An old but solid backpack the ProTactic 450 AW II camera backpack from LowePro is a favourite among photographers. It’s been my daily carry for all photo trips since I got it a few years ago.
The still padding all around does a good job of keeping gear safe and the shape of the backpack.
The basic specs:
- 2.85 kg
- 36 x 22 x 52 cm external measurements of the bag
- 29 x 2.2 x 37 cm laptop compartment
- ActivZone back panel
- Utility belt with water bottle holder, tripod cup and 2 quick straps
- 15″ laptop slot
- 2 clear accessory pouches
- 4 access points
- 2 small zippered side pouches
- 1 small zippered pouch in top
Fit and Comfort
The 450 AWII is a very comfortable pack.
Being a stiff, black box, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be comfortable. Having worn all sorts of hiking, backpacking, ski and photography bags, this has easily been one of the most comfortable.
The padding on the back and straps is nice and thick, comfortably holding the pack when it’s fully of cameras, drones, lenses and water bottles.
There are 4 ways to access to the main compartment on the 450.
Depending on what I want to get, I’ll go through the side, top or back lids.
Back Panel Lid
The whole back panel opens up with a zipper. The dual zipper can be put on either side or the top. or locked together. I love that the zippers can be put anywhere on the track to close it.
The backpack straps are attached to the back and not the back panel. While this does take a little extra effort to open, I’d much rather have the straps firmly attached to the bag. If that zipper fails, the bag would stay closed and on your back.
The flat front of the bag means the back stays flat and level when the back panel is open.
The hard top shell of the pack opens as well. It’s quite stiff and feels more armoured. It flips open but stays mostly closed. I rarely have my camera sitting in the top since so I can access it through the side.
Both sides have a small opening at the bottom for sling-like access to the main compartment. You can pick either side to set up. for camera access. I always have my camera in the left side so I can pull it out around my left shoulder with my right hand.
How much can it hold?
The 450 is about 25 litres total inside which can hold a fair amount of stuff.
If you are looking for something to use for a multi-day trip with camera gear, this will be small. You might need a multi-day pack and small camera module or larger camera pack.
The LowePro website says it can fit can fit 2 pro bodies, one with a 70-200, up to 8 other lenses, drone and action camera.
The hip belt is like a utility belt with a few spots to hang attachments to. The back and sides of the pack has a molle-like webbing to hold velcro and SlipLock hooks.
The pack comes with a water bottle holder, tripod cup and 2 quick straps to attach other things. Other accessories are on LowePros website for strapping on all the things.
2 other small pouches on are the sides of the pack and 2 clear pouches sit on the inside of the back panel. The clear pouches are very useful to see everything inside.
Just inside the back panel is a 15″ laptop. It’s well padded and easily fits a 15″ MacBook Pro.
My only issue with the laptop pouch so far as been accidentally letting it fall open with a laptop in it but that’s all my fault?
Difference between the ProTactic 350 AW and the BP 450 AWII
The ProTactic 350 AW is a smaller version of the 450. It’s a very similar layout but 15 litres instead of 25. It still has the webbing, removable hip belt, ActivZone back panel and 4 access points.
After using the LowePro ProTactic BP 450 AWII for the last couple years, it’s been an awesome camera pack. It’s very comfortable even when fully. loaded, fits a ton of stuff, and is very configurable inside. All the zippers, straps and dividers are still in good shape even though it spends a lot of time laying in the dirt on my hikes.
If you are looking for a dedicated camera backpack, or daypack with camera dividers, the ProTactic BP 450 AWII is an excellent option.