When photography is a passion or a profession, the medium that is used to keep all the super expensive gear safely during travel, on shoots or on treks bears an equal if not higher consideration as is the exercise on what gear is to be selected for the shoot.
For three years now, I have been experimenting with a number of photography bags which can provide to me the desired requirements critical to my version of photography. Last year I came across the Lowepro 450 AW Pro trekker model from Lowepro.
Introduced in 2014, and categorized as a Big Expedition bag by Lowepro, it has carved a specific niche for itself in the widely diversified sector of travel photography. After using this for some time I thought it would be prudent to summarize my thoughts on this particular model.
The Pro Trekker 450 Aw is basically designed for specific individuals who believe in carrying large amount of gear and need a safe secure way of keeping them while in transit or while shooting. Incorporating may unique feature which I would be elaborating below , this particular model has many advantages to its name.
This particular model is specifically designed for those individuals who are destined to carry two or more full frame camera bodies along with with one telephoto lens attached. This bag can carry that combination and also accommodate a few more wide bodies lenses in addition to plethora of accessories. In terms of lenses I would say the following combination is easily possible
Full frame with a 400 mm Additional full frame body 24-70, 16-35,11-24 Additional accessories
By additional accessories I mean flash lights, power chords, chargers etc.
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Design and Construction
The model has been categorized as a backpack and is made from high performance fabrics incorporating materials like high density nylon fabrics with a patented Cordura base, thereby providing superior abrasion, wear & tear resistance coupled with durability and achieving high performance to weight ratio.
ActivLift Sense. This feature incorporated in the harness emulates the natural “S” curve of the trekker’s back and is adjustable to fit the upper body torso length of different individuals. This helps in transferring the weight across the hips, making it more comfortable to carry over longer durations. This design also incorporates air channels for breathability while the backpack is worn.
The shoulder straps are wide and permanently part of the bag structure itself thereby can withstand additional twisting loads which come when a loaded backpack is taken off or put on or while it is being passed only using the shoulder straps. The waist straps are again wide and padded sufficiently; coupled to the bag and also are linked by a padded webbing that can be taken off. This waist band also has pouches which can be used to carry small accessories.
There are many D- rings located on each shoulder strap for attaching accessories and similar facility in provided on the chest strap. Two large zippered pockets on both sides padded and one is designed to carry a 2 Liter water pouch .
There is also a tripod holder designed that can be pulled downwards from its enclosure for accommodating a medium sized tripod safely and securely.
The interiors of the pack are provided with MaxFit system of padded, adjustable interior dividers that enable one to configure the space inside to one’s personal choice. This capability makes the entire interior easily configurable to accommodate a wide variety of diverse equipment.
The main bag lid is given zippered pockets which can be used to store filters, chords, cleaning cloth, batteries etc while above them there are three small zippered slots for holding memory cards. All these have zipper facilitated opening and closing which have fabric tags making them easy to operate. The front pocket contains a laptop sleeve which is easily removable, capable of accommodating a 15-inch model with a mouse and cables.
Finally, the built in All-weather AW Cover is located inside the sleeve in the base of the bag that has a Velcro closure.
Considering the flexibility provided by way of
in the interior by way of adjustable dividers,
flexibility in adjusting the bag as per the individual upper torso height
flexibility of carrying a tripod
all straps provided are flexible and adjustable
This is definitely a diverse utility backpack, comfortable in the outdoor wild or in the urban jungle for a photoshoot.
This is built like a fortress, with sufficient levels of padding and the straps etc are well integrated into the main structure to ensure that there is no wear n tear at the seams etc. The gear is safe while in transit or in rough usage, no doubts in that. Well protected against moisture, dust and shock.
As mentioned, I could carry LOT of gear and I mean it when I say that and with all the side pockets, inner pockets and hooks provided, the ADD ON space is substantial and definitely welcome.
Now I come to the downside
This is definitely expensive.
Ease of usage
Considering that to access the gear inside, one needs to take the pack off and lay it down on a surface, this has two disadvantages, one being the lapse of that particular moment when something has to be shot and secondly in wet conditions, the bag surface is going to get soiled.
It generally does not fit into the hand baggage space of flights which is a major cause of concern, one has to actually juggle a lot for it to fit .
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My thoughts, I have used the Pro Trekker extensively on outdoor treks and they have withstood whatever was thrown on it however the shape and size definitely has to be grown used to coupled with the weight that will be inadvertently add on considered that there is the option of carrying a LOT of gear presents itself.