Lowepro Photo Sport BP200 AWII Review

Introduction

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 (see the others here). This review looks at the smallest of the lot, the Lowepro Photo Sport BP200 AWII.

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 our pics of this great backpack!

Key Specs

Colours
Black or Horizon Blue
Internal Dimensions
16 x 9 x 20.7 cm
External Dimensions
24.5 x 19.5 x 52 cm
Weight
1.2 kg  /  2.7 lbs
Price
£118 / $169

What they say

“Keep your camera gear secure and in place while you hike, bike, climb, snowboard or run. Our new UltraCinch™ design features a custom pull-tab to cinch and tighten photo gear space in one swift action for bounce-free protection”
Ultracinch - extra security for your gear that we love!

Ultracinch – extra security for your gear that we love!

  • This refers to the pull-tab on the side of the bag that can tighten or loosen the padding that surrounds your gear. It’s a nice touch, finished very well with a plastic tab to tidy away the remaining cord (see picture) – nobody likes these dangling off their bag at all angles!
“Feel good as you move with your pack; the ActivZone™ suspension holds the bag snuggly to your body”
  • “Snuggly” is a great word to describe the fit of this bag! It feels cushioned and follows the contours of your back, creating a snuggly fit that we love. The waist strap is more comfortable than other bags we’ve tried, and has the added bonus of two pockets on either side – perfect for your phone (impressively fits the iPhone 6).
“Protect your gear from the elements. A built-in All Weather AW Cover™ safeguards photo and personal gear from rain, snow, dust and sand.”
  • Hidden away behind a small zip 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!
“A roomy, toploading compartment is built to store a day’s worth of creature comforts.”
  • Let’s not kid ourselves; this is definitely one of the smaller camera bags you’ll see. However, depending on your needs, it could be perfect. Think of it as having two main internal compartments: the padded camera and lens holder at the bottom, and a top compartment you could fit, for example, a football in. When skiing, we fitted in an extra pair of goggles, a packed lunch, some sunnies, an extra layer and a zoom lens comfortably. Not bad for a small bag, right?
“Multiple attachment points allow you to secure extra gear to the pack, such as a tripod or trekking poles.”
  • We can’t deny this – there are a couple of points to fix a tripod to – but they aren’t particularly strong/big, and we think they’d struggle to hold anything other than a small tripod. But again, perhaps that’s because this bag focuses on an audience looking for a streamlined, lightweight bag…
“The front pocket accommodates a bike helmet, light jacket, gloves, etc..”
  • There’s an uncovered front pocket that would be suitable for stuffing a few things in, although we think a bike helmet would be pushing it!
“A stabilizing waist strap includes two zippered side pockets for quick grab items.”
  • As we’ve already mentioned, the waist strap is more comfortable than a lot of other bags we’ve tried, and has the added bonus of two pockets on either side – perfect for your phone (impressively fits the iPhone 6). We love this…
“Keep hydrated with a 2-liter Camelbak® or Platypus® reservoir (not included) placed in the dedicated hydration pocket. It includes quick-release buckles and internal routing for easy access.”
  • We’re big fans of this: the bag once again demonstrates its likeness to Mary Poppins’ endless bag, with a secret zipped pocket at the back capable of taking a 2-litre water reservoir. If you didn’t want this, you could use it to store an iPad or something similar.

What we like

  • Compact, lightweight & stylish design
  • Great capacity for such a small bag
  • UltraCinch strap around camera compartment provides extra security for your gear

What we think could be better

  • Loose straps can get a bit annoying, especially around the waist – we’d like to see a better, tidier way of tucking these away (but this is us being very picky…)
  • Although fairly well padded, we think the padding around the gear could be ramped up slightly – we’re not sure the bag would sustain a massive fall on the piste!

Conclusion

Is it worth the cost? Yes, just about. There are clear signs of quality and extra innovation (UltraCinch, for example), although we’re tempted to suggest the £100 mark would be a fairer price considering the size of this bag.

All in all, the PhotoSport BP200 AWII is a top piece of kit: it’s stylish, lightweight yet surprisingly capacious and provides decent protection for your gear. Perfect for those bluebird days you know you need just the one lens and some other bits and bobs…If you like to carry a lot of gear around with you, we recommend looking at Jack Wolfskin’s ACS Photo Pack Pro  or Lowepro’s Whistler BP.

Any questions? Drop us a comment below (or on FB / Twitter) and we’ll get straight back to you!

Available in two colours

Available in two colours

Side view

Side view

Side compartment for your gear with UltraCinch technology for extra protection

Side compartment for your gear with UltraCinch technology for extra protection

Very discreet from the front, with excellent waist strap pockets

Very discreet from the front, with excellent waist strap pockets