Lowe Alpine Renegade 28L Backpack Review

I'm a backpack freak. Constantly on the lookout for the perfect bag and that's especially true for Mountaineering packs. 

Back in the day I had, what I thought was the perfect alpine climbing pack. It was an early day version of The Black Diamond Speed series. Unfortunately the back strap broke and I sold it to buy, in hindsight, a much inferior pack.

Since then I’ve been looking at options and for a long time used the Arc’teryx FL. This is a really light (623gram) bag with a roll top water resistant main section. It’s been great...but there were a few things that annoyed me, especially with the ice axe attachment points. It wasn’t perfect, so I was still on the lookout. 

Lowe Alpine sent me a Renegade 28. I had this summer too use it on a variety of climbs, would this fit my requirements? I generally look for the same things in a Mountaineering bag which are:

- Big enough for an overnight bivi with food and sleeping solutions

- Light enough not to be too bulky

- Top pocket

- Good ice axe carrying system

For me the Lowe Alpine Renegade 28L ticks most of those boxes. I used it throughout the Summer on various climbs including multi-day missions on the Walker Spur and Innominata Ridge. These require you to bring climbing gear, and sleeping and eating solutions, so a good test of the bag's capabilities.

Alpine gear as the sun sets
Matt groom

It has a carrying space of 28 Litres, but does feel a bit smaller when compared to other bags of that size. It’s always a bit of a mystery about how exactly companies come up with their measurements, as sometimes it’s based on all pockets, not just the internal big one. The Renegade distributes weight really well. I like the tapered style of it, working best when you pack the heavier things at the bottom. 

I appreciate the inside pocket which is buried within lots of water resistant layers protecting it from the elements. I use it to store my valuables; keys, phone, lighter etc...

Inner pocket

I love a top pocket in a backpack. It’s a place I want access to quickly, either for guidebook notes, fizzy sweets or a head torch. On the Renegade it’s insanely big, but because of the angle of the pockets doesn’t get bulky. There is also another inside pocket that I tend to put sunglasses or maps in.

On the Innominata Ridge
Dave Theston

The outside is very clean looking, and I think the ice axe attachment system performs well. There is a sown in strap that keeps the pick heads neat, a metal toggle to secure the head and straps at the top, that synch shut to go tight on the shaft. I wish it had a separate strap just for the axe, although that would have added to more straps hanging off the bag.

Ice axe on the bag

The back straps are as they should be, minimal but comfortable. They hold the bag in the right place for climbing and off your harness. Personally I would have preferred a slightly thicker waist band. A bag always feels heavy on the walk ins and outs when not climbing, I would have appreciated the extra support a wider band would offer. 

Resting at the Eccles Hut
David Thexton

Simplicity is the name of the game here. There aren’t lots of extra details and features. It just has clean lines, that keep everything looking tidy. That styling also helps with durability, with less hanging off it, there is little concern about rock snags. I’ve used and abused this and there is no sign of wear and tear on the outer material except for the usual scratches you would expect.

I would recommend the Lowe Alpine Renegade to anyone who is looking to climb in the mountains. The biggest drawback is it's slightly small size, which means you have to be very careful when packing it. The upside of that is it works equally well as a day bag, or for multi-day adventures with limited gear. 

Simply...my new favourite.

By Matt Groom


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