Customer Review

83 of 99 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Honeymoon's over, July 6, 2009
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This review is from: Lowepro Flipside 300 Backpack (Black) (Camera)
First of all, this is a great product and does what it is supposed to. But if falls short of true greatness in several areas. I know secure packing is a priority, but none of my issues would affect the protection of the equipment except for clipped on components. I wanted a case like this (I have many others as well) and the security and form factor are what I needed. But this is a photography bag and thus should be designed for photography, not permanent storage.

First, as anyone knows whose shooting action whether sports, news or animals, being able to open a bag while juggling lenses, bodies, etc. speed is of the essence. The problem here is not access, but the size and reach of the zippers. The zipper teeth are on the small size and I fear as the zippers go screaming around the corners, their life will be short, especially since they hang up rounding the top corners. They have not jammed or broken yet, but these are zippers are only human. I think a pair of #10 YKKs are in order instead of wimpy small teeth zips with big pulls.

My second gripe is with the reach of the zippers. I carry an 80-200 2.8 across the bottom of the pack (it allows me several lens/body choices so I can carry any lens on my D300 with MB-D10 grip (upsidedown from the usual pictures, by the way). The zippers don't quite reach the bottom of the pack so I have to wedge the lens out at unrealistic effort. In fact, much of the diameter of the lens falls below the reach of the zippers. I'm sure there's some reason for this design, but whatever it is escapes me.

Oh, I use the small dividers in a way that can flip them sideways or down when not needed and close like a door when needed. This allows me to reconfigure the compartments on the fly (Lowe should pursue this concept since a good design would allow almost anything anywhere in the pack).

Anyway, if the zippers went down one inch more (but two would be great) on both sides, the pack would allow rapid access to all areas. This same problem appears with the removable pouch. The pouch just happens to be the same length as a SB-600 flash with diffuser. But again, the zipper does not reach the ends of the pouch and I have to force the flash in and wedge it out. I don't zip the pouch all that much so I might just use a knife to cut the opening a little larger.

The zip side pocket is almost unusable. Great effort was engineered into it and its special CF card slots, but the rest of the stitched in slots are oddly sized. I cannot even fit a Nikon lens pen into the pen slots, and barely get a regular sharpie into the pen slot. Pretty much nothing fits anywhere else and in my mind, is an expensive (materials and workmanship) waste of space. Maybe it's size is a security feature as well since you cannot get anything of value in there (except maybe an ipod). In fact, now that I think of it, a pocket accessible when wearing the pack would really be useful. Further, the design of the pocket makes it easy to dump what ever contents when opening it. Be careful when opening it on a crowded subway.

The net pocket on the other side is useful, but should have been made with heavier material if it going to last, especially with a water bottle stuffed in there. The material is more of a silky nylon stocking thickness. At least a reinforced bottom would make sense since the stretch around anything in it would rip open like a water balloon the moment it rubbed on a brick wall.

The carry handle is a great idea and I find myself grabbing it quite often, but it is often the only tie-on point when needing to clip something to the bag in the heat of the battle. A webbing ladder would be useful since the exterior has been stripped of not only conventional openings, but also attachment points. This is true also on the shoulder straps. I so badly wanted to clip my GPS and/or cell phone to a webbing point on the shoulder strap, but everything has been sewn down tight except for two loose flapping loops that are more suited for a hydration tube than a digital device.

I think the back panel could have been better served with a thicker or firmer padding. I place my camera body base toward my back because the hotshoe is quite poky, especially while climbing or mountain biking with the pack cinched tight. After a couple hours on the road or in the saddle, this the contents of the pack make themselves known.

Overall, this is a great direction for a camera bag, but for serious outdoor (whether city or mountain) use, this has some holes. I have no regrets, but it is frustrating when a product comes so close to perfection but has unnecessary flaw in its design that should have been fixed during the field trials.

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I've now used this pack much more and find that my above review was, while still accurate, likely a little harsh given that other advantages of this pack design are really nice. In short, I really like it and highly recommend it.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 28, 2009 7:45:39 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 28, 2009 7:48:02 PM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2009 11:05:17 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 24, 2014 4:34:40 AM PDT]

Posted on Sep 15, 2013 2:38:24 AM PDT
Knoxmom says:
I found your review helpful. I think those (Jeffrey Deppe and Dave Jardine) that didnt like your review should just go read the next one. "prozac" statements are not necessary. I enjoy thorough reviews and didnt see your review as a "page of negative". you were simply giving a thorough review and as a person about to drop 100 bucks for a "tote", i want to hear it. online shopping is challenging. all we have is someone elses experiences to go on and I for one appreciate it. thank you for the detailed review. I appreciate details!!

Posted on May 23, 2014 4:49:08 PM PDT
Curt Story says:
I also found the review helpful. It's obvious he put the pack through more use than many would, and he has opinions on the design and construction. That's to be expected--that's what Amazon reviews are for. The ad-hominem remarks are really uncalled for.
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