In April 2016, Loveskiing got their hands on a number of specialist photography backpacks with the intention of seeing how they performed on the slopes. This review looks at one of the midsize ones, the Lowepro Photo Hatchback BP250 AWII (also has a smaller sibling, the BP150).
We’ve tried to keep the review to the point and informative, so you don’t have to waste an hour reading through it. However, if you want more detail, drop us a comment below (or on FB / Twitter) and we’ll get straight back to you. We’ll start by taking each of Lowepro’s main statements about their bag and saying whether or not we agree, followed by summarising what we really like and what we think could be better. Simples!
P.S. scroll to the bottom to see some pics of this bag.
|Black or Midnight Blue/Grey|
|22.5 x 11.5 x 19.5 cm + 24 x 2 x 25.5 cm (tablet holder) — 22 litre capacity|
|29 x 23.5 x 50.5 cm|
|0.93 kg / 2.05 lbs|
|£99 / $110|
- Note that, if this bag looks too big for you, there is a smaller version available, the BP150 AWII, which has a 16L capacity and markets for around £80.
What they say
Secure, body-side access with a hatch-style opening
- If you need fast access to your gear, this bag certainly provides it: you’re able to get straight to all your gear by simply unzipping the bag at the back, while it hangs on one shoulder. We also like that you can lie the bag down, say in the snow, whilst accessing all your gear with ease.
Store, organise and protect your photo/action video gear in the removable camera compartment; it features Lowepro’s padded and adjustable divider system and a storm-flap closure for extra protection from moisture, dust and sand
- This is the compartment you get to through the zip we mentioned above. First things first, the padding is okay, yes…only okay. We feel it’s a bit feeble around the sides and could do with a bit more investment/thickening up. We like that there’s a slot for an extra memory card or two, but we think more compartments could be added given the available space. We also like that the camera compartment (attached with velcro, again) can be removed to give you one big interior section – who doesn’t like a bit of flexibility?
- What can I fit in it, you ask? We comfortably managed to fit a Canon 70D with a 18-105mm lens, a 50mm prime and a 10mm wideangle lens, with two extra compartments for little bits and bobs like cleaning kit. As for the top, actually quite capacious, section, we carried our lunch, a spare jumper, a spare pair of goggles and sunglasses, and there was plenty of room to spare. All in all, we were mightily impressed by what we managed to fit into a backpack of this size.
Keep your 10-inch tablet right at hand in the dedicated CradleFit™ pocket; it suspends and protects your go-to device from impact
- It’s an extra pocket that fits up to a 10-inch tablet…that’s about all we can say. Cool feature, but it could be better: it isn’t zipped and the “protection” isn’t really much – it could definitely be more padded on both sides.
Comfortable, moisture-wicking padding at the shoulders and lower back helps make this an easy, day-long carry solution
- We really like the padding and moisture-wicking element on the shoulder straps and on the back. It’s a simple element of the bag, but one that adds a fair amount of comfort.
Use the adjustable sternum and waist straps to keep pack close to your body when you’re on the move
- The waist straps are an area where we think Lowepro missed a trick with this backpack. The issue is that, for the price, we’d expect more than just a waist strap. For example, on both Jack Wolfskin’s ACS Photo Pack Pro (LINK) and Lowepro’s Photo Sport BP200 AWII (LINK), extra zipped pockets are incorporated into the straps, which is an element that we love and, honestly, couldn’t go without. Especially a bag setting you back £100!!
Protect all your gear with the patented, built-in All Weather AW Cover™; it safeguards pack and contents form rain, snow, dust and sand
- Hidden away behind two velcro tabs (shame this isn’t a zip, as with the Photo Sport – LINK) at the bottom of the bag is an extra layer of protection for the worst of conditions. Consider it an extra layer of waterproofing, essential for protecting your expensive gear. We love this aspect and found it only took us three seconds to cover the whole bag – incredibly useful for when you’re caught out in a heavy downpour with no cover to be found!
What we like
- Very lightweight
- Simple, sleek design
- Great capacity for a bag of its size
- Comfortable padding on the back
- Easy, safe access to camera gear
What we think could be better
- Waist straps are just waist straps, with no extra pocket – something we’d expect for the price
- Too much Velcro on the bag, we’d expect to see more secure zips for the price
- Padding around the camera is insufficient and we’d worry about falling on the piste and crushing our gear
Is it worth the cost? We’re afraid not – all things considered, the bag just doesn’t match the quality we’d expect for the price Lowepro are asking for. If the backpack was half the price (around £50), we’d suggest it would be a must-buy given its capacious interior and sleek exterior design. However, at the £100 mark we’d expect to see more bells and whistles, especially as we’ve seen similarly priced bags, such as Lowepro’s PhotoSport BP200 AWII (LINK) or Jack Wolfskin’s ACS Photo Pack Pro, with many more “premium” features. These include waist strap pockets, better padding, more compartments and generally a more expensive feel to them…
Sorry, Lowepro, but we’re afraid it’s back to the drawing board with the Photo Hatchback! Or a rethink of pricing strategy…