Lowepro Rover Pro 45L AW

By Mark Watson April 4, 2014
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This camera-specific backpack will defend your fragile photographic gear from the wiles of Mother Nature.

As an outdoors photographer shooting amazing but rugged locations, I tend to sometimes ‘bend’ camera gear. And the guys at Nikon say it’s not supposed to bend.

I don’t do it deliberately and I guarantee it is not good business practice to put rocks through lenses, but it occasionally happens.

In my efforts to save the dollars and angst associated with busted stuff, I have tried and tested a plethora of makes, manufacturers and models of camera bags, including customising packs to fulfil specific assignment needs.

It now appears the good people at Lowepro have hit the nail on the head with the new Lowepro Rover Pro 45L AW backpack to ensure even my gear stays safe from Mother Nature.

In recent years, photographers like myself have been harassing our friends at Lowepro to produce a lightweight, outdoor photographer-specific camera backpack.

Someone, somewhere must have been listening, because Lowepro recently nabbed a couple of head honchos from Mountain Hardwear and Marmot, and Rick Saez (formerly of Marmot) now heads up Lowepro’s Outdoor department.

Welcome to the era of the Rover Pro – where Lowepro packs are now measured in volume rather than the size of lens they can carry. It’s a turning point, in my eyes.

I have tested, used and abused the Rover Pro 45L AW for months now. The pack has been downhill mountain biking in Thredbo, Enduro riding in inland NSW, multi-day trekking in the Kosciuszko main range, skiing and splitboarding in Quebec, as well as on a multitude of other assignments.

Access to all your essentials is both from the top lid, like a traditional trekking pack, and at the front – mainly for access to camera gear.

The external 210D triple-ripstop PU-coated nylon shell offers serious durability, but if the weather gets really gnarly then a removable waterproof cover is hidden in a pocket at the base of the pack (which also doubles as a reflector).

The backpack houses two padded inserts able to comfortably carry a Pro DSLR body and 24-70mm f/2.8 (or 70-200mm f/2.8 at a squeeze), a flash and a number of extra lenses. (It takes a little creative thinking, but I have fitted quite a lot in these seemingly small inserts.)

Additionally, there is room above the inserts for food, clothes, camp stove, sleeping bag and sleeping mat, etc.

Externally, there are ice-axe loops and a number of attachment points enabling the carrying of a tent, tripod and ski/trekking poles. There is a pocket for a two-litre water reservoir on the side…separate to where you keep your camera gear.

Most importantly, the fully adjustable AirFlow suspension system offers a trampoline-style harness, allowing good ventilation and load transfer to the waist/hip belt as per my pre-requisite for any technical outdoor pack.

The waist and sternum strap are comfortable enough; however, the sternum strap on early models has been known to occasionally slip from the shoulder strap attachments. For me, a quick loop of thread now acts as a stopper, but Lowepro assures me they are already addressing the issue.

It appears unlikely there will ever be a perfect pack for every person, situation or set-up, but the Rover Pro 45L AW is the closest I have managed to date.

RRP $379 www.lowepro.com