Editor’s note: We are so thrilled to share this blog from Laura McWhinnie, founder of This Island Life — an online destination for warm-weather inspiring fashion, travel, surf, beauty and design from across the globe. Our team in Australia outfitted her and photographer Michaela Skovranova with bags for a cool adventure in Fiji. If you ever wondered how to pair a Lowepro bag with a sense of stylish adventure, check this out!
Until recently, I’d never owned a proper backpack. A few years ago I went travelling around America with one of my besties and decided to get fully practical with a $1,000 Alexander Wang lambskin backpack in olive green. After trashing it across four different states I decided I needed something even more practical – enter a light chambray denim backpack from American Apparel. I’d just upgraded to my very first Canon SLR so I had my gear in a separate case inside my bag. While I was stoked that I could work a triple denim look with my Ksubi cut-offs and array of chambray shirts, it was a massive mission getting anything in and out of my bag. And if I didn’t position the camera case just right, I had a lens or a camera body digging into my back. So when Lowepro offered to kit us out for our trip to Fiji, I knew I was ready to transition to a backpack made for real life.
Lowepro are one of the most respected camera bag brands in the business and make camera bags not just for professional photographers, but for amateurs too. We were in Fiji on tour with Fiji Airways for an incredible two-week shoot across the islands where we were shooting a massive amount of content including a video for the airline and a mini-travel series for THIS ISLAND LIFE Presents. We had underwater housing, multiple camera bodies, a rig, laptops, a GoPro, tripods, lenses, sound equipment and a million other bits and pieces that Michaela (THIS ISLAND LIFE DoP) assured me were necessary. Our itinerary had us island hopping every few days, so we needed to be super streamlined with our gear. We kept the rig in its Pelican case and used the Photo Hatchback 22L AW, the Flipside Sport 20L AW, the Pro Trekker 400 AW, the DryZone Duffle 20L, and the Pro Roller x100 AW for everything else.
I’m sure most people are accustomed to the superior comfort of a proper backpack, but I had no idea until I popped one on my back at the airport. Seriously, where had this backpack been my whole life? It weighed about 10kgs and was still the comfiest bag I’d ever used. I secured the strap across my chest and my designer backpack quickly became a distant memory.
For two weeks Michaela and I pretty much didn’t go anywhere without a backpack on our backs. Take a closer look at how we travelled with Lowepro in Fiji:
With one camera body and three lenses, this was the perfect camera bag for me. I used this backpack as my carry-on with my Macbook and gear in it, and also as my daypack. What I like best about it is that it fits a substantial amount of personal gear. I was able to fit the bikinis and accessories we were shooting each day, along with important necessities like snacks and sunscreen.
Stab Magazine ‘Issue 74’, Nixon ‘The Blaster’ speaker, Maui Jim ‘Pau Hana’ sunglasses, Watson X Watson string bikini, tan leather passport holder from Chatuchak Markets in Bangkok.
This backpack is for someone with far more camera equipment than your regular person – it fits about twice the amount of gear as the Photo Hatchback 22L AW, as well as a tripod. But having said that, you can take out some of the sections and fill them with personal gear. Michaela used this backpack as her daypack and also as her carry-on with her Macbook in it.
Delightfully Turkish scarf in ‘fresh candy grey’, Moleskin plain journal in ‘pebble grey’, Pared ‘Salt & Pepper’ sunglasses in black and pink mirror, Triangl ‘Billie Firefly’ bikini (top), N.L.P Brazilian bikini (bottoms), Nixon headphones.
If you’re serious about trekking and photography, this is the backpack for you. We used this on day treks where we were shooting predominately video and needed the bulk of our equipment. While the bag was almost bigger than me, it was still surprisingly easy to carry. It was heavy when filled with gear, but with the straps properly adjusted I was able to trek across jungle bridges and waterfalls with ease.
Leatherman ’Surge’ in matt black, Triangl ‘Penny Wanderlust’ bikini (top), N.L.P Brazilian bikini (bottoms), Pure Fiji Lemongrass Insect Repellent Body Spray, Cantik Swimwear notebook, Dark Seas Division snapback, bkr silicon and glass drink bottle in matt black.
There was never a time when we weren’t near water so this little duffle became an invaluable part of our team. All the backpacks had rain covers, which were enough to keep our gear dry in damp jungles and sea-sprayed boats. But there were times we needed extra security – when we were out on jet skis, kayaks or tiny boats, this was our go-to bag.
Delightfully Turkish scarf in ‘fresh candy grey’, N.L.P Brazilian bikini (bottoms), Le Tan 30+coconut spray, snorkel set (similar).