Review: Backpack + Camera Harness Combo: Lowepro flipside 450 aw + Keyhole Camera Harness

mrjoemorgan

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Feb 1, 2018
Messages
338
Location
San Francisco
Real Name
Joe M
I recently went through a process of deciding on a new bag and harness combo. With upcoming trips to Yosemite (just got back), Banff, Yellowstone, and Hawaii I wanted to make sure I was comfortable and my equipment protected.

I typically never do gear reviews, but I was SO happy with my setup and how it performed I thought others might find it helpful. So here we go:

(note - I have nothing to do with either of these brands or companies FYI)

Objective:


1) Find a camera backpack that I could take on trips (hiking and traveling).
2) Find a way to harness my camera onto my backpack straps so the camera isn't weighing down the neck and is easily accessible.

Requirements:
  • Bag not to look like a standard, black, ugly camera bag (personal opinion, most camera bags look like corporate laptop bags)
  • Bag to hold 1 body + 4 lenses + accessories
  • Bag to have two side pockets, one for a tripod, one for a water bottle
  • Bag to have space for laptop, jacket, snacks etc
  • Harness to be part of the back, not a separate harness you wear under the backpack

Solution:

The Bag: Lowepro Flipside 450 AW - $159

Why I love it:
  1. It looks like a hiking backpack and is waterproof with a cover.
  2. It holds a lot of gear whilst not being a big bag
  3. It is very comfortable to wear, I wore it for 34 miles over two days carrying a lot of gear and it was very comfy
  4. The ability to turn the bag around via the waist strap to open up the compartment to change lenses/gear is a game changer - it was so handy when climbing or hiking to just swing the bag on my hips.
  5. Able to put the tripod on one side and a big water flask on the other

Flipside-Trek-450-pack-for-your-needs.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

FlipsideTrekBP_450AW-024_SQ.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

FlipsideTrekBP_450AW-026_SQ.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


The Harness: Keyhole Hands Free Camera Harness - $35

Why I love it:
  1. Inexpensive
  2. Easy to install, fits perfectly into the shoulder straps of the backpack
  3. Easy harness and access - didn't move around when walking or climbing or jumping
ole_bc_khbl_Hands_Free_Camera_Harness_Black_880364.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


In summary - its a great combo for anyone looking for a good backpack and harness!

IMG_1442.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
IMG_1503.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

Sig

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Apr 11, 2012
Messages
251
Thanks for the review.

Those mist trail steps are knee killers.
 

sprocket87

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jun 29, 2011
Messages
532
Looks like a nice setup. I just ordered a Mindshift rotation180 Panorama to meet most of the same criteria. The cool thing about the rotation180 series is that the camera pack rotates independently of the main backpack, so you can swivel around the camera bucket by itself to grab lenses without taking off the bag's shoulder straps (you can also swivel the whole bag like your LowePro if you need to get something in the top section).

MINDSHIFT_PANORAMA_Dual-view-gear-layers_b450ea83-94e6-4eed-90ef-a8f1b206f035_1024x1024.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


I think it meets most of your criteria, although this particular size doesn't have a dedicated laptop compartment. They have 2 bigger ones (Horizon, Professional) and one smaller one (Trail) for different load needs. The Panorama seems to be the Goldilocks size, which is why I ordered it (I was really leaning toward the Trail, but I'll be doing Zion hikes with wife + 3 young boys so I'll probably end up being the pack mule and I'd rather have a little extra carry room).

I think your LowePro probably has the edge in terms of organization options. Pockets and padded dividers look to be more plentiful.

I'm not planning on using a chest mount, but I will be running a Peak Design Capture Clip on one of the shoulder straps and/or hip pads for this purpose. I'm also going to put a Mindshift GP-1 pouch on a shoulder or hip pad for quick access to my Ricoh GR and/or a couple m43 primes.

MINDSHIFT_GP_1_KIT_ON_BODY_SHOULDER_STRAP_WITH_GEAR-DSC_3108_1024x1024.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


MINDSHIFT_GP_1_KIT_ON_BODY_SBELT_WITH_GEAR-DSC_3125_1024x1024.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


It's nice to have options!!
 
Last edited:

sprocket87

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jun 29, 2011
Messages
532
@sprocket87 - nice setup, I like that a lot!

Thanks. More than one way to skin a cat. I was kind of going bonkers trying to find a setup I liked -- my historical setup has just been a camera sling bag stuffed in the bottom of a larger pack, which is obviously sub-optimal -- I really wanted to be able to get at my camera gear without dismounting the bag. I didn't see your particular LowePro model before the Mindshift or I might have ended up with the same one, it looks really nice!

Does your chest mount use an Arca plate on the camera or a proprietary mount?
 

mrjoemorgan

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Feb 1, 2018
Messages
338
Location
San Francisco
Real Name
Joe M
Thanks. More than one way to skin a cat. I was kind of going bonkers trying to find a setup I liked -- my historical setup has just been a camera sling bag stuffed in the bottom of a larger pack, which is obviously sub-optimal -- I really wanted to be able to get at my camera gear without dismounting the bag. I didn't see your particular LowePro model before the Mindshift or I might have ended up with the same one, it looks really nice!

