You have a DSLR, four lenses, a flash, batteries, chargers and cords: Everything but the kitchen sink. The world awaits, possible adventures hijack your imagination.

Question: How, pray tell, do you pack all that photography gear and keep it safe while on the road?.


Photo by KhE

Lowepro released the Flipside AW line (AW meaning All Weather) of camera backpacks in 2008. The Flipside 200 AW, 300 AW, and 400 AW offer different size options for traveling shutterbugs. Best of all, they offer security.

A subway platform in Chicago or a market in Marrakesh have one thing in common: Pickpockets.

Protection from nimble-fingered thieves is the Flipside’s big advantage. The main compartment opens from the back (the area against your back), keeping your photo gear safe. There’s no easy way for dastardly folk to gain access. On your back, or your front in crowded environs, the Flipside makes your expensive lenses and DSLR bodies nearly unavailable to thieves.

The Flipside 400 AW, the largest bag of the product line, offers photographers a comfortable way to transport their gear.

From a one-day, around-town trek, to a multi-day back-country adventure, the padded waistbelt and contoured shoulder straps can easily manage a heavy load.

The bag is well built with 600D Ripstop Polyester. The shoulder straps, waistbelt and backpad are lined with moisture-wicking, nylon mesh.

An all weather cover, readily accessible from its own compartment, will keep you gear dry in wet weather.

I spent three weeks in England toting more than 20 pounds of gear. Compared to other shoulder and sling bags I have tried, the Flipside 400 AW was hands-down the best for comfort.

On my UK trip, I hauled two DSLR bodies with battery grips, four lenses, a flash unit, and various batteries, chargers, and cords, and countless odds and ends. All fit into the voluminous bag.


Photo by KhE

Pluses

The Flipside 400 AW is a great pack. The waistbelt comfortably keeps weight off your shoulders. It’s easy to forget you are carrying a pack full of camera gear, and not a regular backpack.

The back-opening main compartment offers peace of mind when considering personal security. The 400 AW also fits easily into an airline overhead bin.

Minuses

The bag itself is heavy – empty, it weights 3.4 pounds. The lined backpad, straps, and belt, I found, didn’t do a great job in wicking away moisture.

After a few steamy days in southern China, the backpad was a tad smelly. This was easily remedied. The bag is also very rigid and has no give.

This is necessary given its role in securely storing your gear, but at time can be problematic.

The Flipside does not have a laptop / notebook storage area, a definite disadvantage.

There is not yet a perfect pack to carry both your camera and personal items. There is limited space in the Flipside for non camera-related gear. An extra shirt and a sandwich might fit in the outer compartment. Two bags will be needed if you are on anything longer than a day trip.

The pluses outweigh the minuses. The Flipside, with its storage capabilities, proved itself to me in the winter English countryside, and the hills of Hong Kong. While I pack only needed personal necessities, I do take a lot of photo gear – an area where the Flipside excels.

I recommend this pack.

Price: $149.95 | BUY