After getting a new mirrorless camera – the Sony A7rII – and a few lenses (55mm f1.8 + the 90mm 2.8 macro), the need of a backpack came as an evidence. Listing all the photography gear that had to fit the bag helped narrow down my options. I then started looking around for the best available options on the market. There are so many different specialized backpack bags dedicated to cameras and photography gear… Choosing the right one clearly is a matter of personal needs & taste. Lowepro being the or one of the segment leader, I naturally considered their bags. The Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW seemed too big for my small number of gears – at the time :)… So I decided to go for the Lowepro ProTactic 350 AW instead.
I purchased my Lowepro ProTactic 350 AW bag in Hong Kong over a year ago. It has since traveled with around many places within Asia, Europe and the US.
Like many of their bags the Lowepro ProTactic 350 AW is all black and very discreet. Its style echoes military stealth to my mind and it definitely does not scream ‘I’m carrying expensive gears’. It has a distinctive look to it because of the multiple SlipLock straps positioned everywhere except in the back area and top.
The Lowepro ProTactic 350 AW has over 50 attachment points. It allows to customize the accessories you may want to attach to your bag. Strongly built with a rigid body, a breathable back panel to improve sweat evacuation. 4 different openings/zips to access your gears, SlipLock systems +waterproof cover at the bottom. Harness and waist strap, dedicated 13” laptop and accessories compartments.
Lowepro created the ultimate no compromise reasonably sized camera backpack.
Capacity & Packing
The Lowepro ProTactic 350 AW bag’s maximum capacity allows to carry:
2 full frame DSLR bodies with a lens on each of them
+1 additional accessory such as a flash
+smaller accessories inside the dedicated accessory pockets.
The Lowepro ProTactic 350 AW comes with
too many dividers. And thanks to the 4 openings, the possibilities offered to configure the bag to your specific needs are limitless. The dividers are padded and come in different sizes to allow for a very specific configuration. You will more than likely not need all of them as once your start adapting the inside of the bag to your needs, you will realize that you have too many of them.
Preparing the bag to your specific carrying needs is an easy task but it can be long as there are so many possibilities that you may have difficulties making your final decision… Not to be complained about though, on the contrary, it’s nice to have such flexibility.
With external dimensions of 30.8cm (12.13″) x 23cm (9.06″) x 43cm (16.93″), the bag is rather small. It is relatively thin as well and does not stick out much on the back.
When packing it with 1 full frame DSLR body w/ a lens mounted +1mirrorless also mounted w/ a lens and a laptop, the bag feels perfectly suited as it still allows to carry additional gears. Carrying the bag fully loaded remains comfortable even after even after over an hour on the move.
The harness and waist strap are welcomed additions as they allow for a very tight fit with spread load. I’m using the bag cycling and thanks to the harness it and waist strap it does not move from my back. I feel confident cycling around without fearing to shake my camera gears and laptop.
For an everyday use such as commuting by bike like I do, it is perfect! Travelling longer distance with the bag is nice too although you may be wanting more room when carrying more gears to special trip where you do not want to compromise on what to take with you.
Over the course of the last 12 months, as soon as I had a long walk, cycle or activities requesting to stand a long time, I usually favored this bag over any other smaller or bigger bags that were at my disposal. Depending on what you’ve planned to do, it will more or less fit your specific needs. As usual ‘horses for courses’ indeed.
From my experience with the bag, it is most suited for commuting without too many gears, for sport related activities when you want your camera with you and for discovering a city. Basically when you have to walk or stand for hours with a bag on your back, the Lowepro ProTactic 350 AW is great.
For days when you have to travel with more gears and will be mostly seated, travelling with the car, or taking the plane, depending on the number of gears you have this bag may feel a little to small. Then again, it is based on my experience and I am sure that some will enjoy be perfectly fine with their specific equipment.
It traveled extensively within the US, Asia and Europe, around and in between. As I am writing this, it sits next to me on the floor nice and shiny. And this after over 12 months of extensive use. None of the straps, buckles or zips are damaged in any way. This is rather impressive after using it so extensively. It is like new. So there is absolutely nothing to complain on in the durability arena.
The Lowepro ProTactic 350 AW does not disappoint at all. It is one of the most flexible and comfortable bag I own. I tend to use it more than any other on a daily basis when commuting.
It comes with practical and well thought out functionalities. 4 openings to access your equipment, 1 on each side, 1 at the top and 1 at the back. With 50 anchor points, it allows for limitless customization. Its rigid build providing great protection for your camera and lenses. With harness and waist strap as additional options, it is one of the best available backpack.
To sum up, the Lowepro ProTactic 350 AW is simply one of the best around. As long as you choose the right size for your needs between the 350 AW and the 450 AW. Since I already own larger bags, I feel that the 350 AW is a better fit for my needs especially after switching to a mirrorless camera system.