One of my biggest issues with DSLR backpacks is weight. I carry a Pentax K10D that, with or without additional lenses, weighs down even the lightest load. Then add extra gear into the mix, and it feels like your carrying a twenty-pound sack of potatoes on your back. To lighten things, I find I am always minimizing my gear—trying to exclude those little items, the gadgets you think you’ll need, but probably never will, or at least you hope you don’t.
In My Gear Review: In search of the perfect backpack my quest is to find that perfect one, but what I get are compromises. Depending on weather conditions, or whether I’m planning a day hike or lengthier excursion, determines the kind of backpack I carry, and this has me changing backpacks often.
When it comes to selecting a DSLR backpack, for me, it’s a personal issue; like an article of clothing, that should look and feel just right. The pack should be rugged, able to withstand a multitude of conditions, and gear should be protected, yet easy to access. The backpack should also be lightweight, of medium or of slightly lesser size, not cumbersome or bulky, and should be worn comfortably.
Unfortunately, the pack I was looking for did not exist, however, because newly designed camera packs are hitting the market all the time, I was hopeful that one day the right one would come along—and it did! One of the places I frequent is Lowepro, and while I own several Lowepro camera packs—the Primus Minimus AW (currently unavailable) and the Fastpack 100 (both fine packs by-the-way) I wanted a pack with all the features I was looking for.
In 2011, I saw Lowepro’s latest model—the Photo Sport 200 AW. I won’t lie; having already invested a small fortune in DSLR backpacks, I hesitated. I wanted to be sure it was the pack for me. After months of weighing the pros and cons, I decided to try it, and anxiously awaited its arrival.
The Photo Sport 200 AW comes in two colors, orange or black, and while orange wasn’t my first choice (black wasn’t available at the time) it was something I could live with. The difference between the Photo Sport 200 AW and other DSLR backpacks, is that it’s lightweight and durable.
Ultra light, and smartly designed, I was impressed with its spacious interior. The camera bay holds just the basics because adding a bunch of gear would defeat the purpose of hiking light, which is what this pack is intended for. What I like about the camera bay is that it’s similar to Lowepro’s Fastpack series that unzips from the side of the pack for quick and easy access.
As for comfort, I found it very comfortable, even when fully loaded and on an eighty-degree day! I was also impressed with its ability to protect gear. While I have never dropped a backpack in my life, it was during a heavy rain and gale force winds that I opened the door to the pickup, and the pack somersaulted three feet to the ground. To my relief, camera, lenses, and the rest of my gear were safe and dry.
Recently on Twitter, Lowepro asked me where I typically use the pack—outdoors or around town. While my sole purpose for the pack is outdoor/trail use, I have on occasion carried it around town when traveling, and my conclusion is this—the Photo Sport 200 AW Sport 200 AW does exactly what is expected of it on or off the trail.
The bottom line—I love this pack!
Thank you again Lowepro!
- Features of the Lowepro Photo Sport 200 AW
- Weight: 2.9 pounds
- Exterior dimensions: 10.6W x 6.7D x19.3H in.
- Side-loading, padded interior camera bay: 7.7W x 3.5D x 3.5D in.
- Top compartment: 13.9 liters
- Hydration compartment (can be used for additional storage)
- Other features include—a zippered pocket inside the top drawstring compartment, an outer, zippered top outer pocket, an outer stash pocket, one side mesh pocket for a water bottle, straps and loops on top and bottom for securing additional gear, sternum strap with built-in whistle, comfortable waist belt with small zippered pockets, built-in rain-fly.
I found this video very helpful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5F-ac6tIgM
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