The Perfect Anti-theft Camera Bag for Travellers - Lowepro Flipside 400
The Lowepro Flipside 400 Camera Bag
I originally purchased the smaller flipside 200 AW for a holiday to China. When looking for a camera bag my main issue was security. Traveling in an unknown country for 4 weeks meant I didn’t want to have to keep checking if my bag was ok, if it had been opened, was everything still there, and this is where the Lowepro flipside design came in.
This bag is perfect for when you are travelling due to the way it opens up. Obviously it is good for anyone who needs to carry a large kit of SLR equipment, digital or film. I just think it is especially useful for photographers who are travelling due to its almost anti-theft system.
Below you will find my review of the bag and the pro and con points of it. You can also find the links on where to buy the bag in the US and the UK, plus the official Lowepro Site.
Lowepro on Amazon
How I would rate the Lowepro Flipside 400
Technically a 4.5
I would techincally give it a 4.5 because it has 2 small flaws as far as I'm conceded. The waist belt is a bit bulky and the zips aren't weather sealed. But it is almost a 5 in all other ways.
Appearance and Build Quality
The build quality of the bag is very high, all seams are tightly stitched, zips are more than substantial but not waterproof, and the waist and shoulder straps are well padded for comfort and spreading weight evenly. One thing I really like is that its not obviously a camera bag, Lowepro simply stick to their small logo so theres no clue a to what is inside. Inside the dividers are very sturdy with good padding to protect all your bits and pieces, the top/inside of the bag is a thick layer of stiff padding where you DSLR goes.
Usability and Flexibility
The Lowepro flipside bag is designed to only be accessed from the pannel that rests against your back. The idea is to unloop one arm from the straps, spin the bag around your waist with the waist belt fastened, and rest the bag outstretched on your thigh. You are then free to unzip the back pannel, pull out your camera, get the shot you need, put your camera back in, fasten up, spin it round and be on your way without having to put your bag down. There is also an adequately sized (although it doesn't fit a small macbook sadly) pocket at the front to store things such as your phone, batteries, sandwich maybe but I prefer not to use it.
I mentioned earlier that the zips weren’t waterproof sealed types, but there is a pull out rain cover integrated in to the base of the bag should the weather take a turn for the worst, problem solved. Also integrated into the base of the bag it a tripod pouch so you can rest the legs of a tripod in the pouch and fasten to the bag with the strap to the front of the front pocket.
If your like me and constantly change what's in your bag, depending on what your shooting, then the bag makes it easy to move around all the dividers to fit your gear snugly, keeping them from rattling around. It is designed to carry a pro level DSLR with a 300mm F2.8 lens attached plus 6-8 lenses/ flash combination. In my bag I can comfortably carry a D7000 with battery grip and 24-70 2.8 lens, a 50mm f1.8, 70-300mm f4.5 zoom, Nikon F5 film body, sb700 flash, business cards, square filters and adapters/holders, straps, batteries and a few memory cards. That's a great deal of gear, all organized well and safely secured.
For me, the bag is just the right size for a days walk. My one gripe is that sometimes, I just want to remove the big padded waist straps, but they are not removable. It can obviously get a little heavy but that all depends on the gear you carry with you, and the bag itself when empty is fairly light so doesn't contribute to the overall weight at all.
The current retail price for the Lowepro Flipside 400 AW in the UK is £99.99, however there are several online sites offering the black version for as little as £69.99 putting it just inside the affordable price band for amateurs. For me, £69.99 to protect £3000 of equipment is a no brainer.