

same blue nylon, same waist belt... one big bag with a zipper to get into the bottom, maybe a nylon septum to divide top and bottom? we'll see...

Took it a lot of places... but since I did most of the picture snapping not too many pictures of it (none that I seem to be able to find).

Great pack for what it was

Trad climber
Nov 13, 2009 - 11:05pm PT
Nanda Devi sounds like it may be right. I have the Expedition that I bought in 1982 or 83 and it is a bit bigger. My bet is on the Nanda Devi

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Nov 13, 2009 - 11:38pm PT
I don't think the pack is the 1970's "Nanda Devi". That model came out in the late 70's as a smaller version of the "Expedition."

When Lowe moved production to Ireland in the 1980's: there was a proliferation of pack models for the Euro market.

Look for someone that has catalogs from the 1980's.

Trad climber
Bay Area
Nov 13, 2009 - 11:52pm PT
Still have my 1984 vintage Lowe Expedition.
Single large sack. No "septum" or divider between top and bottom. The pictured pack appears to have such a septum. The pictured pack also has the "2nd generation" suspension.
This is my 2nd Expedition. I also had the early one with simpler suspension and the built in bivvy sack which I used on an unplanned overnighter at the top of the UNotch in a late October snowstorm. Was glad I had it.
As I recall, the Lowe Expedition was the first really large capacity "frameless" pack. It carries really well with heavy loads. Very clumsy when only half loaded.
I remember seeing the model in the pics but can't remember the name.

Nov 14, 2009 - 01:17am PT
I still have a Cloudwalker (frameless) and Contour III (internal frame, but from '88 or so IIRC). The pictures aren't of either of those. I did find a site with several photos, the best of which shows a Nanda Devi Triolet, which looks a lot like your pics.


Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Nov 14, 2009 - 01:56am PT
I was the pack product manager for Lowe Alpine Systems (LAS. We had to change the name to Lowe Alpine in 1987 because Loewe sued us for TM infringement.) There was a whole bevy of smaller packs out in Europe including some special makeup packs for Au Vue Campeur and Intersport so I can't be 100% sure. If you bought it in the early 80, that may have been before we opened the the factory in Ireland. In which case, that's a........

Nanda Devi or a Triolet. The Nanda Devi was a women's pack before we were brave enough to have women's packs, and the Triolet the man's version. Can't remember. Both had sleeping bag dividers.

Jello??? Where are you?


Topic Author's Reply - Nov 15, 2009 - 11:33am PT
Hi Everyone!

Thank you for all so much for the insightful answers.
Wow, lots of knowledgeable people here who were old enough to carry a pack in the 1980s. :)

Scottpedition, the pictures you posted are very precious. For the belt and straps, the suspension is exactly the one described in the 1983 sell sheet; for the back, at least one generation further.

It's funny, I realized that the photos made the pack looked small. It's an illusion: I am I am 6'2'' (187cm). This is in fact a very large pack. In my life carrying this pack, I'd say that no more than 5% of packs I see are larger than it. Not a woman's pack, not the Nanda Devi.

From the pictures posted, it looks most like a pack in the continuation of the "Expedition" family, but not an Expedition: for instance, it doesn't have the two pick loops on the side.

Other features (in response to pack features mentioned):
 No floating top;
 Very ample top pockets (outside and inside);
 Bottom divider;
 It was a new model when I bought it in late 1987;
 A single ice pick loop at the bottom center;
 No inner "skirt";
 Not a co-branded (e.g. "Vieux Campeur") pack, just Lowe Alpine Systems.

When Lowe moved production to Ireland in the 1980's: there was a proliferation of pack models for the Euro market.

Hi Fritz, that's good to know... I may be totally off on this but I do seem to recall that it was called the "Patagonia", which would be possible in light of what you said. The pack could not have been called Patagonia in the States. :)

I was the pack product manager for Lowe Alpine Systems

Hi Mal, amazing to hear from you. Yes, it was made in Ireland and is definitely not a woman's pack.

Here are a few more pix.

Thank you again so much for "playing", you all. :)
Wishing you a fun Sunday and a beautiful week,


Lowe Alpine Systems 1987 Made in Ireland
Lowe Alpine Systems 1987 Made in Ireland
Credit: playful
Lowe Alpine Systems 1987 Made in Ireland
Lowe Alpine Systems 1987 Made in Ireland
Credit: playful
Credit: playful

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 21, 2009 - 09:22pm PT
here's my 80s vintage Lowe pack....

a bit scrunched up...

features removable top pocket
zippered septum separating the bottom part of the pack to the top
equipment loop connections

sternum strap

compression straps, utility connections

Used this a lot on alpine stuff I was doing at the time...

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Nov 21, 2009 - 11:54pm PT

It looks like the Special Expedition but it may have been called the Patagonia in Europe. That suspension was called the LadderLock or Ladderloc. Lst of the non-velro/non-plastic adjustable suspension systems.

Mountain climber
Denver, Co
Nov 7, 2010 - 05:16pm PT
I recently purchased a Lowe backpack on ebay and I believe it is missing some of the shoulder strap adjustment system. It looks a lot like what is referred to as the "ladder lock" system I think. See below pictures.
this is the tag. I believe it is an older model.
this is the tag. I believe it is an older model.
Credit: Digmy78

This is a picture of the shoulder strap buckle attached to the webbing...
This is a picture of the shoulder strap buckle attached to the webbing running down the center of the pack.
Credit: Digmy78

this is a photo of the back side of the "buckle" when it is removed fr...
this is a photo of the back side of the "buckle" when it is removed from the webbing bar.
Credit: Digmy78

As it is now, the "buckle" slides freely up and down the webbing bar, and slides right off the top, coming disconnected from the bag. Does anyone know what exactly I am missing for the adjustment system and how or where I can get it fixed??


Trad climber
The state of confusion
Nov 7, 2010 - 05:49pm PT
I had a Lowe back in the old days. Just a huge sac.
Two aluminium (as the Brits say) stays in the back,
two axe loops, carried BIG loads, but the waist belt was
just that, a belt. NO padding, with a wierd toothed buckle
that didn't keep the belt tight.
No suspension, but it carried well, despite the belt problem.
And I had too keep a garbage bag handy cuz it wuzn't waterproof!
But I loved the pack. I wish I hadn't given it to a
poor boy needing something to haul his stuff.

Mountain climber
Suffolk, UK
Jan 21, 2011 - 11:29am PT
Late I know...but it is a "Patagonia" with standard Paralux back. Approx. 80litres. A rare one out of the Irish factory, the big sellers were the Cerro Torre model.

Nada Devi (ND) was the indication that the pack was designed for women. This was not one of those.

I must have sold thousands of Lowe (LAS) packs over the years...they really were the best in Europe for the money, especially as Karrimor had lost is way (so badly!) and Berghaus were starting to.

I do have the 1980s work sheets and catalogs.

Best regards

Social climber
Nea Smyrni
May 2, 2014 - 08:36am PT
Hello. I would like to ask you what are the official dimensions of this backpack? Because I am thinking if it fits Ryanair cabin baggage policy..
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