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Lowepro Flipside Sport 15L AW Review

Sleek, clean and well-designed, the Lowepro Flipside Sport 15L AW camera bag is built to last (the high-visibility orange is pretty cool, too). I’ve inspected and tested this bag both at home and out in the field, and I’m pretty impressed! Lowepro has thoughtfully considered every aspect of the design with the photographer in mind, and have come up with some really helpful features!

Not too big, not too small — it’s just the right size for me to grab my gear and head out to the middle of nowhere. I’d use this bag while rock climbing with buddies, covering a snowboarding event, or even on commercial jobs. This is one of the coolest bags I have used yet, and I can’t wait to go riding with it in the mountains this summer. It will definitely be my new go-to outdoor pack! I can focus on what’s in front of my lens instead of worrying about my gear.

Read on for more about the awesome features of this bag!

The size of the bag is perfect for on-location shoots. It’s big enough to hold all the true essentials like water and pro gear, but is small enough to allow you to move around quickly outdoors without weighing you down. It fits a pro dSLR with a grip and a 300mm f/2.8 lens (every sports shooter’s favorite combo) plus 2-3 more lenses. I have been packing it up with the combo of a pro dSLR, a few lenses, tons of CF Cards, my HoodLoupe and extra batteries. When it’s really cold out, I pack hand warmers in there to keep my gear warm and my batteries from dying. There’s also a cool fold out pocket which can carry business cards, model releases and other odds and ends. Everything is so easy to get to! This bag can get you way into the backcountry with everything you need to capture that perfect moment.

The first thing I noticed about the Lowepro Flipside Sport 15L AW was that the zipper to get into the bag was on the opposite side of any other bag I have ever seen. I was confused by this feature at first, thinking maybe it was a fail-safe in case the zipper broke and your gear fell out, or maybe just a cool-looking design choice. Why else put the zipper against your back? Five minutes into my first shoot with this pack, I understood. I’d loaded up the pack, grabbed my skis, and headed up the Rocky Mountains. I found a great location, threw the pack down in the snow and grabbed my camera. Normally, I’d have to spend a few minutes beating the snow off my bag afterward. Not with this pack! I just picked it up, watched the snow slide off, and put it right back on and kept skiing. No freezing-cold snow down my jacket, no snow-packed shoulder straps. Pure genius. Bravo Lowepro!

The first time I put my tripod on this bag, I thought to myself, “Why aren’t all bags like this?!”  The system is simple but ingenious: hook a tripod to this pack and you can be sure it won’t budge an inch. To me, this opens a lot of possibilities, like skiing faster or getting to a better vantage point without having to leave the tripod behind. My last pack didn’t have a tripod attachment, and I can’t imagine what I did without it all those years! Additionally, the weight of the tripod on one side of the pack is balanced out by my water on the other side, making the pack very balanced and comfortable when you’re out moving around all day.

Anyone who spends time outdoors knows how important it is to stay hydrated! The water hydration system on this pack is yet another great and well thought out feature. It fits a 1 liter water bladder inside a specially designed pocket, which has an opening for your drinking hose to come out the side and down your shoulder, for fast access. I haven’t used this feature in the summer months yet, but for my winter weather test I was pleased to see that I can wrap my hose in the neoprene sleeve, so the water doesn’t freeze as quickly. My water still froze a few times, but this was more of an issue with my hose, and not a problem with the Lowepro pack.

The shoulder straps are exactly what you’d expect from a top of the line pack: they are fully adjustable and fit very well. I especially liked the snugness of the top strap, which helps keep the shoulder straps close together so you can move around without fidgeting with your straps. The less these packs bounce around the better, especially when you’re skiing! The straps are made of a nice foam material, covered in mesh, with holes punched in it for breathability. So far I have only used the pack during freezing winter weather, but I’m sure this will keep my shoulders cool while I’m out in the mountains this summer.

The all weather cover is rad! I was skeptical at the beginning, so I put it to the test in a few snow storms at 10,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains. I buried the pack, left it outdoors, and watched from the warmth of my living room as the fresh pow piled high. In the morning, I dug out the pack and watched the snow slide right off. I haven’t tested the pack in a big rain storm yet, but I’m looking forward to ditching the heavy duty trash bags I’ve used in the past to keep my gear dry!

DISCLAIMER:

Joe Morahan is proudly sponsored by Hoodman and Lowepro. He is not an employee of these companies, and the views expressed here are his own.

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Comments

  1. says

    Great review. I was thinking about picking up this bag myself and I think your video helped me move ahead with that purchase. I live in South Florida near the Everglades so I need a bag that can handle the weather plus the hydration pouch was a nice touch from Lowepro.

  2. says

    I just got one of these, but haven’t had a chance to use it yet, so eventually, I’ll answer this question myself, but I’d think the tripod on one side would really get tiring on one shoulder (why I stopped using sling style bags) when you are low on water or don’t bring much because of not being out all day.

    The other Flipside models (non Hiking) have the tripod mounted in the center of the pack (vertically) which I found to work well (except for flipping it around to access while wearing…gota be careful of the jewels at that point) You don’t seem to use it in that way anyway.

    • says

      Jay,

      You are right….it is weighed to one side, however I did not even notice it….some of my bags I do, this one, not so much. I personally don’t like the tripod in the middle of the back for two reasons….1, like you had said, getting gear out can be a bit crazy, and to me the most important reason is…..I play hard, really hard, and when I am out riding down the hill on skis or boards or mountain scooters I like to know that all my gear is tucked in close and wont bounce around. The bag bouncing around can throw off my weight and make me fall and when I’m going fats that is just not an option. I hope you enjoy your new bag!!! Keep on Shooting!!!

      • says

        Good point. The center back mount are generally rather loose and let the tripod bounce around. It wouldn’t fall out I don’t think but does move/flop around a good deal.

        • says

          ya….I’m not all that sure why that happens, but they do bounce a lot. It has never fallen off yet, but I hate that feeling of a bouncing tripod as I am back-country skiing.

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