A backpack sitting on a log in the woods.

LowePro PhotoSport X Backpack 45L Review

Dive into our comprehensive review of the LowePro PhotoSport X Backpack 45L, detailing its features, comfort, and suitability for photographers on the go.

Nature and photography go hand in hand, but what camera backpack should you take with you on your next trip?

I’ll be putting the Photosport X from Lowepro to the test in this review.

PhotoSport X photographic backpack 45Ls
PhotoSport X photographic backpack 45L

I love camping and backpacking, but it can be a pain to haul all of my photography gear out into the backcountry.

The Photosport X just might be the first outdoor camera backpack that I feel handles both photography and my wilderness needs.

I’ll be walking you through everything you need to know about this backpack before you commit to buying the Photosport X.

Let’s jump into this photography backpack review!

What is the PhotoSport X Backpack 45L?

  •  Excellent build quality
  •  Plenty of room for outdoor and photography gear
  •  Made from 86% recycled materials
  •  Pockets and compartments have a great design
  •  Very comfortable
  •  Needs a Gear Up Pro cube to reach the bag’s full potential
  •  Price might be out of some budgets
Specification Stats
Weight 1.89 kg / 4.17 lbs
Internal Dimensions 32 x 22 x 60 cm / 12.60 x 8.66 x 23.62 in
External Dimensions 33 x 24 x 61 cm / 12.99 x 9.45 x 24.02 in
Total Volume 48 L
Exterior Material 420D Nylon Recycled , 600D Polyester Recycled
Interior Material 200D polyester (recycled)

The Photosport X is designed to be the new peak-performance outdoor photography bag.

While it was designed with mountaineering in mind, it’s more than ready for backpacking, hikes, and anything that gets you outdoors.

The camera bag is feature-packed without feeling over-designed.

Design and Build Quality

A backpack with an umbrella on a wooden floor.

Hiking poles, ultra-light umbrella, and just about everything I need to spend a week in the woods all tucked away inside this backpack!

The first thing I noticed after unpacking the Photosport X was the solid design of this backpack.

I’ve gone through more than my share of backpacking and mountaineering packs. I know how disappointing it is when you break in a new piece of gear only to find the stitching coming undone and tears in lightweight fabric.

The Photosport X was designed to be tough. I didn’t notice any fraying or weakness in the materials while testing out this backpack.

Not only is it tough, but it’s also strong enough to protect my photography equipment. I got caught out in the rain with the PhotoSport X and between the included rain cover and the materials, everything inside my bag was bone dry.

Speaking of the materials, this bag is made of 86% recycled material. I love the outdoors and it’s great to know that the equipment that I take out with me into the field is made of recycled components.

This bag isn’t just easy on the environment, it was also easy on my back. The overall handling and ergonomics of the Photosport X were impressive.

Even after loading in all my gear, I was able to get it resting so comfortably that I hardly felt it.

Storage Capacity and Compartments

The contents of a backpack laid out on a bed.

I’m still surprised at just how much this backpack can hold!

I approached reviewing the storage capacity of the Photosport X from two different angles. I looked at this bag both as a photography backpack and as a hiking pack that would need to hold multiple days’ worth of gear.

The camera gear was easy to carry in this bag—especially when using a Gear Up Pro storage cube. I was able to use one of the water bottle pockets on the side as a tripod holder with no wiggle or problems.

I was also shocked at how much gear I could fit in this thing!

I am a bit of a backpacking minimalist, but I managed to fit nearly all of my gear into the PhotoSport X. Tent, inflatable mattress, sleeping bag, change of clothes, toiletries, and more all fit in.

I do benefit from using mostly ultra-light camping gear which is more compact than your standard equipment, but the results still speak for themselves.

If you’re heading out into the woods with friends and you can split the load rather than pack everything into a single bag, then this pack will more than handle even the longest trips.

There are several internal compartments as well as a compression compartment on the back that worked nicely to fit my gear.

I even found two internal compartments that were perfect for tent rods as they added some additional stability to the pack.

Protection and Security Features

A yellow backpack sitting on a rock next to a stream.

For when you like getting caught in the rain, but live in fear of your camera gear getting water damage.

I wouldn’t be worried at all about carrying my photography equipment in the Photosport X.

As long as your camera equipment is safely stored in a camera cube, it’s going to have more than enough padding to handle the trip to the outdoors.

To be honest, your biggest hazard when heading outdoors with camera gear isn’t going to be accidentally dropping them down into the rocks, but water damage.

Thankfully, the PhotoSport X included a rain cover in its own dedicated pocket at the bottom of the bag. You can get that rain cover on quickly to better protect your camera equipment when the weather takes a turn.

The way that Lowepro designed the zippers and openings also means that you’re at a near-zero risk of any of these compartments accidentally opening while you’re hiking.

Overall, I feel comfortable and confident putting thousands of dollars of photography equipment into the PhotoSport the next time I head out into uncharted terrain.

Accessibility and Ease of Use

A person holding a backpack with a sleeping bag inside.

These large barn door openings are a must-have feature on big photography bags for me.

There are times when you’re in the woods and you need to switch out camera gear at a moment’s notice.

I know I’m not alone when I say that I’ve lost more than one once-in-a-lifetime nature shots because I couldn’t get my lenses changed fast enough.

You can quickly get to your camera gear thanks to the large barn door opening on the back of this bag.

All you need to do is take it off your back, set it on the ground, and open the barn door zippers to gain instant access to all of your equipment.

There are also two compression pockets on the shoulder straps of this backpack which are perfect for holding extra camera batteries, memory cards, and all of those small accessories that you need to get to at the drop of a hat.

I personally left my phone in one of those in case I wanted to check my map or snap some quick mobile shots.

The PhotoSport X does take a very open-ended design to organization and storage. Besides a few well-placed compartments here and there, you’re dealing with a mostly open space.

This means that you can lay things out in the bag however you want them.

If you have a backpacking system that’s been working for you for years, you’ll be able to port that over to the PhotoSport X without having to struggle against the bag’s design.

Comfort and Portability

The back of a backpack on the ground.

The adjustable strap system means you can precisely dial in the bag’s fit to match your build.

A key thing to remember about every mountaineering backpack is that you need to adjust your straps to get the right fit for maximum comfort.

Once I had the PhotoSport X dialed into my needs, it was like I was hardly carrying a few dozen pounds of gear.

The aluminum frame helps to redistribute the weight of the pack to make it easier to carry. Everything feels especially lighter once you get that hip belt cinched in.

Even after scrabbling up some rocky embankments and a few rough trail areas, this bag still felt great on my back.

Everything was held down tightly and I didn’t have to deal with any loads suddenly adjusting while I was trying to keep a solid footing.

Versatility and Travel-Friendliness

A camera bag sitting on a rock next to a stream.

Check the bag and your camping gear, take the cube out and keep your camera gear close as a carry-on item.

If you’ve read my other articles on Shotkit, you’ll know that I’m a bit of an unconventional photographer. I do most of my shooting digitally, but I’m also a big fan of film photography.

The PhotoSport X did just as good of a job of carrying my Intrepid 4×5 large format camera as it did my Sony A7 II.

This backpack is definitely going to be overkill for street photography setups, but I could see getting double duty out of this bag if you’re looking to haul a lot of equipment from photo shoot to photo shoot—and you didn’t want to buy a second bag for use at home.

The PhotoSport is definitely going to be a checked item if you’re flying. However, Lowepro does make a smaller version of this bag as well as a variety of other options if you’re looking for something that you can carry on your flight.

I tend to put my larger backpacking bags into a packed duffel when I check them. That keeps my outdoor gear protected from having a strap get caught in a luggage conveyor or any of the other hazards a checked bag must overcome.

Organization and Accessibility of Accessories

This pack takes a well-crafted, minimalist approach to organization and accessibility for your photographic accessories.

The two compression pockets on the straps are perfect for accessories you need to get quickly like memory cards and batteries.

You can also hook a memory card case onto any of the available loops and straps all over the exterior of this bag.

There are also a few internal pockets, but I reserved those for my hiking essentials. They’re perfect for things that you need to get at a moment’s notice like bug spray, medication, or even some snacks.

Lowepro added one of my favorite features to this backpack – one of the water bottle pockets is slanted and forward-facing rather than pointed upwards towards the top of the pack.

This means that I can quickly get a water bottle in and out of that pocket while hiking without having to wrestle against the way the bag naturally rests on my back.

There are also plenty of straps on the exterior of this bag that are perfect for tripods, hiking poles, or even ice picks if you’re headed somewhere a little chilly.

How I Tested the LowePro PhotoSport X

A woman with a backpack walking through a wooded area.

Me seconds before missing an amazing shot of a dear that came within five feet of me!

I took the PhotoSport X through the two most important tests you can give any new backpack – the shakedown hike and then its first real time out in the world.

I went to a local forest preserve to give the PhotoSport X a shakedown hike. This means I loaded it up with all the gear I’d be taking for a longer trip outdoors, but just spent a few hours hiking in a familiar woodland environment.

I was feeling pretty good after the shakedown even with this new bag filled to the brim with everything I would need to spend a week alone in the woods.

I then headed out west to the mountains of California for some hiking, photography, and sightseeing.

My PhotoSport X definitely has a little character now with some dust, dirt, and scratches from being out in the woods. However, the bag is still just as strong as the day I first unboxed it.

Alternatives to the Photosport X

Looking to shop around and check out your other options? Don’t worry, I got you.

Here are a few bags to consider before picking up the Photosport X.

  • Moment Strohl—A very similar design and weight, but with a different approach to materials and color options
  • ALPS Mountaineering—The brand that made the first backpacking pack I ever owned! They make solid packs at budget prices, but you’ll definitely need to bring your own camera storage compartments
  • F-stop Tilopa—Outdoors meets urban in this bag. If you want to have enough storage for the woods, but look like you’re doing street photography—this could be the bag for you
  • WANDRD FERNWEH—Larger and heavier than the Photosprot X, this backpack also features a unique style that some will love and others will pass on
  • PhotoSport Backpack PRO 70L—Lowepro’s own expedition-ready outdoors camera bag. This is a great option for anyone who likes the design of the Photospot X, but wishes it was about twice as big!

Price and Value for Money

The price of the PhotoSport X is going to come in at around $300.

As far as outdoor backpacks of this size go, I’d say that’s about average. There are budget options out there, but you can expect to pay around this much for a new 48L pack.

Now, is the PhotoSport X worth just over $300?

I’d say yes. The bag is solid and I can easily see myself getting years of use out of this thing. I’ve certainly bought cheaper hiking packs that fell apart on me faster than this bag will.


How do you carry a camera in a hiking backpack?

The PhotoSport X lets you carry your camera however you like. You can use your own camera strap, the included straps that connect to the shoulder straps, or leave the camera safely stored inside the bag until you’re ready to take some pics.

How do you take pictures when hiking? 

The best way to take pictures while hiking is to keep your camera at the ready. You never know when the perfect shot lines up, so having a camera out and ready is the best way to capture that once-in-a-lifetime pic.

Photosport X Review | Conclusion

Nature photography is definitely one of my all-time favorite ways to get out there and take some pictures.

With the PhotoSport X, I’m definitely feeling more confident and ready to start throwing wildlife photography into the mix.

No one piece of gear is going to make you a better photographer, but you do need the right gear to protect your photography equipment and get the pictures that you want to take.

The PhotoSport X is an outstanding mountaineering and adventure photography bag. I definitely plan on getting a lot of use out of this bag whether I’m heading up the side of the mountain or hiking down a coastline.

PhotoSport X photographic backpack 45Ls
PhotoSport X photographic backpack 45L

Ashley is a photographer, writer, and film critic. When Ashley’s not writing essays on photography, cinema, and theory, he’s out taking pictures with retro film cameras.

Build Quality10

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