Hiking camera backpacks are fast becoming one of the more sought-after pieces of gear. More often than not, manufacturers overlook the best qualities of hiking backpacks. Lowepro is no stranger to this market. The Lowepro PhotoSport Backpack is the company’s newest offering. It’s made with recycled and upcycled materials which are in-line with their green initiative. The backpack is lightweight and versatile. So how does it fare? Keep reading to find out more.
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Too Long Didn’t Read
The Lowepro PhotoSport Pro 55L Backpack is very comfortable and can carry a lot of stuff. Lowepro put a lot of thought into designing this bag for photographers. Plus it’s made primarily of recycled material. The shoulder straps and back panel aren’t as breathable as they could be for long hikes. And although it isn’t perfect, there’s a lot they got right.
Pros and Cons
- Sternum strap fit is great
- Shoulder straps and waist belt are comfortable
- Plenty of versatility
- Offers both front and back panel access to gear
- Can carry a lot of stuff
- Constructed with recycled material
- It comes with a waterproof cover
- Lack of breathability on the back panel and shoulder straps
- Materials used don’t feel as premium as the $469 price tag suggests
- The shoulder strap height is difficult to adjust
- There’s not a lot of room for bulky camera lenses
- Main compartment zippers are not weather-resistant
- Gets dirty easily
We tested the Lowepro Photosport 55L backpack with a Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 50mm f1.2L lens attached, as well as a Canon 85mm f1.2L II lens.
All tech specs are provided by the manufacturer.
- Weight: 6.61lbs
- Internal Dimensions: 3.39 x 7.48 x 25.20 in
- External Dimensions: 16.14 x 14.17 x 27.56 in
- Total Volume: 57 L
- Main Color: Gray
- Camera Compartment Dimensions: 11.42 x 5.91 x 8.27 in
- Gearbox Exterior Dimensions: 12.40 x 6.50 x 8.86 in
- Gearbox Interior Dimensions: 11.42 x 5.91 x 8.27 in
- Primary Device: Camera
- Size: S/M and M/L
- Device Volume: 8 L
- Exterior Material: 420D nylon w/ Carbonate (recycled)
- Interior Material: 200D polyester (recycled)
The Lowepro PhotoSport backpack is not very innovative. Its design closely models a hiking backpack. The removable top panel and inner cube with the extra straps are thoughtful touches for added versatility.
The top panel of the PhotoSport backpack houses both external and internal mesh pockets. These will fit small items like keys, SD cards, a wallet, a cell phone, and other personal items.
You will find a drawstring enclosure underneath the top panel to access more oversized items like a coat. This is also the easiest way to insert the removable cube.
The top panel and inner cube are removable and can be worn with the included straps as a cross-body pouch. The straps can also double as a camera strap.
On the front is a T-shaped pouch that can secure a jacket or cardigan. Unzip the front lower panel for access to the removable cube.
There is a zippered pocket on the bottom of the front panel. It will fit large items like tennis shoes, a large water bottle, and even a jacket.
Each side of the Lowepro PhotoSport has a stretchy pouch and clips to secure items like a tripod. A smaller water bottle will also fit.
Here is a view of the backside of the PhotoSport bag. A grab handle is located at the top. The padded shoulder and sternum straps are adjustable to accommodate most heights.
Located underneath the shoulder straps is the back panel access. The removable cube can be secured facing either the front or the back for easy access. It will fit a DSLR with a 70-200 lens attached and an additional lens or two, depending on size. The cube will also accommodate a three-liter water reservoir.
This is how the S/M size bag fits a 5’6” average female frame. The adjustable waist belt is at the bottom. It is padded and sits well on the hips.
The Lowepro PhotoSport 55L backpack is made of lightweight recycled fabric, recycled nylon, and Nylon Diamond Ripstop with carbonate. The buckles are also made of what is presumed to be plastic as well. All in all, it’s a lightweight backpack. However, some components do not feel of the quality you would expect from a $469 backpack. The padded waist belt and shoulder straps provide excellent comfort. The fabric does a decent job of wicking away moisture. I went for a hike on a rainy day, and my gear was fine. It also held up to my cat playing demolition derby in the morning quite well.
The main compartment zippers are not weather-resistant. The removable cube does not have weather-resistant zippers either. However, the two layers of fabric should provide more than enough protection for most conditions. The backpack does ship with a weather-resistant outer cover.
Ease of Use
Like most hiking backpacks, the PhotoSport Pro has an aluminum frame. It distributes the bulk of the weight to the lower part of the body. The waist belt sits perfectly on my hips. The padded waist strap and shoulder pads make for enjoyable long hikes. Lowepro really got the sternum strap right. It adjusts with ease for a higher fit on women and a lower one on men. The strap is adjustable and also stretchy on one side for a great fit. The stretchy side panels easily accommodate a large tripod as well as a smaller water bottle.
The removable insert is designed to be accessed by both front and real panels. It depends on personal preference. The extra straps are a nice touch for cutting down on gear for shorter hikes while camping. There are several mesh pockets for miscellaneous items and a larger pocket on the bottom. The drawstring top provides extra convenience. But, I don’t love the drawstring enclosure, as I prefer to know my items are zipped in securely.
I was lucky that the shoulder straps were precisely where I wanted them for the harness. The brand new velcro is very secure and difficult to navigate in the beginning. However, It does get better with use. The shoulder straps and back panel do not offer much breathability. My back was sweaty in 40-degree temperatures. I imagine I would have a soaked sports bra and t-shirt ¾ of the way around when temperatures soar.
The included straps add versatility for multi-day hikes. I do prefer the comfort of my regular neck strap, and I appreciate the option. Being able to remove the top panel and interior cube make it so hikers don’t always have to carry the entire backpack. It’s a nice touch.
Conclusions of the Lowepro PhotoSport 55L Backpack Review
- They got the sternum strap right
- I’d prefer more breathability on the shoulder straps and back panel
- Some of the materials don’t feel premium
- The main compartment zippers are not weather-resistant
- There’s not a lot of room for oversized camera gear
The Lowepro PhotoSport 55L backpack seems to be designed first as a camera bag and a hiking bag second. The removable cube, removable top panel, and additional straps provide versatility. It’s nice that photographers can choose which panel they would like to access to reach their gear. Most of the materials feel as though they will withstand wear and tear without a hitch.
There are a few areas that can be improved upon. We would love to see Lowepro add more breathability to the shoulder straps and back panel. A weather-resistant zipper would be a great addition when accessing gear. And some of the clasps and materials don’t feel high quality.
It’s refreshing to see a company put a lot of fit into various body types. This backpack is a testament to that. Lowepro seems committed to continually improving their gear with the environmentally in mind. That is exciting. I look forward to seeing what they do with the next iteration.
We are giving the Lowepro PhotoSport 55L backpack four out of five stars. Want one? You can check it out at Amazon.