Back in the day if I went on a long trip, especially one that involved some exotic and exciting places like Alaska or Austalia, I would carry what now seems like an unwieldy photo backpack stuffed with camera bodies, lenses, and, oh yes, this will date me, endless supplies of 35mm film canisters. Not anymore. Now, when I hit the road I’ve gotten down to my trusty Sony A7 II, no more than two or three lenses, and a good quality point and shoot like the Leica D-Lux or the Sony RX-100 for those times when I don’t need the whole kit.
What I do need is space for my sunglasses, music player, headphones, meds, snacks, batteries, cables, a lightweight jacket, travel documents, and yes, a 15-inch laptop. The Lowepro Fastpack BP-250 AWII lets me carry all that. The laptop has its own slide open padded side zipper compartment. Just about everything else fits snugly into the separate top-loading hatchback compartment. And there are lots of pockets for documents, memory cards, batteries, etc.
As you’d expect the dividers in the lower camera compartment can be custom configured. There’s a side opening so I could take my A7 with attached 24-240mm lens and just slide it out for a quick grab and shoot without having to open the entire compartment. Inside I carried two hefty lenses as well as a Leica D-Lux, and spare batteries and chargers. What I appreciated most was the ability to get at the main camera body quickly while we were touring.
The bag comes with a waterproof cover and an outside elastic pocket for either tripod or water bottle. The back is well-padded with a mesh-covered fabric to keep you dry. Shoulder straps are also well-padded and there’s a padded belt that can be easily removed depending on your needs.
During an eleven hour flight in coach class, I was able to stow the bag under the seat in front of me, situating it so I was able to access all the things in the top pocket I consider travel essentials including music player, headphones, and snacks.
By the numbers
Here’s how the BP-250 AWII lays out:
- Internal Dimensions: 29 x 15.5 x 27.5 cm (11.42 x 6.10 x 10.83 in)
- External Dimensions: 31 x 26 x 50 cm (12.20 x 10.24 x 19.69 in)
- Camera Compartment: 29 x 15.5 x 27.5 cm (11.42 x 6.10 x 10.83 in)
- Laptop Compartment: 29 x 2 x 46 cm (11.42 x 0.79 x 18.11 in)
- Weight: 1.8 kg (3.96 lbs)
And here’s what Lowepro says it can hold, which is consistent with our experience:
- DSLR with attached lens (such as Nikon D810 with up to 70-200mm f/2.8)
- 2-3 extra lenses or flashes
- Up to a 15″ laptop, plus tablet
- Large smartphone, headphones, hard drive, keys, etc.
And it’s easy on the budget as well, priced at $129.95 direct from Lowepro or $82.81 at Amazon.com.
This video walks through all the Lowepro Fastpack the features: