I’ve long been a fan of Lowepro bags – owning three or four over the years. Now, they’ve come out with a backpack that I think is the answer for those times when you want to carry a load of expensive gear without necessarily looking like a photographer. The Transit series of Lowepro bags have a slick but non-camera-like appearance ideal for this situation.
In Central and Southern America, as well as many places here in the good ole’ U.S.A., I feel uncomfortable wandering around with the locals realizing I’m carrying thousands of dollars’ worth of DSLR’s, flash and lenses; not to mention a laptop. In times like these, a non-descript backpack is the way to go. The Transit fits the bill in this case, but still holds tons of gear.
The main lower compartment can be accessed two ways – from the front or from the side. The side flap allows the bag to be slung off one shoulder and opened at waist level if you merely want to remove your camera and mounted lens. Multiple adjustable dividers allow you to rearrange the interior. You can configure the bag to suit your needs, whether your biggest lens is 70-200 or an f2.8 300mm. Check out their video on configuring the Transit.
Your laptop loads from the top corner and is nicely padded to protect its finish. With your computer up against your back, it is well protected.
The top compartment is spacious enough for a second camera/lens combination, a video camera, your point-and-shoot or a good-sized lunch.
The side of the bag easily handles your tripod or monopod. A pull out pouch holds the tripod’s feet when in use and folds away when not needed. A removable strap, securely attaches the top of the tripod to the side of the backpack. Even with the tripod attached to the bag, you still have access to all the zippers for the other compartments.
There are two more zippered compartments. One small one on the side makes fast access to batteries or memory cards and one on the front is great for cellphone or car keys.
Shoulder straps are well padded without being overdone. A sternum strap holds the bag in place even when bending over or getting in some awkward positions. This pack is comfortable enough to wear for long periods at a time.
Doug Bardwell, based in Cleveland, OH, writes about interesting new photography topics across the country and around the world at DougBardwell.com. Feel free to drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions for future stories. To get his stories delivered to your inbox, click the RSS feed or the "Subscribe" button above or follow him on Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. To read Doug’s disclosure notice, click here. To see his travel photo collection, see BardwellPhotography.com.