Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Review: Lowe Alpine Eclipse 35 Rucksack

A new and improved Eclipse from Lowe Alpine, they’ve updated the looks and functionality of their multi-activity day pack and were kind enough to send me one to test out. Over the past couple of weeks it’s joined me while I’ve gone climbing, walking and commuting!

A quick look at the features… There’s no lid on the Eclipse, instead there’s a zip which covers three quarters of the pack and gives easy access to the whole of the rucksack. Stretch pockets on the front and sides provide space for a jacket and drinks bottles. On the outside there’s attachment loops as well as compression straps to keep the pack streamlined. On the hip belt there’s another 2 pockets, both zipped which provide room for a small snack and compass.

There are plenty of subtle features to make life easier while using the Eclipse, a small whistle on the sternum strap, an SOS guide printed on the inside and a built in raincover too.

There’s no frame within the pack so to give it some strength they’ve put a cut out moulded back panel on which provides some air ventilation and some rigidity. The previous version of the Eclipse had a fixed back system, on the new one there’s a velcro attachment between the rucksack and shoulder straps so there’s some flexibility to get the fit just right.

That's the features of the Eclipse 35 on paper, now let's see how it handled some real world use...


While climbing, the zip entry system helps make the Eclipse a great cragging bag, you can lie it on the floor and easily get to gear without digging around from the top wondering where that no. 7 nut has got to! From the outside the bag doesn't seem as big as other mid-30L packs but once you start throwing gear in there seems to be plenty of room, I think Lowe Alpine have achieved this by shaping the Eclipse like a pear with a subtly big bottom half which keeps the design smaller but the volume high.

As a walking pack the eclipse can become a little sweaty, the foam backpanel provides a small amount of ventilation but when the pack’s loaded up it tends to sit quite close to the back, the result is a definite lack of airflow - to be fair to the Eclipse the majority of daypacks suffer from this. Again, the shape of the pack allows for a lot of storage, I easily fit my waterproofs, lunch, mountain first aid kit and more lunch in with some room to spare!

On the commute the Eclipse is comfortable and reliable, the build quality is high and is backed up by Lowe Alpine's Lifetime Warranty, a sure sign from any manufacturer that they believe in the product they're making. When it's not fully loaded there's no ventilation issues so my back stays comfortable, the hip and shoulder straps are both wide and sit right so there's no digging or cutting in anywhere.


Overall I've been impressed with the Eclipse, the changes Lowe Alpine have made are good and well thought out. This pack has gone from one I wouldn't consider to one that I'm happy to use day in, day out. It's comfortable and functional. 

The design won't please everyone and lack of lid could be an issue for some but for plenty of people out there this pack will be a refreshing change in the multi-activity rucksack world.


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