LowePro Photo Active 300 Backpack Review
An affordable backpack for enthusiast photographers who need a lightweight, rugged outdoor camera pack to carry gear in the backcountry or for everyday use.
As someone with a passion for hiking and adventure, the LowePro Photo Active 300 is an intriguing backpack for photography.
It offers great features in a compact package at a great price.
Of all the backpacks manufacturers out there, LowePro has been around a very long time and has the experience to develop quality bags.
Great value compact outdoor backpack with multiple options for acessories.
Out of that experience comes the LowePro Photo Active 300, a high quality bag with lots of features that is great for taking your camera out to shoot in nature.
Although I would say this bag is aimed more at the casual photographer than the working pro, I still think it is worth considering if you like to hike with your camera. Read on to see why I think the LowePro Photo Active 300 is a great bag.
LowePro Photo Active 300 Backpack Specs
- Amazing value for money
- Efficient Compact Design
- Organization for accessories
- Lots of stretch exterior pockets
- Doesn’t hold much camera gear
- Camera dividers hard to figure out
- Exterior Material: Nylon, Polyester
- Type of Closure: Zipper
- Water Resistance: Rain Cover, Water-Resistant Material
- Exterior Dimensions: 12 x 7.5 x 19″ / 31 x 19 x 48 cm
- Maximum Volume: 6.6 gal / 25 L
- Weight: 3.31 lb / 1.5 kg
Build & Appearance
As I expected, the LowePro Photo Active 300 is very well built. It feels durable and sturdy but not so much that it becomes heavy. I think LowePro struck the right balance of durability and weight with this pack.
The water resistant fabric and combined with the raincover make this bag a great choice for protecting your gear in places where the weather is unexpected or when you’ll be out for extended periods of time.
The side pockets have stretchy nylon that is both soft and sturdy feeling. Beneath these pockets is a foam padded zippered compartment where the camera gear is kept well protected.
In terms of looks, the LowePro Photo Active 300 is a clean and simple design. It doesn’t stand out as a camera bag and looks like a general hiking/outdoor backpack. I like the blue although it is also offered in black/grey.
The exterior of the LowePro Photo Active 300 is relatively simple but has all the features I want. On either side, a stretchy water bottle pocket is great for holding items like a tripod or water bottle.
The front panel also features a stretchy pocket for quickly stashing extra items like a jacket or gloves. I’ve always liked stretchy pockets for their versatility/flexibility and the LowePro Photo Active 300 has no shortage of them.
On the shoulder straps there are two more stretch pockets which are perfect for storing items like headphones, snacks, or other quick access items.
In terms of zippered pockets, there are two side pockets, two top pockets, and a laptop or water bladder pocket. The side zippers provide camera access and the two top pockets store accessories. One of the top pockets is padded to avoid scratching glasses.
Nearest to the back on the top is the pocket that can hold either a 15in laptop or a water bladder. It has a routing port for a drinking water hose that also attaches to the shoulder strap.
Lastly, on the front of the pack are mounting points for trekking poles. The exterior of the pack is fully featured and it appears that LowePro has thought of everything.
The interior of the LowePro Photo Active 300 is relatively simple but thoughtfully designed. Camera access is customizable and available from a zippered flap on each side. The flaps also have zippered compartments for small accessories like batteries as well as small elastic spots to keep memory cards.
I found the interior zippered pockets handy buy I prefer to keep my SD cards in a wallet where they are waterproof and shockproof.
In the top pocket, there is another interior zipper and a key clip that helps keep things organized. I also liked having a safe place to store my sunglasses where they wouldn’t get scratched.
The laptop pocket is also nice but I think it is more useful as a water bladder pocket since this pack is intended for the hiker.
Inside the main compartment I find that the dividers are a little difficult to figure out at first but once you get them to organize your camera gear they are nice to have.
I also appreciate that the dividers can be removed in case you want to be able to fit other things in the pack besides camera gear. Sometimes if you’re just taking one camera and one lens, the dividers are a bit overkill. Simply wrapping your camera in a jacket and skipping the dividers gives you more versatility.
Overall, the interior of this pack is extremely well thought out with features I found very useful.
After several hikes with the LowePro Photo Active 300, I found the storage capacity to be just right. I can easily pack a camera with a few lenses, water bottle, snacks, and a jacket.
If you’re expecting to pack a full professional camera kit into this bag, you will definitely want something bigger. However, for the casual outing, this bag is perfect.
I really like the organization of accessories like sunglasses and water bladder that this bag offers. It makes things easy to find and makes the capacity in the main compartment feel larger.
When you find yourself with overstuffed zippered compartments and one more thing to put in, the stretchy pockets are very helpful. When you want to fit one more layer of clothing or an action camera, they expand nicely to accomodate.
Ease of Use/Comfort
While hiking with this bag, I find it very comfortable. The LowePro Photo Active 300 is just the right size where you can’t overload it with equipment (making it uncomfortable & too heavy).
The straps are nicely padded making for a comfortable carry experience. Because it doesn’t have a waist belt, I really appreciated that the shoulder straps are thoughtfully designed.
At just over 3 lbs (1.5kg) this pack is on the heavier side for an empty weight but the features it offers make up for this. Having a lightweight bag that is totally disorganized is more frustrating than a little extra weight.
Value for Money
This backpack is an awesome value! At a little over $100, it offers a ton of features that larger more expensive bags don’t have. The design is very thoughtful and compact with materials that feel durable and long lasting.
Similar priced bags just can’t compare to the LowePro Photo Active 300. It is a highly functional bag at a great price.
With so many camera bag manufacturers in the marketplace, it leads to very high quality products at great prices like the LowePro Photo Active 300.
LowePro Photo Active 300 Backpack Review | Conclusion
Overall, I think the LowePro Photo Active 300 is an excellent bag for a photographer that wants to take their camera on adventures. It offers the organization of high end bags at a great price while still being durable and functional.
Because I often take lots of camera gear with me out into the field, this bag will not typically be my first choice. However, if I am going on a more casual outing, this will be an excellent bag to have.
Overall, this bag feels compact and not bulky but holds enough camera gear and outdoor gear for most of my casual adventures. Also on the plus side is that it can fit sideways under an airplane seat on some flights. Nice job on this one LowePro.
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