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.
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!
Table of Contents
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.
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:
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)
- 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
- Op/Tech Rainsleeve
- Extra battery and cards
Here is everything taken out of the bag:
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.
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.
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.
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
- Build Quality
- Size and Weight
Photography Life Overall Rating
Will this backpack accommodate a Sigma 150-600 Contemporary (without the lens hood attached) and a Nikon D3300 body.
Richard, I would think that it would, but check the measurements to be sure.
very nice and informative review . I was looking for a compact and lightweight backpack for d7100 + tamron 150-600 . Pls suggest wether this backpack will be able to carry attached d7100 + tamron 150 -600 (hood reversed) . Would not prefer to carry laptop and other things , just charger , cables would suffice .
Thank you Rohit. I would think it would fit, however, the best thing to do is to take the measurements of your gear and add them up and then see if it will fit according to the pack’s measurements. Thanks for reading.
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.
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.
“…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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks Tony, for your situation and the environment you describe, the Sling Shot 202 AW sounds like a good solution.
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.
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.