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Since entering the wonderful world of DSLR camera ownership, I’ve struggled with how to safely carry my precious camera on a plane, while having enough room in one bag to also carry my laptop, phone, chargers, reading material, sunglasses, water bottle, toiletries and paperwork.
I’ve put a small padded camera bag in a favorite large tote, which has worked out okay (but resulted in a huge bag to carry on one shoulder), and sampled the Crumpler Sinking Barge, which was just too much bag for this amateur photographer. Them came Lowepro.
Lowepro has nearly 50 years of history protecting camera gear in the world’s harshest environments. With this experience, Lowepro designed other travel bags and accessories under this same notion. The promise protection is also visible in HighLine travel bags, backpacks, and daypacks.
With one of Lowepro’s travel bags, you can travel and trek in confidence with a lightweight, durable, and secure carry-on travel pack, built to withstand even the harshest elements and weather conditions.
HighLine BP 300 AW Backpack
Finding the perfect backpack is hard. If you are looking for a durable backpack designed for rugged travel, or if you are more of an organized traveler in need of a backpack to serve as carry-on luggage, then look no further than Lowepro HighLine. The Lowepro HighLine BP 300 AW backpack is the perfect fit for anyone’s travel needs.
The Lowepro HighLine BP 300 AW backpack is built with nylon, which is weatherproof, rugged, and durable enough to protect it from rips, tears, and even abrasions.
The 22-liter backpack is also big enough to serve as a daypack for travelers on foot, campers or other lovers of outdoor recreations, sports, activities and adventures, but is also lightweight enough for easy transportation. The backpack is only approximately 3.5 pounds and comes standard in grey.
Equipment for the Modern-Day Traveler
The Lowepro HighLine comes equipped with pockets to store and organize all your favorite devices, such as phones, tablets, chargers, and so on for the modern-day traveler. There is also a pocket large enough for a 13” laptop with a security tripper.
The top pocket is perfect for headphones, sunglasses, keys, and so on, for those items that you need to access and grab quickly.
On-the-Go Premium Packing Solutions
The Lowepro HighLine backpack should be your go-to for premium packing solutions. The lightweight clothing packing cube, breathable padded mesh pockets, and liquids pouch are not only convenient, but they allow you to organize, access, and pack your items on the go.
For travelers who need to pack clothing in an organized fashion, such as for a business trip, the Lowepro HighLine comes with a packing cube specific for packing clothing. There are also two side stretch pockets with a built-in cover, complete with zippers, which are the perfect size for a water bottle or umbrella.
Rain, snow, sand or dust… your stuff is safe! Durable, coated materials provide the highest degree of constant protection.
Commuting, Traveling, Biking
Regardless of whether you are commuting to work, traveling, or venturing out on a lengthy bike trip, the Lowepro HighLine backpack and daypack is just right. The separated and padded laptop pocket protects all your favorite devices, and can even be used as a pocket for a change of clothes—with room for a pair of shoes!
The exterior is plain, simple, yet sleek and minimalistic. Although the daypack is durable, it’s also breathable, and won’t retain odors. So you can keep clothes from the day before zipped inside for another day without feeling guilty!
Passport Sling II
- Fits a DSLR with attached zoom lens, 1 extra lens or flash, water bottle and personal items OR a mirrorless camera with attached zoom lens.
- Camera models that fit the Passport Sling II include: Canon EOS Rebel SL1/T3/T3i/T5, Nikon D3200, Nikon D3300, Sony Alpha A5000 & A6000.
- Customizable and removable camera box provides a & custom fit and protection for a DSLR or CSC kit.
- It makes a great travel companion and collapses flat to fit in a larger bag for packing.
- Expandable compartment allows you to unzip and & increase interior storage space by 30%.
When you’re hauling around a big DSLR, your choice for carrying it usually amounts to an obvious-looking camera bag or a camera backpack. While both do the job (and some, quite nicely, like the Lowepro Photo Sport 200 AW which I have reviewed below), sometimes you just want something different. That’s when you need to take a look at the Lowepro Passport Sling II.
