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In 1967, Greg, Mike and Jeff Lowe designed, tested and launched the ‘Expedition Pack’ from Lowe Alpine Systems. It featured a revolutionary carry system: an internal frame, compression straps and other never before seen features to help them carry gear more securely and move freely on demanding terrain. 

These original principles of freedom of movement and a passion for progress continue to inspire Lowe Alpine pack design today.

What this guide covers

What is a Carry System?

Fixed vs Adjustable Explained

Women's Fit

Explore Lowe Alpine Carry Systems

What is a Carry System?

Put simply, the carry system is made up of the parts of a pack which are essential for a comfortable carry, primarily the back panel, the harness and the hip belt. Features such as top tensioners, chest strap, adjustable back length and pivoting hip belts enable a custom fit and weight distribution for every adventure

Lowe Alpine carry systems are designed to move with you; precise, considered ergonomics inform fit and unique features that promote freedom of movement are built into our designs to further improve the carry. This ensures all of our systems offer a world-class carrying experience

Fixed vs Adjustable Explained

Whether you’re trekking the Himalayas, sport climbing or fell walking, you need a backpack that moves with you across the terrain. Finding your back length measurements will help you to select the right size pack for your body for the most comfortable carry, wherever your adventures take you.

Fixed

Most smaller volume day packs, and mountaineering and climbing packs tend to have a fixed back length. Lowe Alpine packs flex to fit to your body shape, so don’t worry if your back length does not measure exactly 16, 18 or 20 inches.

Adjustable

Technical day packs, larger volume hiking packs, and trekking and travel backpacks in the Lowe Alpine feature adjustable back lengths, which allows the user to tailor the fit to their body. A precise fit is important when you’re carrying a heavy load across uneven terrain.

 

Women's Fit

Lowe Alpine pack developer, Rebecca, explains the key differences of women's fit and outlines the research and testing that has gone into Lowe Alpine ND fit packs.

Explore Lowe Alpine Carry Systems

Airzone

Lowe Alpine AirZone technology is one of the most breathable air back systems in the world. AirZone carry systems feature tensioned mesh and a large cut out space, reducing weight and allowing air to move freely between the pack and the wearer’s back.

AirZone+

The all-new AirZone+ carry system features our patented FormKnit™ technology to maximise breathability, improve dryness and reduce weight. Based around a one-piece knitted back panel, with ventilation body-mapped to the high-sweat zones of your back, our award-winning AirZone+ carry system delivers unparalleled comfort and breathability. Its seamless FormKnit™ technology, integrated hip belt and lumbar pad work together to deliver a supple, highly adjustable custom fit for all-day comfort in hot conditions and challenging terrain.

Perfect for:

  • Summer hiking tours
  • Hut-to-hut trekking

AirZone Fixed

The AirZone Fixed has a decreased amount of contact mesh to maximise breathability and air flow. The shoulder harness is turned for increased comfort and the contact mesh is even softer for a comfortable carry.

Great for day hikes and everyday

Air Contour

Supportive, breathable and flexible for multi-activity adventures.

Air Contour+

Our Air Contour+ carry system offers great load support while remaining comfortable for long periods of time on steep and demanding trails. Air Contour+ utilises a 15mm frame that the scapula slides on providing direct load transfer combined with increased strength and longevity. The frame links into the lumbar and hip belt for efficient load carrying across a variety of terrains. Air Contour+ features an adjustable back length with easy-to-use hook and loop adjustment.  The wrap-around hip belt and breathable moulded back pad all combine together to provide outstanding user comfort through all seasons. 

Ideal for:

  • Four-season mountain hiking
  • Wild camping
  • Hut-to-hut trekking

Air Contour (Adjustable)

The Air Contour™ adjustable carry system is simple, light, comfortable and easy to adjust. The back system uses a hook-and-loop panel that allows the user to make precise back length adjustments. It features a moulded foam and spacer mesh construction. This combines increased breathability with a supportive and stable carry for instant comfort.

The Aeon range features a Flexion™ shoulder harness and hip belt, which is ultra-thin and ultra-light, contouring to the body with micro stretch and spreading the load for ultimate comfort.

Great for multi-activity

  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Trail running
  • Climbing

Air Contour (Fixed)

The Air Contour™ fixed carry system is simple, light and comfortable. It features a moulded foam and spacer mesh construction. This combines increased breathability with a supportive and stable carry for instant comfort.

Great for multi-activity

  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Trail running
  • Climbing

Tri-Flex

The Tri-Flex ™ carry system is designed with three key load support elements.

Tri-Flex™

(Fixed back length with removable support)

In the Halcyon pack, load support comes from a spring steel frame and an independent HDPE frame sheet. Both are removable, giving the carry options of frame and board for heavy loads, just the board for support yet flexibility, and removal of both for a lighter, flexible pack. Tri-Flex™ has a moulded snow-shedding back panel, a padded harness and a dual density foam hip belt with gear loops. The hip belt padding can be stripped back to the waist belt webbing or removed completed depending on preference.

Perfect for multi-day alpine routes or long Scottish winter days

Tri-Flex™

The Rock range’s Tri-Flex™ carry system comprises three key load support elements: a spring steel or aluminium frame for strength; an HDPE stiffening sheet for shape retention; and a moulded EVA foam back panel for comfort. The three-part design creates a supportive, close-fitting structure that mirrors the contours of your body for optimum load transfer when transporting heavy gear. Across the Rock range, the Tri-Flex™ carry system also features a dual-density foam harness, a sternum strap with whistle and, in the case of the Outcast 44 and the Rogue 48, a dual laminate EVA foam hip belt for a comfortable long-distance carry.

Perfect for hauling your climbing gear to the crag  

VT Flex™, VT Plus™, V-TRAX™

Supportive and comfortable, made to carry heavy loads across uneven terrain

VT Flex™

Our most advanced carry system, VT Flex™, features independent pivoting hip fins, a load transfer flex bar and a single piece wrap-around hip belt to support extremely heavy loads. VT Flex™ features an easy-to-use hook and loop adjustable back length and an ergonomic wrap-around harness for ultimate fit and comfort.

The VT Flex™ carry system promotes natural, flexible movement on undulating terrain and transfers the load from the pack body into the lumbar and hip belt.

Ideal for self-sufficient expeditions carrying complex loads

VT Plus™

The VT Plus™ carry system features an easy-to-use hook and loop back-length adjustment that connects directly to the internal pack frame. This drives weight through aluminium staves, directly to the lumbar, delivering a comfortable and stable carry for heavy loads.

The pre-curved hip belt is anatomically shaped and offers additional support, allowing the user to keep moving during long days carrying heavy loads. VT Plus™ also features an ergonomic wrap around harness for ultimate fit and comfort.

Perfect for multi-day trekking and backpacking

V-TRAX™

The V-TRAX™ carry system features a simple hook-and-loop adjustable back panel to easily alter the back length. A robust, comfortable harness and a supportive wrap-around hip belt combine to give a very stable carry.

Great for camping adventures 

X-Shield™

Protective, lightweight and strippable for agile movement

X-Shield™

Used in our Ascent packs, the X-Shield™ carry system is a lightweight, strippable and protective system designed to move with you in the mountains. The X-Shield™ features a pre-curved, snow-shedding back panel, spring steel frame and EVA back shield to protect you from the gear in your pack. Both frame and back shield are removable for those who value a fast and light carry. Flexion™ technology in the hip belt and harness contours to your body for an ergonomic fit, aiding agile movement.

Made for alpine climbing on steep, technical faces