REVIEW: Lowepro Whistler BP 450 AW

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(Photo: Catherine Cooper)

Lowepro Whistler BP 450 AW Photo Backpack

MSRP: $389.95 (BUY NOW for LESS!)

WEIGHT: 7.28 lbs

SIZE: Internal- 9.53″ x 6.54″ x 15.75″ / External- 12.20″ x 11.89″ x 22.52″

DESIGNED TO FIT: Pro DSLR, Up to 3 Lenses, Flash, Action Camera and outdoor gear/personal items

FEATURES: Main compartment removable padded insert with MaxFit customizable divider system, Exterior attachment points to carry tripods and/or outdoor adventure gear, ActivZone harness system, Detachable All Weather “AW Cover,” hinged back entry panel, Expanding front pocket with waterproof barrier between main compartment (with bottom drain holes), High-vis orange interior on top pocket, Zippered pocket with key leash in top pocket, Durable/weather-resistant materials & hardware (420 denier ripstop nylon with TUP face coating, Nifco side-release buckles, metal Duraflex hooks, Hypalon base)

WHAT THE COMPANY HAS TO SAY: “Born on the side of a mountain, our Whistler pack delivers amazing performance for wilderness photographers and adventurers who carry an equal measure of camera, video and functional outdoor gear. Inventive and technical, this alpine pack is reminiscent of our brand heritage, and the adventures that led founder Greg Lowe to create a carry solution for his passions.”

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I’ve used the Lowepro Whistler BP 450 AW camera bag for nearly a year now, in a wide variety of environments and types of photo shoots. The bag has been thrown down onto sharp rocks, deep sand, wet snow and muddy ground on a variety of photo shoots across America. The bag has performed flawlessly, keeping my gear safe from the elements, organized and quickly accessible, which is key for the fast paced action sports and events photography I primarily find myself shooting. If you shoot action and adventure outside, the Lowepro Whistler BP450 AW might just be the bag for you.

LoweproWhistlerExploringElements-3 While primarily designed, and marketed, for winter sports photography, this camera bag works really well in a wide variety of outdoor environments. I’ve used it on the back of motorcycles in the desert, at Hurricane flooded 4×4 vehicle events, on hikes in remote rocky landscapes and of course on snowy peaks. The same features that make this pack comfortable while skiing, protect your gear from impacts and keep the snow out, also do the same in whatever challenging remote, extreme weather stricken environment you might find yourself shooting.

LoweproWhistlerExploringElements-4The pack itself is comfortable to carry, due to its ActivZone paddling system, airflow channels and wide supportive waist band, while doing any number of high activity sports. Quick gear access is key for a pack like this, and the back panel access is simple, effective and well thought out. The hinged back panel helps to keep the elements out of the bag when accessing gear, and the heavy duty weather resistant fabric on the front of the bag gives you confidence to toss the bag on the ground, no matter the conditions, and grab your gear fast, which is key to getting the shot. The internal hook and loop dividier system is simple, easy to use and re-configures quickly to meet your gear handling needs for that specific shoot. Staying organized and knowing exactly where each piece of your gear is helps immensely with getting those quick spur of the moment shots, and keeping a shoot on schedule.

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(Photo: Catherine Cooper)

I’ve found that the Lowepro Whistler BP 450 AW bag carries just the right volume of gear for most professional shoots. While it doesn’t have a dedicated hydration sleeve, it does have a side pocket that expands just large enough to fit most water bottles. It also doesn’t have a dedicated laptop sleeve, but the expanding large front pocket works great to hold a laptop, hard drive and cables, usually in a padded laptop sleeve. The top pocket on the Whistler bag is a great place to either store small things like snacks, sunscreen, sunglasses, etc…, or a full action camera setup. The main camera compartment is spacious, and holds a fairly large compliment of photography gear.

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(Photo: Catherine Cooper)

While photography gear changes by the shoot, my base kit stays pretty steady, and gets 90% of the jobs I do done. I have this bag packed regularly with: 1 DSLR (Nikon D600), 3 Lenses (Nikkor: 16-35 f4, 50 f1.4, 70-200 f4), 1 flash w/remote trigger, camera cleaning kit, bulb air blower, circular polarizer, variable ND filter, filter adapter, camera owners guide, business cards, business stickers, sunscreen, snacks, jacket, umbrella and a tripod (3 Legged Thing Brian) strapped to the outside. There is rarely a shot I can’t find a way to get with this basic kit.

LoweproWhistlerExploringElements-7PROS:

-Just right size for a professional adventure shoot

-Highly weather resistant

-Durable

-Comfortable way to carry a heavy load

CONS:

-No hydration sleeve

-No laptop sleeve

-Not lightweight, at over 7 lbs, empty

-Not inexpensive, at nearly $400

LoweproWhistlerExploringElements-8The bottom line is that the Lowepro Whistler BP 450 AW is burly, holding up to serious use in a fast paced rugged environments, with extreme weather. While it is perfectly suited for ski and winter sports photography, I’ve also found it to work great on other outdoor action sports shoots as well. The bag is neither inexpensive or light weight, which might be the only reason a professional outdoor action shooter would decide not to use this product. The Lowepro Whistler BP 450 AW gets the job done, and is your best chance at having your gear in the best shape possible at the end of demanding shoots.

LoweproWhistlerExploringElements-9A few of the shoots that I’ve done specifically with this camera bag include: Discover Solitude in the Wasatch, Brian Head Resort, Off-Road on Two Wheels with PSSOR, Crossing the Not so Little Colorado River, 10-20 Adventures Winter Desert Campout and many more…

(Disclaimer: This bag was supplied to Exploring Elements for review consideration.)

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