From time to time I am traveling, either for work or for vacation. As I like hiking, most of my vacations are hut-to-hut hiking trips. The other travels are often short trips up to a week within europe. There I like to only have cabin luggage on the plane to skip the waiting at the luggage drop-off and claim. But unfortunately, this way you cannot take a knife with you…

For a long time I have used a Deuter Futura 32 for all my travels. After around 10 years of usage, it still looks pretty good. It is very rugged, can easily carry up to 20kg and with the aircomfort, it reduces sweating on my back. I really like it.

However, the Deuter Futura 32 has also a few downsides. First, due to the aircomfort, the back side is rounded. This is not a problem for hiking trips, but when I travel with my laptop, I loose a lot of space. The next point is related to it: cabin luggage is restricted by size, so the backpack should use as much of it as possible. So why not use the aircomfort zone also for the main compartment? I already circumvented this a bit by putting a jacket or other things into the zone. Furthermore, the aircomfort moves the center of gravity away from the body, which reduces stability on steep paths or climbing sections.

So the criteria for my new backpack were:

  • increased volume (around 45 liters)
  • no air back system
  • fit into cabin luggage size (55 cm × 40 cm × 23 cm)
  • optional: reduced weight

It took quite a while until I found a suitable backpack. If you look at the official size data of backpacks, you won’t find one with 55cm in height and reasonable volume. The manufacturers probably consider a fully loaded pack for the measurements, but for me the height of the carrying system was more relevant. In the worst case I have to somehow get it through the luggage gauge ;-) So I went to a few stores and measured the height. But still I couldn’t find a suitable backpack. So I started ordering different backpacks which were not available in the stores around here. The first try was a Gregory Stout 45, which looked nice but turned out to have a height of 58cm.

The next order was a Lowe Alpine Alpine Ascent 40:50. I ordered the M version, as the L version is supposed to be two centimeters longer. On a first impression, the backpack looks really nice. Officially, it is a climbing backpack, but it fullfills all my requirements and with around 100€, it is way cheaper than my planned budget. The height is exactly 55cm, so if you don’t put much stuff into the top lid, it should be fine for cabin luggage. It misses the side pockets and the bottom entry from my Deuter, so I have to adapt my packing a bit. A first test on a trip to Italy was successful both in boarding the plane and having enough volume for one week of summer school. Later in August I will hike the first part of the Kungsleden in northern Sweden, let’s see how it performs there.

tl;dr: My new backpack is the Alpine Ascent 40:50 from Lowe Alpine

This post is my own opinion and I did not receive any support by a company.