The new rucksacks were popular – so much so that the Lowe brothers started production in various locations across Colorado, ending up in Broomfield near Boulder.Further innovations followed, including the first plastic buckles used on backpacks. At the same time the brothers were designing and producing climbing equipment including the Hummingbi (first modular ice tool), Footfangs (first step-in crampon), RATS (first ratcheting ice screw) and the Tuber (first tubular belay device).
In 1978 Jeff was planning his climbing expedition to Latok in the Karakoram. In the same spirit, he decided that they’d have to make their own technical clothing for the Himalaya trip and Jeff designed the Latok range of apparel, subsequently to become Lowe Alpine clothing.
In 1988, the brothers made the decision to sell Lowe Alpine and the company was sold to a UK-based company. This company also owned a distributor business called Europa Sport in Kendal, UK and Lowe Alpine control moved to Kendal although the Colorado base continued to operate. The development of backpacks remained in Colorado for the US market, with clothing and European backpack production coming from Lowe Alpine’s factory in Tullamore, Ireland.
Rapid growth in both backpack and clothing sales followed, with Lowe Alpine at the forefront of a new outdoor fabric revolution – fleece insulation – developing its Aleutian fleece in partnership with Polartec. Lowe Alpine also forged its own path in creating its own waterproof/breathable shell fabric technology, Triplepoint Ceramic, which gained a big following and legendary status. Further clothing sub-brands were developed including Dryflo base layer, Stormweave soft shell and Desertweave for pants and shirts.
Further changes in ownership including a period with Asolo, the Italian footwear company, until 2011 when Lowe Alpine was acquired by Equip Outdoor Technologies Ltd.
Equip has grown rapidly in recent years following its acquisition of the RAB and Podsacs brands to emerge as one of Europe’s fastest growing suppliers of specialist outdoor clothing and equipment. Following the acquisition, Lowe Alpine’s base in Kendal once again became the company’s international headquarters. The well-established backpack development team already operates from here, designing products that are now distributed into over 40 countries around the world. The office also houses the clothing design team, with a new Lowe Alpine clothing line launching in Fall 2013.
Lowe Alpine is now a leading worldwide manufacturer of outdoor gear, yet still creating new solutions to old problems. This is equipment used in the world’s wildest places, where gear failure is not an option.
Lowe Alpine’s objectives stay true to the Lowe brothers’ vision: to create innovative, practical outdoor products using exacting levels of design and materials. Their backpacks and clothing are built to cope with any outdoor situation, to defend and protect you from the worst conditions in the world.