Lowepro Flipside 300 Backpack Review

I recently reviewed Kata 3n1-33 which is my main travel pack for camera equipment. However, as I mentioned in that review, there are better choices if you need a backpack for hiking – for that I prefer the Lowepro Flipside 300. Obviously, it doesn’t carry nearly as much gear as the Kata 3n1, but then, while backpacking, I wouldn’t normally want to bring a laptop or a kitchen sink with me.

Lowepro Flipside 300 Backpack

While there are many good bags and packs, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, this is one that I enjoy a lot, so if you are on a lookout for a good, light backpack, read on!

1) General Information and Dimensions

What I like about this pack is the fact that it is streamlined and will carry a pro camera body with the 300/2.8 lens attached (hood reversed) and still have room for another lens or two and/or some accessories. Compact, lightweight design of Flipside 300 backpack lets you carry your pro digital SLR without worry. The unique back compartment entry gives you safe, easy access to camera gear when you’re setting up, plus extra security when you’re on the move. Outer storage panels are great at keeping gear accessories and personal items close at hand.

1.1) Dimensions

You can carry 1 Pro DSLR with a 300mm f/2.8 lens attached plus 1–3 additional lenses or flash units, 1 tripod, multiple cables, memory cards, manuals and other accessories.

Here are the official dimensions:

  • Interior: 9.1W X 5.4D X 15.9H in./23 X 13.8 X 40.5 cm
  • Exterior: 10.2W X 6.9D X 17.5H in./25.8 X 17.4 X 44.5 cm
  • Weight: 2.6lbs/1.2kg

1.2) What’s in the bag?

Here is a fully loaded Lowepro Flipside 300:

Lowepro Flipside 300 open to show capacity

To give you an idea of capacity, the following items were packed in this backpack for the previous photograph:

Camera Body and mounted lens:

  • Nikon D300 with a Nikkor 300/2.8 mounted (hood reversed)

Lenses:

  • A general purpose lens – the Nikon AF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
  • A wide angle lens – Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8
  • Nikkor 1.4x Teleconverter
  • Nikkor 1.7x Teleconverter
  • Nikkor 2.0x Teleconverter

Accessories:

  • Filters
  • Op/Tech Rainsleeve
  • Extra battery and cards

Here is everything taken out of the bag:

What a Lowepro Flipside 300 can hold

2)Functionality

Lowepro Flipside 300 Interior

The opening to the main compartment takes some getting used to in that you have to take the pack off to unzip it – the zipper is on the side of the pack that lays against your back. While this is less convenient than a sling type pack, since you are forced to remove the pack to get the camera out, it does have the advantages of added protection by preventing the bag from unwanted opening and by distributing the weight more evenly on both shoulders.

Shoulder straps and backside of Lowepro Flipside 300 are adequately padded and comfortable. I like the curved straps and the chest strap that keeps the shoulder straps from slipping off. Lower hip strap adds some stability but is not padded at all. It does little to transfer weight off your shoulders, but keeps your pack steady and tight at your back.

2.1) Interior

Hideaway Tripod Holder on the Flipside 300

There is adequate room to store enough gear for a day by planning for the type of photos you feel you will be taking. Like many packs the interior is made up of padded modular dividers that can be customized to your needs by reconfiguring them. A separate pouch for accessories such as extra batteries is included but can be easily removed if you need the extra room for a larger lens such as a 300mm/2.8 mounted on a pro body. Lastly, a small zippered pocked on the flap can hold manuals, filters or other smaller items, such as cards.

2.2) Exterior

There is an outside bungee pocket that comes in handy to store a water bottle or light packable windbreaker and on the other side is a zippered pocket for extra cards and accessories. On the back there is a strap to hold a monopod or smaller tripod using its hideaway tripod holder.

