LowePro's brief must have been simple - create a camera bag that's lightweight and suitable for adventure sports yet have enough features to carry essential camera gear while on the hill - simple it might have been but it took a long time for any brand to bring the idea to market. I've been modifying outdoors packs for years and years, trying to carry my gear on the mountain whilst attempting to keep it protected from the elements and day to day knocks, but my modified packs never worked as well as I wanted and to cap it all the product i wanted just wasn't available to buy.
LowePro's Photo Sport 200 AW as far as I'm concerned has been a revelation in camera pack design. On first glance you'd be forgiven for thinking it's a mountain marathon pack from one of the leading lightweight brands, on closer inspection you realise that although the materials are super lightweight the whole pack is focussed around carrying cameras whilst ‘outdoors'. A side zip compartment means you can swing the bag around and get to your gear quickly, there's a hydration bladder slot down the back panel, accessible via an external zip - perfect for mountain biking.
Two zipped pockets, one in the lid and one on the interior allow for car keys to be stashed safely and lens cloths to be stowed. Plus a decent sized main compartment allows for a jacket/nibbles/extra gear to be carried, additionally there's an external flap which I've used for anything from wet overtrousers, to crampons or a flash gun on a gorilla pod. Waist straps secure the pack when moving faster and incorporated in to the waist are zipped pockets which I've used for food and spare batteries.
The harness works well and compression straps keep the load secure, loops on the base of the pack allow for walking poles or I've even had ice axes attached, a bottle pocket on the outside gives another means of storage and there's even a whistle on the sternum strap and a rain cover concealed in the base.
Most importantly however the bag itself is lightweight, when empty it weighs a little over 1kg which is a vast improvement when other bags can weigh in excess of 3kg before being loaded up.
There aren't many packs on the market at present that I would be happy using for mountain biking, climbing and mountain shoots but this one fits the bill, I own no other bag like it and since I have this I won't be looking for another.
Having hammered this pack for the last 10 months, on location shoots ranging from the Dolomites, to UK mountain marathons and city based video shoots, I'm confident that I'll keep on using it on a regular basis and I'm happy to say that having finished this review it's already packed for my next shoot. Well done LowePro.
More Info on the LowePro website
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