When purchasing a good rucksack, you must consider your back and shoulders – they will despise you IMMEDIATELY if you choose a less-than-ideal option. This is one area, if you're planning an extended trip, especially into the wilderness, that you DO NOT want to skimp on. Don't settle for the basic $50-100 pack, unless you travel light, or for very short trips. Because, let me tell you, I did this once. My first extended European trip started with a crappy, cheap backpack, much too small, and much to my dismay, a totally wrong build for the usage I was putting it to. I ended up ditching it the first day in Barcelona and buying an overpriced backpack. Months later, I found a solid rucksack, and even then, it was too small and too hard on my back.
But there is hope, my friend! There is! Read on and I'll tell you more about my experience with Lowe Alpine...
The backing of the Zephyr strong and rigid, and it offers a curve that helps to relieve stress and weight from the right areas of my back. The foam backing has holes to provide airflow and the structural facets of the the pack run seamlessly behind the layers. The straps are thick and comfy and do not rub on my bare skin, like I've found from other packs, and the hip straps really balance the weight once you fill your pack full. Besides the comfort level being over-the-top, the size of the main pouch is deceivingly massive. I could fit three times as much clothing and gear in that single pouch than my past rucksacks could hold in total – I mean, really, I could fit an entire bedding set, clothes and tent in there. My only negative criticism is that I wish there were more small pockets for tiny-item storage, if you know what I mean. It can be difficult to find what you need in such a large pouch, without a lot of compartmental pockets. With that said, I don't think it's a deal-breaker, by any means, because there are a few smaller areas available; it only requires a bit of organizational skills.
All in all, I love this pack, and will look to purchase another once this pack's days come to an end.
Find out more about Lowe Alpine and all of their quality outdoor gear:
Features of the Lowe Alpine Men's Zephyr 55:65 pack:
(Photo #1/#2 by Brandon Scott)
(Photo #3-6 via Lowe Alpine/Amazon)