This year is the 50th celebration for the Lowe Alpine brand, founded by American brothers Jeff, Greg and Mike Lowe, and available in New Zealand for around 25 years – now with distributor Outfitters.
The brothers were mountain, rock and ice climbers who gained a love of the outdoors from their father, Ralph.
Greg was a designer of some note and in 1967, working in his parents’ garage in Colorado, he designed the first internal-frame backpack with dual aluminium staves. The ‘Expedition Pack’ was designed for climbers and built for heavy loads. It became a blueprint for technical packs, and variations of the internal frame became ubiquitous, being used by pack manufacturers worldwide.
Greg would design a host of outdoor gear, including pitons, camming devices, plastic pack buckles, ergonomically contoured shoulder straps for packs, and a soft sided camera bag – Lowepro.
Other innovations included the APS (Advanced Parallux System) adjustable harness and technology to provide a near-permanent water repellent to the company’s Triple Ceramic fabric.
The Lowe’s are no longer involved with Lowe Alpine: Jeff formed Latok, a clothing company in the late 1970s. Around a decade later, Mike left to pursue gold mining interests and the company was sold with ownership sifting through various interests and is now with Equip Outdoor Technologies.