Kit Review - Lowepro Flipside 400AW

23rd July 2015
As promised some time ago, here is my review of the Lowepro Flipside 400AW.

As a wildlife and landscape photographer I really do need a bag that can carry my gear safely for all occasions. It needs to be sturdy enough to cope with fording rivers and streams, as well as having to follow me through the thickest of undergrowth.

It sometimes surprises me that photographers are happy to spend thousands of pounds on expensive camera bodies and lenses, yet refuse to pay a reasonable sum for the rucksack that has the job of protecting that expensive equipment. My Flipside cost me just under £100 and I see that the price has now dropped on the Warehouse express website to a tasty £80.

So, what do you get for your money? Well Lowepro has been around for years making camera bags and that experience shows. They clearly listen to photographers and produce bags that really do the job.

Anyway, here's the technical bit!

It will carry

Pro DSLR with lens attached (up to 300mm f/2.8)
Extra camera body
4-6 extra lenses
Accessories and small personal items
Internal Dimensions: 27.00 x 15.00 x 42.50 (cm)External Dimensions: 30.30 x 25.30 x 46.00

The size fits my set up perfectly. I generally carry my camera with 150-600 lens attached down the centre section and then additional lenses and kit are packed either side. The padding is superb and your kit is in no danger of coming together and the inevitable expensive repair.

One issue to note is that I would recommend that if you carry a large lens with a tripod collar attached you should loosen the collar off and let it rest at the side rather than stick out towards the back of the bag. I had not done this with mine and the foot on the collar has begun to wear away the nylon of the pocket located on the back section (see picture)

The finish to this internal section is fantastic. It gives you small storage pockets in the lid for memory cards and an additional pocket underneath for other larger items.

As the name suggest the flipside is flipped over and you actually access the pack for your camera through the padded section that rests against your back. I believe it is configured this way to provide extra security for your kit as entry to the main section of the bag would be virtually impossible when its being worn.

There is also a pocket on the front of the pack where you can store other smaller bits of kit or personal items. To be honest this is the only part of the bag that disappoints me. The pocket and its function is fine but the finish is a little disappointing. So much so that you would not think that the pockets located here are on the same bag as the ones located inside the main compartment of the bag. But, having said that it does the job and non of the materials have failed.

The bag also has the capacity to carry a tripod on the back. I carry my Benro Tripod on here which is pretty lightweight at about 1.4kg (see my previous review). As this rucksack is aimed at the photographer on the go I would suggest that the bag is designed to carry tripods in the lighter weight range. It deals well with mine but a heavy tripod may not be as well suited. The tripod legs fit in a pocket that folds out from the bottom of the bag and then a strap located towards the top of the bag secures it to the top.

There is also a rain hood that covers the whole of the bag (without tripod) located in another pocket. This is clipped into the bottom to stop it getting lost.

To finish there are a couple of mesh pockets on the side useful for the odd water bottle or discarded gloves etc. It also has a wide generous carrying handle on the top which gets a surprising amount of use when you are just moving the bag from one position to another.

In use the bag is a joy. The padding to the back is exceptional and I would have no trouble carrying it around all day. It also does a pretty good job of getting a flow of air to your back to help with the inevitable sweating. The bag has chest and waist straps, all adjustable to secure the bag in a customized position for every user.

I would really recommend this bag to wildlife photographers who like me often spend a lot of time stalking the wildlife through woodland and undergrowth. I have had other bags that where larger or had the tripod mounted at the side. You would constantly be catching it on tree branches or brambles which either damaged the bag or worse still scared off the wildlife. The Lowepro Flipside 400AW fits nicely on my back, so if my back is going through a gap the bag is too!

Overall it gets a 9/10 from me. Please send me any questions and I will try to answer them.

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