User Review: Lowe Alpine Contour Mountain 50
Size: 3200 (Mtn 50)
Number of Pockets: 1 + main compartment. Mesh water bottle holders
Max. Load Carried: 40-ish
Height of Owner: 5'8"
Price Paid: $120
I've had the Contour Mountain 50 for about 3 years, and liked it so much, I bought a Contour Mtn 40 for snowshoeing (and the Diamond Mountain 30 as a general daypack). I love these packs. The 40 and 50 are no-nonsense, no-bells-and-whistles packs that carry decent-sized loads, have easy access water bottle mesh pockets, and shovel pockets for snowshovels, tevas, a jacket, whatever.
I use the Mtn 50 for overnight summer backpacking when I don't need to carry a tent or a lot of clothes. The pack doesn't look too big; it has a narrow profile, but release the side compression straps and you can shove some serious stuff into that pack. And the zippers are good quality that stand up to years of overstuffing. I've used Mtn 50 for extended eco-vacations as well; and it holds up well to being tossed on top of busses (and off again). And packed carefully (carry your tevas & jacket) and it will fit in airline overhead compartments.
The Mtn 40 is the perfect snowshoeing or other winter sports. It's just big enough to carry my shovel, extra clothes and food, first aid kit, camera bag, without any wasted space or weight. Ski or trekking poles can be easily attached to daisy chains and loops. The only complaint I have about the Mtn 40 is that the waist belt is a wimpy nylon strap (Mtn 50 has a standard backpack hip belt), so you can't pack a ton of weight in the Mtn 40, or you'll be carrying the weight on your back, not your hips.
Overall, though I love these packs and use them all the time. These are great packs even at full price. If you can find them on sale, so much the better!