3) Build Quality and Durability

The pack is well built with sufficient rigidity to protect your gear while hiking or biking to an area to photograph, just like other packs from Lowepro. The outer cover material is tough, 600 denier water resistant, polyester and has held up well to weight and stress placed upon it. While build quality does not seem to match that of the Think Tank Glass Taxi, the backpack itself is lighter and less costly.

4) Conclusion

If you are doing a longer or more strenuous hike with a larger lens such as a 500/f4 or larger, there are packs with frames and better padding for more support. If that sounds like your needs, then consider taking a look at the Kata TLB-300 PL (for 300/2.8 lens) or Kata TLB-600 PL (holds up to a 600mm lens). These bigger packs carry more, but for me, they are more obtrusive for my average outing. I prefer to pick the type of photography for that day and try to limit the gear carried. The Lowepro Flipside 300 is the right balance of size, weight and value for me. It carries enough for any shorter outing that I undertake whether hiking or biking.

Feel free to share with us your favorite hiking pack and why you like it. Or if you have had a particularly poor experience with a pack let us know about that as well. For instance, once while traveling thru an airport, my laptop bag strap broke, sending my laptop to the ground resulting in a damaged corner to my computer. We all carry valuable gear in our packs and one that doesn’t hold up isn’t worth buying, so thank you in advance for helping out our community with your input.

5) Where to Buy:

B&H Photo Video sells the Lowepro Flipside 300 for $94.95 as of April 2012.

Lowepro Flipside 300 Backpack
  • Features
  • Build Quality
  • Handling
  • Value
  • Size and Weight

Photography Life Overall Rating

4.2

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Shyamanta Sarma
    April 8, 2012 at 11:43 am

    This is a fantastic bag that has great VFM. By having a look from the outside, one might think it is slightly smaller, however, upon opening the bag, one can carry a 300mm f/2.8 with a DSLR mounted, one additional body and at least 3 to 4 lenses along with lots of accessories,Tripod,water bottles etc. The best part is that it looks like a low profile school bag and no one can open the bag from behind.

    • April 8, 2012 at 8:12 pm

      Thank you Shyamanta, the bag does carry a lot, but I don’t think that you can get quite as much as you describe in this bag. I had 2 lenses in addition to 3 teleconverters which are not as large as a lens. So depending on the size of the lenses, you might get 3 lenses and one, maybe 2 teleconverters in the removable pouch. As for a second body, maybe you can get it in if you remove the pouch, but even that would be very tight. I just want to be realistic in expectations.

      By chance, do you have this bag and if so, have you been able to fit as much into the bag as you described?

      Again, thank you for your comment.

  2. 2
    ) Martin
    April 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Hello Tom. Thank you for your review
    it is extremely difficult to find the right back-back for an individual’sequipement. if you take the airplane things become really complicated. I have a LowePro AV 350 and I am not really satisfied. I have to be able to pack in the Nikon 600mm f/4, the 2 Nikon camera bodies, the 70-200 f/2 and the 24-70, the 17-35 mm and the 13 inch laptop. the Gitzo goes in the luggage. I have no solution for this what I consider my minimal equipment. Do you have a solution for this to propose? Curious to read about it

    • April 8, 2012 at 8:20 pm

      Martin, thank you for the comment. You have a very nice set up there. If I read your comment correctly, all but the tripod goes in the carry on?
      Assuming I understand you correctly, let me say this, it would have to be a very large bag to carry it all! I do not have a 600/f4 but my understanding is that it is too big for carry on luggage and most people end up packing the 600 in a Pelican case or other suitable case and checking it. Another option that I have heard is to actually ship the gear to your destination insured and have it there ahead of your arrival. I don’t know if either is feasible for you.
      Maybe one of our readers can add something to this discussion.