Does your chest mount use an Arca plate on the camera or a proprietary mount?

Uses its own system, you screw this small round plate on the bottom of the camera and it slides into the keyhole

KH10.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

Hypilein

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Messages
1,681
Airplane cabin? Yes it fits within the requirements. The weight - well that depends what you have in it!

Well that's always the case. Bag Packs are funny for that. You are much less likely to get weighed if it doesn't look to big, but if you do and you're overweight and have to check you're 100% screwed.
 

mrjoemorgan

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Feb 1, 2018
Messages
338
Location
San Francisco
Real Name
Joe M
Thanks for the review.
One thing I disliked about LowePro is that the gear section has velcro strips on the walls, so you are limited as to wear you can attach the dividers. Is that true on your bag?

I often go for a waist bag to wear with my backpack. Faster access and lesd weight on my shoulders and neck.

They have the velcro system but you can design your own setup and place the dividers where ever you wish.
 
Joined
May 15, 2016
Messages
5,057
Location
Sydney, Australia
Looks like a nice setup. I just ordered a Mindshift rotation180 Panorama to meet most of the same criteria. The cool thing about the rotation180 series is that the camera pack rotates independently of the main backpack, so you can swivel around the camera bucket by itself to grab lenses without taking off the bag's shoulder straps (you can also swivel the whole bag like your LowePro if you need to get something in the top section).

View attachment 636373

I think it meets most of your criteria, although this particular size doesn't have a dedicated laptop compartment. They have 2 bigger ones (Horizon, Professional) and one smaller one (Trail) for different load needs. The Panorama seems to be the Goldilocks size, which is why I ordered it (I was really leaning toward the Trail, but I'll be doing Zion hikes with wife + 3 young boys so I'll probably end up being the pack mule and I'd rather have a little extra carry room).

I think your LowePro probably has the edge in terms of organization options. Pockets and padded dividers look to be more plentiful.

I'm not planning on using a chest mount, but I will be running a Peak Design Capture Clip on one of the shoulder straps and/or hip pads for this purpose. I'm also going to put a Mindshift GP-1 pouch on a shoulder or hip pad for quick access to my Ricoh GR and/or a couple m43 primes.

View attachment 636374

View attachment 636375

It's nice to have options!!
I have thought of getting a rotation as well but was concerned on how easy it would be to rotate the bottom bit. I presume you would have to loosen the waist belt and the top section hopefully would not press down on the bottom section if fully loaded. We can only order them in so cant try before we buy.

If you get the chance please post your thoughts on the pack after you have used it a few times.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2014
Messages
12,397
Location
Southwestern Utah, USA, Earth
Looks like a nice setup. I just ordered a Mindshift rotation180 Panorama to meet most of the same criteria. The cool thing about the rotation180 series is that the camera pack rotates independently of the main backpack, so you can swivel around the camera bucket by itself to grab lenses without taking off the bag's shoulder straps (you can also swivel the whole bag like your LowePro if you need to get something in the top section).

View attachment 636373

I think it meets most of your criteria, although this particular size doesn't have a dedicated laptop compartment. They have 2 bigger ones (Horizon, Professional) and one smaller one (Trail) for different load needs. The Panorama seems to be the Goldilocks size, which is why I ordered it (I was really leaning toward the Trail, but I'll be doing Zion hikes with wife + 3 young boys so I'll probably end up being the pack mule and I'd rather have a little extra carry room).

I think your LowePro probably has the edge in terms of organization options. Pockets and padded dividers look to be more plentiful.

I'm not planning on using a chest mount, but I will be running a Peak Design Capture Clip on one of the shoulder straps and/or hip pads for this purpose. I'm also going to put a Mindshift GP-1 pouch on a shoulder or hip pad for quick access to my Ricoh GR and/or a couple m43 primes.

View attachment 636374

View attachment 636375

It's nice to have options!!
I have used a Panorama for years. Recently I bought a barely used Horizon from @Indianpeaksjoe . I haven't used the Panorama since. The Horizon is just a little bigger, and it's less of a fight to get the hydration bladder in. I also bought a Trail, but I sent it back because it wasn't compatible with my Digital Holster pack straps. I also use a Capture Clip with mine.

@retiredfromlife , both of mine rotate very easily. My only gripes with the Rotation packs is it is difficult to use the rotation part if it isn't on your back. The other gripe is that the hydration bladder is on one side, so if I have the pack sitting upright on a chair (no camera in it, only the full bladder) it is always falling over.
 

Schwert

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Mar 2, 2016
Messages
158
Location
Pacific NW
@Harvey Melvin Richards is exactly correct about the ease of rotation. The Horizon has a framesheet that keeps the pack from collapsing when the waistpack rotates out....much easier to use when on then when off.

I think the Mindshift Horizon is a near perfect daypack...right size, functionality exceptional, excellent carry harness. My only complaint is also about the left side water bladder pocket being a bit tight and can unbalance the pack some.

