My Review of Lowepro Versapack 200 AW Dual Compartment DSLR Backpack – Black/Gray

Lowepro Versapack 200 AW

My New Go-To Camera Bag
 

 

4out of 5

Pros: Strong Construction, Versatile, Roomy, Easily Accessible Equipment, Adjustable Harness, Comfortable

Cons: Included Dividers, No Exterior Pocket

Best Uses: Travel, Transporting Gear

Describe Yourself: Photo Enthusiast

Let me just start off by saying I would give this bag 4.5 stars if I could because I think it is THAT good. This is now my go to camera bag.

I have a few trips planned to go overseas this year so I was looking for a backpack with the following:
–> Security/inconspicuous looks t deter pickpockets and thieves
–> Comfort – I’ll be wearing this bag all day, every day so it needs to be comfortable. I really wanted a backpack with a waist strap and a sternum strap.
–> Flexibility – I wanted a bag that could have the camera storage section removed so the bag could act as a small day pack if I decided to leave the DSLR at home.
–> Storage – I needed to be able to carry a jacket, bottle of water, map, personal electronics, and other travel items. It also needed to carry the following camera equipment: 5D, 17-40, 50mm, 70-200.
–> Quick access – I wanted a backpack with quick access to my camera similar to many of the sling bags that are on the market. I’m not a big fan of walking around with a camera hanging off of my neck, so quick access is the way to go for me.

To keep things short and sweet, I’m just going to list out the pros and cons I’ve discovered in the shot time of owning this bag.

Cons
–> Provided Dividers – The dividers that are provided with the bag are OK, but they really only allow you to “top load” your gear into this bag. If you try to load your gear horizontally through the side access pocket, you have to remove ALL of the padding and dividers and simply “drop” your camera in with one lens attached and that’s ALL you can carry in the lower camera section. This is kind of ridiculous if you ask me. If they are marketing this bag as being able to have quick access, they should include dividers to support this horizontal setup. Luckily, I was able to use dividers from my other camera bags to come up with a pretty good setup. Lowepro should include these dividers so they can sell this bag as a true dual setup. I showed my custom horizontal/quick access setup in the video attached to this review.
–> No Exterior Mesh Pocket – OK, this may seem nitpicky but it drives me nuts that there is not exterior mesh pocket for a water bottle on this bag. I’d rather there only be side access on only one side so they could have included a mesh pocket on the other side. Oh well, looks like I’ll be buying the SlipLock water bottle holder.

Pros
–> Comfort – This bag is BY FAR the most comfortable bag that I own. It may just be me, but I feel like the majority of camera backpacks feel like a shoebox with straps; they are just ridged and awkward to carry. This bag is different. The lower camera section has some structure to protect your gear, but the upper part is more flexible to fit to the contours of your back. Because it contours to your back, the bag has a very low profile which is great for travel. Also, this bag is longer than most camera backpacks which complements my lanky frame. The shoulder straps are perfect and the sternum strap and detachable waist strap are great for long treks.
–> Versatility – Like the name suggests, the bag is pretty versatile. The middle divider can be removed along with the camera dividers to create a decent sized backpack. Also, like I said above, the camera section can be setup for top loading or side access…if you have some spare dividers. It also has a built in rain fly and hidden tripod attachments.
–> Size/Weight – This bag weighs practically nothing…right around 2 lbs. when empty. I can load it up with all of my gear and it is still very light compared to my other camera bags. Also, this is just about the perfect size for travel. It can be broken down for easy storage and it can fit under an airplane seat with no problem. It can also store just enough stuff for a full day’s trek.

Conclusion:
If you are looking for a comfortable, lightweight, and versatile camera backpack that can carry a body, 2-3 lenses, and your basic travel gear, this bag should be on your short list.

Lowepro Versapack 200 AW

Tags: Bag, Lowepro, Camera, DSLR, How to

(legalese)

UPDATE

I’ve received a few questions since posting this review/video so I decided to make a second video to answer these questions. Hope this helps!





Help Keep the Reviews Coming!
If you’re thinking about purchasing the Lowepro Versapack 200 AW, check out Amazon.com…this is my go-to store for pretty much everything. If you click through to Amazon using the link below, I get small kickback which I use to invest in more equipment to review for you!

Amazon:
Lowepro Versapack 200 AW Camera Backpack (Black/Gray)

Advertisements

16 responses to “My Review of Lowepro Versapack 200 AW Dual Compartment DSLR Backpack – Black/Gray

  1. Thanks for the review. Been looking for a travel photobag and this looks like it’ll perfect. Where did you end up getting it and at what price?

    • Hi,

      No problem, glad to help. I live in Boston and I try to buy most of my stuff from a local place called Hunt’s Photo and Video; I like keeping local places in business. Their prices are usually pretty competitive (maybe a few bucks more) and they have great customer service. I actually picked this up during one of their semiannual sales so I got it for $80.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

  2. Hi
    Great review almost decided but i would like to know it compares to the Kata 3n1-20
    Rob

    • Hi Rob,

      I had the Kata 3N1-10 for a while and I looked at upgrading to the 20 but I wanted something with a little more secondary storage. I really like Kara’s stuff and their prices are awesome but the Versapack was the best option for me. If you are only looking for camera storage and a little secondary storage thus 3N1 is worth checking out.

