Friday, December 06, 2013

Lowepro Rover-Pro 45L AW Backpack Review

I had the opportunity this year to offer some personal feedback to Lowepro on the Flipside 400 AW backpack. I took the backpack on several grueling hikes, including Angel's Landing and the Narrows in Zion National Park. To this day, this bag still remains my favorite. 

I told Lowepro that I receive a lot of email regarding my equipment.  Often from other female photographers or hikers who almost always share the same concerns I do about gear, the weight. 

Trekking for miles on sometimes rugged terrain or trails at high elevations for hours on end, weight and stability are a concern for a smaller female frame.  I also want to carry as much of my photography gear with me but still need room for many other essentials such as clothing layers, food, water and first aid and accessories. 

My Flipside 400 AW is a perfect solution for all the above mentioned on a long day hike. However, occasionally while photographing I'll be out for days in the landscape and may want to camp overnight or longer.  I needed a combination camera backpack and multi-day backpack similar to my Gregory backpack system with the same suspension and load-bearing sensitivities. I need to be able to carry all my gear safely and securely in the same backpack as my tent and other camping  supplies. 

Lowepro has come up with a brilliant solution.  The Rover Pro 45L AW. 

The Rover Pro 45L AW's fully adjustable suspension system distributes weight well and I'm able to adjust it perfectly to my smaller frame. They've also added a breathable trampoline style mesh backing  that keeps the back well ventilated.  Fully loaded with camera gear, tripod, tent and camping supplies for 3 days the pack is comfortable and I remained sure-footed and happy on the trail. 

Two modular padded and removable camera cases include :  adjustable padded dividers, removable accessory pouch, interior zippered pockets, outer mesh pockets, webbing grab handles.  I was able to easily fit my Canon 5D Mark II, 70-200mm lens, 16-35mm lens, 24-105mm lens, Singh-Ray filters, Lee filters and holder system, batteries, CF cards, cleaning kit and accessories comfortably and safely in the modular units.  I was pleasantly surprised at how many zippered and meshed compartments were available in the camera storage area. I didn't have to leave anything behind. 

The modular camera units will take up a large part of the bag capacity but I was able to still carry several sets of clothing (cold weather layers) food for 3 days, Jet stove, fuel and accessories. The bag has a top-loading design just like my conventional backpack but has front access panel as well. 

The side of the pack has a very unique and secure tripod holder.  For me, this is an area that can drive me nuts. If I feel my tripod moving or swinging at all when I'm hiking, I'll obsess over it.  With this system, it doesn't dare move.  The legs slide securely in two fixed straps and then a left and right nylon panel covers up the tripod legs and is then buckled and cinched in snuggly. 
Love it. 

The other side of the bag has a zippered hydration system for a 2 liter bag.

The over all look of the bag is rather stylish. It's nicely designed, has numerous pockets and zippered storage areas and doesn't scream "Look I'm carrying several thousands of dollars worth of camera gear inside" 

Attached top lid provides a zippered pocket to keep essentials handy; built-in key clip included for those who need to remember exactly where their keys are. 

Zippered storage areas in the waist belt, enough to carry easily accessible snacks, gps, cell phone and chap-stick. 

The bottom of the Rover Pro holds its 3-in-1 AW (All Weather) cover which doubles as a photographic reflector, and diffuser with adjustable ring. It fits snuggly over the backpack like a shower cap.

Removable Camera Compartment Interior: 
14.5 x 15.5 x 31.5 cm (5.71 x 6.10 x 12.40 in)
External Dimensions: 
33.7 x 29.2 x 57.2 cm (13.27 x 11.50 x 22.52 in)
  • Pro DSLR with grip, with attached 24-70mm lens
  • 3-4 extra lenses or flashes
  • Tripod or monopod
  • 2 liter hydration reservoir
  • Up to a 15" laptop
  • Sleeping pad, small tent, ice axe/trekking poles, and other personal items
  • Weighs just barely 6 lbs.

A few things about the bag I would change. The hip belt straps are excessively long and hang down to my feet (well, ok knees) when the belt is cinched tight. I'd also like the hip belt clips to be wider by at least another inch to feel a bit more secure. 

If you’re a backpacking, long trekking, rock climbing, mountain exploring outdoor photographer, and need enough room for both camera gear and technical/overnight gear, this could be just the pack that you’re looking for. 
I highly recommend this bag. 

Visit Lowepro's website and find the bag that work
best for your shooting style. 

Valerie Millett, professional landscape photographer works as a freelance writer and photographer for the Arizona Republic. 

Works published in Outdoor Photographer Magazine and Arizona Highways Magazine.