New Course: Lightroom Mastery - 50% Off

Learn More

LowePro Fastpack 350 Compu-Photo Bag [REVIEW]

0Comments

I’m on a mission. I’m looking for a camera bag large enough to hold my camera, battery grip and large lens, laptop computer, a few books/notebooks, water bottle and, ideally, it will fit under an airplane seat as my personal item while traveling. I’ve been on this mission for some time. Currently I use a REI Quantum Computer pack and while it does work well in most cases, it falls short in camera accessibility.

I contacted the folks at LowePro, known for making a wide range of camera bags, and asked which of their packs would fit the bill. After a couple of emails back and forth, they sent me a Fastpack 350 to test (and send back) for a few weeks. The bag is designed to handle a 17” laptop, be easy on the back and provide quick access to your camera.

First Look

Let’s take a look around the bag first. Click on a picture to see a large sized zoom.

The bag has two main storage areas, one computer sleeve and two other outer zipped compartments. It also has a water bottle holder with cinch strap, top carry loop and a flap that covers most of the rear to aid in strapping on a tripod or a rain jacket.

Let’s Take A Closer Look

Starting with the camera compartment, I very much enjoyed its side access capability and ability to fit a long lens attached to the camera. It is also high enough to handle my DLSR, battery grip and tripod mounting plate. Opened fully, the compartment reveals spots for four lenses/strobes/etc… These are six inch deep pockets (15cm) customizable to your needs. On the inside flap of the compartment are two velcro pouches for memory cards. While I would have liked to had more, I found two pockets worked well in practice.

Canon 7D with battery grip, 28-300mm L attached, 10-22mm EF, 580 EX flash, 580 EX II flash, 430 flash

On the outside of the flap is another zippered pocket with two half mesh pockets. This area can hold a number of items, from filters to flash gels to mass storage drive.

The upper compartment is designed with everyday travel needs in mind. It is spacious enough for four decent sized books with room to spare. There is a detachable small items pouch, key ring clip and tether, a small mesh pocket, pen/pencil holders, cell phone pocket and a miscellaneous pocket.

Behind all of this is the laptop compartment, zippered to the left side of the pack. The compartment has ample padding to keep your laptop safe and the zipper is easy to use, even when I over-stuffed the compartment on purpose (with power brick and a mouse). While it was not wide enough to hold my 13” Toshiba laptop end to end, any laptop up to 17” will fit when inserted sideways.

The last pocket is on the far outside and is really just an open space backing to the main compartment. Quick access items work well in here, including snacks.

The fit of the pack was excellent. I carried the pack in and out of cars, hiking up hills and beaches, on and off airplanes for three weeks. Lowe put some serious thought into the padding, fit and balance of this pack. Ample padding in the middle of the unit kept my spine happy while the waist belt had enough cushion to not allow the straps to rub. The sternum strap is adjustable (although, to note, I had a similar setup on my REI pack that sprang off after two months of hard travel) as well as the shoulder straps. I am 6’1” (185cm) and the pack fit my torso well.

In Practice

In daily and travel use, I found the pack very easy to use. All the zippers are of good quality and worked well, even when covered in Hawaiian sand. The thick Cordura fabric handled my short test with no obvious markings, and I wasn’t nice to it. I have another bag by LowePro that has been with me for the last four years, made of the same thickness of fabric and it has held up extremely well to regular abuse.

The bag can barely fit under the seat of a Boeing 767. I didn’t have a lot of different planes to test it on, and there might be a flight attendant who would insist it be stored above (the top part does stick out a little) so I can give you no guarantee of a perfect fit.  But I was able to use it just fine as a personal item along with a carry-on.

Dislikes

One item I didn’t like on the bag was the lack of metal zipper pulls. I know this may be a small thing, but I prefer the metal tabs as they are easier to lock. Yes, any thief with enough time will get into any bag, but I always feel better with a small lock around the metal loops rather than the fabric ones on the Fastpack 350. This is probably not an issue for most.

I also thought the water bottle holder was too shallow. My bottle came out a number of times just from jostling the pack around. The cinch strap doesn’t reach high enough for a 40oz bottle to be held in place.

Conclusion

I don’t want to send the bag back. While it is still not my perfect bag, it is the best I’ve come across thus far. The side zip allowing for access to my camera no matter how full the rest of the bag is (or how poorly organized I’ve allowed it to become) was exactly what I was looking for in an easy to use bag. I feel my laptop is properly padded (my last bag was not and I killed a laptop screen when I overfilled the bag) and always easy to get to as well. Snacks and a spare change of clothes are easy to throw in if I head out on the trail and the pack is comfortable enough to be worn for long periods of time.

Get a price on the LowePro Fastpack 350

Get a price on the Lowepro Fastpack 350 at Amazon.

Stats (from LowePro’s site)

The bag is available in all black, as pictured, as well as with blue and red accents.

Size(Interior):
11W X 6.1D X 10.6H in./
28 X 15.5 X 27 cm

Weight:
4.08lbs/1.85kg

Size(Exterior):
12.4W X 9.6D X 19.3H in./
31.5 X 24.5 X 49 cm
Notebook Compartment Inner Dimensions:
11W X 1.5D X 18.9H in./
28 X 3.75 X 48 cm


Read more from our category

Peter West Carey loves panorama images and has been shooting them in both film and digital for 25+ years. His latest wide (and tall!) work includes images from Nepal, Bhutan, Italy, France and Peru. His eBook A World of Panoramas is also available in a beautiful 3'/1m wide photobook. You can find his daily work on Instagram.

