- : LowePro Mini Trekker AW. : -
In looking for a bag I needed something that would fit all my kit in, was weatherproof, luggable all day and had enough room to fit food and water in. In an ideal world it would also need to be carry on compatible as there's no way I'd ever trust my camera to an airline hold. The LowePro fitted the bill on all accounts. Its a real tardis of a bag - small enough to be convenient that somehow fits a serious amount of stuff. I've found it comfortable on all day walks in and around Cornwall. Its very easily adjusted and the straps let you adjust the balance of the load - although if you're bigger built than me you may struggle with the sternum strap.
The all weather cover is built into a pocket on the base of the bag and is easy enough to deploy. Its protected my gear successfully during a couple of showers. I've yet to test it when the rain has been in full flow all day - although I'm not inclined to take my gear out when the weather is that bad. I had an incident with a soaking wet black lab emerging from a deep leet and bouncing all over the bag. As it was a warm autumn day the all weather cover was stowed away. The outside of the bag got drenched - but thankfully the inside of the bag remained bone dry. Phew !
I also like to keep a couple of small bags of silica gel inside the main compartments. They're cheap & I'm probably being paranoid about damp but I'd rather be over cautious then accidentally put something wet in the bag and a week later find everything musty.
Your tripod fits on the outside of the pack using the fold out pocket for the legs and clips to secure it. I can't think of a better way of carrying tripod short of employing a sherpa - of which we don't have any in Cornwall. The Monopod will strap to the back without needing to use the fold out pockets. In the front pocket is room for a couple of litres of water, phone, food and any other odds and ends.
With or without the tripod I think that's a good amount of kit inside a comfortable pack. The interior is divided up by very strong velcro gripped dividers with plenty of padding to help minimise the effect of knocks. I'm happy enough with it to leave my kit stored inside it at home. The LowePro logo on the pack is low key - and the bag doesn't scream "steal me I'm full of cameras". You could also remove the LowePro logo if you were going to be carrying his anywhere thieves are known to target camera gear. If I moved the cleaning kit and filters into the front pocket then there's easily space for a couple more lenses. Equally if I was to put the 500D and polariser into either the front pocket or squeeze them elsewhere there would be additional space for a larger prime in the middle section or a second body and at least another lens.
I normally pack the bag with the 40D attached to the 100-400 and set at ISO 400, AV for grabbing quickly if any wildlife pops its head up. The 24-105 and beanbag sit in side compartments. I would suggest that with my current loadout the bag is pretty near to capacity once food and drink are added. If you have a dedicated supertele larger than the 300F4 or 400F5.6 then you'll need to look at one of the larger offerings in the bag department.
There's not much else to say about this. Build quality as you'd expect from LowePro is superb. From the zips to the clips everything is solid and top notch. It fits everything I need in it - and its comfy. My other half who is tiny hoofed it around fully loaded for half a day a few weeks ago with no complaints. If you're especially broad across the chest or shoulders I do think you'll struggle with that sternum strap though. Its a cracking piece of kit - although buyer beware - if purchasing through certain online auction sites there are a number of "shops" selling low quality chinese copies.