LOWEPRO PHOTOSPORT 15L AW III REVIEW
Words & Photos by Max Rhulen
Action Photo by Dusten Ryen
As a mountain biking photographer, getting the chance to review camera bags is something I really enjoy. On days when all we need is to capture a few photos or video clips, bringing less camera equipment is often more in terms of efficiency. The LowePro PhotoSport camera pack line was created for blending photography and sport, a combination that sounds good to us. LowePro recently sent over one of their PhotoSport 15L AW III photography packs and I’ve been putting it to use on several mountain bike rides and larger productions over the last few months.
LowePro’s PhotoSport 15L AW III is the third generation PhotoSport pack that LowePro has produced, and they have made many great refinements over the years. This new generation backpack is made from Nylon and Polyester that is 75% recycled, providing a low weight of 1.1 kg (2.4lbs) and a weather resistant finish. Should you find yourself in a torrential downpour, the PhotoSport 15L comes with the AW (All Weather) rain cover.
Keeping things protected on the inside you will find one of LowePro’s removable GearUp camera inserts. The camera insert is made of customizable, soft dividers that protect gear from impacts and vibration. The GearUp insert even comes with a strap if you are looking for a smaller carrying solution when you want to ditch the pack entirely. The included camera insert is spec’d to hold smaller mirrorless cameras like the Sony A6000 series with 16-50mm + an additional lens. However, I managed to carry my full frame, mirrorless camera. More on that below.
The camera is accessible by a side access zippered flap to make things easy on the trail. Above the camera insert is the main compartment where there is space to stash a jacket, accessories, snacks, and a few other items. On the inside of this main compartment are a few small, zippered pockets to carry items like SD cards, batteries, and car keys. Having the peace of mind that your car keys are not only inside the bag, but zipped in is quite nice. This main area is accessible by unclipping the brain, which also has zippered storage space, and loosening the draw string.
On the front side of the PhotoSport 15 is a pouch secured by two buckles. This pouch is a great place to quickly stash an extra layer, trash found on the trail, or clip on a helmet while traveling. On the back of the pack LowePro has included their ActiveZone harness system, adjustable shoulder straps, and a wide padded waist belt to evenly distribute weight. The waist belt features loops and zippered pockets, perfect for stashing a phone for accessibility on the trail. Behind the padded ActiveZone harness system is a compartment for those looking to add a water bladder. LowePro’s PhotoSport 15 AW III is able to fit a 2-liter bladder, which is not included with purchase.
More often than not I find myself on rides where there is more emphasis on riding than taking photographs, but I still want to bring the camera along to capture a few moments and that is where this bag shines. Riding with a 40-liter camera bag that is fully loaded can be quite the drag. This 15-liter bag is a comparable size to many hydration packs and therefore inhibits riding very little. The PhotoSport 15L backpack was designed with the crop sensor, smaller bodied cameras in mind, but I was able to fit my full frame, mirrorless camera into this bag. I had to forego the room for an additional lens, but my Sony A1 body with 24-70mm lens fit in the camera insert. I removed a couple of the Velcro dividers and that allowed my camera to slide right in. While only having one lens can be limiting, the 24-70mm covers a wide range of shots and means I just have to get a bit more creative while shooting. If you are looking for a little more room for your larger DSLR type cameras check out the LowePro PhotoSport 24L AW III.