The Lowepro Photo Hatchback 16L AW camera backpack is a great way to carry and protect your mirror less camera, a tablet and a healthy selection of gear.
When preparing for CES 2013 last January I tried a number of bags and backpacks that would allow me to carry my camera gear and my tablet all day long. Ultimately I settled on a backpack from Loco, and I really enjoyed using it. It was a bid on the large side for me but, for CES, that was a good thing. (That review is forthcoming.)
When I moved to a smaller mirrorless camera a few weeks ago, I started looking for a backpack that would be a bit smaller and would still serve my needs. I settled on the low pro photo #16L AW backpack. It’s small enough to be comfortable, but it’s large enough to carry enough of my gear. The company describes the Lowepro Photo Hatchback 16L AW as being, “the compact and lightweight every day adventure pack. Built to fit your contact the SLR or nearest camera, tablet and personal items.” Lowepro was kind enough to send for review, and I’ve been using it for the last week or so. Quite frankly I love it. Let’s take a closer look.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Lowepro Photo Hatchback 16L AW is that it doesn’t scream “I’m a camera backpack”. That’s a good thing since not only don’t you want to advertise the fact that you are carrying expensive camera equipment, but this pack also doubles as a standard daypack. As has been the case with every backpack and bag I reviewed from the company, it is made from quality materials and workmanship is excellent.
Clearly these bags are designed for people who are serious about their gear and who use and abuse their bags. It does a good job of protecting your gear and it does a good job of protecting your back thanks to its design. Here’s a video look at the Lowepro Photo Hatchback 16L AW.
When empty, the backpack was just 2 pounds. That means it’s late enough that you can be sure to be comfortable pretty much all day. And because of its size, you’ll be able to carry enough gear with you, but not so much that it breaks your back. Yes, the Lowepro Photo Hatchback 16L AW strikes just the right balance between size and functionality.
The upper portion of the backpack unzips to reveal a large area for personal items. Inside you’ll find a zipper pocket with a built-in key fob and two stretch mesh pockets that give you just enough organization. This space is small, but it’s large enough for your essential gear.
The outside back pocket unzips to reveal two different spaces. One is perfect for your tablet, and the other is good for a portable keyboard. The larger of the two backpacks has enough space for an 11 inch MacBook air. This one does not. The pockets have a bit of padding. It isn’t enough to ensure your tablet will be safe if you handle it roughly, but it does keep it a bit protected from day-to-day bumps and bruises.
On both the left and the right side of the backpack you’ll find open pockets made from scratch mesh material. This is great for a water bottle, but it also serves quite well for additional gear if that’s what you need to be carrying. It also will fit the Scosche BOOMbottle we reviewed a few weeks ago, so your music can also come along on your adventures.
The straps on the backpack have the same breathable mesh that is lining the entirety of the interior back. Both straps have what the company refers to as SlipLock attachment loops. These allow you to add additional accessories such as a phone pouch, and they let you customize what you are able to keep within reach on the go.
The company makes clear that this backpack is designed for maximum comfort. As they note, “multiple adjustment points at the shoulders, sternum and waist allow you to dial in to assure all day shooting and carrying comfort.” They aren’t kidding! This is one comfortable backpack thanks, in part, to the fact that the portions of the backpack that rest on your back while wearing it are lined with padded-mesh pads that are breathable and comfortable.
The reason for this backpack being referred to as the hatchback is that the lower interior compartment opens to reveal a camera organizing space. It is adjustable to meet your particular needs and, even better, you can lift the entire padded camera box out. This allows you to have a backpack that has plenty of space; it also gives you a small protective box for stowing your camera gear when not in use. You can also take this protective box and put it into a larger piece of luggage thereby turning a non-camera bag into one. In all it is a really savvy idea. Removing the camera box takes about two seconds, and putting it back in place takes the same amount of time.
There is one additional trick up this backpack’s sleeve, and it is one of the best design features I’ve seen on a backpack. When you remove the camera box, you can also open the liner that separates the upper interior storage space from the lower one. That makes the entire interior of the Lowepro Photo Hatchback 16L AW one large daypack. How’s that for flexibility?!
If you are looking for a medium-sized backpack that allows you to carry your mirrorless camera, an additional lens, some accessories, your tablet and a few other items this is a great backpack for you to consider. I like the way it looks a great deal but, more importantly, I like the flexibility, comfort and the ease of use it offers. The fact that you can remove the camera box and convert the Lowepro Photo Hatchback 16L AW into a standard daypack is an added bonus. And, perhaps best of all, it is currently priced below $90. You can learn more and order yours here.
What I Like: Well-built; Comfortable; Offers good protection for your camera gear; Camera box is removable and pack converts into a standard daypack; Slots for tablet and keyboard; Well-priced; Doesn’t look like a camera backpack
What Needs Improvement: May be more than mirror less camera owners who travel light need; May not be big enough for people who need to carry a lot; Not large enough to carry a laptop
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample