Before digging into the eminently useful Lowepro Fastpack 200 backpack, it’s important to note how TTR categorizes travel bags. There are bags for getting to one’s destination, bags for using at the destination, and activity-specific bags. The Fastpack 200 falls into the middle category, what some might call a daypack, but is more capable. In this review we’ll share our camera pack requirements and detail where the Fastpack 200 excels and fails.
TTR rarely checks a full-sized suitcase. Only special occasions, such as those requiring multiple clothing outfits (e.g., Friday golf, Friday evening semi-formal dinner, Saturday wedding, and Sunday brunch), or upon Mrs. TTR’s demand, will we use a hard-sided suitcase. For personal travel a roller with an attached daypack is sufficient, or, at the most, a roller and a separate gear backpack. Personal travel seldom necessitates the inclusion of a laptop, whereas one is almost always needed for business trips.
Furthermore, more camera gear is generally needed for personal travel; we regularly pack a DSLR, camcorder, accessories, snacks, guidebooks, and foul-weather gear (both Mr. and Mrs. TTR appreciate the benefits of off-peak travel, even if that results in some rain). The Fastpack 200 is almost ideal for “at destination” personal travel, with only one major shortcoming.
The strength of the Fastpack 200 is its flexibility. The bottom compartment fits most DSLRs (including the well-liked Nikon D3100), even those with relatively large lenses. It opens from the left side when worn on the back, so it’s easy to slide out of the right shoulder strap, slip the Fastpack to the left a bit, and extract the camera — all without removing the backpack. The top compartment easily fits the aforementioned snacks and gear.
- Space for most DSLR kits, along with camcorders, flashes, cables, and other goodies
- Ample storage for personal itemsSide-entry compartment provides access to camera without removing backpack
- Side mesh pocket for water bottleMesh padded back is comfortable; wicks away moisture
- Looks like a regular backpack, thus hopefully avoiding “hey, rob me, I have an expensive camera” situations
- Comfortable shoulder straps
- No rain shield (Lowepro’s term is “All Weather Cover”)
- No tripod attach points
- No chest strap or waist belt
- Camera compartment dividers are not as configurable as you’d think
For “at destination” excursions in which you wish to carry camera gear and personal items, the Lowepro Fastpack 200 is a fine choice. It’s large enough for a day’s worth of provisions, but not so large that most will find it burdensome after a long day. Those wishing to to carry more gear and/or a laptop (such as this delightful ASUS 13.5-incher) should look at the Lowepro Fastpack 250 and Lowepro Fastpack 350. For quick jaunts about town we like the smaller Lowepro SlingShot 100 AW or SlingShot 102 AW, which feature one shoulder strap and quick access to the camera compartment.
The major disappointment in the Fastpack 200 is the lack of adequate rain protection. The bag itself, the seams, and zippers, offer a degree of protection against light rain, but for true protection you should look at Lowepro bags with the “AW” (“All Weather”) designation. TTR’s favorite such bag is the Lowepro Rover II AW backpack, which has performed admirably in horrid weather conditions on four continents. The Rover AW II lacks the side-entry compartment of the Fastpack, meaning it must be removed to access or put away the camera, but it does include a waist strap and tripod mounts.
To find the pack that best fits your needs, Lowepro offers a handy bag finder tool, so find the one that best fits your needs, and hit the trail.
Reviewed by: TravelTechReview.com on
Summary: We love the size and side-load camera storage of the Lowepro Fastpack 200 Camera Backpack; only the lack of a rain shield keeps it from earning 5 stars.
Description: The Lowepro Fastpack 200 Camera Backpack provides dedicated camera storage space that’s easily accessible without removing the backpack. It is lightweight, inconspicuous, and perfectly sized for day trips.
Rating: 4 stars