I have been planning a trip to Poland for a while now, as I am currently photographing abandoned places of the Former Soviet Union, a project that will take me across the countries of the Former Soviet Union and its satellite states. My first trip took me to the Ukraine to visit Chernobyl, this time I travelled to Poland to photograph a former soviet military hospital in Lower Silesia and Auschwitz, where many Soviet Prisoners were kept and killed during world war ii. While in Poland I also travelled to the Liban Quarry and an abandoned chapel. The bags I took on the trip were the Lowepro Rover45L AW and Lowepro Flipside 200 and with a combination of the two it was perfect for a 6 days trip with all my camera equipment and worked really well on days when I needed to take more and days I needed to take less.
Lowepro have recently brought out the Rover AW 45L along with its smaller companion the 35W version. It is tailored for the photographer who wants to go on adventure outdoors with their camera equipment and have easy access to other essential items like food, water, clothing and sleeping equipment. Until now there hasn’t really been a good option for this, short of taking a camping back pack and a camera back pack with you, which involves wearing one on the front and one on the back, which is awkward to say the least. I have not till this day found a bag like this where you can easily access everything in one.
I was excited to find out this bag had come out and couldn’t wait to try it out as it seemed like the perfect solution to the adventure/ outdoor photographers. I loved having this bag combination as although all of my camera equipment fitted in the Rover AW, I didnt want to put it in the aeroplane hold so carrying my expensive camera equipment in the Lowepro Flipside 200 as carry on luggage worked perfectly for me. Having the Flipside 200 with me as well was great for a couple of days when I only needed to take minimal equipment and keep the camping equipment and clothes inside the car. Other times I simply took the Rover 45 AW and kept the empty Flipside 200 in the car.
On receiving the bag, I must say there was a huge sense of, wow, this is a really cool looking bag, it looked big and like it can fit a lot of stuff in and it feels really light with nothing inside, with most of the weight being in the trampoline style back panel (which even still was very light). I was really interested to find out how much stuff I could fit in and how it would feel on my back.
What I needed was a big back pack that could fit food supplies, extra clothes and all my camera equipment as I would be spending many many hours travelling in a car to locations, always to keep costs down we sleep where we can on our travels and this means being able to take with us many layers of clothes, sleeping bags, supplies, a tent and equipment to abandoned locations. I managed to pack the bag pretty smart and fitted enough things to last 6 days.
33.7 X 29.2 X 57.2 cm
Camera Compartment Inner Dimensions:
14.5 X 15.5 X 31.5 cm
The bag has a All Weather (AW) rain cover so you can have peace of mind that your equipment will be protected from rain, sleet, snow, sand, dust, dirt you can easily cover the bag and your equipment will stay dry and safe. the amazing things is this also doubles up as a reflector and can be used on location. meaning you dont have to take one with you.
The bag also features a great tripod holder on the side of the bag, which keeps your tripod safe and secure to the side of the bag.
Access is important for a photographer and at first I wondered how a camping style back pack could give you easy access to your camera equipment, I was pleasantly surprised to to find that the front of the bag opens like a flap and you can access two great sized compartments inside the bag that are padded and completly removable.
What I Fitted Inside:
Canon 5Diii with attached 16 – 35mm 2.8 ii lens, Canon 85mm 1.2 Lens, Canon 50mm 1.4 Len, Canon 15mm 2.8 Len, 4 Spare batteries, Spare Memory Cards, 580 EX ii Flash, Canon Remote Control, LED Lensor Torch, Camping Pillow, Sleeping Bag, Vango Alpha 300 Tent, Manfrotto 190CxTripod, Walkie Talkies, Cleaning Cloth, Camping Mug, First Aid Kit, Toilet Roll, Baby Wipes., Toiletries, Survival Blanket, Pocket Knife, Climbing Gloves, Umbrella, Water Bottle, I Phone, Food, Extra Jumper, Towel, Underwear for 4 days, 2 x Trousers, 4 x Tops
In other words a whole lot of stuff! I could use this back pack on a trip abroad for many many days, the fact there is a place to put your camera equipment and with lots of extra space in the main bag you can also fit clothes as well. There is a big side pocket which is made to carry a 2 litre water hydration pouch, its a great idea as you can walk along and have access to water. I choose to keep things like toiletries in here as it was very spacious. On the waist belt there are two small zipper compartments which you can keep your money wallet and your mobile phone. This is a genius idea as when you have the bag on your back you dont have to take it off as you can easily access these pockets with the bag still on. I also put a couple of bits of food in here.