The sling bag is a convenient way to carry your camera and gear together, without looking like a typical photo bag. Adjust the shoulder strap to carry it on one shoulder or diagonally across your body for a more secure fit (plus, the shoulder pad is detachable). The adjustable strap has a cam lock, so it’ll stay however you set it.
The removable padded camera box is also customizable, allowing you to shift the Velcro interior walls to fit your camera and lenses. Leaving your camera behind? All you have to do is pull the box out, and the sling becomes a full day bag.
Even if you’re carrying your DSLR and a couple of lenses, the bag is roomy enough to fit some gear, such as: wallet, keys, pens, notebook, sunglasses, smart phone, water bottle, and a light jacket. At least, that’s what I got into mine while traveling in New Zealand.
Need a little extra room? Unzip the front compartment, and get 30 percent more space.
The Lowepro Passport Sling II lists for $79.99 on the Lowepro website and comes in black/red and gray/green color combinations. It’s also available on Amazon.
Photo Sport 200 AW
Camera bags aren’t always easy to bring along on outdoor adventures. If they’re sturdy enough to protect your DSLR and lenses, they’re often also heavy, or they lack the space necessary to combine your gear into one, convenient bag. But the Lowepro Photo Sport 200 AW is a backpack and camera bag, in one convenient package.
The pack is lightweight but sturdy, and its padded shoulder and hip straps are enough to keep it securely attached to you. Even more straps are included for additional gear. There’s also a built-in rain cover, to keep the pack protected from the weather.
The padded camera pocket protects your camera gear with an extra cinched section to keep it from bouncing around while you’re out being active. A side-access pocket allows you to rotate the pack to the front, unzip, un-cinch and get to your camera quickly. Much better than having to take the bag off and dig around for your camera, only to have the perfect photo moment pass you by.
You can see a slick HD video with eye candy scenery of all this in action at this link, the narrator alternately trail running along the ocean with this pack and whipping out his camera to get some good shots.
The upper compartment of the pack provides up to 13.9 liters of volume for your other items—whether you’re out for a multi-day hike, or a day of mountain biking. There’s also a hydration pocket for a 2-liter hydration reservoir, however the reservoir is not included.
The Lowepro Photo Sport 200 AW comes in orange or black and lists for $199.99 on the Lowepro website. It’s also available at Amazon and Summit Hut.
CompuDayPack for Carry-on Luggage
- Capacity: 2 pro SLRs, 3-4 lenses (up to a 105mm f/2.8), flash and digital, MP3 player & accessories.
- Countoured shoulder harness and lumbar support with DryFlo Mesh makes this backpack comfortable to wear.
- Three compartments to neatly organize and carry your laptop, digital camera equipment, MP3 player, and accessories.
- NoDrop bottom compartment opens wide for easy access without spilling out any gear.
- SlipLock attachment tabs to accessorize with camera pouches, lens cases, cell phone pouch and more.
The LowePro CompuDaypack comes this close to being my ideal go-to bag for camera/laptop combo carry-on purposes (I have tried the Passport Sling II and the Sport 200 AW too), but does fall just a little short in a couple of instances. And that’s okay: this bag isn’t marketed as a carry-on bag, but rather a student backpack or for use around town.
First, the highlights:
The exterior material is hearty ripstop nylon; the accent color comes in green (my fave!), though shown here in orange. The colored material has a subtle dotted texture that just gives the bag some added pizazz.
The camera compartment is in a hinge-like, zippered compartment at the bottom of the bag. You use removable, padded, Velcro inserts to customize the protection for your particular camera and lens(es).
I fit my DSLR, a long lens, my point-and-shoot camera, a Flip video camera, and assorted chargers and batteries in the camera section with no problem.
A small exterior pocket with headphones port allows you to listen to music easily on the go.
The large inner storage area above the camera is nice and wide, and includes many small organizational pockets for pens and such.
