Over the past few months I have been using the new Flipside Sport 20L AW camera back pack from Lowepro and I’ve been loving it so much I thought I’d share my experiences with you here.

I first used the pack during a series of winter ski shoots in the US.  I was going to be on assignment in Colorado, New Mexico and West Virginia.  Because I was shooting on the snow, and therefore carting my gear around with me on my back, it’s always important to choose a pack that is comfortable, lightweight, carries all the gear I need and yet is strong and durable and will handle the range of activities each shoot day involves.  The Flipside Sport 20L AW definitely stood up to the test.

It easily held everything I needed with a main compartment that comfortably housed a Nikon D4 with 70-200mm 2.8 lens, a 24-70mm 2.8 and the 14-24mm 2.8.  This was accessed by a full zip closure on the rear of the pack (the same side as the back straps).  An easy access side pocked held a hydration bladder – water being so important when working at altitude. While the front of the pack contained a large central pocket that included a number of interior zip pouches – which I used to carry a small collapsible reflector, a few extra warm layers and some muesli bars.  There are also two smaller exterior pockets good for quick access items such as my phone, wallet and sunblock.  A number of strategically placed exterior toggles were perfect for attaching miscellaneous items (I used them for gloves and goggles when not needed).  It was finished off with a couple of small pouches on the hip straps, overall there was certainly no shortage of space to separately store all of the necessary items for each day’s shooting on the snow.

Because the pack is so light, even fully loaded I was easily able to get around the mountain without any consideration to having a bunch of gear strapped to my back (meaning I could also enjoy the odd full speed “blast” down the hill myself in between shooting).  The pack’s strength was in no way compromised by its lightweight performance, it felt durable and secure and I was confident my gear was protected from the elements at all times, even when dumped in the snow.  I was able to put the pack down and easily access everything through the main reverse entry, meaning no snow down my back when it was time to move on!

But the Flipside Sport 20L AW is not just an adventure photographer’s dream pack.  I also chose to use this pack on a commercial shoot in China the following month.  I prefer to take my camera gear with me on the flight as hand luggage, so this backpack offered the perfect solution.  Because it is nice and compact it allowed easy stowage in overhead lockers on the long haul flights, while the external pocket provided storage for a tablet and all of the extra “bits and pieces” I like having handy when travelling.

Once on location, I was able to carry everything I needed for a commercial shoot with minimal weight wasted in the pack itself – especially appreciated during long days spent on your feet with a pack on your back.  The tripod attachment system on the side of the pack worked really well holding my lighter weight travel tripod with ease (I wouldn’t recommend a heavy duty studio tripod be used here) and the dedicated hydration bladder pocket was the perfect solution to keeping hydrated in China’s relatively hot summer days.

Overall the Flipside Sport 20L AW is a fantastic product combining lightweight performance with comfort, strength and load carrying ability.  The perfect camera pack for anyone who is travelling or working in an active environment.

Some additional features of the pack:

  • The interior camera compartment – which fits a pro-sized camera body and 300mm lens – is fully removable, meaning you can turn the pack into a “regular” backpack at any stage.
  • A fully waterproof weather jacket folds up and over the pack from beneath, giving you full wet weather protection when needed.
  • The straps feature multiple adjustment points, making it super easy to get the “fit” just right.

All images copyright Chris McLennan


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3 comments so far

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  1. Current blog, fresh information, I read it from time to time!!…

  2. Great review Chris. Thanks !
    Nevertheless, can you add a picture of the bag with the Nikon trinity of lenses & the D3 inside ? I own this equipment & wanna see how it fill the inside of the FS20L.
    Regards from south east of France, in Provence.

    • Hi Jean-Christophe, Chris is in Papua New Guinea right now, but I’ll get him on to this when he is back online. Cheers, Catherine

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