Alexandr Pospech

Professional Photographer and Videographer

Arctic expedition with Lowepro

For couple of years I've been using different Lowepro equipment. During my 10 weeks stay in the Arctic in the Summer 2010, I used mainly 2 backpacks: Lowepro Photo Trekker AW II and Lowepro DryZone 200. I must say, that both of them made their role very well.

Lowepro Photo Trekker AWII specifications:

Size(Interior):
12W X 5.9D X 19.1H in./
30.4 X 15 X 48.5 cm

Size(Exterior):
14.6W X 15D X 21.5H in./
37 X 38 X 54.5 cm

Outer fabric:
water-resistant 600D ripstop nylon and 600D Endura™ nylon

Weight:
8.38lbs/3.8kg

 more info on manufacturer's website here

 

I've been using this backpack for more than 2 years. It replaced my Photo Trekker Classic and Nature Trekker AWII. I find size of Photo Trekker AWII to be very usefull while still keeping dimensions of plane on-board luggage, which was very important parameter for me (If you are taking it on board just don't overload the front pocket so it doesn't seem so big). Lenses up to 600mm f4 can fit inside as well as some other equipment like 2 pro DSLRs, flashes and other.

I used this backpack intensively during expeditions in Papua New Guinea, Borneo, Svalbard or in Czech Republic and it still remains it's perfect functionality. It just looks a bit used as sometimes it was covered completely with mud, so I needed to wash it properly under water. But if you are wildlife photographer, you'll now how we usually look like, so I don't think this is a real issue :).

Carrying it even fully loaded (12-20kg) is still very comfortable and I especially appreciate the high quality zipper, which works perfectly even when you try to close overloaded main chamber. The only disadvantage is that about 1mm of water resistant cover of the main chamber zipper quickly wore off, so even when properly closed, there is about 1 to 3 mm of the width of the zip which is not protected against rain. Practicaly it doesn't mean any problem as in mild rain it doesn't matter and you should always protect the backpack from heavier rain with supplied raincover (which works fine even with overloaded backpack).

When you buy Lowepro Photo Trekker AWII you'll get Trekker Daypack II for free which is nice surprise. You can carry it alone or attach it to the front side of Photo Trekker AWII.

For attachment of the tripod the Trekker Tripod Mount™ is available and the space can be still expanded with optional SlipLock™ accessories.

All in all I highly recomend the Photo Trekker AWII.

 

 

Lowepro Dryzone 200 specifications:

Size(Interior):
12W X 5.9D X 16.9H in./
30.5 X 15 X 43 cm

Size(Exterior):
14.6W X 11.4D X 19.1H in./
37 X 29 X 48.5 cm

Outer fabric:
(Backpack) water-resistant 600D TXP™ and 2000D ballistic nylon

Outer Fabric WaterProof:
(Waterproof Drypod) waterproof plastic-coated nylon

Outer Fabric WaterProof:
(Waterproof Drypod) waterproof plastic-coated nylon

 more info on manufacturer's website here

 

Although Lowepro Dryzone 200 is not that comfortable for carrying for longer period of time like Photo Trekker AWII it offers unique feature: it's waterproof. In this point make no mistake as I really don't mean just water resistant, but really waterproof. When the waterproof TIZIP™ zipper is properly closed It can submerged under the water surface. I tried this, couple of times, with my equipment and I never had single drop of water in the main chamber. The waterproof TIZIP™ zipper, unlike regular zippers, needs greasing for proper working order (note: you can use different types of lubricants for the zipper - small silicone lubrican is included with the backpack, but it can be replaced with anything similar or with lubricants for dry neoprene suits zippers for example). It is quite difficult to close this zipper and without lubrication it's almost impossible You have to be very carefull, slow, patient and after some training you can close the main chamber with one movement wihtout having the zipper jammed. But if you can tolerate these difficulties, no other backpack (to my knowledge at the date of review) will offer you such protection from elements like Dryzone 200. I found this photo backpack to be the most common in the Arctic and was told many photographers used it also in Antarctica. The reason is simple. For transport in these regions, you often use small boat - usually Zodiac. There are almost all the time waves on the sea and the water gets easily into the boat. With Dryzone with zipper properly closed, there is nothing to be afraid of.

And if you don't need bag to be waterproof at the moment and you need quick acces to equipment inside? Just don't use the waterproof TIZIP™, leave it open, as there is one regular zipper underneath the waterproof one.

Before buying Dryzone, try it in local store, exhibition or from friend. Using the waterproof TIZIP™ zipper is really not easy, but if you can make it, Dryzone will protect your valuable equipment from water perfectly.

 

 Lowepro backpacks in action: