Ever lugged heavy camera gear on a tramp? Camera and video bag maker Lowepro has released a couple of new backpacks designed just for that.
When the Flipside Sport 15L AW sample arrived at the Waikato Times chief photographer Peter Drury complained that the pastel blue colour was unmanly and none of his chaps would ever use it. But when I went looking for it, later, it had vanished. Perhaps it was a case of form and function winning over colour and looks. Or perhaps whichever photographer ran off with it simply didn't care about the colour.
It's primarily a camera bag in the shape of a backpack, designed to fit a professional DSLR camera with a grip, with attached 300mm f/2.8 lens.
There's room in the bag for up to three extra lenses or flashes and either a tripod or monopod as well as the usual cables, memory cards, manual and other accessories.
Because tramping is also foremost in Lowepro's mind, it comes with a special pocket with room for a 1-litre hydration reservoir.
All but the reservoir sit within a padded holdall which runs the length of the rucksack. To get access to it the part of the rucksack normally against your back unzips. At first I thought this awkward in a hurry, then I saw a photo on the Lowepro website showing the photographer with the bag's waist strap attached swinging the bag around from his back to his front and accessing his camera that way.
All of a sudden this bag made perfect sense.
I can't imagine ever needing the Rover Pro 45L AW bag, which is three times the size of the Flipside Sport 15L AW, mainly because I don't have that much camera gear. And if I did I wouldn't be wanting to lug it all into the wops, rather the bare necessities.
It works on a similar principle to the Flipside Sport 15L AW, only its compartments are accessed from the front rather than the back and it has two padded holdalls inside instead of one. So you'll get heaps of camera equipment in there - twice what the Flipside Sport 15L AW offers. If you want to use only one holdall you can fill the other with a raincoat, or something else, or remove it all together.
It's even got a laptop sleeve, although quite why you'd want to carry one of those into the bush with all that equipment is beyond me.
The second padded holdall will come out to give you a fairly decent tramping rucksack in its own right.
You don't have to unzip the front of the bag to get to the holdalls, you can get at them from the top of the bag as well but you'd have to have done some decent, clever packing if you're carrying much else.
In fact, it's got all the features of a traditional overnighter including a well-thought-out padded weight distribution system.
There's also a side pocket for a hydration reservoir and straps for a tripod or monopod.
Follow me on Twitter @CHRISGARDNERNZ