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Review: Lowepro Flipside 400 AW

by Osvaldo_Contreras on 08/04/2011

The Lowepro Flipside 400 AW bag is different than most camera backpacks. You normally expect to unzip the front of a backpack to get to your gear, but this bag opens from the back. Lowepro made a camera bag that can hold a lot of gear, but still maintain a small profile. The Lowepro Flipside 400 AW lets you keep a lens attached to your camera body.

Overall Bag Construction

The Lowepro Flipside 400 AW is a well constructed and well thought-out camera bag. The stitching all over the bag is spot on, and the nylon used for the exterior of the bag feels tough. The bag has two main zippered compartments.

The first compartment on the front has no padding, but offers pockets and pouches. In this front pouch I normally store business cards, camera/accessory cables, notebook, and other small items. If you want to carry a laptop in this bag it must be a MacBook Air or a netbook. There is a hack posted by Chase Jarvis for getting a MacBook Pro 13 in to fit in this front compartment.

And now we get to the meat of the bag. The back compartment contains padding and removable inserts for organizing your camera gear. I wanted to be able to carry all my gear around, but not have the bulk normally associated with camera backpacks. As you can see in the pictures this bag holds quite a bit of gear. Here is a list of all the gear shown in the lead image:

  • Nikon D7000 w/ MB-D11
  • Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 attached to D7000
  • Nikon 70-200mm VR II 2.8
  • 2 x Nikon SB-700 Flashes (stacked on top of each other)
  • Zoom H4N
  • Nikon D7000 Charger
  • Lowepro Memory Card Case
  • 2 x AA Battery Organizers

The outside of the bag has several several things that should be mentioned.

Front

The front of the bag allows you to carry a tripod by providing a strap to attach it to and a flap that comes out of the bottom with a pocket to place 1-2 legs of your tripod.

Both sides of the bag have pockets that can be used to store items like camera straps, poncho, or a water bottle. Lowepro has also added loops on each side so that you can attach some of their other accessories like memory card wallets or lens cases.

Back

The back of the bag is padded for comfort, and has straps that go over your shoulders and around your waist. The shoulder straps also have loops in case you want to attach a cell phone case or memory card holder. At the bottom of the backpack there is a Velcro compartment that stores the backpack’s rain cover.

Pros

After having used this backpack since February of this year, here are the pros:

  • Well built and tough nylon fabric on the outside of the bag
  • Padding on the straps and on the back of the bag are really comfortable
  • The bag’s form factor keeps it small in size, but allows you to carry quite a bit of gear
  • Foam inserts for organizing gear are thick and offer good protection between gear
  • Because bag can only be opened while the bag is not being worn this makes gear safe while backpack is in use
  • Rain cover for that unexpected drizzle

Cons

  • No space for a normal size laptop
  • I personally don’t like waist straps
  • The back opening doesn’t open all the way making it harder to access gear at the bottom of the bag

The pros outweigh any of the issues I have with the bag. The fact that it is well made, carries a lot of gear, and only costs $174 sold it for me.

Who Should Buy It?

This bag is great for travelling because of its ability to carry a lot of gear while maintaining a small form factor. I shoot mostly portraits and this bag is perfect because I can pack all the gear I need, and it’s organized to where I can find it easily. For street photography or weddings I would prefer a sling or messenger bag. That style of bag makes it easier to switch out gear as you need it, while the 400 AW needs to be on a level surface to get to your gear.

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