Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lowepro Fastpack 250 Backpack

Lowepro Fastpack 250.When we travel I end up lugging around a lot of gear. Most of the bulk comes from the fact that I have 2 bags — one for laptop, one for camera and lenses. I wanted to merge them together and the arrival of D700 kind of forced me to. The older SlingShot1 bag that I used for camera gear couldn’t fit D700 with 24-70mm lens attached.

Here is a short list of things that were a must:
  • Notebook compartment for 15 inch MacBook Pro
  • Good sized camera and lens compartment
  • Additional compartment
  • Ability to take out the camera body out of the bag easily without a fear of anything else falling out
  • All of the above in the smallest possible package

Lowepro Fastpack 250 next to Lowepro SlingShot 100 AW.I had good experience with my current bag and I liked the idea of taking the camera out without taking the bag off. Naturally the first thing we looked at was Lowepro SlingShot 350. In my opinion that thing is just hideous and just too huge. After that I read up on a lot of different stuff and in the end we had two main contenders — Tamrac Aero Speed Pack 85 and Lowepro Fastpack 250. I actually realized that when you have so much weight it better be a full backpack as opposed to a sling shot type bag, to distribute the weight better.

Both of these bags meet all of my criteria including the fact that you can take out the camera without exposing any of the lenses. Judging purely by design I would probably give slightly higher marks to Tamrac bag, but everything else went for Fastpack.

Lowepro Fastpack 250 loaded with gear.Fastpack has a lot more pockets and it really comes in handy when you’re carrying trip plans, passports, filters, wires and so on. Another huge plus for me was the flap that goes over the lens compartment. While traveling you can put put all the zippers under it and thus prevent anyone from trying to pull a fast one on you. We tried both of them on at B&H and Fastpack just felt more comfortable and more secure to me. Overall they are both very good bags and it will probably come down to your own preference.

This past weekend I tried walking around with it having several heavy lenses and a camera inside. It felt very good. I was able to take the camera out without taking the bag off and I think I’m going to be pretty happy with it. The real test comes at the end of April, during our California road trip. I’ll have it fully loaded for the plane and will remove non-camera gear for hikes.

Lowepro Fastpack 250. Side view.

  1. Lowepro SlingShot 100 AW. []

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