The latest version of Lowe Alpine’s AirZone 35 is more streamlined with a cleaner look than previous ones. Whilst this is cosmetically attractive it does mean that the daisy-chain webbing on the front of the pack has gone. There are no side straps either so there’s now no means of attaching extra gear or adding straps to compress the pack round a small load. The capacity is generous however, this pack holding more than most of the other 35-litre packs.
The AirZone only comes in one back length. This is slightly too short for me, making the top tension straps useless when the hipbelt sits on my hips. I still found the pack quite comfortable though. The back has a curved frame and tensioned mesh backbands to allow ventilation. The gap between these is less than on many similar back systems, making the pack a bit more stable and easier to pack as it’s not as curved. The ventilation gap does lead to a mainly dry back – I’ve only had sweat build up under the lumbar pad and hip fins.
There’s a big flat pocket on the front that easily holds maps and other slim items. The stretch mesh side pockets are roomy too and swallow 700ml water bottles. The hipbelt pocket is quite spacious too but the shoulder strap pocket will barely hold a small mobile phone.
The weight and price of the AirZone 35 are reasonable and it’s not a bad pack if it fits. I do miss compression straps though.