By: Blonde Two
I have been thinking about buying a new rucksack for long time. Mainly for overnight trips; I wanted one bigger than my current day sack (45:55 litres) but not as bulky as my large Berghaus sack (70+15 litres). Which is why, when the friendly chaps from Webtogs contacted me about a gear review; I asked them if they had anything suitable.
I selected the Lowe Alpine Diran 65:75 litre because I have been particularly pleased with my current Lowe Alpine day sack.
The first thing that you might notice if you click on the link above is that this particular Diran is a boy’s rucksack. I am a tall Blonde and usually find that female shaped sacks (as opposed to sack shaped females) are too short in the back for me. (Webtogs have a useful rucksack fitting guide here.)
A girl has certain priorities when it comes to choosing a bag. We Blondes have a shortlist; the Diran scored well.
Comfort: The Diran has all of the expected adjustment points; including four-position chest straps (particularly important for girls). I liked its adjust-on-the-go ‘Axion 2’ back system; I checked and the adjustments can be done without taking the bag off; albeit with a modicum of manual dexterity. The bag feels well balanced and sits tight into the body.
Storage: What a girl (and I defy you to find one that disagrees) really wants to know about her new rucksack is, “How many pockets has it got?” There appears to be a trend away from pockets, but we girls need them for lip-salves, Jelly Babies, cute furry mascots, hankies and all manner of things that boys would not understand. The Diran does not disappoint on this; with two lid pockets for emergency gear (see below), two side mesh pockets with straps (very sensible), two bellows pockets (not enormous but big enough for my Alpkit BruKit) and two hipbelt pockets (one mesh for my compass and one zippable for even more Jelly Babies); it has enough easily accessible storage to satisfy the most kleptomanic (this should be a word if it isn’t) of Blondes.
On top of these, the Diran has ice axe loops, the walking pole storage system that I really like from my daysack, and a separate lower compartment. I always put Big Orange (my sleeping bag) in the lower compartment; he is a big chap, but he just about fitted.
One interesting Diran storage element is a front panel that allows you to access the contents of your bag without unfastening the lid. I was initially concerned about the possibility of this compromising the waterproofing of the bag; but the zip has a wide baffle and the bag comes with an orange (best colour by far for visibility) rain cover. Of course, if you are a good walkist, you will have used a rucksack liner which will require top access anyway.
Colour: There is a lively debate on ‘pink’ outdoor gear for girls. Despite being a boy-bag; this Diran is a lovely ‘blue zinc’ and a good balance between ‘macho’ and ‘colour-aware’. Although blue is traditionally Blonde One’s colour, I liked it. It is also available in a more boyish green or anthracite.
The Diran is listed as an ‘entry level’ rucksack but I struggled to find a missing feature that I might need. At 2.28 kg, it is a reasonable weight, and when empty, it folds down small enough to fit alongside me in my one-Blonde tent. What more could a camping girl want?
I am looking forward to trying the Diran on a multi-day walk; but I know from my day test that it has the capacity (and more) for all of my wild-camping equipment, and that it would be a good choice for our Ten Tors of Duke of Edinburgh’s Award youngsters.