Over the past year we’ve reviewed a number of different camera bags from Lowepro. We’ve looked at everything from small sling bags to large backpacks and I have been consistently impressed by the design, build quality and price point of each. When I was heading to CES 2013 I knew I needed a large pack that would allow me to carry my 15″ MacBook Pro along with my Canon T3i and numerous accessories. I went on the hunt for the right bag and ended up with the Lowepro DSLR Video Fastpack 250AW. It’s a phenomenal bag but is a little bit larger than what I would like to carry now that I’m traveling with a small Sony NEX camera and an 11″ MacBook air. The 250 AW is simply overkill… for now. Enter the Lowepro DSLR Video Fastpack 150AW.
Over the past few months we’ve looked at a number of different camera backpacks specifically designed for carrying less gear but most of them are more designed for carrying a small camera and a tablet when I needed something that would allow me to carry a small camera, a tablet and a small laptop. I turned to Lowepro and asked if they might be interested in my reviewing their Fastpack 150 AW figuring the smaller sibling of the bag I carried to CES 2013 might do the trick. It did. This pack hits the sweet spot – it isn’t too large and it isn’t too small. Yes, so far I’m finding it to be just right. It was, in fact, the bag I brought with me when I attended the Toyota 2014 Tundra and 4Runner Preview Event and it served me incredibly well. Let’s take a closer look.
Before we shared a video let’s just run down some of the size specifications since that was the issue that drew me to this specific backpack. The bag weighs just over 3 pounds and has external dimensions of just under 10 inches by just over 8 inches by just under 18 inches. The camera compartment is 8” x 5” x 9” and is designed to hold a pro-DSLR with an attached lens, one additional lens, a flash, headphones, a microphone, additional audio gear, a tripod or monopod, and up to a 13 inch laptop. In other words it holds a lot of gear but not too much gear. Yes… just right.
Here’s our video look.
So let’s run down the features of this particular bag.
There is a grab handle at the top and the backpack straps are what we’ve come to expect from Lowepro. They are thick and padded enough but they don’t feel bulky and overdone. For this bag they are…just right.
D-rings on each of the shoulder straps allow you to attach additional gear. There is no sternum strap.
There is, however, a waist strap. And while isn’t anything to write home about it is sturdy enough that it will allow you to keep the bag in plac if you’re moving quickly. There were, in fact, a few times when I needed to run ahead of one of the trucks while it was making its way through the obstacle course and having this waist strap kept the bag secure on my back.
On one side there is a pocket with an elastic strip at the top. Directly above that is an adjustable strap.
While the strap serves the upper storage portion of the backpack by allowing you to compress the contents and hold them more tightly in place it also allows you to carry a tripod or monopod with the bottom in this lower pocket in the upper portion held to the pack by the adjustable strap.
This is one of the company’s Fastpack backpacks and it features a side access point so you don’t need to fully remove the bag to access your camera or video gear. I love this design!
Two small pockets for additional SD cards is a nice, albeit not unexpected, touch.
This is the large flap when completely unzipped.
There is a vertical strap that keeps the large access flap from opening completely unless you want it to. This works well when you are only accessing the compartment from the side but also means you can have complete access to the camera compartment when you want it. Obviously, when using the side access you can’t get to all the items in the bag.
The storage area at the top has an adjustable strap on either side. As previously mentioned the one on the side with the lower elastic pocket works to hold a tripod in place but also allows you to compress the upper storage compartment and keep the contents from shifting too much. It also has the added benefit of allowing you to only open the upper pocket part way. This helps keep your gear in place when on the move.
A small hidden pocket toward the front of the bag is just large enough for a cell phone and or a wallet and a few other small key essentials.
The upper storage area has two zippers that open to reveals a generous amount of storage.
Toward the back is a zippered pocket, and open mesh pocket, a closed pocket and a small pocket for a pen or a thumb drive.
Toward the front is a spot for a pair of headphones and toward the bottom of the space is a removable pack that is good for holding cables, a microphone and a few other accessories. You don’t need to use this but it’s nice to have it included.
And hidden away at the very bottom of the bag is a rain cover. After all this IS an AW- “All Weather” Fastpack.
When I used this backpack last week I did quite a bit of moving around, shooting stills and shooting video and I found it to be a phenomenal bag when on the go. It carried everything I needed to carry but still remained relatively light and comfortable. The small size limited the amount I brought along for the day but still allowed me to have everything I needed. Stuffed into it was my Sony NEX-6, a telephoto lens, a microphone, an iPad mini, an 11″ MacBook air, my Jabra Revo wireless headphones and numerous accessories. It held everything and was… just right.
What is perhaps most impressive about this particular bag is that it has the price under $100. At that price it is, quite frankly, a bargain. The bag is well-made, thoughtfully designed, and it just works well. If you are looking for a mid-sized camera backpack this should be toward the top of your list. Depending upon your needs you may also find it to be… just right. Learn more and order yours.
What I Like: Lowepro’s thoughtful design and quality build; Light but made for real-world use; Fast side access to your camera; Camera compartment easily organized to meet your needs; Under $100
What Needs Improvement: If you have a laptop larger than 13″ you’ll need one of the larger bags in this line; No Sternum strap
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample