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Camera Backpack Review Lowe Pro Sport 200 aw


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I've been doing quite a bit of hiking recently and so after some time of lugging my gear around in a messenger bag (which really was not uncomfortable, just too small) I decided I needed a pack that could handle a bit more than just my camera. I was looking for a bag that could hold my camera gear plus the 10 essentials (extra clothing, map, food, water etc.) for the times I go out without my personal pack mule (aka, my husband :P ) I'm not a particularly big person, so I did want a reasonably sized bag that would be comfortable, but still hold what my messenger bag (a medium Timbuktu Snoop) does.

My first absolute was that the camera area had to be accessible without taking the backpack completely off - so any rear or top loaders were out and that narrowed the choices considerably. I did a little research online and narrowed it down to two bags that I could look at in my area. The Lowe Pro Sport 200 and the Mindshift Panorama. The Lowepro had a few advantages right away - it has a bottle pocket and a tripod attachment on the bottom of the pack, both which are missing from the Mindshift, but the ultimate decision was made for capacity. The Mindshift had a very low capacity for gear - even if it has an intriguing looking rotating camera compartment. The Lowe, while looking rather small managed to swallow everything in my messenger bag, though the fit is a bit tight. I also tried out a Manfrotto bag that was a somewhat more heavy duty clone of the Lowe - interestingly though the camera compartment was a bit bigger the shape did not allow my gear to fit, while the smaller Lowe did.

The good - the bag itself is very, very light and even though it's inexpensive - the least expensive of the three at $150 - it's a full featured backpack. It has all of the straps and adjustments of a real overnight backpack - hip belt, load lifters, sternum strap etc. It has a side loader compartment that can hold all of my stuff. I put two lenses, a set of extension tubes and a ring flash in there. I don't need to put my camera body in - that is always out unless it is pouring rain and in that case I can put it inside the top compartment or inside of my jacket. Built in rain cover (the ThinkTank has an optional one for $20 extra...) There is a space for a hydration bladder, if you favor one. There are at least three options for carrying a tripod - a large open pocket on the back could hold a small one, the pocket on the side could be used and my favorite, the straps on the bottom, which have buckles, rather than being simple loops, which I really dislike. It comes in bright orange - always a plus if you might be going into hunting areas or even if you need to find where you set it down in tall grass...

Could be improved - the fit... OK - I'm a very small person, so I'm accustomed to this, but I'm at the limit on cinching down most of the straps... it's just barely small enough. For such a small bag you you'd think it might fit a small person better. No pocket for accessories - batteries, filters, cable release. I got a little zipper pencil case that I think eventually I'll attach to the lid of the camera compartment. The hip straps could have a bit more padding, but to tell the truth they were fine with my hiking pants. Wearing it home (loaded up) while wearing jeans the hip pads caused a bit of discomfort, but I don't wear anything with seams that thick for hiking. The little pockets on the hip pads are relatively useless. When you cinch the straps tight you can't get into them and if you put something even slightly large or hard in there it digs into your hip. Not too much to complain about really...

I gave it a pretty good shake down hike last weekend - 18 miles and 6,000+ feet of climbing.... perhaps not the best of ideas for a first outing with a new backpack, but it still seemed like a better idea than the old messenger bag... The pack weighed about 17-18 pounds loaded up. I found I was able to safely access the gear compartment without even taking one strap off to change from my macro to my 18-50, which I do quite often, so that was a huge plus. To dig down further I'd have to take one strap off and turn the bag sideways, but that's OK. I was never uncomfortable during the hike - no back or neck pain and the load never felt heavy which is great for a first time out- so I'm quite pleased.


my bag and gear that I took for the 1st trip - and plenty of room was left for more clothing/food.


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  • 1 year later...

Nice review, I was relieved to see it's also available in black (I'll take my chances with the hunters :P).

Definitely didn't enjoy having my messenger bag on the last "hike" I did (I don't really hike, but even a hilly path makes the messenger bag format not ideal). Always nice to hear the cheapest option is also effective :)

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Does your messenger bag have a hip strap? If not, if it has a place you can attach one it will make a huge difference in how comfortable it is to carry and how stable it is when you are active. That addition might be all you need for shorter hikes and would really be cheaper.

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Thanks for the review morpheme. There will have been many who have read the review but not commented, but I for one, wanted to report how much I had enjoyed reading it.

Your review has made me reconsider just as I am about to purchase a new day pack for general use, whether this pack will be able to perform both roles. I have a basic bag which holds just my camera gear for the day: an Fujifilm E-1, 18-55 zoom, 14 mm wide angle and the very heavy 50-140 zoom. I see from checking on line that my local camera shop has one so I'll have a look over the weekend or early next week before committing to the purchase of a new day pack.

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Glad it was useful. If your camera shop has the Mindshift bag take a look at that too. I think the compartment could easily hold 2 lenses and the access looks really great. If your gear fits, it does look like a nice bag.

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A good review indeed and we could use more of this style and standard instead of members having to ask "which strap" "which bag" etc and receiving replies which are mostly just what individual members use without any in-depth description of why the article is ideal for a purpose other than it looks good.

As this review is so helpful comprehensive perhaps the OP can change the category to Reviews to make it easier to find.

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