First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Lowepro Photo Hatchback 22L AW camera backpack
A solid camera-carrying solution for day-trippers
- Lightweight for its size
- Camera box is a handy feature
- Camera not easily accessible unless you take off the backpack
- A bit pricey
Odd camera compartment access aside, the Photo Hatchback 22L AW is a solid backpack that is well suited for enthusiastic photographers that take lots of day trips.
Price$ 120.00 (AUD)
Photography isn't always just about the camera, particularly once you start travelling far and wide to take photos. In those instances, you will likely need to bring along some supplies to last you the day or more, as well as any electronic devices you may need. For journeys such as these, Lowepro has the Photo Hatchback 22L AW camera backpack.
The Photo Hatchback 22L AW is a rucksack that’s split into two sections; the top half reserved for the daypack, and the lower half acts as a storage for a camera. There is a sleeve on the side to store a drink bottle, as well as a padded pocket on the back to store a tablet or Ultrabook. The backpack’s design is both simple and functional, and it’s constructed of thin material that has an effect of providing more space for the internal compartments. Despite being a thin material, it didn’t feel weak.
The backpack is supported with a pair of adjustable shoulder straps, and it also has a chest strap if you need the backpack to be better balanced while walking. The top compartment is an undivided space designed to store spare clothing, though there are a pair of netted pockets, and a zipped one for loose items.
But the main draw card of the Photo Hatchback 22L AW is definitely the bottom half, where the camera is stored. It’s a compartment that’s actually a “camera box”. It can be removed from the backpack and thanks to carry handles it can become its own camera kit case.
The camera compartment has space for a digital SLR camera, and dividers allow you to include at least one additional lens and other accessories such as a flash and charger. A camera body with a long lens attached (say anything over 105mm) won’t squeeze into the compartment, but most small to medium lenses attached to the body will fit without any trouble. We managed to fit a Nikon D3200 digital SLR with an 18-55mm lens into the divided space easily, and there was enough room left for a pair of additional lenses and our small accessories.
While the camera box is a handy feature that allows for more flexibility in how you transport your camera (either using the backpack or carrying it by hand), accessing the bag’s different compartments is not as intuitive as it should be. The upper storage compartment on the backpack is easily accessible from the top, but the lower compartment can only be accessed from the rear.
In order to access the camera, you need to take off the backpack completely, set it down, unzip the compartment and then extract the camera or the camera box. The upper compartment can be accessed by swinging the backpack around on one shoulder, but there is no other way to reach the lower compartment without taking the backpack off entirely and setting it down.
On the positive side, it means that the camera is both well protected and hidden. Other backpacks, such as Lowepro’s own Fastpack series, come with side access to the camera compartment, so this design choice may be missed by some when considering the Photo Hatchback 22L AW. The inclusion of the camera box compensates for this, though you will have to decide whether this feature is worth the sacrifice of easier access.
The Photo Hatchback 22L AW is a professional grade product that comes with a comparable price tag. Even so, those of you looking for a lightweight and flexible camera backpack may find it to be a worthy investment.
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