LowePro PhotoSport Outdoor BP 24L AW III backpack review: A great pack for hikers who dabble in photography

Photo: Tim Barribeau

These days, it’s not often I need a full camera bag – if I’m using my camera, I usually bring it along to something else, it’s not the sole reason I leave the house. Which makes the PhotoSport Outdoor Backpack BP 24L AW III ($250) a smart compromise: it’s half hiking daypack, and half camera bag. And while it doesn’t truly excel at either, it does them well enough that it’s a bag I’d be happy to bring with me any time I head into the woods.

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Key Features:

  • Hiking friendly features
  • Good layout and useful pockets
  • Removable (and useful) camera insert

Specs (from manufacturer):

  • Size: 27x22x50cm (10.5×8.75×19.75 in)
  • Weight with dividers: 1.5kg (3.3lbs)
  • Hydration pocket size: 3L
  • Capacity: 24L (backpack), 5L (removable camera pouch)
  • Example loadout: single camera, 2-3 lenses, accessories

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Hiker’s delight

The PhotoSport looks like it was designed for the trail. Photo: Tim Barribeau

The PhotoSport Outdoor Backpack’s name tells you just about all you need to know: it’s a photo and outdoor backpack. It looks like just about any hiking day pack you could pick up at your favorite outdoor retailer but with the extra utility of carrying a camera and lenses while you’re out for the day.

“Like most hiking backpacks, the PhotoSport’s build focuses on weight support and distribution.”

Like most hiking backpacks, the PhotoSport’s build focuses on weight support and distribution, more so than most other packs I’ve tried. Unlike the Wotancraft New Pilot or Peak Design Everyday Backpack, the PhotoSport has a hip strap built-in rather than as an optional add-on, and it has enough padding to put the bag’s weight on your hips where it belongs.

The sternum strap has a whistle (which isn’t really important but is fairly common in outdoor gear), and the back panel does a decent job of providing comfort and airflow. However, I’m 6’2”, and the hip straps hit a bit too high for me to use them properly. In the larger sibling models to the 24L backpack, the smaller and larger sizes can account for height differences, but in this one, you have one choice for where the straps land.

The hydration pocket (which can double for laptops in a pinch)…

…and included rain cover are all hallmarks of a decent hiking backpack.

Photo: Tim Barribeau

There’s a hydration pocket that holds up to a 3-liter water reservoir, with a passthrough for the straw, which is absolutely necessary if you’re going to spend any appreciable amount of time hiking. It also has loops to store your hiking poles, a flexible external pocket for stowing a jacket or helmet, a water bottle pocket and even a rain cover. All practical, outdoor-focused features.

Plus, you have the usual medley of pockets, including one on the hip strap, a small top flap pocket for stashing things you need to get to easily, like your sunglasses, a water bottle pocket, and a large drawstring pocket at the top of the bag for storing all your non-camera gear.

Camera Storage

When the camera insert is stowed, it’s easy to get to via the side entry…

Photo: Tim Barribeau

To stash your camera gear, the PhotoSport has a single side access pocket (on your left side) where the included LowePro camera insert lives. It’s large enough to hold a body with an attached zoom lens, and 1-2 extra lenses, as well as some assorted bits and pieces like SD cards. While that’s not a lot, if you’re going for a hike, more than that will weigh you down quickly.

…and the insert can also be pulled out to free up space or carry on its own.

Photo: Tim Barribeau

Because the bag uses an insert system, you can quickly pull the camera section out if you just want to carry that or set it aside (somewhere safe) if you want to use all of the bag’s internals for non-camera reasons. The insert can be attached to the bag’s hip strap, carried on its own with an included neck strap, or even attached to the bag’s shoulder straps to sit against your chest. And those same attachments can be used with your camera directly if you want your camera clipped into your bag rather than directly around your neck.

Jack of all trades, master of none

Unfortunately, while splitting the difference between a hiking pack and a camera pack, there have been losses on both sides of the equation. Some of them are small; for example, there’s no place to clip the hydration straw or the single water bottle pocket. And some are substantially more noticeable – a better hiking backpack these days will have better back padding and ventilation system than the PhotoSport provides. Even after just thirty minutes of carrying it on a warm day, and I was sweating against the cushioning.

On the camera side of things, while the insert is stowed, you only have access to the contents from one side of the insert, so any that are on the other side of a divider are out of reach until you pull the whole thing out.

Photo: Tim Barribeau

None of this is anything that’s a deal breaker, as long as you go into using the bag knowing what it is and what it isn’t. This isn’t a camera bag that works well as a commuter bag. There’s no specific dedicated laptop slot (though you can use the hydration pouch area), and it has a huge number of straps and flaps that look aggressively outdoorsy. It’s also not a camera bag. This should seem self-evident, but don’t go looking for a way to stash multiple bodies, lenses, and accessories into the PhotoSport – if you do, you’ll just be disappointed when it’s not that. And it’s not a hiking backpack to take all of your gear for days of trekking through the wilderness.

But if you’re trying to do a little bit of all of the above? Then it’s great.


If you’re going for a hike, and want to bring your camera so you can capture some interesting images along the way, the PhotoSport Outdoor Backpack BP 24L AW III is all but perfect, with space for just enough gear, both camera and otherwise, to support you through the day. But don’t go expecting it to be as good for hiking as a dedicated hiking backpack, nor as good for carrying camera gear as a dedicated camera backpack.

What we likedWhat we didn’t like
  • Good shoulder and waist straps
  • Hydration pocket
  • Rain cover
  • Handy removable camera insert
  • Not as good as either a hiking bag or camera bag on their own
  • Straps, straps, and more straps
  • Fixed sizing won’t work for everyone
  • Single side access pocket

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