One of the biggest challenges for travel photographers, both amateur and pro, is finding a way to comfortably carry all of our gear while also keeping it well protected. As digital SLR’s have become more affordable and ubiquitous, more and more of us find ourselves carrying extra lenses, filters, tripods and other equipment when we hit the road. After all, we definitely want to have all the right gear with us to capture those amazing sights on our far-flung adventures.
Lowepro is a company that makes excellent bags for all levels of photographers and we’ve written reviews of several of their packs in the past. But some of those were definitely designed for a more professional shooter, while most of us have decidedly more modest needs. Here are two more options from Lowepro that will likely be of interest to amateur photographers looking for an efficient and safe way to carry their precious photography equipment on their travels.
Lowepro Urban Photo Sling 150
The Urban Photo Sling is a versatile and compact bag that puts an emphasis on comfort and convenience. As with all of Lowepro’s bags, the interior is fully customizable for carrying a variety of equipment including a single DSLR body, multiple lenses, an external flash, extra batteries and other personal items. The Urban Sling even has a nicely padded pocket for an iPad or other tablet, which is definitely a nice touch for a bag that isn’t particularly large to begin with.
One of the surprising things about this pack isn’t just how much it can carry but also how easy it is to get to your gear when you need it. The Urban Sling provides access through both the top and front, which means that you can easily get to you camera and an extra lens without ever taking the pack off and yet when you do need to dig deeper it isn’t a cumbersome or frustrating process either.
Lowepro incorporated a number of other nice touches into the design as well including a dedicated memory card pocket, a stow-away waist belt that adds extra stability and side pockets that provide additional organization options. The bag is even designed to be worn on the front, back or side depending on which is more comfortable and convenient at the time.While testing the Urban Photo Sling I was consistently impressed with its comfort and versatility. I loaded it up with my Nikon D90, three lenses, an iPad, extra memory cards and a few other small items and it carried the load very nicely. I loved having all of my photography gear close at hand when I needed it, but also appreciated the ability to quickly tuck it out of the way when I didn’t. It is a lightweight, yet durable, bag that many photographers will find useful no matter where their travels take them. Don’t let the “urban” in the pack’s name fool you either; this is a sling that is more than capable of accompanying you on your adventures to remote corners of the globe.
The Urban Photo Sling carries a price tag of $84.99, which is actually surprisingly affordable for a pack that will serve most photographers exceptionally well for years. It also makes a great secondary bag that serves in a support role for professionals looking to scale back at times.
Lowepro Flipside Sport 10L AW
In our last Lowepro review we took a look at the Flipside 500 AW backpack, which is specifically designed for a pro photographer who needs an option for carrying heavy gear through all kinds of conditions. That pack is simply fantastic but it is also not exactly the best option for most of us, who never have the need to carry a 500mm lens. For us mere mortals, Lowepro offers the Flipside Sport line of packs, which are smaller and more compact while still maintaining the same level of quality and versatility as their big brother.
The Flipside Sport 10L AW is designed to comfortably carry a DSLR body with an attached telephoto lens, an additional 1-2 lenses, an external flash, extra cables, memory cards and other accessories. The pack features a dedicated external tripod holder and provides access to the fully customizable interior through either the padded back panel or a zippered side door. In short, it has everything an amateur photographer needs to carry his or her gear on a globetrotting adventure.
This pack was definitely designed with the adventure traveler and outdoor enthusiast in mind. For instance, the Flipside Sport features a side pocket for carrying a 1-liter water reservoir, which is always handy for staying hydrated while on the trail. It also has a built in weather cover that protects the pack and its expensive contents from the elements including rain, snow and sand. Trekking pole and ice axe attachments are a nice addition as well, rounding out a great package for active photographers who need to easily carry their gear while hiking, climbing or running through remote locations.
Of all the Lowepro packs I’ve tested this is by far my favorite. It is comfortable to wear, handles a heavy load with aplomb and has a fit that keeps it locked in place even while hiking or mountain biking a difficult trail. The Flipside Sport feels less like a photography bag and more like a daypack, and I mean that in the best possible way. It is a fantastic option for active travelers who need more from their camera bag than simply a way to stay organized while on the go. The price is right too. The Flipside costs just $124.99, which puts it into the same price range as other daypacks from outdoor gear companies that are not specifically designed for photographers.
If you’ve been searching for the right camera bag to fit your needs, Lowepro will certainly have something of interest. If it isn’t the versatile and comfortable Urban Sling or the active Flipside Sport pack, then perhaps one of their other models will meet your expectations. All of their bags are durable, designed with the photographer in mind and priced right. Check out the entire catalog at Lowepro.com.