The Lowepro Photo Sport Pro 30L AW was designed as a “lightweight, technical photo pack for the active outdoor photographer,” but because of its versatility it has a lot to offer a wide range of photographers. Not all of my excursions into the field are for photography purposes — I may just want to go for a hike with my family and friends — but regardless of my purpose I always want to have my camera with me. It’s precisely these types of non-photographic trips that attracted me to the Photo Sport Pro AW 30L. It has lots of room to carry plenty of non-photographic gear and still has an easily accessible padded compartment for a camera, extra lens and accessories.
The Photo Sport Pro 30L AW is a larger sized pack, a little bigger than your typical daypack. Its pack is subdivided into two roughly equal compartments. The upper compartment has a top loading design with a drawstring closure and a lid cover with a zippered pocket, which is a handy and convenient place to store small items like snacks, gloves, sunglasses and a headlamp. The large upper compartment is big enough to store bigger items like your lunch, rain gear and a warm jacket. It also has a pouch inside to hold smaller items so that they’re easier to find. The lower compartment has a zippered side pocket that allows fast access to your camera gear. Inside there is a removable, padded camera “chamber” that provides great protection for your camera gear while still allowing you fast access to it without having to completely remove the pack. The camera “chamber” is large enough to accommodate a pro-sized DSLR body with a battery grip attached to a zoom lens, an additional lens and a flash or other accessories. The camera “chamber” can be easily removed to turn the pack into a more traditional daypack.
On the side opposite to the lower compartment opening is a pouch and straps that can be used to carry a tripod, but I was rather disappointed in its design. I suppose that for the target users, carrying a tripod isn’t that important, but nevertheless a better tripod carrying systems could’ve been included to make the pack even more versatile. The pack is hydration-ready and will hold up to a two-litre reservoir in the upper compartment. For me, this is a very important feature as it’s so much easier to stay hydrated when hiking and photographing while using a hands-free hydration reservoir rather than carrying water bottles. On the back of the pack are two trekking pole or ice axe attachment points, which can really come in handy when on longer hikes. It also has a built-in all-weather (AW) cover that’s stored in a pocket at the bottom of the pack when not in use. When you need it, just pull it out and over your pack and it will help protect your gear from the elements.
Since the Photo Sport Pro 30L AW is designed for the active outdoor photographer, the addition of perforated and breathable padded shoulder straps and trampoline-style back panel provides extra comfort, and a moisture wicking feature at the back and shoulders is a welcome feature. The shoulder and sternum straps are adjustable and can be custom fit to a variety of body sizes. Both my wife (158 cm/5’2” tall) and myself (183 cm/6’ tall) found that we could adjust the pack to create a comfortable fit, even with a heavy load in it. Since the pack is designed for the active outdoor photographer, the wide, padded waist belt provides very good support when the pack is loaded and takes some weight off the shoulders, making it more comfortable to carry. The two pockets, one on each side of the waist belt, are great additions in which small items, like extra camera batteries, memory cards and keys, can conveniently be carried.
According to Lowepro, the Photo Sport Pro 30L AW is constructed with “lightweight, resilient and high-performance 210D triple-ripstop nylon with PU coating from improved durability.” While I wasn’t able to use the pack long enough to comment on its durability, it’s very well constructed with high-quality materials and should stand up to many years of use like the other Lowepro products that I’ve used.
Price: Photo Sport Pro 30L AW – $219