On the top of the bag is another spacious compartment with easy access, I put my first aid kit, pen knife, torch and walkie talkie in here. This also flips up to allow top access to the bag and its contents, it was good for grabbing things quickly from the top bit of the bag like an extra jumper or the toilet roll. Finally there was one more pocket on the front, which I used to put a water bottle and umbrella, but could have fitted more due to how stretchy the fabric was on this pocket, it had a clip so that anything inside the pocket wouldn’t fall out, which was a great move.
With strap attachments on the sides of the bag there is also places to attach your tripod, a tent and with lots of hooks I managed to tie my sleeping bag and camping pillow on as well. The bag comes with two removable padded compartments, with easy to grab handles so you can easily pull them out of the bag and with plenty of space for your equipment and lenses, the bag also comes with a small blue pouch for putting spare batteries, memory cards etc and inside each padded compartment there are zippers on the flaps so you can put extra things in there as well. The dividers within each compartment can be changed around so you can fit all of your lenses in. The padding on these compartments gives you peace of mind that should you drop the bag your camera equipment will stay safe.
How Does it Look/ Comfort
I think the bag looked great, I loved the shape and the blue colour was really nice, the fact it doesn’t look like a camera bag but a camping back pack also means that thieves don’t know that there is expensive equipment inside, which is good for if you want to put the bag in the hold at the airport.
The bag has a AirFlow suspension system offering a trampoline-style back, it has breathable mesh so in hotter climates I’m guessing it would stop your back from getting sweaty. While waking with the bag I got a almost floating experience with the bag like it was lifted from my back, which was wonderful. With the bag completely packed it is very heavy, but once on my back, even for a girl it is very easy for me to carry. I think Lowepro have created an amazing system with this bag because it was almost like I put the bag on and half the weight disappeared in a second. Walking for long periods of time with the bag was not a problems and not uncomfortable at all and Im a girl. With all the straps being adjustable, it hardly took any time to get the bag sitting really well and even with many layers of clothes the bag fitted well and was comfortable, the straps could go from really short to really long so all body types would be ok for the bag. My only concern really with the bag is the fragility of the clips, I’d have liked to have seen a stronger style of clips, maybe of lightweight metal as with the weight of the bag I am slight nervous the clips may break. Especially if the bag had to go in the baggage compartment of an aeroplane I’d be worried about things attached with the clips in case they broke off and items got lost.
Value For Money:
The Pro Rover 45L retails for around £230, whilst this is a lot of money for a bag, but I feel it is worth every penny, it offers an big solutions for taking out your camera equipment with all the things required to go abroad and into the wilderness on a trip as well. You would be hard pushed to find a 45L camping back pack of this quality for this price, let alone one that is specifically designed to give you easy access to camera equipment, a speciality back panel that makes it extremely comfortable to wear making it perfect for the use it was made for, I’d give this bag 5 starts every time.
I just wouldn’t want to take any other bag away with me on a trip like this, as it meets my needs perfectly, along with Flipside 200 I just cant go wrong, the Rover AW is a perfect bag for when you need a lot of space to carry many items and the Flipside 200 is perfect when you just need to carry your basic camera equipment. Here are some of the photos I took on our photo adventure in the snow in Poland, many many miles were driven, many hours spent on buses and trains, but it was a true adventure and the bag made life a lot easier.