As nature photographers, we usually have to carry around a lot of gear with us. That gear can get pretty heavy, so it’s helpful to have a camera bag that fits all of your stuff AND is comfortable to wear. Well, a couple years ago I found what I consider the perfect backpack for a hiking photographer: the Lowepro Flipside 400AW.
Here’s a summary of what I like about the bag, and a few things I don’t like:
- Plenty of room for an assortment of lenses (I can fit one camera body, a 300mm lens, a 70-200mm, 17-40mm, and a set of extension tubes)
- Distributes weight extremely well with a waist belt and chest strap
- With the waist belt on, you can easily retrieve stuff from the bag without putting it on the ground
- You can easily attach an assortment of LowePro accessory bags to the side of the backpack, to store more lenses or water bottles
- The dividers inside the bag can easily be rearranged to organize the bag however you’d like
- There’s two extra straps on top of the bag that allow you to strap on a jacket or fleece or provide extra support for the tripod
Whenever I go out for a hike, I usually stay out from sunrise to sunset and hike an average of eight miles (I stop a lot for photos and reading, hehe), and this backpack has been perfect for that. It carries everything I need (including plenty of room for water), and I’ve never been sore at the end of the day.
- The strap for securing the tripod isn’t sewn into the bag, so it’s likely to fall off if you forget to lock the strap after removing your tripod
- The side pockets aren’t large enough to fit a standard 32 oz Nalgene bottle, and LowePro no longer makes an accessory pouch that fits these bottles
- The all weather cover won’t cover the tripod too (it just covers the bag itself), but you can just put a large garbage bag in one of the side pockets and use that to cover the tripod when it rains
Out of these three things, the only one that really bothers me is the first one: that the tripod strap isn’t sewn into the bag. I’m still trying to figure out why LowePro did this, because it’s really annoying to have to remember to lock in the strap after removing the tripod. I already lost the strap once when I forgot to lock it in and it fell off, but luckily I found the strap when hiking the same area a week later. Other than this one tiny flaw though, I think the bag is perfect.
Video Tour of the Backpack
To get a better idea of what this backpack looks like, and what features it has, check out this video from LowePro:
Save 35% on this backpack until January 25th!
As a special treat to readers of PhotoNaturalist, Adorama has agreed to give us a great deal on this bag: 35% off the regular price (that’s a savings of $55!). So, until January 25th, you can get a great deal on this bag by using the link below:
Please feel free to share this link with your friends too, but remember to tell them you got it from PhotoNaturalist
Note: I have an affiliate account with Adorama, so I get a small commission for each sale through the link above, but these commissions help support PhotoNaturalist and keep this site alive (and free!). I do NOT have an affiliation with LowePro, and I never do paid product reviews. I research and buy camera stuff by myself, and then write about the stuff I like here on PhotoNaturalist.
Do you have another favorite camera bag?
If you have a different camera bag that you like, please tell us about it by leaving a comment below. Thanks!
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About the Author: Steve Berardi is a naturalist, photographer, computer scientist, and founder of PhotoNaturalist. You can usually find him hiking in the beautiful mountains and deserts of Southern California.