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Thread: Travelling with gear: Lowepro Fastpack 350

  1. #1

    Thumbs up Travelling with gear: Lowepro Fastpack 350

    Well I've just returned from 5 weeks of traveling with all my gear so I thought it might be useful to give a short review of my bag and strap that got everything where I needed to get it! We traveled from Melbourne to Thailand, then England where I spent 5 days walking around London, and a further 3 weeks driving all over England and Scotland. Then returned the car, went by the Eurostar train and spent a few days in Paris and back to London to fly to Thailand where we spent a few days and finally home. So the gear got a good test in a variety of situations. Many places I went had warnings of pickpockets and the like so security was also important.

    My Lowepro Fastpack 350 housed my gear:
    Canon 7D
    70-200mm F2.8L IS with hood
    24-105mm F4L IS with hood
    10-22mm F3.5
    50mm F1.8
    580EXII flash
    Canon HD Camcorder
    R-Strap (RS-4)
    6 camera batteries and plenty of AA's
    Memory cards, filters, cables
    And still had room for a drink on the side, and munchies, book, wallet etc in the top section.
    The back section could have taken a laptop, but we decided to put that in a separate bag and carry our passports and travel documents here instead as it was very secure.

    The bag all up weighed around 10kg depending on munchies! I found it very easy to carry for long periods of time, and made the comment to my wife that it was like having my turtle shell on as it fit so nicely. The waist and chest straps added to the comfort and made the bag fit me well. The waist strap could also be used to sling a jacket over to free up your hands as well. I found that I could easily wear the bag and have my R-Strap on as well to carry the camera.

    Access was good in that I could keep it on my back and my wife could access the side pocket to get lenses in and out etc with minimal effort. I could also swing it around in front of me and get them myself if need be.

    Security was also good as you can house the zips underneath the big flap at the back so for someone to get in, they would have to undo the two clips to even see the zips and then zip it open. That would have proved difficult to do all that without me noticing. There are also little tabs on the zips that mean you can put a small padlock on them if you feel the need. On the top section and laptop pocket I did just that just to make it harder for anyone should they try and get in.

    Wearing it in crowded areas and flying with the bag was no problem, it was small enough to sit nicely on my back and I didn't feel I was wiping people out when I turned around. It fit nicely in overhead plane lockers and it's configuration meant that I could easily access the top section for munchies and my book etc and my camera gear was securely packed in the bottom.

    The camera compartment was very customisable and I found it help my equipment very nicely. Camcorder and flash fit nicely sideways, 24-105 and 10-22 fit in their own spots and the 7D and 70-200 connected along with R-Strap still connected fit easily yet snugly into the centre area. This was handy because you can whip it out all in one go without fear of the other lenses falling out and be ready to shoot in no time. Filters and spare batteries etc fit nicely in the flat pocket on the front and covered by the flap for some security and weather proofing.

    My only complaint was that to store my camera in the bag I would have it on the 70-200 lens but my most used lens while on the trip was the 24-105 so I tended to have it connected and out of the bag a lot. It would have been nice to be able to just slip that set into the bag easily without having to disconnect. Minor inconvenience really and I'm not sure how easy it would be to have a bag that could accommodate both situations.

    The shoulder and back padding on the bag was a concern to me before the trip as it isn't has big and soft as other non-photography bags I have used, but after using it, it really isn't an issue. I would however like a better handle on the top of the bag if you are carrying it as a bag not on your back. It is sturdy enough but could be wider and offer more comfort. Adjustment of all the straps was very good and made the bag very comfortable even carrying for a full day of city walking.

    Overall I would rate a 9/10.

    Hopefully people find this review useful. Please feel free to add comments or ask questions. Finding a bag you like is difficult because it isn't really till you use it for a while that you find out what works for you.
    Last edited by Richard Hall; 17-06-2010 at 10:06pm. Reason: Fixed model number
    Mic

    Photography is the art of telling stories with light.

    www.michaelgoulding.com

  2. #2
    thanks for sharing your experiences with this bag, i've been looking at them as a small "day trip" kinda bag

  3. #3
    Thanks for sharing, was interested that it takes the 70-200, was that mounted or not. I currently have my gear in a Bunnings case and and old Focal brand camera case that I have just re-juvinated but need something for walking out.
    Jim Canon 40D Canon 70-200mm f/4L Nifty 50 f/1.8 Tokina 12-24 f/4 - Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro Critique welcome
    http://home.exetel.com.au/shim/index.htm

  4. #4
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    Yes that is mounted on the 7D, with lens hood reversed and tripod collar still on the lens and r-strap still attached to the camera. There is enough room for me to place that around the camera body which gives it even more padding.

  5. #5
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    thankyou very much etherial for this thread! I currently have the Lowerpro Computertrekker. I like the bag but i find it quite cumbersome when i quickly want to reach my camera or an alternate lens. Does this bag have:
    1. A tripod holder, even a mini one (like those spiders)
    2. would it hold a 100-400 connected to body?
    3. an all weather pouch? (the pouch that holds that little raincoat thingy that wraps around the bag)

  6. #6
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    This set up is fine for most places in civilized and popular tourist spots. But I dont advocate for such a 'show of force' on your back, particularly if you are in more remote areas such as rural Thailand for example - a prime target for thieves and robbery etc.

    I have always used worn out, unattractive looking bags to carry my camera gear in for non touristy locations. A nice Lowepro bag just stands out in so many ways

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Regnis View Post
    thankyou very much etherial for this thread! I currently have the Lowerpro Computertrekker. I like the bag but i find it quite cumbersome when i quickly want to reach my camera or an alternate lens. Does this bag have:
    1. A tripod holder, even a mini one (like those spiders)
    2. would it hold a 100-400 connected to body?
    3. an all weather pouch? (the pouch that holds that little raincoat thingy that wraps around the bag)
    No problem, I try and help out where I can. Re your questions:

    1. Not really, although you could use the drink bottle holder thing on the side for a small lightweight tripod?
    2. Not sure, it holds the 70-200 F2.8 IS with lens hodd reversed comfortably. You would have to check the dimensions.
    3. No all weather cover, but by it design you gear is fairly well protected at the bottom of the bag with the flap over the front.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    This set up is fine for most places in civilized and popular tourist spots. But I dont advocate for such a 'show of force' on your back, particularly if you are in more remote areas such as rural Thailand for example - a prime target for thieves and robbery etc.

    I have always used worn out, unattractive looking bags to carry my camera gear in for non touristy locations. A nice Lowepro bag just stands out in so many ways
    I agree with this, at times I did feel I stood out with the 7D and L lens etc. My backpack is just black and blue and doesn't really screem camera gear so I didn't really find that an issue.

    You need to be on your game and aware of your surroundings whereever you go that's for sure.

  9. #9
    I have the Fastpack 350 and was my camera bag for my 2 months trip around Asia (Malaysia,Singapore), Middle East (Dubai, Abu Dhabi), and Europe (UK, Italy, Germany, Switzerland.....). It certainly is the best camera bag I have had so far.

    I didn't travel to remote/rural areas of any of those countries, so have never really been target by would-be thieves.

    I brought my Canon 5D MKII body, EF 24-70mm F2.8L, and EF 16-35mm F2.8L II, 1 extra battery, charger + adapter set, a few memory cards, shutter release remote and a 500GB 2.5" portable HDD.

    The highlight of the bag itself is its ability to let you swing the bag to the front with the left-hand strap still hanging on your shoulder, unzip the side, and you pull your whole camera + lens attached with no effort at all. It was raining cats and dogs in Europe during our time there, and although all my lenses and body can withstand the occasional spitting, sometimes it is just more convenient to pack them back into the bag, which can be done in a matter of seconds.

    Even the memory card pockets are located on the side zipped flap which is accessible as you pull your camera out. On the opposite side, you can hold a small-medium sized (up to 1.5L) bottle without any trouble. I didn't bring my heavy tripod during the trip, but instead my ever reliable Velbon P-Max, which folds down to as small as around 1-foot tall. It slides into the drinks side-pocket, and I also managed to slip in a 750ml spring water bottle together with the tripod.

    The other benefit is a separate compartment on the top where you can fit quite a few stuffs, like you said, munchies etc, but I've got my hdd, my sunnies case and other notebook/pens. It also has a notebook compartment, but I didn't bring my Mac with me, so it is a good and secured place for our passports, travel documents and rail passes.

    When my shoulder gets tired, I will clip on the chest and waist support strap which helps transferring evenly across my shoulder but most importantly, it lets some of the weight sitting on my waist. So I don't get sore back/shoulder during our normal >10 hours of walking around each cities.

    The only thing you need to watch out is that the back of the bag (the one in contact with your back when carried) is made out of rough/harsh surface, it tends to rub against your shirt around the waist area because the bag will move more around your waist then say near your shoulder. So watch out for what you are wearing because I have had a few nice expensive shirts ruined by the bag.

    Other than that, the Fastpack 250 and 300 is definitely a good all-round bag, because it is compact, with very clever design, but most importantly it is rain-proof.
    Canon 5D MKII, 7D
    Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS II | EF 24-70mm F2.8L | EF 16-35mm F2.8L II | EF 180mm F3L Macro | EF 85mm F1.8

  10. #10
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    Very sorry folks, I have just discovered that my bag is the 350 not the 250. So mine (the one described in the review above) is the larger one in this range. There is 3cm difference in height.

    Hopefully I haven't mislead anyone into buying the smaller bag! I do apologise! I deserve a

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    i too have the fast pack... but the 250. I think it is great if your looking to carry around your body with 1 lens attached plus 2 extra lenses. The fact that you can swing the bag around and easily access you camera is the best thing about the bag

  12. #12
    I also have a Fast pack 250. it houses my D90 with bat grip plus 2 extra lenses and some filters and a tripod. i attach my tripod on the side bottle holder and tie the top part of it on the top handle of the bag. what i love about this bag is that i can access my camera easily without any hassle but the only downside of it is that it doesnt have a bag rain cover.

  13. #13
    I have the FastPack 350, and have found it great for travelling too.

    However, my one complaint is that adding a laptop + A4-sized diary to the laptop pocket tends to make the back bulkier, so it's not as comfortable on my back.

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