Our guest blogger John Swainston was a photo distributor in Australia for some 35 years. He is now writing a book called “An Australian Point of View”, featuring the ideas and images from 60 of Australia’s top photographers and his photography was recently featured in Photo Review magazine.

In the 27 years I have used Lowepro bags, I have always been grateful for their flexibility, protection and design strength. On the eve of the Paris Climate Talks on December 1, 2015, ¾ million people around the world walked in the People’s Climate March. In my case it was Sydney, Australia, where we were 45,000 strong. I was a volunteer photographer for the event. The weather was forecast to be rain changing to bright sunshine. Weather changes called for a versatile kit!

I had to take three bodies: for Wide, Tele and time-lapse, which would be tripod-mounted and turn 3.5 hours into a 2.5 minute video. All this, along with associated lenses, batteries, mic, etc., I had a laptop for editing and image upload, a cell/mobile phone to keep close to others through the day and a separate 4G multi-user broadband hub for multi-user upload.

I’d recently upgraded my everyday-use photo backpack to the smart new Lowepro Fastpack 250 AW II. This was my choice for the event and people’s march! The new pack has more space for rain jacket and nick-knacks, custom space for both a tablet with CradleFit, and a dedicated well-padded sleeve in its device zone for my 13-inch MacBook Pro. (It will take the full 15” model.)

It’s now got Lowepro’s All Weather AW Cover; if rain arrives, the cover is on in a flash. The waistbelt has been broadened for improved ergonomic balance and all-day carrying comfort. And a nice touch: the bottom section of the bottle holder now has new stronger material that won’t easily snag with long-term use.

I love too how this bag has a bright orange zipper to alert one when the device pocket zippers on the side are open. My Nikon D7200 with Tamron 70-200 f/2.8VC lens functioned as a 105-300 f/2.8. The D750 was used for time-lapse. I fitted my Nikon D700 with Tamron’s new ultra-wide 15-30VC lens for reportage. Stowed were my 24-70 f.2.8 lens and a Speedlight, my metal water bottle and a small umbrella. A floppy hat and sunscreen kept off the sun.

Shooting for hours, you don’t want more. The Lowepro Fastpack AW II did admirably. Its 1.8kg (4lbs) weight is light enough for all day, solid enough for real protection. Access to gear via the side pocket allowed me to keep moving and not have to take the backpack off and on. As a member of the Australian-based global Photographers for The Environment group, I got the results I wanted. Lowepro’s new Fastpack II is born of user experience and designer refinement. The improvements in this already globally popular backpack come in so many little but vital details. Bravo!

Katrina Neill

About Katrina Neill

Katrina was the Senior Editor & Communications Manager for Lowepro.