Ready for Action and Adventure

©Tyler Rickenbach

The PhotoSport X Backpack by Lowepro is designed for outdoor adventure photographers who need a bag to carry camera gear along with clothes, a small tent, climbing gear, food, and water. It’s not for people who take a lot of equipment on location, for example, those who specialize in photojournalism or street, studio, architecture, wedding, or portrait photography.


I assessed the 45-liter model for comfort, convenience of gear access, design, storage capacity, and organization. To test it, I planned to wear it all day with 30 or more pounds and carry it to the top of the highest peak in Idaho, Mount Borah (12,662 feet). My brother and I would begin our climb at base level, which is around 7,000 feet.

I loaded the backpack with copious amounts of carbs, a 3-liter hydration pouch of water, two sweatshirts, sweatpants, a beanie, gloves, a DJI Mavic 2 Pro with an extra battery, a Canon EOS-1D X III and EOS 5D Mk II, and 24mm, 50mm, and 135mm lenses. The gear load was a little bit overkill, but with the comfortable waist and shoulder straps, the backpack’s weight was evenly distributed throughout my body. Unlike comparable camera bags, the PhotoSport X has a storage compartment on the bottom, which I used for quick access to food and water.

©Tyler Rickenbach
The bottom compartment includes quick access, which I used for food and water.
©Tyler Rickenbach
The quick-access opening is at waist belt height and you can open it without taking the pack off.

For packs designed for long hikes or climbs, I pay particular attention to the padding on the shoulder straps and the back. This bag is designed to provide support and comfort unlike other outdoor adventure bags I’ve used. If I had to choose between an F-Stop Tilopa 50L backpack, which I own, and the PhotoSport X, I would chose the latter because it’s more comfortable. The last thing you want while you’re in the field is to lose momentum due to fatigue.

What sets the PhotoSport X apart from other bags is the main compartment zipper on the back of the bag. You can quickly remove the bag and set it on the ground without having to turn it over, which speeds access to your gear. When time is not on your side, the convenience of accessing gear couldn’t be more important.

Camera bags shouldn’t be complex, and in my experience, the simpler they are, the better. With the storage compartment located on the bottom of the bag, items such as gloves, a beanie, and food were available at a moment’s notice. This feature alone won me over because it allowed me to continue hiking without having to take the bag off to get the items I needed.

©Tyler Rickenbach
The main access panel is on the back of the pack. With this design you get fast access and the back panel that goes against your body remains free of dirt and grit.
©Tyler Rickenbach
The back panel, shoulder straps, and waist belt are all generously padded and breathable.

Inside the backpack are a few side pockets and a small pouch to hold essential items such as a wallet and keys. The bag is made from a waterproof material and includes an all-weather cover to protect against rain, snow, and dust. Although we didn’t encounter severe weather on our hike, I’d feel confident taking this into a rainstorm.

Available for purchase separately, Lowepro offers its GearUp Pro Camera Box in several sizes to fit inside a backpack. Designed to carry photo gear essentials, it’s a basic ripstop nylon case with flexible dividers that can be adjusted for your needs.

Loading my backpack for this trip, I placed my hydrationpouch closest to my back, put my clothing on the bottom, and filled the top half with camera equipment. I found it easiest to undo the buckle on the top and access gear from above as opposed to unzipping the back to remove items.

©Tyler Rickenbach
Top access closes with a cinch and another protective lid flap.
©Tyler Rickenbach
The GearUp Pro Camera Box (foreground) comes in three sizes and is not included with the pack.
©Tyler Rickenbach
The Lowepro PhotoSport X held up well for a day of rocky adventuring and is hearty enough for overnight mountaineering trips.

Having served in the military, I’m particular with my bags. When you’re walking for miles with 70-plus pounds on your back, the last thing you want is a bag that’s uncomfortable or can’t handle the weight. After carrying this pack to the top of Mount Borah, I can say it exceeds the standard requirements for any adventure bag I’d want.

It’s not an everyday bag, but it fills a void in my kit for when I go on an expedition. If you’re planning a serious outdoor adventure, this pack is an excellent option. The Lowepro PhotoSport X Backpack AW comes in 35L and a 45L sizes, priced at $299.99 and $399.99, respectively.  

Tyler Rickenbach is a filmmaker and photographer based in Idaho.

Tags: gear