Thoughtfully designed for shooting in the wild, Lowepro’s Photosport III is a durable backpack for photographers who like to trek light. The kit insert makes lens access a little awkward, but the combination of handy storage spaces and a comfy strap system means it usefully fulfils its hybrid hiking brief.
Tough yet light construction
Comfortable strap system
Useful pockets and packing spaces
Integrated rain cover
Limited room for extra lenses
Insert could be more accessible
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Creating a hybrid backpack for hiking photographers is a pursuit paved with compromise. Yet Lowepro’s Photosport III achieves the feat with very few sacrifices: this is a lightweight, versatile camera bag that’s comfortable to carry, practical to use and tough enough for trekking adventures. If you need a comfortable, versatile, all-weather backpack for hiking, and only need access to a couple of lenses, it's one of the best camera bags around.
With a 24L capacity, the largest PhotoSport III pack offers decent capacity that’s smartly divided. Camera gear goes in a removable padded insert, which is stashed in a dedicated side-access compartment. Up top, the lid of the pack opens to reveal a separate area for personal effects. Shielded by a secondary drawstring closure, this space is relatively modest but useful for stuffing overnight essentials.
Behind the contoured back panel you’ll find space for a 3-liter hydration pack. Side pockets are built for bottles, while the front stash panel is perfect for stowing a rain jacket. Velcro attachment points can also hold trekking poles or – with some tinkering – a streamlined tripod. So while it can’t carry the baggage required for an extended trip, pack light and the PhotoSport III feels tidily designed with roaming in mind.
That approach is reflected by the cushioned harness system. Wide straps sit comfortably on the shoulders, while sternum and hip belts distribute the burden. Adjusted to fit, the setup gives a welcome sense of stability when fully loaded. And the straps do more than simply support: a zip pocket on the right hip is handy for lens caps, while bundled bands and buckles offer a range of modular attachment options. You can clip a stash sleeve, your camera or even the GearUp insert to your front for easier access.
At full capacity, the Photosport III doesn’t feel unwieldy. While our humid test conditions did overwhelm the back panel’s ventilation channels, the bag’s structure struck a good balance between breezy and supportive. It helps that the pack itself doesn’t add many pounds to the payload: thanks to a nylon and polyester construction, it sits light at 1.5kg.
Yet despite its relatively low weight, Lowepro’s load-bearer also seems rugged enough to endure many a back-country shooting excursion. Weather-resistant and 75% recycled, every element of the backpack feels well-made and durable. And if conditions turn torrential, you can readily deploy the elasticated rain cover that’s subtly hidden in a small pocket on the front. Attached by a cord and unmissable in bright orange, it’s expansive enough to shield the entire pack, offering a welcome layer of extra protection against the elements.
Photography hardware is especially well shielded. Clad in ripstop nylon, the removable GearUp camera insert is sturdy enough to be used as a standalone camera bag – something you can do by attaching the included strap. But the padded container also has a dedicated compartment at the base of the Photosport III, accessed via a zip-shut side opening. Stashed here, both the box and its contents are safely sheltered.
To avoid a double-door setup, you can tuck the the lid of the GearUp box into a panel on the side door. Depending on how you’ve arranged the dividers inside, this should make it easy to get at your camera. Accessing other lenses and accessories is less straightforward: for this, you’ll need to fully remove and unzip the insert. Given the pack’s overall versatility, this isn’t a dealbreaker – but it’s something to consider if you regularly like to switch glass on the fly.
The insert itself offers good padding without sacrificing too much capacity. In testing, we were able to fit a full-frame Nikon DSLR with a telephoto lens attached, together with a 50mm prime and some spare batteries. For aerial photographers, the GearUp box can alternatively carry a folding drone, its controller and a spare cell. Two memory card slots live on the inside, too.
For real gearheads, this isn’t a huge amount of kit. It doesn’t help that the three dividers supplied with the insert don’t maximise the space. One is a large central partition which be bent to wrap around your camera body, while the other two are small panels for separating accessories. Attached to the walls with velcro, these can be usefully repositioned to suit different setups. But our testing found that the main divider could benefit from extra length and an additional fold line.
Any drawbacks are minor, though, in comparison to the practical abilities demonstrated by this Lowepro pack. Provided that you’re happy to go easy on gear and spend some time optimising the internal dividers for your kit, the Photosport III 24L proves a remarkably flexible solution for carrying a combo of photography equipment and personal possessions in the wilderness. Few camera bags tread the line between durability, comfort and functionality so effectively.
Should I buy a Lowepro PhotoSport Outdoor Backpack BP 24L AW III?
Buy it if...
You want a backpack to wear while you walk
Lightweight at 1.5kg, the Photosport III is comfy to carry for miles on end. Padded shoulder straps and ventilated back panels cushion your cargo, while stretchy sternum straps and a wide waist band spread the load and increase its stability.
You want a versatile pack for two pursuits
Equal parts hiking sack and camera bag, Lowepro’s dual-purpose pack is a flexible solution for roaming photogs. The padded insert protects shooting gear, while stuff pockets, attachment points, a hydration slot and supportive harness system give it solid trekking credentials.
You need an all-weather camera bag
A nylon and polyester construction gives the Photosport III durability belying its low weight. Weather-resistant and 75% recycled, its shell feels built to survive shooting expeditions. And if conditions take a turn, the hidden cover unpacks to protect against rain.
Don't buy it if...
You need rapid access to other lenses
Getting at your camera is easy enough, with the lid of the GearUp container tucked into a sleeve inside the dedicated side door. But if you want to swap lenses, you’ll need to fully remove and open the kit insert.
You like to carry a lot of camera kit
While you can find ways to fit more kit, the Photosport III is designed for traveling light. Play around with its dividers and the GearUp insert will carry a DSLR body, two lenses and a charger – and that’s your lot.
You’re packing for a longer getaway
Stick to day trips and you’ll find the top compartment is perfect for storing personal effects. But even with its external stuff pockets, the Photosport III won’t fit a weekend’s worth of clothes and accessories.
Formerly News Editor at Stuff, Chris has rarely been able to resist the bite of the travel bug – so he now writes about tech from the road, in whichever Wi-Fi-equipped café he can find. Fond of coffee kit, classic cars and sustainable gear, if there’s one thing Chris loves more than scribbling, shooting and sharing his way around the world, it’s alliterative triplets.