For the last few months I’ve been working in the field, recording sounds and taking pictures, walking with few bags hanging on my neck. I thought that it would be nice to find a perfect bag for my SD702, cables, headphones, DSLR, SLR, water, knife and flashlight, few lenses, stand and other smaller things like adapters or lens filters. Something well designed, built from good materials and easy to carry. Than I found Lowepro company. The backpack I’m going to talk about today is Lowepro Fastpack 350 AW. This model is based on previous award winning bag Fastpack 350 and I’ve been using it for the past six months. It’s been with me during different times of the year, and in different weather conditions.
How it looks.
The first thing I really liked when I saw this backpack for the first time was design. It’s black, made out of great materials. It looked like it could survive everything, and after five months of using it, I’m sure it will.
It’s really easy to access gear from the side, without taking backpack from your shoulders. I really like that, because I’m not only recording but also taking photos, so my DSLR is always ready to use. I don’t have to stop to take it out. This bag was designed specially for photographers, but I’ve noticed that one pocket is just perfect for 702. When recording nature, I can just put my bag on the ground, and use it. I can also walk with it, and record when I don’t have to watch the screen, so the 702 stays behind my back, and I have both hands free. Gear is secure as long as the vertical strap is locked. You won’t be able to open the bag completely without taking it off your shoulders, which is good. Also there are small pockets for memory cards inside.
This is the place where you can keep all other things like food, something warm to wear, or other additional hardware. There’s a strap for headphones and extra small bag for cables. It’s secured with additional straps on the sides, and you can hide zipper behind your tripod.
On the side it has a pouch for water, or something that you want to have around. Under this pocket there’s another one, in which you can mount your stand, and strap it with a belt on the top of the backpack. The downside of using this pocket is that you can’t use the water pouch anymore.
On the top of the bag there is a small pouch for things you need to have quick access to. I usually keep there some batteries, or just tools to modify my Rode Blimp.
With this backpack, you can easily fit 15 inch Macbook Pro, but I think that bigger notebook won’t be a problem too.
For the last six months, I had a opportunity to use this backpack in different conditions. I’ve recorded sound effects on a beach during storms, in the forests during heavy rain, in the rivers during snow storms, and my gear was always secured. If the conditions are harsh, you can always use rain coat hidden under the backpack, but there was a time, when I had to record in the rain. I left the backpack on the ground. After one hour of recording, the backpack was really wet, but the gear inside was dry, so not only it’s super handy to use, but also keeps the gear safe.
The bottom line.
To sum this up, I think it’s a great backpack, which will last for years. I’ve made a research, and found a lot of positive opinions from people using Lowepro products . Also a friend of mine is using one of their backpacks for 6 years now, and it’s still in really good condition. It’s very comfortable to wear with straps on the front, and foam on the back. It’s weather proof, but it let’s the wind through, so you’r not going to sweat a lot while wearing it. I can easily set if flat on the ground and access all the knobs, my lenses and cables. I can also record while being on the move, just leaving the 702 in main compartment and focusing on the microphones. The down side is that you can’t monitor your levels, but sometimes when you know the levels are consistent , you really don’t have to. Here are some pictures I took during those six months of using it.