  3. Hi there,

    Interesting review as this is exactly what I am looking for with very similar kit – A D60, 70-200 f4 L lens Tamron 17-50 f2.8 and other bits. In addition, I was looking to be able to use the bag in a similar way to the way you show.

    I was looking for a sling bag as a day sack however I tested the Lowpro Slingshot 102AW (which was much too small) and the 202A, which although just about fitted all the kit, it wasn’t very well organised or padded. I have then been looking at the Classified Sling 180AW however would prefer two separate compartments.

    The idea of a backpack seems a little more sturdy and wont accidentally flip round your side when you bend down. In addition, I have been having problem in trying to comfortably house the 70-200l lens which is fixed length at around 200mm.

    However, what I don’t have are the extra dividers you show from your old crumpler bag. Is it possible these can be purchased separately for somewhere, or can you tell me exactly what bag they came from in order that I might approach the manufacturer? Also, have you approached lowpro themselves with this solution?

    • Hi Chris,

      I think the bag and this setup would work just fine for your gear. I actually used a mix of dividers. The bright green one came from a Crumpler 7 Million Dollar Home and the rest where included with the Versapack. If you’re interested, I can make a shot video or send you the dimensions of the pads/dividers that I used to create this setup.

      I actually contacted Lowepro today after reading your message…I’ll let you know if they respond. I have dealt with their customer service in the past and they are AMAZING. They will definitely send you extra dividers if needed and they usually only make you pay for shipping which is just a few bucks.

      I haven’t had to contact Crumpler’s customer service, but I definitely think it’s worth a shot. If you can’t find a divider similar to the Crumpler divider, I know that Kata sells kits where you can make your own dividers. That may be an easier solution for you.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Thanks,
      Mike

  4. Cheers Mike.

    You have made up my mine for me an I am going to order one of these – LowePro, listen to this. I’m buying it because it has been shown that it can be reconfigured into a more usable solution for some users, with, lets face it, a VERY simple addition that would not really add to the overall cost.

    Mike, I would be grateful if you could at least give the dimensions of the additional divider – an additional video would also be great. However, I appreciate the additional info about the Crumpler and Kata.

    • Hi Chris,

      Glad I could help you out. I’ll create another video tonight to show you exactly how I have everything setup. I’ll also shoot you the dimensions of the pieces that are used in the setup.

      By the way…

      I heard back from Lowepro and they are passing my recommendations on to their product development team. Who knows…maybe you will see a Vesapack Mike P. edition 🙂

    • Hi Chris,

      I made another video which includes the dimensions of the pads (I even used centimeters for you) and better displays the setup of the bag. One thing to note is the pad from the Crumpler could be narrower but it still works. If you could find one that was just a bit smaller it would be perfect. Anyway, this should help you get started. Feel free to shoot over any other questions you may have.

      Cheers,
      Mike

  5. Great review! Very heplful. I’m wondering, however, if there’s enough room in that document pouch (where you put the iPad in your video) for a couple of magazines or some papers? If I get this bag, I need it to be able to carry magazines for reading on airplanes. Thanks!

    Q

    • Hi Q,

      I’m glad the review helped!

      Yes, you can definitely fit a magazine or similarly sized items in the frot map pocket. Also, the upper compartment is big enough to fit thicker magazines and hardcover books that will not fit into the map pocket.

      I’ve checked out a few other bags since getting the Versapack but I haven’t found anything that can better fit my needs. This is still my “go to” travel camera bag.

      Feel free to shoot me any other questions you may have.

      -Mike

  6. Thanks, that’s great to know.

    Have you looked at the Tamrac Evolution 8? For me, it is coming down to those two bags. The Evo 8 seems like it could carry much more camera gear but less personal stuff.

    • I haven’t checked out this bag…I’ll have to look into it. I have other bags that are more gear focused. I liked the Versapack because it was more of a 50/50 split of gear and storage space which is import to me when traveling.

  7. Totally understand, I’m in the same boat. The Evo 8, however, is also split between gear and personal space. I’d definitely recommend looking into it.

    • I just watched a vid on the bag. This bag seems VERY similar to the Versapack with a few key differences…

      1. The Versapack is a lot less structured than this bag. This is good as it probably weighs a lot less the Evo but at the same time the Evo looks like it offers a bit more protection for the gear in the top section. I personally like the less structured setup of the Versapack…it doesn’t feel like a brick swinging around on your back 🙂

      2. I dig how you can setup the Evo as a sling…that’s pretty slick. The only con in regards to this is there is no sternum strap to connect the shoulder straps. Sternum straps can take a lot of stress off of your shoulders when carrying heavier loads.

      3. Lastly, on concern I had when buying this bag was security. While the Versapack isn’t exactly secure (the Lowepro Flipside would be a better choice), there is really only one way to access the gear on the bottom. The gear on the top is very secure as you would have to undo two buckles and then unzip a pretty long zipper to get to the contents in this section. This is something to think about if you travel or if you shoot in crowed locations. The Evo looks like there are 3 chances to get to your gear on the bottom.

      Obviously, everyone has their own priorities and I’m just looking to share my thoughts on the Versapack. Let me know what you end up getting!

      P.s. Just thought of one more thing…does the Evo come with a rain cover? I’ve been saved by the rain fly that’s built into the Versapack a few times 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s