First impressions of Lowepro Flipside Sport 15L AW

The new Lowepro Flipside Sport 15L AW is simply the best photo backpack I have ever used, it combines low weight, small size with much space and functionality. I was among the first in Denmark to receive one of these wonders, I ordered one in blue as soon I saw the announcement by Lowepro and after a few weeks of use I decided to get one in the cool orange colour. Now after almost four months of use I can only say that I'm deeply impressed by its performance, I’ve taken it on a number of day trips, hiking in all types of terrain and everything is just about perfect.  


I have used several Lowepro backpacks over the years, I usually have 2-3 different packs for different purposes. For everyday use and light travel I have used the Micro Trekker, Mini Trekker AW, Computrekker AW, Pro Runner 300 AW and a year ago I fell in love with the Flipside 400 AW backpack with its unique back-opening. A year later Lowepro have made a sporty Flipside backpack and I ordered it immediately when I saw it. Lowepro has always been designing new packs that are geared towards outdoor and adventure photographers, but recently we have seen a big improvement in technical design and innovative features like faster and easier access to the gear.


Functionality
The Flipside Sport AW comes in three sizes, 20L, 15L and 10L. I got the medium 15L version, mainly because the 15L pack is sized to fit a ‘pro’ DLSR with an attached grip. Essentially, they carry about the same amount of gear, but I use a 300/2,8 lens a lot and it is nice to have a small backpack with a deep camera compartment; making the back-pain less.

The Flipside Sport AW has well designed suspensions system with padded and ventilated shoulders straps and back panel, which work well for action activities. The pack is extremely comfortable and carries really well on your back. It’s awesome when you’re heading out for the day with the camera and don’t need a lot of extra gear - water in the hydration pocket and a jacket in the tripod flap and you’re good to go for hours.

The main design feature of the Flipside Sport AW is that it allows you to get in and out of the pack without taking it off. You simply unbuckle the chest strap and swing it around to the front of your body. The waist-belt holds the pack horizontal against your body and keeps the pack from dropping down, you don't have to set the pack down, the gear is right there in front of you. This is a very cool idea, but I love the back opening even more, because you wont get wet or muddy on your back, the back-panel of the pack is up and not down in the mud when you rest it on the forest floor.

Another great thing about the Flipside Sport is that it’s sized to fit a 70-200mm f/2.8 with a pro body attached, with some smaller camera bags, you can’t keep the big lens attached to the camera when it’s inside the pack. Carrying a big lens like a 300/2,8, you still have enough room for two more lenses, or a flash, removable Velcro dividers allow you to configure the pack as needed.

Tripod attachment
Another special feature of the pack is a unique tripod flap that lets you strap on a medium sized tripod. Ok, this was intended as a tripod attachment, but it has other uses too!. Essentially, it’s a double flap of fabric and two straps perfect for carrying an extra clothing layer and other stuff; It’s not an enclosed pocket, but the straps will easily secure your hardshell jacket or pants. This option and the hydration pocket, you get a variety of carrying options, another cool thing is the two strong straps, which I have used to carry Street and Field equipment with attachment loops, then this pack can carry even more stuff.

Removable Camera Compartment
This pack feature yet another unique feature, that gives you the option of removing the entire camera compartment, which allows you to use the Flipside Sport as regular, single compartment day pack. This is really cool, because you can use it as a normal backpack, when your are going to town to shop, the back opening gives you a secure feel when you are travelling by public transport, because it is impossible to steal from unless the person uses a knife to slit it open.

Nothing is Perfect
After having used the Flipside Sport for four months, I have only minor complaints and really nothing that is worth mentioning, but nothing is perfect and in a review like this I need to find something to point my fingers at. First you can't zip the Hydration Pocket room with just one hand, the textile is simply to soft and the zipper has to make a turn and it is simply to difficult to close or open; the textile needs to be stiffer making the operation of the zipper much easier. The last problem I encountered is the lack of pockets for small accessories like memory cards, I would be glad to see a few card pockets on the lid, inside the camera compartment. Also a small pocket with zipper on the top of the pack, would be nice to store a car key or a energy-bar, while hiking!.

Summary
If you do adventure photography or any kind of outdoor shooting, or if you simply want a well designed, streamlined and light backpack for hiking to your landscape photography destinations, then I can highly recommend this pack. The new Lowepro Flipside Sport 15L AW is simply the best photo backpack I have ever used! - I hope that Lowepro would make a larger 45L version to carry most of my gear and outdoor equipment into the field - that would be very nice indeed! Update: a new Flipside Sport 20L AW is now available!.

Rating: Build Quality: 9/10 - Functionality: 10/10

Conclusion - Pros:

+ High quality materials
+ Low weight of only 1,1 kg
+ Ventilated shoulders straps and back
+ Flipside design with secure back opening
+ Unique multifunctional tripod attachment  
+ Durable design with AW - All-weather cover
+ Very deep and removable Camera Compartment
+ Does not have photo-equipment written all over it!
+ Room for a Pro-body with 300/2,8 attached
+ Detachable waist-belt
+ Hydration Pocket

Conclusion - Cons:

- Flimsy zipper on the Hydration-Pocket room
- Almost no place for small accessories 

The great Flipside design with secure back opening.

3 comments:

  1. I just found your blog and want to say thank you ! It is really nice post thanks for sharing and just keep up the good work !


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    1. Thank you Md Raju, nice that you find it interesting...

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  2. What I like about it is you can swap lens / kit without having to put the bag on the ground

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