Following on my earlier post in search of the best waterproof camera bag I thought it might be helpful if I provide a full review of the Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW Camera Backpack in this post.
The Lowepro camera backpack was my third choice – hard to believe that such a great bag can come in third but I’ll explain my reasons below.
No doubt there are many that will disagree with my selection, but then we all have different tastes, needs and budgets. If this review of the bag helps you in deciding whether it is for you then that is great – my aim of helping you decide on a camera bag that suits your needs will have been achieved.
Let’s get to it.
Lowepro ProTactic 450AW Camera Backpack Overview
Product: Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW Camera Backpack
Price: Check Amazon for current price
Material: High grade synthetic material strengthened with military style webbing.
Weight: 2.2 Pounds
Guarantee: Warranty subject to authorized dealer’s Terms and Conditions, plus Amazon’s Standard Warranty
My Rating: 9.0 out of 10
What I Was looking For in a Camera Bag
I had four basic requirements (yours will most likely be different).
- A specific size to fit my existing equipment and also to allow for any future purchases.
- A sturdy bag that would maintain it’s shape despite regular and frequent use.
- Waterproof or at least water and weather resistant.
- A bag specifically designed for photographers with customisable partitions.
Other features that I was interested in but that weren’t essential included:
- A sling option for quick and easy access.
- A bag with a different look to one that screams “Camera Gear!”
- Didn’t cost the earth but wasn’t a cheap product either.
- A lightweight bag if possible.
I eventually narrowed my choice down to 3 bags:
LowePro 450AW in 3rd Place? ... are you nuts!
Seems absolutely insane that this wasn’t the outright winner!
It’s a camera bag that has so much going for it.
To start with it is extremely rugged and durable and a really popular bag among all types of photographers – film makers in particular love the space this bag provides.
Here’s what there is to like about this bag.
- Spacious – there are two large compartments that will accommodate camera bodies. Of the two the top one is the smaller but it will hold a full frame camera or a crop sensor camera fitted with a battery grip. That’s the smaller compartment! The bigger (bottom) compartment is able to hold a ton of equipment including a 150-600mm lens and is very deep. Seriously spacious with the ability for a wide range of gear to be accommodated. Particularly good for large pieces of equipment and cables used by videographers.
- The Back Entrance provides an extra layer of security when traveling. Any would be thief would need to go through your body to get at what is inside the main compartment. The top compartment, on the other hand is accessible from outside.
- Room for a 16″ laptop or 2 x iPads in the sleeve of the back cover. The laptop (or iPads) are well protected by the outer casing and padding. There are no fears of damaging your laptop in normal use.
- Designed for comfort and breathability. It’s a big bag and as such it has been designed to evenly spread the weight over your back for day long comfort. Channels built into the area that is in contact with your back act as padding as well as air passages to keep you cool even in the hottest of conditions – see image below.
- Heaps of external pockets. On both sides of the camera and within the compartments themselves there are a lot of compartments for storing those extra things we all carry: spare batteries, battery charger, filters, cleaning equipment, blowers, speed lights, cables, table-top tripod, hand warmers etc. There are a lot of these pockets although some are quite small and tight.
- Well designed for protection. I didn’t know how to word this properly but all the metal parts of the zips can be tucked behind a cleverly designed cloth corner pouch (only way I can describe it) that prevents the metal from scratching anything else in the storage compartment. There’s a much better explanation and visual of this in the video above.
- Build quality is exceptional – The basic frame is really sturdy and feels totally solid. All the reviews I looked at from those who use this bag have commented on how strong and sturdy this bag is. One of the reasons I was in the market was because my bags outer casing had softened to the point where it provided little or no protection from day-to-day bumps.
- Complies with Airline Carry-On baggage requirements. Feel safer knowing your camera equipment is with you and, with all the additional pockets and pouches, your passport, cash and favorite book is always close at hand.
- Comes with removal padded waist belt. It’s up to you if you want to use it or not (I would for that extra stability) and the belt has additional small pouches. Lowepro really seem to have thought of everything. You can remove the waist belt to reduce the size of the bag when storing.
- Military type webbing. One of the best features (IMO) of the 450 AW backpack is the strong military webbing that it comes with. The webbing itself also has several extra clips and connections for hanging or adding things on.
- Room for a tripod on either side or front. Inside your new bag you will find a little pouch that contains three smaller items that are intended for the outside of your bag. These can be put anywhere you like and will accommodate a tripod, water bottle (or similar) and a smaller digital camera or something of that size or shape (speed light?). Nice little additions to an already great bag.
- Fast Release Clips throughout. All clips click into position and clip out very quickly. You won’t need to be dancing around like a pretzel to get the bag off your back at the end of a long day or when you are in a hurry to get to a particular lens.
- Weather sealed and comes with a raincoat too. Should suit most weather conditions in New Zealand – and that is saying something.
- The look. It is a lovely looking bag in true Lowepro tradition – if you like black! I have seen the odd one in a sandy colour but other than that the colour options are zero.
- The Price – A great price for something that will protect a big investment and probably last a lifetime. I have discovered (yet again) that buying cheap is ultimately an expensive option.
So Why Third Place ... what's not to like?
Would I recommend the Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW Camera Backpack?
My reason for selecting a different bag had nothing to do with any faults in the Lowepro design and everything to do with aesthetics.
What were these aesthetics?
- This really is a big bag with way too much room for my needs. However, if you carry a lot of equipment, say two bodies and a number of larger lenses, battery grip etc. then this would be the bag to get. You won’t go wrong with it that is for sure.
- It only came in black and after discovering bags that looked less like “camera bags” I was leaning towards something a bit different. Of course that is no reason to not recommend this bag.
When it comes to quality and functionality there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t consider buying this bag.
Final Word on The LowePro ProTactic 450 AW ... an investment for life
Seriously folks the Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW Camera Backpack looks and sounds like a fantastic camera bag.
I can say with absolute certainty that this bag will meet your needs 100% if you need a really big bag.
But do yourself a favor and read other reviews from verified buyers on Amazon. Check them out by clicking on the button below.