I think I found it. I think I found my new bag.
After carrying a base-level lowepro model for years and trying a few other bags, I finally took all my gear, shoved it into the Lowepro Whistler BP 350 AW and smiled. Why? So many reasons...let me name them:
- Material: it's made from a few different types of nylon that are commonly found on outdoors backpacks. The bag is water-resistant and tough without sacrificing too much weight. It comes in around 6.5 lbs which isn't ultralight, but then again, that's not what I'm going for in a camera bag.
- Style: this is my favorite part - it's styled after a hiking backpack. I hike a lot and spent many hours picking my hiking backpack. This possesses many popular features from the outdoor industry such as the zippers and pulls, placement of pockets, hip-belt style, shoulder strap contour, back padding, etc. It's ergonomics are phenomenal.
- Storage: this is where the bag shines. Some other bags I was comparing this to (cinebags cb-25) were just large. This pack isn't small but it is smart. It makes great use of space. I was able to fit nearly all of the equipment I would need for a location shoot, except for modifiers. Check it out...
In the second image I actually managed to fit in my Godox AD600BM with enough room for the rest. Here's the list:
- Bodies: nikon d800, nikon d750
- Lenses: 24 2.8, 105 2.8, 16-28 2.8, 50 1.8, 24-70 2.8 and 70-200 2.8 (in first image it's below the sb-910 in the second image, it's in the upper compartment).
- Speedlights: 2-4 SB910's
- Accessories: Two triggers, 9 batteries, 2 chargers, spare lens hood, 2 light stands with room to spare.
That upper compartment is really convenient. I can't believe it fit a 70-200 2.8. There are tons of other pockets, webbing, lash points, and netted pockets so batteries, filters, cards, etc.
Best of all it doesn't feel like I'm wearing something unbearably huge on my back. Even better, with its hiking-style harness system, the weight is distributed really well.
Other notable features:
- Zipper for main pocket is oversized.
- There is a rain cover in upper compartment.
- There is lots of webbing for clipping/lashing spare accessories
- Along with two lightstands on either side of the bag, I could easily put a tripod and perhaps another lightstand using the front clips.
- There is a zipper that allows you to expand the front storage. Crazy.
- There is a layer of protection inside the back flap cover (which can fold open in parts for ease-of-access, especially in inclement weather).
For video guys...this isn't deep enough for a c100 body. I could probably MAKE it fit, but I don't want to. However, the Lowepro Whistler BP 450 AW is supposedly deeper and might be a contender for those of you who want a backpack that can handle smaller digital cine cameras. I might've gone for it, if it wasn't another $100 or so. I have great Orca bags for my video stuff.
Anyhow...I know this will hold up well over time and won't hesitate to recommend it to wedding, news, or portrait photographers. The other bags are going back or being retired.
Git r done.