Lowepro Photo Sport 30 L AW Review
As the name indicates, the Lowepro Photo Sport 30L AW dishes up 30 liters of storage capacity in a decidedly outdoor-oriented package. It was the largest pack in our test, yet weighed in at only four ounces heavier than the much smaller Chrome Niko Pack. Lowepro accomplishes by employing lightweight ripstop nylons vs. heavier-duty ballistic fabrics. We liked the approach along with a number of the Photo Sport 30L’s technical features.
Back in 2011, we took a look at one of the original Lowepro Photo Sport backpacks — the Photo Sport 200. This latest offering from Lowepro follows in that products footsteps, and ups the ante with more lash points, increased carrying capacity and a real suspension system typically found only on true backpacking products.
Here’s the quick feature rundown. On the exterior of the Photo Sport 30L, you’ll find at least six discrete lash points. Two are located on the pack bottom and can be used for attaching a tripod, tent or other items for backcountry travel. Two additional loops sit just forward of those initial two. And at the mid-point of the pack front are two elastic straps for attaching items like trekking poles.
Also on the exterior are an elastic side pocket large enough for a water bottle and a stuff pocket for holding a jacket, sweatshirt or other items that need to be within easy reach.
Weight: 3 lbs 10 oz
Capacity: 1800 cu in/30 l
Materials: 210 denier ripstop nylon
The main storage compartment, located under the lid, is cavernous and capable of swallowing plenty of gear for an overnight trek. There’s a built-in sleeve for a hydration bladder with a port for the drinking tube. The compartment closes with both a drawstring and a lid to keep things secure and mostly waterproof. The lid includes a zippered accessory pocket and key lanyard.
With all these technical features, you’d think the Photo Sport 30L would have one of the best camera haulers around. But that would not be the case. The Photo Sport 30L was designed to carry one DSLR body attached to a single telephoto lens. That’s it. I found the included “ultra-cinch camera chamber” to be mostly uncustomizable despite the included hook and loop dividers. Frankly, this lack of flexibility was a real disappointment.
Not disappointing, however, is the Photo Sport 30L’s suspension system. It’s honestly the best we’ve seen in the category. The trampoline-style mesh back pushes the pack away from the body for improved ventilation. Lowepro includes load lifters, sternum strap and a padded waist belt with two zippered pockets. The fit is comfortable and easily customizable. Well done, Lowepro.
Well, this is tough to call. With a ton of technical features, large main compartment and excellent suspension system, the Lowepro Photo Sport 30L delivers the goods for day trips and overnight photo adventures into the backcountry. Unfortunately, the camera-hauling capability is really lackluster and inflexible, designed for a single body and lens. But if that’s all you’re carrying in the camera department, you’d be hard pressed for find a better option.