  • I have a nature trekker and lllllooooove it. gets abused and keeps on going and protects equip great

  • Great timing of the review, as I want to buy a new camera backpack, and the Fastpack 350 was (and still is) at the top of my list. This review confirms that it’s still probably the closest to what I want, although the lack of an all-weather cover and tripod straps are a bit of a shame.

  • I have used one of these for about 18 months and pretty much agree with everything in the review – the bag has served me well and is still in excellent condition. I don’t even have the water bottle problem, since I don’t carry a 40oz one anyway…

  • Ashley Clark

    My brother got this bag for Christmas before taking a trip through China so when my husband and I went to London we called to borrow it. The bag is great, especially for traveling. The bag holds a lot of gear for it’s compact size and you are right, it is well balanced. I would agree with your statement about the fabric zipper pulls. On the trip one of zipper pulls on the camera access pouch came off and we had to use a paperclip. That was a pain. And really the only other complaint is that your back gets pretty hot and sweaty but seriously, how do you fix that? It’s a small price to pay. Now that my camera gear collection is growing, I believe purchasing this bag is probably in my future.

  • Terry Rowe

    Thanks for the review, I’ve been searching for a better travel bag. BUT, will it hold a small purse + kindle + some papers & chargers in addition to the laptop & camera?

    Sounds like it would.

  • Martin

    Ive used this bag for 6months now and have had no problems with it. I found it very comfortable when fully loaded with my hp Laptop and Camera Gear

  • Steve

    I’ve got its smaller brother, Fastpack 100. Same design, but with no laptop sleeve and just one spot for an extra lens instead of 4. Basically I use it for daily light trips where I don’t need all my gear.
    A 16-18oz bottle fits perfectly still, even if I turn the bag upside down.

  • I was looking for something similar to your critera here and in the end settled with a Kata DR-466i and have found it to be a great bag and similar to this. The zips are espically fanatasitc and with tripod options and all weather cover it has a few other features. Whilst the 466i would struggle with a 17″ I think the 467i would be fine with it.

    Hope this helps out othere people and great review. Very similar types of bag. I found I just prefered the straps on the Kata to this one.

    Kit

  • Hans

    I use the Fastpack 250 on a daily basis. I found the 350 just a little large and the 250 fits my MBP 15″ perfectly. I found that if you take the elastic synch strap for the water bottle and stretch it over the top of the water bottle after synching, it holds it in place. I’ve used this bag for hiking, plane travel and to and from work everyday and find it’s the perfect size. I’ve had it in a light drizzle and it’s kept everything dry. I’ve had a 100-400mm, 24-70mm and a 10-22mm and my t1i camera body without issue. I use the bottom cover flap to hold my tripod or I put one of the legs into the bottle holder and bungied the tripod through the top carry loop. The Lowepro has been a great backpack that allows me to have my camera with me all the time.

  • matneym

    I have the 350 and really like it. The only complaint I have is that I don’t care for the waist strap. I rarely use it and sometimes it just gets in the way. Other than that it is a great bag.

  • I’ve had this bag for a while now and really like it, I think it organizes items well and handles a lot of gear quite well. Probably my only grip is that I’d like a better way to hide the hip strap when not in use.

  • I have had one of these bags for about a year and a half and I like it a lot. I wish the upper storage area was larger so I could carry more stuff, though.

  • Kim Kelly

    I also have this bag… only complaint, I am a smallish girl and the straps cut into my arms and gave me horrable bruises. I solved it with adding baby seat fleece type pads to the straps.. 🙂

  • I’d also recommend the Alpha-L bag from Nanue Pro. Great capacity for laptop & computer. Wears well…the weight disappears when on your shoulders. I like that the access to the camera area is against your back. Tougher on access but great security. Worth a look.

  • Wadester

    Think Tank Street Walker Hard Drive?

  • Eric

    I’ve had my 350 for a little over a month, after using a 250 for the better part of three years. Currently in my 350, I carry my 17″ laptop & charger, Nikon SLR and two spare batteries with four lenses – 18-200mm, 80-400mm, 11-16mm and 35mm prime. I also carry SB-600, 800 and 900 flash units, a Sanyo handheld video camera, an Olympus point and shoot and a portable hard drive. generally I keep a 20 pack of AA batteries in there as well to power my strobes. to top it off, I have a variety of filters, flash drives and memory cards packed in there as well as a few pens, led flashlight, business cards and things like that. although the equipment makes the bag a little on the heavy side, there is actually still room for a few more things if I really needed to add them. (that is, as long as they aren’t much larger than a paperback book.) basically, this bag carries everything I need for a day-long photo trip AND editing! As pointed out by others, it is extremely rugged and versatile. I couldn’t say much more about it. I’m extremely happy with this bag.

  • Karel

    I use the Fastpack 350 for almost two years now. In and out of airplanes, hiking, climbing mountains, cycling etc. This back is the best out there at this moment for me. With just enough space for couple of lenses, a large DSLR, some space to pack your extra batteries and memory cards. Also the other area, for some lunch, a book, GPS device or some other small items you might need is handy. The detachable pouch is filled with extra penlights, my remote, lens cleaning stuff and is going from one bag to another if i go with another bag.
    The side access is pretty handy.

    Big plusses:
    * Large enough laptop pouch.
    * behind laptop pouch room for a grey/white card
    * Side access
    * room for enough equipment, plus separate area for other small stuff.
    * Should straps very well designed, never trouble with my shoulders.

    The big downsides are for me:
    * For tall people (>1.90 m/6 foot 3”) the bag does not fit well. Especially the hip straps are too small.
    * there is no rain sleeve (AW version) in this bag.
    * Water bottle pouch is not high enough (water bottles tend to fall out)
    * No attachment possible for a mono- or tripod

    As said, if there would be a very good hiking backpack with camera equipment area that would be my back. The Fastpack 350 is up to now my best option.

    – Karel

  • I have this bag and I love it. I’ve never had problems with my water bottle falling out as I always tighten that pouch when I put the bottle in. This bad has been overseas twice and I’ve had no problems taking it as carry on luggage. 🙂

  • Beware, I have a 17″ Dell Studio laptop and due to the thickness, I do not think that it will fit in this bag. Mind you it was a couple of years ago and I cold have my backpacks mixed up.

  • I bought this bag a few weeks ago after injuring my shoulder and finding my Slingshot 300 made it worse. The Fastpack 350 has been on 2 all-day photo-walks and is a lot more comfortable. Camera gear space is about the same but the 350 has more room for other stuff + laptop + water bottle, so it’s definitely a winner! Only thing I wish it had is the rain cover that the Slingshot has.

  • I bought this bag a few weeks ago after injuring my shoulder and finding my Slingshot 300 made it worse. The Fastpack 350 has been on 2 all-day photo-walks and is a lot more comfortable. Camera gear space is about the same but the 350 has more room for other stuff + laptop + water bottle, so it’s definitely a winner! Only thing I wish it had is the rain cover that the Slingshot has.

  • Don Haig

    My wife and I have used the Fastpack 250 and 350 bags for about 18 months. We have found them to provide the best combination of features to meet our needs. They are very adaptable, provide easy access through the side opening (without removing the bag) and are not overly heavy. We have also tried the LowePro Vertex 100AW and 200AW backpacks. We found these unsatisfactory due to having to remove the backpack to access equipment, high weight and more limited storage options than provided by the Fastpack bags. The Vertex bag claimed to be “all weather”. We found the rain covers provided limited protection after getting caught in a downpour while hiking in Yellowstone NP.

    I occasionally fasten a monopod to my Fastpack by placing the foot in the water bottle pouch and tying the top to the shoulder strap using a velcro strap or a ball bungee cord. I don’t miss the capability to carry a tripod. Having tried carrying a tripod on the Vertex backpacks, we found the load too heavy and further impeded access to equipment in the bag. As an alternative, I use an Op/Tech Pro Tripod Strap and sling the tripod over a shoulder.

    I suggest looking at the Kata bags. They had some similarly configured backpacks with access from both sides. The Kata bags appear to be slightly lighter weight than the LowePro bags. Photographers can never own too many bags.

  • Chuck A.

    I have used the 350 for almost 2 years now and have found it to be a very sturdy bag with just enough room for a few extras. It fits well under an airline seat keeping the camera handy and secure. I do agree with the bottle holder and would be nice to have a tripod attachment. The lower and shoulder support straps are well padded and easy to adjust. The laptop pocket just fits a 17″ PC. All in all I this is a great bag for the money.
    Take Care and Enjoy

  • Arnold

    Great review! I’ve been using the 350 for a few months now and I’d say that it has lived up to its price, easily. The laptop compartment had some good padding that’s not only good the laptop but also for any documents or accessories that you don’t want taking a beating. I usually store my Honl photo snoot in there along with the laptop.

    –Arnold

  • Terry,
    Yes, it can hold a smaller purse (wallet style), Kindle (I put mine in it) papers and chargers. Unless you want to fold the papers, you’ll need to put them in a file folder and in the computer compartment.

  • Terry Rowe

    Thanks for all the feedback! Guess I’m got some shopping to do. 😉

  • Nancy

    I have been using this bag for the past few months and love it. I particularly like the size of the top compartment, as it is large enough to hold a hoodie or jacket, along with other items (hat, mitts…).

  • Wow, this could not have come at a better time. I mean I literally was about to hit the buy button on a Lowepro Slingshot 200 bag but saw the email and clicked this link. Now, I have to have this bag and so glad I found it BEFORE I bought the other one. Not that it would have been bad but I didn’t even think to get a camera bag I could carry my laptop in. I was thinking of the agony of carrying a laptop bag and a camera bag and then how I was going to be able to carry both on the plain. No more worries about that!! THANK YOU!!

  • oops! I do know the difference between plain and plane…sorry!!

  • Mykie

    I got this bag so I could carry my camera, lenses and Laptop together on airplanes. It’s great! it fits under the front seat, holds everything I need. I just leave my laptop in the hotel safe to lighten it on days out. My only thing is it could do with a waterproof cover like the AW range…….

  • jim gray

    I’ve used the bag for about a year and would buy it again. I especially like the special design of the shoulder straps in that I only need one to carry the pack out to the car in the morning. When I take long hikes, I can actually fasten a LARGE feisol ct 3741tripod onto the pack quite easily. I usually carry a nikon 300 f/4 attached to a nikon D90 along with a second d90 with short lens and either a speedlite or a zoom (80-200 f/2.8). The 350 is very well constructed and can handle considerable weight. I don’t always need the hip belt, but when I need it, it’s a shoulder saver!

  • mike59

    I looked a few bags but can’t find a really good one. One bag stands out in my mind but I could not see it in any shop (currently living in Thailand).
    I hope someone may have experience with the Tamrac Evolution 8 model 5788 or the smaller 5786
    Photos found in a magazine suggest great versatility.
    Please tell me about your experience with this bag.

  • Thanks for the review of the 350, however can someone post some photos of the bag with the gear in it? I shoot with a mark III and can not tell if a canon 70-200 would fit in the bag while attached to the camera. Seeing the bag with various lenses would be very useful. Thanks, JD

  • JD, I fit a 7D with power grip, same size as the Mark III, and a 28-300mm, same size as the 70-200. It was one of my requirements that a full bodied camera and long lens fit nicely in this unit and be easy to grab. This bag works perfectly for that setup. It’s how you see it set up in the photos.

  • Anup Patil

    i have the same bag got it a few days back and its pretty good for a semi-pro photographer. I on the heavier side and it fits me perfectly except for the waist strap since im a little larger than most of u.but im pretty much happy with storage space but disappointed that there was no tripod holder.

  • David Mustard

    I originally bought the Kata 3N1-22, sling backpack with laptop insert since I liked the idea of the side entry ability (with the Kata it can be either left- or right-handed access) and a lot of the other extras. It is designed for a netbook but the space was really cramped, although the rest of the bag was really roomy.

    I have a Sony Vaio16inch laptop and was prepared to use both of them when travelling but the idea of lugging two bags and the current cabin restrictions put pay to that. I took it back and changed it for the Lowepro and have been delighted with it – it was a good move on my behalf.

    The side access is not entirely the same as the Kata; with that you pulled with one hand on the corner zipper and your other hand could grab your camera immediately – with the Lowepro is it a two-handed operation but that doesn’t detract from the ease of access. The area inside is roomy enough for a load of accessories and the top part of the bag has a super roomy compartment for all kinds of personal stuff.

    The laptop compartment is accessed with a vertical zipper and my Vaio fits in neatly – even while wearing a sleeve – and slides in and out very easily – that’s a boon when compared with top access laptop computer bags. It is well protected enough and I don’t feel anxious about it when wearing the bag on my back. I don’t feel as if the laptop is having to mould itself to the shape of my back!

    I have the blue variant which looks stylish and neat, but the red and black ones looked as smart as well. The bag fits neatly under an aircraft stool with no extra effort and also in the compartment above. I have not yet experienced any raised eyebrows from check in desk operators so the bag seems to be accepted well enough. With all equipment on board with a fully loaded bag it can feel somewhat heavy on the shoulders and back but it doesn’t “look” overweight so that’s a plus as well – even on budget cheapie flight tickets 🙂

    All in all something to consider seriously – the price is no shocker either and, although so rightly mentioned in an earlier comment, you can never have too many camera bags, this one manages to tick more of the boxes than others.

    David

  • JD, I updated the post to include a photo with my standard gear shown.

  • I have FastPack 350 for some two months now, and as I’ve just returned from the trip, carrying it arround non-stop, I have to say that it fits better than I’ve ever expected. I’m 192cm and been always a little anal about the position of the backpack when fitting it on the shoulders, and this moel fits perfectly.
    I carry Canon 450D with grip, 28-105, 55-250IS, 50mm 1.8, Old manual 180mm 2.8 (size of a 70-200 2.8) and a flash.
    Also, there is room in the main camera compartment to fit all adapters, cables, cards….
    Upper compartments holds WD external HDD, rain cover that I got from my other backpack so now it is a AW version, and lots of more simple everyday stuff like pens, business cards… GPS, pens, notebook.
    Laptop sleeve is nicely padded and I can easily fit 15″ Acer 2315 that is rather thick.
    It has good shoulder straps, ergonomically designed (I think there is separate version for males and females). Right strap has a place that you can fit the cellphone pouch and strap it.
    All in all, I’m very satisfied with it, and I think that it will serve me for years.

  • Have been using this bag’s little brother the Fastpack 250 for 3 years and found it’s just the best combination !
    I’ve use other bags like slingshot and toploaders but the Fastpack is the one.
    I’m buying a separate rain cover for the few occasions it might be needed …

  • Pio Danilo P. Cuadra

    I used the arctic blue version of this pack. During my recent trips to Beijing and Singapore, I carried it with a Canon EOS 40D/BG-E2N combo attached to a 70-200 2.8 L lens. Other compartments have the Sigma 24-70 2.8 EX DG macro and 430 EX & 580 EX11 flash. plus the upper compartment I put a backup Canon EOS 1N HS camera. Man .. Its fun carrrying it around the Great Wall since it has a thick padding on the laptop compartment . And its sturdy

  • I’m using this bag and it sure is one tough bag,
    capable of protecting a laptop and camera.

  • I bought this bag because of this post and have LOVED it. I use it every day and couldn’t be happier. I’d love to have gotten the red one but the black works with everything so that works, too. I have 3 lenses, the Canon EOS 60D, external flash, battery charger, external hard drive and so much more. It’s heavy but I always have everything I need.
    My only regret is that there’s not a tripod strap or way to hold it. I find that very frustrating.

  • I keep forgetting stuff…and I carry my 17″ laptop in it. I need the bigger monitor for Photoshop.

  • Ólafur

    Just wanted to point out that the zipper for the computer section is much smaller than the computer section itselt – so you must check if you computer fit´s this bag (computer inner dimensions according to lowepro.com are larger than the zipper).

  • Yes, olafur, the zipper is a bit smaller but my 17″ laptop fits. I have to tilt it and sometimes move it around a bit but it does fit. You can’t fit much of anything else in there other than maybe a mouse pad and possibly a notebook (8.5 x 11) but skinny.

  • Ólafur

    Yes – good to know that some 17″ laptops fit – like Lowepro says 🙂 I returned my bag, since my Dell computer didn´t fit in there, and got a Lowepro dSLR Video Fastpack instead. The zipper is on top of that bag, and the computer fit´s good, even though computer inner dimensions are a bit smaller than on the Fastpack 350.

  • Odd that yours wouldn’t fit, olafur…too bad but glad you got one with top loading that does work.

    Just as a reference my laptop is an HP Pavilion with a big old bump on the back to keep it from laying flat on the desk (for air circulation) in case anyone else is looking at this Lowepro bag.

  • Claire N.

    Hi, i’m about to get this bag and your article is a very good review. However, i was wondering if you can thrust your camera with the grip on or off the camera.
    I’ve got a very nice D3S camera (Nikon) and i can’t remove the grip (which makes it more difficult to find a good backpack). I’m looking forward to reading your answer so i can buy it straight after.
    Thanks.

Some Older Comments

  • PatriciaD December 20, 2011 12:25 pm

    Odd that yours wouldn't fit, olafur...too bad but glad you got one with top loading that does work.

    Just as a reference my laptop is an HP Pavilion with a big old bump on the back to keep it from laying flat on the desk (for air circulation) in case anyone else is looking at this Lowepro bag.

  • Ólafur December 19, 2011 08:00 pm

    Yes - good to know that some 17" laptops fit - like Lowepro says :) I returned my bag, since my Dell computer didn´t fit in there, and got a Lowepro dSLR Video Fastpack instead. The zipper is on top of that bag, and the computer fit´s good, even though computer inner dimensions are a bit smaller than on the Fastpack 350.

  • PatriciaD December 19, 2011 03:50 pm

    Yes, olafur, the zipper is a bit smaller but my 17" laptop fits. I have to tilt it and sometimes move it around a bit but it does fit. You can't fit much of anything else in there other than maybe a mouse pad and possibly a notebook (8.5 x 11) but skinny.

  • Ólafur December 18, 2011 09:34 pm

    Just wanted to point out that the zipper for the computer section is much smaller than the computer section itselt - so you must check if you computer fit´s this bag (computer inner dimensions according to lowepro.com are larger than the zipper).

  • PatriciaD September 6, 2011 11:11 am

    I keep forgetting stuff...and I carry my 17" laptop in it. I need the bigger monitor for Photoshop.

  • PatriciaD September 6, 2011 11:05 am

    I bought this bag because of this post and have LOVED it. I use it every day and couldn't be happier. I'd love to have gotten the red one but the black works with everything so that works, too. I have 3 lenses, the Canon EOS 60D, external flash, battery charger, external hard drive and so much more. It's heavy but I always have everything I need.
    My only regret is that there's not a tripod strap or way to hold it. I find that very frustrating.

  • thomas September 6, 2011 10:55 am

    I'm using this bag and it sure is one tough bag,
    capable of protecting a laptop and camera.

  • Pio Danilo P. Cuadra February 23, 2011 01:57 am

    I used the arctic blue version of this pack. During my recent trips to Beijing and Singapore, I carried it with a Canon EOS 40D/BG-E2N combo attached to a 70-200 2.8 L lens. Other compartments have the Sigma 24-70 2.8 EX DG macro and 430 EX & 580 EX11 flash. plus the upper compartment I put a backup Canon EOS 1N HS camera. Man .. Its fun carrrying it around the Great Wall since it has a thick padding on the laptop compartment . And its sturdy

  • Vincent Tassy November 10, 2010 08:11 pm

    Have been using this bag's little brother the Fastpack 250 for 3 years and found it's just the best combination !
    I've use other bags like slingshot and toploaders but the Fastpack is the one.
    I'm buying a separate rain cover for the few occasions it might be needed ...

  • Vladimir Krzalic November 8, 2010 11:55 pm

    I have FastPack 350 for some two months now, and as I've just returned from the trip, carrying it arround non-stop, I have to say that it fits better than I've ever expected. I'm 192cm and been always a little anal about the position of the backpack when fitting it on the shoulders, and this moel fits perfectly.
    I carry Canon 450D with grip, 28-105, 55-250IS, 50mm 1.8, Old manual 180mm 2.8 (size of a 70-200 2.8) and a flash.
    Also, there is room in the main camera compartment to fit all adapters, cables, cards....
    Upper compartments holds WD external HDD, rain cover that I got from my other backpack so now it is a AW version, and lots of more simple everyday stuff like pens, business cards... GPS, pens, notebook.
    Laptop sleeve is nicely padded and I can easily fit 15" Acer 2315 that is rather thick.
    It has good shoulder straps, ergonomically designed (I think there is separate version for males and females). Right strap has a place that you can fit the cellphone pouch and strap it.
    All in all, I'm very satisfied with it, and I think that it will serve me for years.

  • Peter West Carey November 8, 2010 03:20 pm

    JD, I updated the post to include a photo with my standard gear shown.

  • David Mustard November 5, 2010 11:45 pm

    I originally bought the Kata 3N1-22, sling backpack with laptop insert since I liked the idea of the side entry ability (with the Kata it can be either left- or right-handed access) and a lot of the other extras. It is designed for a netbook but the space was really cramped, although the rest of the bag was really roomy.

    I have a Sony Vaio16inch laptop and was prepared to use both of them when travelling but the idea of lugging two bags and the current cabin restrictions put pay to that. I took it back and changed it for the Lowepro and have been delighted with it - it was a good move on my behalf.

    The side access is not entirely the same as the Kata; with that you pulled with one hand on the corner zipper and your other hand could grab your camera immediately - with the Lowepro is it a two-handed operation but that doesn't detract from the ease of access. The area inside is roomy enough for a load of accessories and the top part of the bag has a super roomy compartment for all kinds of personal stuff.

    The laptop compartment is accessed with a vertical zipper and my Vaio fits in neatly - even while wearing a sleeve - and slides in and out very easily - that's a boon when compared with top access laptop computer bags. It is well protected enough and I don't feel anxious about it when wearing the bag on my back. I don't feel as if the laptop is having to mould itself to the shape of my back!

    I have the blue variant which looks stylish and neat, but the red and black ones looked as smart as well. The bag fits neatly under an aircraft stool with no extra effort and also in the compartment above. I have not yet experienced any raised eyebrows from check in desk operators so the bag seems to be accepted well enough. With all equipment on board with a fully loaded bag it can feel somewhat heavy on the shoulders and back but it doesn't "look" overweight so that's a plus as well - even on budget cheapie flight tickets :)

    All in all something to consider seriously - the price is no shocker either and, although so rightly mentioned in an earlier comment, you can never have too many camera bags, this one manages to tick more of the boxes than others.

    David

  • Anup Patil November 5, 2010 03:54 pm

    i have the same bag got it a few days back and its pretty good for a semi-pro photographer. I on the heavier side and it fits me perfectly except for the waist strap since im a little larger than most of u.but im pretty much happy with storage space but disappointed that there was no tripod holder.

  • Peter West Carey November 5, 2010 01:32 pm

    JD, I fit a 7D with power grip, same size as the Mark III, and a 28-300mm, same size as the 70-200. It was one of my requirements that a full bodied camera and long lens fit nicely in this unit and be easy to grab. This bag works perfectly for that setup. It's how you see it set up in the photos.

  • JD MYERS November 5, 2010 12:01 pm

    Thanks for the review of the 350, however can someone post some photos of the bag with the gear in it? I shoot with a mark III and can not tell if a canon 70-200 would fit in the bag while attached to the camera. Seeing the bag with various lenses would be very useful. Thanks, JD

  • mike59 November 5, 2010 11:32 am

    I looked a few bags but can't find a really good one. One bag stands out in my mind but I could not see it in any shop (currently living in Thailand).
    I hope someone may have experience with the Tamrac Evolution 8 model 5788 or the smaller 5786
    Photos found in a magazine suggest great versatility.
    Please tell me about your experience with this bag.

  • jim gray November 5, 2010 06:11 am

    I've used the bag for about a year and would buy it again. I especially like the special design of the shoulder straps in that I only need one to carry the pack out to the car in the morning. When I take long hikes, I can actually fasten a LARGE feisol ct 3741tripod onto the pack quite easily. I usually carry a nikon 300 f/4 attached to a nikon D90 along with a second d90 with short lens and either a speedlite or a zoom (80-200 f/2.8). The 350 is very well constructed and can handle considerable weight. I don't always need the hip belt, but when I need it, it's a shoulder saver!

  • Mykie November 5, 2010 05:17 am

    I got this bag so I could carry my camera, lenses and Laptop together on airplanes. It's great! it fits under the front seat, holds everything I need. I just leave my laptop in the hotel safe to lighten it on days out. My only thing is it could do with a waterproof cover like the AW range.......

  • PatriciaD November 5, 2010 04:45 am

    oops! I do know the difference between plain and plane...sorry!!

  • PatriciaD November 5, 2010 04:43 am

    Wow, this could not have come at a better time. I mean I literally was about to hit the buy button on a Lowepro Slingshot 200 bag but saw the email and clicked this link. Now, I have to have this bag and so glad I found it BEFORE I bought the other one. Not that it would have been bad but I didn't even think to get a camera bag I could carry my laptop in. I was thinking of the agony of carrying a laptop bag and a camera bag and then how I was going to be able to carry both on the plain. No more worries about that!! THANK YOU!!

  • Nancy November 5, 2010 02:52 am

    I have been using this bag for the past few months and love it. I particularly like the size of the top compartment, as it is large enough to hold a hoodie or jacket, along with other items (hat, mitts...).