  3. 5
    ) Shyamanta Sarma
    April 9, 2012 at 12:14 am

    Hello Tom,
    I have been using this bag for the past one year. Sorry for the typing error (Please read 300mm f/4 in place of 300mm f/2.8). The model which I have does not have the pouch from the inside and the access to the pouch is from the outside.I believe lowepro has redesigned this bag recently.Please open the link below to see the model I am referring to here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbaDrPUknc4

    Thanks

    • April 9, 2012 at 7:33 am

      Yes, the one in your link is a slightly different model. The 300mm f/4 is a considerably smaller lens than the 300/2.8 and with the 300/4 you would have room for a second body as you stated. Thanks for the feedback.

  4. 6
    ) Tony Padua
    April 9, 2012 at 5:50 am

    Hey Nasim,

    Hope you and the family are well, thanks again for a curiously attention getting Mansurovs Photography. I read your review of the Lowepro back pack, and was interested because I’ve used the Lowepro Sling Shot 202 AW since I bought my Nikon D3100 kit with 18-55, 55-200, and 55-300 lenses for a great price in Tokyo, cheaper than amazon.com. All this gear goes in the Lowepro 202 no problem, which also costs less than your model.

    For me, if I use the D3100 I will be in crowded city locations, not hiking in the wilderness, and the sling feature of the bag gives me peace of mind. When I see the shot I want, I can seek a quiet spot to observe and let the shot come to me, swing the bag around to unzip and set up, and all my stuff is there in front of me. I never broadcast my stuff by carrying a tripod on the outside.

    Tony

    • April 9, 2012 at 7:35 am

      Thanks Tony, for your situation and the environment you describe, the Sling Shot 202 AW sounds like a good solution.

  5. April 9, 2012 at 6:02 am

    Can you recommend a good messenger bag? It should probably carry a 70-200mm lens, D800, plus two other lenses, a flash and some small accessories.

    I’ve seen many, so far the Lowepro Exchange Messenger seems like the best bet.

  6. April 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Oded, have you checked out the messenger bags from Tenba, many people like them. I do not have any personal experience with them so I don’t have first hand knowledge.

  7. 11
    ) Michael Dixon-Brooks
    May 2, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I’ve had this bag and liked it a great deal, now I tend to use messenger bag type so I can drop my hand in and pull out a lens and accessories easily. But I like the build quality of Lowepro bags.

  8. 12
    ) Swee Oon
    August 11, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    I like the compactness and space inside of the Flipside 300, but after 6 months of use, I’m disappointed by certain quality issues. First, one end of the sliding chest strap slid off the bottom of the shoulder strap piping (that should have been sewn shut).

    Secondly, the pocket behind the main flap is showing signs of severe abrasion (a small hole has appeared) and the only thing I keep in it are filter cases and the camera battery. I’m debating how to augment this pocket material so that it’ll last me longer.

    • August 11, 2012 at 10:24 pm

      Swee Oon, thank you for the comment. While I am sorry that you are experiencing disappointment with your backpack, I do appreciate the feedback on your experience. It helps all of us in this community as we hear our readers share with each other.

  9. 14
    ) valerio
    October 7, 2013 at 2:49 am

    “…Obviously, it doesn’t carry nearly as much gear as the Kata 3n1,…” Why? I do not have a backpack and just recently for my birthday I was torn between “tamrac evolution 9″ and “Kata D-3N1-30″ I have a DSRL and 3 + goal a monopod. You have any suggestions?

  10. 15
    ) Dean
    October 26, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Hi Tom
    I bought this bag yesterday and 1st impressions are good. It fits my D3100 + Sigma 18-250, Sigma 10-20, Nikon 35mm 1.8, Nikon 55-200, Nissin Di622 flash, plus 3 cokin filters and adaptors as well as several other bits and pieces.
    You mention that in order to get to your equipment you need to remove the pack, however by keeping the waist strap attached you can swivel the bag around and retrieve your gear and change lenses without taking it off. I look forward to many happy trips with this bag.
    Thanks for a great site.
    Dean

    • October 26, 2013 at 9:23 pm

      Thank you Dean for the kind words and the good pointer. I am sure that you will enjoy the bag and more importantly, I hope you enjoy the places that you take it to! Happy trails.

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