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Lowe Alpine Contour Crossbow 50

rated 4.5 of 5 stars

The Contour Crossbow 50 has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best weekend packs for 2021.


Price Reviewers Paid: $175.00-$180.00


3 reviews
5-star:   1
4-star:   2
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

I owned the Contour Mountain 50 for several years, having bought it for the feature that I can't believe doesn't get copied more: The lack of floating top pocket means you can actually LOOK UP with a full pack! What more could you want when belaying, climbing, or hiking uphill? I used it for cragging. Everything fit neatly inside. When I started mountaineering, I realized that it really wasn't designed to carry so much weight, but I put up with the occasional discomfort for the convenience of the design. Comfort depends on how carefully you pack. I did discover another fantastic result of the design though: since you don't have the floating top pocket, you simpy lay the coiled rope in the space behind your shoulders, and tuck the ends at your sides under the compression straps. This results in a balance so perfect you don't even know the rope is there. One thing: you may need to extend the length of the side compression straps, since they are maxed out when the pack is full. The addition of the crossbow system makes discomfort a moot point--it can now handle all that weight with ease. Bravo! They read my mind.

Minor problems: the crossbow interferes with the wand pockets, so you can't carry pickets "holster" style; compression straps too short for wands, ropes, tent poles, etc. on the outside when the pack is full; and any exterior gear can make access difficult. Also, sleeping pads can be tricky. I use a 5mm half pad on the inside for light trips or a full size one compressed along the side with the rope. But who cares? I love this pack! The size is just right for the light packer. I've taken both styles to the top of Rainier, up rock climbs, skiing, and even dayhikes. Totally versatile. I take the crossbow for fully geared trips, the mountain contour for "superlight" trips, and the 40 liter version for dayhikes. Great design.

Design: Internal Frame
Size: 3000
Number of Pockets: 2
Max. Load Carried: 60 lbs
Height of Owner: 6'
Price Paid: $180

I bought this pack because it has a good capacity, very light, excellent back system, and unlike most packs performs equally well when only half full. I was a bit sceptical about the crossbow system but it really seems to. I not a mountain runner, but on ocassion to sprint of the hill and this pack does (and its contents) don't move at all! Packing the sack does seem a bit fiddly to start with but you soon get used to it. If you carry a fabric bivi bag then it's a good idea to but all your kit in it to keep it dry. Not a problem as the top of the sack is zipped.

The shoulder straps and belt are very comfortable. My only real complaint is that the map pocket is too small. You can't use it if your map's in a case (the pocket's so tight that it damages the maps if you don't use one).

Design: internal frame
Size: 50litres
Number of Pockets: 2
Max. Load Carried: 20
Height of Owner: 5'11
Price Paid: £100

The crossbow system on this pack is one of the neatest and most useful additions to the Contour series. I was originally skeptical as to the usefulness of the Crossbow system, but as I've moved around with it, the delrin rod within the pack really does stabilize the load without restricting your movement. The framesheet and stay are cut in a way that allows more movement and allows the rod to do its work.

You do need to do some ingenious packing with this system. If you overload the top lid pockets, the weight within tends to drop the lid down, making it hard to zipper the main area.

Design: Internal Frame
Size: 3000
Number of Pockets: 3
Max. Load Carried: 55lb
Height of Owner: 5'11"
Price Paid: $175 USD

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