First you may be asking why is there a pack review on technology site? Well, that’s an easy answer my friend. Web Designers are Super Heroes. Not only do they straddle the bridge between technology and creativity, in their spare time, they go out and do things like fight crime, climb mountains, hang from cliffs or frozen waterfalls, and do what they can to preserve humanity.
I’m going to skip over the techy details of the pack. That’s already been done. Here’s the link for you to read about all of the Nanon’s features, and a much more involved review than mine.
The Nanon is a 50-60L dyneema pack designed for lightweight backpacking. This is Lowe Alpine’s answer to a lightweight pack that maintains Lowe’s standard of durability. There are lighter packs out there, but this one is made of tough dyneema and is fully featured. I was surprised how many pockets and features it had. Lowe does make a less featured version called the Zepton. It seems my guide friends often forgo the features, but I personally like to have different pockets for a few things I want easy to access. Those things for me might be a snack, headlamp, car keys, etc..
I first thought the Nanon would be more of a overnight only pack meant to shave off a little weight, but after a quick inspection I was wrong. The only real areas of weakness appear to be the fast-tex buckles and the water bottle pockets on the sides. Although those pockets are nice, I fear how they will hold up against a patch of scrub oak. The dyneema fabric has a real solid feel to it. Lowe has incorporated lots of fit options, so most anyone should be able to get a good fit out of the pack if they take the time to adjust it. The weight savings were obvious upon taking it out of the box. Dyneema is of course lighter than a nylon pack, but the webbing used is also about half the size of what you normally see on a pack. The fast-tex buckles are proportionally half the size as well. The mini fast-tex buckles are pretty cute.
It was a few weeks before the snow let up here in Ouray for me to get out and take the pack for a test run. On a weekend trip to Castle Valley, near Moab, Utah, I loaded the pack up with rock climbing equipment and a rope, and marched up the 1,500 ft. steep slope to a formation called the Rectory. We climbed a route called Ministry (although not with the pack) and returned to the ground with snow falling from the sky.
I haphazardly loaded up my pack with a bunch of gear and set off down the hill. My partners were complaining about light packs. I guess I must have grabbed their gear as well. The Nanon carried great and the extra weight didn’t bother me at all.
Sometimes you just want a pack that you can throw on your back and go. The Nanon served this purpose exceptionally even at the upper end of the weight it was designed to carry.
The Nanon does pretty much everything you need it to do in a featured and durable package. I will digress for a moment and mention a few things I would like to see different. I don’t like fasttex buckles. They are just too easy to break and then they leave you high and dry. A careless misstep around camp, and your hike out is going to be miserable. Make that more miserable than it was going to be anyway. They can’t be repaired in the field either. I like the Lowe Alpine load lockers much better and was disappointed not to see these on the Nanon. I may retro fit my waist buckle with one of these load lockers. The webbing fits just perfect and it will be an easy upgrade.
I also wish Lowe Alpine would put ice axe holders on all of their packs that resembled the system Black Diamond and Cilo Gear uses. The big pocket on the Nanon has just enough room for ice axes and crampons, so this is a moot point in this case. The webbing straps just don’t accommodate the leashless ice tools that are being used today.
I would recommend the Nanon to carry around your Mac Book Pro or in saving humanity. I’m psyched and I’m looking forward to my next adventure with the Nanon.