  • Terry Rowe November 5, 2010 01:27 am

    Thanks for all the feedback! Guess I'm got some shopping to do. ;-)

  • Peter West Carey November 4, 2010 03:02 pm

    Terry,
    Yes, it can hold a smaller purse (wallet style), Kindle (I put mine in it) papers and chargers. Unless you want to fold the papers, you'll need to put them in a file folder and in the computer compartment.

  • Arnold November 3, 2010 05:19 pm

    Great review! I've been using the 350 for a few months now and I'd say that it has lived up to its price, easily. The laptop compartment had some good padding that's not only good the laptop but also for any documents or accessories that you don't want taking a beating. I usually store my Honl photo snoot in there along with the laptop.

    --Arnold

  • Chuck A. November 3, 2010 04:00 pm

    I have used the 350 for almost 2 years now and have found it to be a very sturdy bag with just enough room for a few extras. It fits well under an airline seat keeping the camera handy and secure. I do agree with the bottle holder and would be nice to have a tripod attachment. The lower and shoulder support straps are well padded and easy to adjust. The laptop pocket just fits a 17" PC. All in all I this is a great bag for the money.
    Take Care and Enjoy

  • Don Haig November 3, 2010 02:35 pm

    My wife and I have used the Fastpack 250 and 350 bags for about 18 months. We have found them to provide the best combination of features to meet our needs. They are very adaptable, provide easy access through the side opening (without removing the bag) and are not overly heavy. We have also tried the LowePro Vertex 100AW and 200AW backpacks. We found these unsatisfactory due to having to remove the backpack to access equipment, high weight and more limited storage options than provided by the Fastpack bags. The Vertex bag claimed to be "all weather". We found the rain covers provided limited protection after getting caught in a downpour while hiking in Yellowstone NP.

    I occasionally fasten a monopod to my Fastpack by placing the foot in the water bottle pouch and tying the top to the shoulder strap using a velcro strap or a ball bungee cord. I don't miss the capability to carry a tripod. Having tried carrying a tripod on the Vertex backpacks, we found the load too heavy and further impeded access to equipment in the bag. As an alternative, I use an Op/Tech Pro Tripod Strap and sling the tripod over a shoulder.

    I suggest looking at the Kata bags. They had some similarly configured backpacks with access from both sides. The Kata bags appear to be slightly lighter weight than the LowePro bags. Photographers can never own too many bags.

  • Paul Henman November 3, 2010 12:43 pm

    I bought this bag a few weeks ago after injuring my shoulder and finding my Slingshot 300 made it worse. The Fastpack 350 has been on 2 all-day photo-walks and is a lot more comfortable. Camera gear space is about the same but the 350 has more room for other stuff + laptop + water bottle, so it's definitely a winner! Only thing I wish it had is the rain cover that the Slingshot has.

  • Paul Henman November 3, 2010 12:43 pm

    I bought this bag a few weeks ago after injuring my shoulder and finding my Slingshot 300 made it worse. The Fastpack 350 has been on 2 all-day photo-walks and is a lot more comfortable. Camera gear space is about the same but the 350 has more room for other stuff + laptop + water bottle, so it's definitely a winner! Only thing I wish it had is the rain cover that the Slingshot has.

  • Ryan McGovern November 3, 2010 07:08 am

    Beware, I have a 17" Dell Studio laptop and due to the thickness, I do not think that it will fit in this bag. Mind you it was a couple of years ago and I cold have my backpacks mixed up.

  • Morgana November 3, 2010 06:39 am

    I have this bag and I love it. I've never had problems with my water bottle falling out as I always tighten that pouch when I put the bottle in. This bad has been overseas twice and I've had no problems taking it as carry on luggage. :)

  • Karel November 3, 2010 06:08 am

    I use the Fastpack 350 for almost two years now. In and out of airplanes, hiking, climbing mountains, cycling etc. This back is the best out there at this moment for me. With just enough space for couple of lenses, a large DSLR, some space to pack your extra batteries and memory cards. Also the other area, for some lunch, a book, GPS device or some other small items you might need is handy. The detachable pouch is filled with extra penlights, my remote, lens cleaning stuff and is going from one bag to another if i go with another bag.
    The side access is pretty handy.

    Big plusses:
    * Large enough laptop pouch.
    * behind laptop pouch room for a grey/white card
    * Side access
    * room for enough equipment, plus separate area for other small stuff.
    * Should straps very well designed, never trouble with my shoulders.

    The big downsides are for me:
    * For tall people (>1.90 m/6 foot 3'') the bag does not fit well. Especially the hip straps are too small.
    * there is no rain sleeve (AW version) in this bag.
    * Water bottle pouch is not high enough (water bottles tend to fall out)
    * No attachment possible for a mono- or tripod

    As said, if there would be a very good hiking backpack with camera equipment area that would be my back. The Fastpack 350 is up to now my best option.

