Once in a while, I have to explain to my better half why I need so many photo bags. “You see, honey, my photo bags are a bit like your shoes. They’re all perfectly useful in certain situations, but not very practical in others.” For example, I love my Photo Sport 200 AW. It’s perfect for my morning run and for biking to work, but I have to carefully select what I pack and what I don’t. My Flipside 300 is fantastic, but it’s really hot during demanding activities in the middle of July. And I could go on and on about my entire collection. For every “wow” factor, there’s a “but”—and usually the “wow” of one bag is the “but” of the other.
Enter the Lowepro Flipside Sport 20L AW. On paper, this one looks like, “Wow, wow, wow!” and I’m tempted to use the ultimate plea: “But sweetie, it looks like they designed it just for me!”
A brief description of the bag by the manufacturer
“Get on-the-go access with a lightweight and technical camera daypack that fits pro-sized gear. The Flipside Sport 20L AW is built for photographers in pursuit of active adventures.”
I like to see myself as an adventurer, but maybe “active” is a better descriptor. I bike to work, rain or shine, with my photo gear and laptop. I also run or walk a few kilometres a day. My car is mainly used for going to the grocery store or family trips. And I’m a bit indecisive about what to bring with me in any given situation, so I always pack more than I should.
At first glance, it’s impressive. I can easily fit a lot of photo gear in this bag. Lowepro says that it can accommodate a tablet or small laptop, but I was able to fit my 15-inch laptop in the bag (but not in the slot intended for the computer).
What makes the whole Flipside series unique is that the access to the main compartment is on the body side of the bag. That’s handy because nobody can access your gear while you’re wearing the bag, and when the waist belt is attached, all you have to do is flip it to the front to access your equipment. The bag is well vented, and all the padding is made from perforated, breathable material. This makes it more comfortable, and you don’t have to worry about sweating too much.
As with all their AW series, the Flipside Sport has a removable rain cover to protect your gear that you can pull out and fit over your bag. I find the tripod attachment system more convenient than both the Photo Sport 200 AW and the original Flipside line. Big or small, the tripod will be solidly secured, and it won’t move even if you’re running with the bag (The attachment system is also just the right size to hold two baguettes, in case you were wondering). Same with the trekking pole holders; they just seem better placed. Of course, you can’t put on the rain cover if a tripod or trekking poles are attached to the bag.
Lowepro was nice enough to also include two attachment points on the padded straps. I often link my camera to one of them with a strap for extra security when shooting in awkward situations.
Not only is the inside of the bag completely configurable so you can arrange the layout according to your needs, but it is also removable with its own extra layer of protection! You could even carry it as a separate bag to make room in the backpack for some more stuff.
Many “wow” factors, but where’s the “but”?
As with many things in life, the biggest draws can also be the biggest drawbacks. In this case, if I ever fall backwards with my bag full of stuff, I may end up looking like an upside-down turtle unable to right myself. Such is life!
For more information: http://www.lowepro.com/flipside-sport