The Lowepro Fastpack 350…Great gear for your gear
I recently had the opportunity to try out the Lowepro Fastpack 350 (the red version) on a trip through Sumatra, Bangka, and Belitung in Indonesia. I was assisting NGO and travel photographer Matt Brandon on the trip. We took daily treks through cities and villages, along river banks and through jungles.
I am not a professional photographer, but I had several pieces of equipment essential for my daily travels that this bag handled well. In the bottom section of the bag I carried a point and shoot, a camcorder, a mini tripod, an audio recorder, some of the wiring associated with each of these, and 2 sd cards that fit securely in velcro pockets made just for them. This portion of the bag has velcro dividers that were very convenient as I was able to set up the bag to meet my specific needs on the journey. Inside the bottom flap I carried my travel documents along with copies of them, and my power adapter for my MacBook.
In the main top section I carried a pda with accessories, pens and headphones, along with international electric converters and a card reader. In the outer top section I carried a small book, snack bars, drink powder packs, batteries, and an aftermarket all weather cover. I never needed the rain cover as the water resistant material on the bag worked fine against the occasional light shower that passed. In the laptop section I carried my 13 inch MacBook.
I found the Fastpack 350 a delight to carry. It was lighter than my previous day pack, though I was carrying more equipment in the Lowepro bag. The weight distribution system involving shoulder adjustments, a sternum strap, and a waist buckle helped me get through the 14 day trip without any back or shoulder pain, which is a rarity for me.
Also, I was able to quickly get to both cameras and the tripod while leaving the bag on my left shoulder (it slides right around the torso for very fast access). This was nice when I needed footage or photos quickly. When the bag was tossed in the back of our SUV, or laid on the ground in a village, dirt wiped away easily. It held a water bottle securely and the mesh pouch also served as a resting place for the camcorder when I needed to set it aside for just a moment.
Also, for travel in the cities, the setup of the bag keeps both computer and cameras secure against snatching when it is with you. When I did not have the computer with me, the notebook compartment held small purchases so my hands remained free. Having traveled with a variety day packs over the last several years, I have finally found one with the look, ease of use, and carry capability I need.
I thought a small drawback to the bag would be the lack of an all weather cover, but the one I bought aftermarket was inexpensive and fit nicely into the bag without hindering my packing room. And I never needed the cover as the water resistance held off the light rain of occasional showers very well. This bag has a cool look, a great feel, and the versatility I need for trips all over the world. — CB
The Fastpack doubled as a pillow.