    - Karel

  • Eric November 3, 2010 05:21 am

    I've had my 350 for a little over a month, after using a 250 for the better part of three years. Currently in my 350, I carry my 17" laptop & charger, Nikon SLR and two spare batteries with four lenses - 18-200mm, 80-400mm, 11-16mm and 35mm prime. I also carry SB-600, 800 and 900 flash units, a Sanyo handheld video camera, an Olympus point and shoot and a portable hard drive. generally I keep a 20 pack of AA batteries in there as well to power my strobes. to top it off, I have a variety of filters, flash drives and memory cards packed in there as well as a few pens, led flashlight, business cards and things like that. although the equipment makes the bag a little on the heavy side, there is actually still room for a few more things if I really needed to add them. (that is, as long as they aren't much larger than a paperback book.) basically, this bag carries everything I need for a day-long photo trip AND editing! As pointed out by others, it is extremely rugged and versatile. I couldn't say much more about it. I'm extremely happy with this bag.

  • Wadester November 3, 2010 04:13 am

    Think Tank Street Walker Hard Drive?

  • Rich Cook November 3, 2010 04:10 am

    I'd also recommend the Alpha-L bag from Nanue Pro. Great capacity for laptop & computer. Wears well...the weight disappears when on your shoulders. I like that the access to the camera area is against your back. Tougher on access but great security. Worth a look.

  • Kim Kelly November 3, 2010 03:54 am

    I also have this bag... only complaint, I am a smallish girl and the straps cut into my arms and gave me horrable bruises. I solved it with adding baby seat fleece type pads to the straps.. :)

  • Matthew November 3, 2010 03:51 am

    I have had one of these bags for about a year and a half and I like it a lot. I wish the upper storage area was larger so I could carry more stuff, though.

  • Everardo November 3, 2010 03:31 am

    I've had this bag for a while now and really like it, I think it organizes items well and handles a lot of gear quite well. Probably my only grip is that I'd like a better way to hide the hip strap when not in use.

  • matneym November 3, 2010 03:06 am

    I have the 350 and really like it. The only complaint I have is that I don't care for the waist strap. I rarely use it and sometimes it just gets in the way. Other than that it is a great bag.

  • Hans November 3, 2010 01:51 am

    I use the Fastpack 250 on a daily basis. I found the 350 just a little large and the 250 fits my MBP 15" perfectly. I found that if you take the elastic synch strap for the water bottle and stretch it over the top of the water bottle after synching, it holds it in place. I've used this bag for hiking, plane travel and to and from work everyday and find it's the perfect size. I've had it in a light drizzle and it's kept everything dry. I've had a 100-400mm, 24-70mm and a 10-22mm and my t1i camera body without issue. I use the bottom cover flap to hold my tripod or I put one of the legs into the bottle holder and bungied the tripod through the top carry loop. The Lowepro has been a great backpack that allows me to have my camera with me all the time.

  • Kit Mackenzie November 3, 2010 01:51 am

    I was looking for something similar to your critera here and in the end settled with a Kata DR-466i and have found it to be a great bag and similar to this. The zips are espically fanatasitc and with tripod options and all weather cover it has a few other features. Whilst the 466i would struggle with a 17" I think the 467i would be fine with it.

    Hope this helps out othere people and great review. Very similar types of bag. I found I just prefered the straps on the Kata to this one.

    Kit

  • Steve November 3, 2010 01:49 am

    I've got its smaller brother, Fastpack 100. Same design, but with no laptop sleeve and just one spot for an extra lens instead of 4. Basically I use it for daily light trips where I don't need all my gear.
    A 16-18oz bottle fits perfectly still, even if I turn the bag upside down.

  • Martin November 3, 2010 01:41 am

    Ive used this bag for 6months now and have had no problems with it. I found it very comfortable when fully loaded with my hp Laptop and Camera Gear

  • Terry Rowe November 3, 2010 01:05 am

    Thanks for the review, I've been searching for a better travel bag. BUT, will it hold a small purse + kindle + some papers & chargers in addition to the laptop & camera?

    Sounds like it would.

  • Ashley Clark November 3, 2010 12:43 am

    My brother got this bag for Christmas before taking a trip through China so when my husband and I went to London we called to borrow it. The bag is great, especially for traveling. The bag holds a lot of gear for it's compact size and you are right, it is well balanced. I would agree with your statement about the fabric zipper pulls. On the trip one of zipper pulls on the camera access pouch came off and we had to use a paperclip. That was a pain. And really the only other complaint is that your back gets pretty hot and sweaty but seriously, how do you fix that? It's a small price to pay. Now that my camera gear collection is growing, I believe purchasing this bag is probably in my future.

  • Mike Woodhouse November 3, 2010 12:29 am

    I have used one of these for about 18 months and pretty much agree with everything in the review - the bag has served me well and is still in excellent condition. I don't even have the water bottle problem, since I don't carry a 40oz one anyway...

  • Martin November 3, 2010 12:24 am

    Great timing of the review, as I want to buy a new camera backpack, and the Fastpack 350 was (and still is) at the top of my list. This review confirms that it's still probably the closest to what I want, although the lack of an all-weather cover and tripod straps are a bit of a shame.

  • bryan November 3, 2010 12:10 am

    I have a nature trekker and lllllooooove it. gets abused and keeps on going and protects equip great

Join Our Email Newsletter

Thanks for subscribing!


DPS offers a free weekly newsletter with: 
1. new photography tutorials and tips
2. latest photography assignments
3. photo competitions and prizes

Enter your email below to subscribe.
Email:
 
 
Get DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS feed