I have been using the Lowepro fastpack 150 AW for a year now, this is my review on the bag and how it has fared in the varying environments and conditions I have taken it through.
Before I set off a year ago I had a large camera bag (Lowepro fastpack 350) for carrying around my camera body, several lenses and my laptop. So I was in the market for a much smaller camera backpack that I could easily carry around with me while traveling, this led me to purchase the Lowepro fastpack 150.
I was drawn to it because I was used to using a Lowepro bag and I liked the overall layout, the fastpack 150 version was a much more compact and lightweight version of what I had previously.
On a daily basis I carry around my camera body, 3 lenses, my 13” macbook, intervalometer, tripod and various other small bits and pieces. For this task the bag has held up well, I can fit everything in quite snuggly.
The bag feels nice and lightweight to carry around for a whole day and it has a small footprint on your back so it can feel lighter just because it is less cumbersome.
I have taken the bag up through the Himalayas through the snow and across Thailand during monsoon season, and it has kept my gear dry thanks to the waterproof cover that tucks away under the bag when not in use.
I can’t fault the cover, it has done its job so far and doesn’t show any signs of wear and tear. The only minor gripe I have about it is that if you have a bottle of water in the side pocket the cover will not completely cover over the bag.
Speaking of the side pocket, this is one part of the bag that has shown its age, the netted mesh type material has ripped in several places from bottles being put in and taken out of it over the past year. I am not entirely sure how that happened but especially over the last few months it was got exponentially worse.
The camera compartment itself is nice and compact, my Canon 550D with a 10-22mm lens attached fits in nicely. Now this camera setup is relatively small for a DSLR and it a snug fit, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you have a larger more professional grade sized DSLR.
The lenses are also tightly fit into the lower pockets to the right of the camera, again…..the key word being tight. The Sigma 30mm lens can be a bit fiddly to get out as it’s tucked away in the corner, and the 55-200mm is on the tall side so the zippered cover only just manages to cover over the protruding lens.
These aren’t necessarily complaints, I quite like the snug fit of everything and it feels secure. I’m just saying if you have a larger camera or lenses there could be a bit of trouble it fitting everything in.
The top compartment is nicely laid out with lots of pockets and pouches to put any additional accessories, there is also a little pouch which is designed to be for audio equipment but I mainly used it for charging cables, usb sticks or any other little accessories that I don’t need access to that often.
This is one part of the bag that I felt the compact size to be a bit of hindrance as the top compartment doesn’t leave much room for anything else….like as soon as your put a little snack bar and a banana in there it’s completely full. It is just something to be aware of if you’re going on a long hike or something, there won’t be much room for snacks.
The top compartments zipper is another aspect of the bag that shows it age as the zip has become quite worn and now only zips in one direction, this is a bit annoying and it can sometimes get stuck even on the side that is currently working.
The laptop slide is a great size for a laptop up to 13” and I manage to fit in my charger and mouse in there too.
There are several straps surround the bag, two are for compression which helps to shrink the bag down if it is packed which I found handy. There is also a waist strap to keep the bag more secure and help take the weight a bit, I didn’t really use this strap and had it tucked away in the little pockets provided.
I would have liked a chest strap though, as keeping the straps on the shoulders can be difficult if you’re trekking or walking on uneven terrain.
This bag has served me well, it has been a solid companion over the past year having been attached to me almost every day through all kinds of environments from dust storms to snow storms. There are some signs of wear which is what I would expect under the extreme conditions I have taken it through however the rips in the side pocket and the fault in the top zipper were a slight letdown.
Overall I love the compact design and ease of access to camera and lenses, I personally really like the snug fit of everything. It made my gear feel secure and it wouldn’t move around if I’m scaling a boulder or out trekking in the wilderness.
I would highly recommend this bag if you’re looking for a small agile design where you can carry your gear around with you for long periods at a time.
I have noticed that Lowepro have released a new version of the bag, the Lowepro Fastpack 150 AW II offers slightly more pockets for storage and the materials look a bit more rugged. According to the specs it is a slightly larger bag as well which I would welcome just to give that little bit more breathing space to access your equipment.
The new version also includes a chest strap which is a most welcomed feature by myself as it would help keep the straps on my shoulders when walking on unsteady ground.
What camera bag do you use while travelling? Have I convinced you to try out this bag?