The big, padded zippered area for laptops should fit most 17-inch netbooks. (It fits my big ol’ Dell laptop with extra bulky battery, with room to spare.)
A thin sleeve pocket near the laptop space can house file folders.
Shoulder straps are nicely padded for comfort, and I particularly like the “grab handle” at the top of the backpack.
Indeed, this bag holds a lot of stuff, but the main storage area above the camera, just isn’t quite big enough for all of my particular junk. On my family’s recent flights to the West Coast, I had my husband store my laptop charger in his bag, because I simply could not fit everything I wanted to have close to me in this Lowepro CompuDaypack.
Plus, even after taking out the charger, I had a hard time closing the backpack with my water bottle (and see-through bag of toiletries, and a snack and a book, etc.) in there. In fact, because the main storage space has only one zipper (not two zippers like the camera compartment and the laptop compartment) I found myself really struggling to close it and the zipper seam (where my water bottle bulged out on the side) started to stretch and pull apart.
I suppose the solution is to carry a bona fide purse for toiletries (and water bottle and charger) as my second carry-on bag. Or stick these additional items in my rollerboard that I store in an overhead bin the next time I travel alone, if I don’t need them right at my feet during a flight.
I think this bag would be close to perfect if a) the main storage compartment had two zippers to meet at the top instead of just one that zips all the way across to one side and b) there was a water bottle holder on the exterior.
With those caveats, I really, really like the Lowepro CompuDaypack, and I look forward to using it on future travels.
Purchase the CompuDaypack on the LowePro website for $99.99. I have also found it discounted on Amazon.com.
Stealth Reporter D550 AW
- Stealth D550 AW Capacity: 2 pro SLRs, 5¿6 lenses (up to 80 200mm f/2.8).
- Includes a removable cable management pouch, and memory card wallet that can hold up to 12 cards.
- Padded pocket with soft tricot fabric that will fit most picture viewers.
- Highly water-resistant top zipper to allow quick and easy access to gear without having to open up the entire bag.
- Lowepro’s patented All Weather cover to protect bag and contents from extreme weather, sand, dirt, etc.
The Stealth Reporter has a different purpose—carrying a full-size DSLR (or two) with room for a flash, lenses, laptop, chargers and MP3 player.
There’s also enough space for a travel router, portable hard drive, GPS and other gadgets you may need to carry. It protects and organizes the gear well.
This is not the kind of equipment you would ever put in checked luggage—it would have a tendency to disappear. Even though mine is insured (and be careful—many airlines exempt electronic gear from their own coverage), I need to make sure the tools I need arrive when I do.
The Stealth Reporter gets its name from its stealthy appearance–plain, in a way, and that’s actually a plus. The bag doesn’t attract attention and scream, “Laptop and digital camera inside!” when you’re in crowds of people at the airport.
My Dell XPS M1210 laptop with a 12″ screen fits perfectly inside the Lowepro bag in a padded pocket. Smaller netbooks would also fit nicely. But it will not hold a large laptop, such as one with a 17-inch screen. (Think smaller and lighter when traveling.)
The bag is tough, made of ballistic nylon. I’ve carried mine more than 100,000 miles on several different continents and it looks almost as good as the day I bought it—no rips or tears.
Also, picking a color is not a hard decision—it only comes in black.
The AW stands for all weather. The bag’s outer fabric is water resistant. It includes a shoulder strap and a top zipper allows easy access.
Lowepro also makes a slightly larger bag, the Stealth Reporter D650 AW. But in my experience, a larger bag than the D550 AW would not fit under the seat on some planes.
Before deciding on this bag, I spent over an hour in the aisles of a camera store that carried many different brands and more hours searching the Internet. The Stealth Reporter does everything I need it to–hold a laptop, digital camera and lots of accessories and fit under the seat on an airplane, even on a smaller regional jet or turboprop.
The list price is $174.99. It’s a wise investment for carrying gear safely.