Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail ND28 review

Ladies, gone are the days of ill-fitting rucksacks and the backache that comes with them. It’s time to enter a new era of hiking packs that fit like a glove and perform just as well as the male alternative. Here’s our full review of the Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail ND28.

Lowe Alpine backpack in testing on Lord's Seat, Peak District
  • Made to fit the female frame
  • Fantastic ventilation from award-winning back panel
  • Side compression
  • Rain cover included
  • Heavier than other women’s hiking packs
  • Storage: 28L 
  • Dimensions: 58 x 30 x 26cm
  • Weight: 1.17kg
  • Suitable for: Hiking

Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail ND28 rucksack review

Lowe Alpine knows all the best adventures start with a properly fitting backpack. Your pack shouldn’t cause you difficulty, even at heavier weights – it should maintain movement, encourage breathability, and keep you comfortable. 

The AirZone Trail ND28 has ticked each of these boxes in testing. I’ve spent months with this pack in tow – it’s battled several rainy Lake District hikes and accompanied me for miles in the Peaks. It has shown its worth on camping trips near and far, and has proven to be the ultimate women’s backpack no matter the conditions. 

I’ve compiled my thoughts on this backpack in full below – here’s my review of the Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail ND28. And thanks to Lowe Alpine for sending us this particular pack to put to the test! 

Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail ND28 backpack

What are Lowe Alpine ND packs?

Several of Lowe Alpine’s backpacks have the ND label, but what does this actually mean? ND stands for Narrow Dimensions. These packs are built to match the brand’s Regular options, just in smaller proportions. ND backpacks are best suited to women or men with a narrower build, providing a comfortable fit that perfectly supports your frame. 

Take a measurement of your back to find your perfect Lowe Alpine fit. Measure from your C7 vertebra (the bony bump on the back of your neck), and run the tap measure down to the most protruding part of your hip bone. If you’re unsure, it’s easy to find your nearest Lowe Alpine stockist and ask for an in-store fitting.

Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail ND28 backpack

Match this measurement to the individual size information attached to each Lowe Alpine pack. The AirZone Trail ND28L has a back length of 43cm, while the regular 30L pack stands at 48cm. This 5 cm difference can really change how the pack feels on your body, so it’s important to measure your back correctly to find your perfect fit. 

I used Lowe Alpine’s four-part checklist to double-check my ND recommendation before taking the pack out for the first time. I love the brand’s thorough approach to well-fitting packs, which also promotes sustainability in the long run. A backpack that fits well is sure to stay in rotation for years.

Outside the Lowe Alpine women’s backpack

The AirZone Trail ND28 is a very versatile pack that suits summer strolls as much as wintry hikes. I’ve used this backpack in various weather conditions and I’m yet to run into any issues. The pack’s rain cover, stashed in the bottom pocket, is especially easy to deploy while also providing visibility on foggy days.

Use the stretch water bottle pockets on either side of the AirZone to stay hydrated on the trail. These are expandable – I’ve used them to easily store hats and sun cream on several occasions. This pack is also bladder-compatible, but we’ll get into that later. Stash snacks and other necessities in your hip belt pockets as needed.

The pack’s outer TipGripper attachment points can store walking poles and other outdoor tools. These use a bungee retention system to prevent slippage during your adventures.

Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail ND28 backpack

Inside the AirZone Trail 28

Enjoy 28 litres of space in this particular AirZone, but the pack is also available in a 32L and larger. I’ve found the 28 to be more than enough for day hikes – it’s easy to pack waterproofs, hats, suncream, food, and water without issue. 

The pack’s top-opening system is nice and simple, but I love the addition of its side zip for fast access to whatever you may need. This runs almost the full length of the pack. I’m never more than 30 seconds away from a Dominoes game with this backpack!!

As mentioned above, the AirZone is compatible with a 3L bladder if you prefer to hydrate in this way. Lowe Alpine doesn’t sell its own at this time, but the Camelbak Crux works really well.

The zipped pocket under the lid of this pack is perfect for keeping money, sunglasses and tech separate from the main space. I’ve come to love the simplicity of the AirZone’s storage, it’s easier to find items with speed and faster to pack up.

Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail ND28 backpack

Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail harness

Lowe Alpine’s AirZone™ breathable mesh carry system is nothing short of incredible. I’ve tested plenty of backpacks with Adventure Pending over the years, and the AirZone undoubtedly comes out on top for its suspended back panelling.

I’ve tackled several large hikes wearing the AirZone Trail with zero breathability issues. The brand’s new convection channel allows heat to escape out the top of the system, keeping you dry and cool at all times. The panelling is also extremely comfortable, using ventilated foam padding that makes it easy to forget you’re carrying extra weight at all. 

Keep the AirZone Trail snug to your frame using the sternum strap and hip belt duo. Both of these are easy to tighten and release, but the sternum strap is also great for height adjustments. I’m a huge fan of the pack’s load lifters, too. Experiment with the placement of your straps before heading out on the trail for the first time. 

Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail ND28 backpack

Materials and sustainability

The Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail is built with 50% recyled nylon and a polyester lining. The pack is then finished with a fluorocarbon-free DWR that provides a little extra protection when the rain inevitably rolls in. 

In terms of sustainability, Lowe Alpine and Rab is celebrating its fourth year as a Climate Neutral Company, and is venturing towards Net Zero. In its 2023 sustainability report, the company reported a 17.6% reduction in CO2 emissions per unit vs 2019. It’s clear the AirZone is a quality pack that will last years, working against the problems surrounding fast fashion.

Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail ND28 backpack

Overall verdict – Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail ND28 

Just days before Lowe Alpine contacted Adventure Pending to review this pack, I’d spotted it in my nearby Blacks and fell in love. You can only imagine my excitement to test and review it! 

I have to say that the AirZone Trail ND28 has met all expectations. Not only does it fit like a glove, but I love its design and incredible harness. I couldn’t recommend this pack more to female hikers looking for a good all-rounder.

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FAQ: Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail ND28

Have a question about this Lowe Alpine backpack? We’ve answered a few of the most popular queries below.

Lowe Alpine is part of the British outdoor group Equip, which also owns Rab. The company works with 21 manufacturers across China, Bangladesh, India, Philippines, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Myanmar.

Yes! Lowe Alpine’s ND (Narrow Dimensions) range is perfect for women. These packs have all the same great features of the regular packs, just in slightly smaller proportions and back lengths.

Yes, the AirZone Trail ND28 has a great rain cover stowed in its lower pocket. This works well to protect against adverse weather, and also provides visibility in foggy weather.

There are so many features that make up this backpack! If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me an email – ann@adventurepending.com.

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