Gear Review: Lowe Alpine Snowstorm 20:20 Backpack

This versatile Lowe Alpine pack handles it all.

Most Versatile

Whether you're skiing back bowls or skinning to a yurt, this pack can handle it. The two-compartment, panel-loading packbag can be used in two modes: as a slim, close-to-your back daypack, or as an expanded, 2,440-cubic-inch overnight touring pack. A versatile lashing system securely accommodates skis in A-frame or diagonal position; it also can be adapted to hold a snowboard, though not as securely. "Because the straps all tuck neatly away when not needed, I don't have to worry about getting hung up in the woods or on the chairlift," says our Vermont-based tester. "This is one of the cleanest and trimmest ski packs I've ever tried."

The supportive hipbelt is stable but nonrestrictive, it's easy to remove for light days, and the suspension adjusts from 16 to 21 inches. Our tester comfortably carried up to 25 pounds, and the top of the framesheet is smartly angled back so it doesn't bump into your helmet. All pulls and adjustments are big and easy to grab with mittens on. The 20:20 has a hydration pocket, shovel pocket, gear loops on the hipbelt, and two smaller pockets to keep trinkets organized. $180; 3 lbs. 7 oz.; 1 unisex size;