If you have read this blog you know how much I love the Lowepro Flipside 400 as a travel camera backback. Just the right size, slim profile, great suspension and the ever-popular back opening. But then a few months ago my friends at Lowepro said they had another version in the works, more sports oriented, and asked if I would be interested in trying it out. Oh yeah, bring it on!
Enter the Lowepro Flipside Sport 20L AW. To sum it up right at the beginning, this is my new favorite photo backpack. Why? There are many reasons. One feature that I really needed was a pack that was a little bigger, and more importantly, deeper, to accommodate larger camera bodies and lenses. The image above shows just how much you can pack into this pack. One D4, D800, 70-200mm, 24-120mm, 24-70mm, 50mm, SB900, SU800…and room for more. The deep volume design easily holds my D4 with 70-200mm attached, with no bulges pressing into my back. The bag is big enough to hold a 300mm 2.8 as well.
I need a pack that not only carries larger cameras and lenses, but also carries them comfortably. I have been shooting a lot of skiing using the Flipside, and it performs fantastic. No matter how comfortable a pack feels sitting on your back standing around, the second you start skiing hitting bumps with a heavy load you get a new appreciation if the pack suspension is really comfortable. The Flipside Sport was designed with this type of use in mind and carrying heavy loads comfortably. In addition, the Flipside Sport has a hydration slot to load up a water pouch for easier hydration on the trail.
The timing of getting this pack from Lowepro couldn’t have been better. Over the last two months I have traveled through SE Asia in blistering heat and humidity, high mountain slopes at subzero temps, and gritty slickrock of the Colorado Plateau. The pack ventilates well while on your back, and has a rain cover for wet conditions. The zipper system and back flap opening are also highlights. I can simply flip this pack around to my frontside, lean it down and unzip the pack to access my gear. No need to put it down in the muddy jungle or on powder snow.
Another feature that is very handy for travel is the padded pouch to carry your tablet or small laptop. I carry an 11″ Macbook Air when I travel on shoots and workshops, and it fits nicely in the paddled slot of the Flipside Sport. You can also put iPads and devices there as well.
A feature that was new to me but I am quickly learning to love is the removable padded insert. You can pull out the paddled camera case inside the pack, quickly transforming this pack into a standard backpack. The other day my family wanted to go on a quick hike, not a photo excursion. I just removed the camera insert (loaded with my camera gear) and used the Flipside Sport as a standard backpack for the hike.
I often get asked on photo workshops what backpack I prefer. The answer is the Flipside Sport 20L AW. The pack is light, loaded with useful features, has plenty of space, and I can open it without every putting it on the ground. The pack comes in blue and orange, and retails for $179.99.