I carry my 7.5mm fisheye, 40-150mm and 300mm in the waistpack. EM1 and 12-40 I carry NOT in the waistpack. Rotation is easy after a slight loosening of the belt and makes for a nice platform to exchange lenses.
 

sprocket87

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jun 29, 2011
Messages
532
I have thought of getting a rotation as well but was concerned on how easy it would be to rotate the bottom bit. I presume you would have to loosen the waist belt and the top section hopefully would not press down on the bottom section if fully loaded. We can only order them in so cant try before we buy.

If you get the chance please post your thoughts on the pack after you have used it a few times.

I received my Panorama a few days ago and I can echo the earlier replies. The rotation system works brilliantly... no pressure on the beltpack, easy to rotate even with both halves fully loaded. The only catch is, as mentioned above, it's a little cumbersome to get at the beltpack contents if you're not actually wearing the pack.

I'll try to get a few photos of my setup including the carrying capacity. The little GP1 pouch is my favorite bit... It makes for a super convenient lens changing station. More to come on that...


I have used a Panorama for years. Recently I bought a barely used Horizon from @Indianpeaksjoe . I haven't used the Panorama since. The Horizon is just a little bigger, and it's less of a fight to get the hydration bladder in. I also bought a Trail, but I sent it back because it wasn't compatible with my Digital Holster pack straps. I also use a Capture Clip with mine.

Yeah, the Panorama is a bit smaller than I expected. Most of the online reviews seemed to indicate that it was quite spacious in comparison to the Trail, which just tells me how small the Trail really is (that was the model I was looking at first). However, I picked up my Panorama for $159 at B&H used, so it was a pretty good value. If I could've found the Horizon for that price I'd certainly have gone for that.

I've got a 3L bladder that certainly won't be fitting in the Panorama. I'll need to get something slimmer -- did you find one that fits easily?

The bag is actually quite lightweight, and I have found myself wishing the waist straps for the belt pack were removable. For EDC I don't necessarily need the full hip support setup, and could see myself just shoulder strapping the bag. Alas, the waist straps are permanently affixed to the bucket. Not a huge deal.

My only other complaint isn't really the bag's fault, but I picked up a meFoto Backpacker tripod for hiking use, and it's too short for the Panorama. If I try to use it in the side pocket where the water bottle can go, it doesn't come close to reaching the lash strap up top. The tripod cup on the back/bottom can seat it fine, but I have to lengthen the corresponding top strap all the way and weave it through the ballmount to secure it. It works, but it looks a bit funky. It would be nice if there were two traditional tripod cinch straps at the bottom of the bag to mount it horizontally.

Overall I think these rotation bags are brilliantly clever designs -- the rotation system is absolutely perfectly implemented. However, it does seem like some of the more traditional bag elements got left on the cutting room floor. The water bottle holder on my Panorama is just slightly too snug and shallow to give confidence with a good-sized bottle such as a Nalgene. The bladder space has several flaws as discussed earlier. Upper compartment organization is pitiful. The bag is just big enough to seem like a full daypack, but just slightly too small in all the important ways. Even the beltpack section is quite chunky and seems like it would have oodles of space, but the oddly curved bottom seems to eat up some of the usable volume. And the top mesh pocket in the beltpack is such an afterthought, I can't even fit a single 43mm filter case in there! Practically useless for everything I've tried to stick in it. Well padded though!

Of course, all of that applies to my Panorama -- the larger Horizon would likely alleviate some of those quibbles.

And as always, it's a trade-off. I have to keep reminding myself that this is not a do-it-all, carry-it-all megapack. This is a hiking daypack. It's pretty lightweight and low profile, and it is the absolutely fastest, most reliable way to get at my gear (camera or otherwise) while on the trail. Really, as long as I can pack sufficient water, a first aid kit, and some clothing along with my camera gear, the bag is doing its job. I have always struggled with overpacking, so this pack is forcing me to learn what's actually important.

It's 79 and sunny here today, so I'm hoping to put a few trail miles on it tonight while I break in a new pair of Timberlands. I'll report back ;)
 

Schwert

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Mar 2, 2016
Messages
158
Location
Pacific NW
When I was looking at the Mindshift offerings, I almost immediately ruled out the Panorama as too small for my gear and most importantly to short to fit my torso. The Lowepro in the OP's photos looks to not be riding properly on the hips.

@sprocket87 did you try extending a couple of the legs on the MeFoto tripod to fit the tripod holder and strap setup?

I have a 2.5L Osprey bladder that fits OK in the Horizon.
 

sprocket87

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jun 29, 2011
Messages
532
When I was looking at the Mindshift offerings, I almost immediately ruled out the Panorama as too small for my gear and most importantly to short to fit my torso. The Lowepro in the OP's photos looks to not be riding properly on the hips.

@sprocket87 did you try extending a couple of the legs on the MeFoto tripod to fit the tripod holder and strap setup?

The Panorama seems to ride a bit high as well (I'm 6'2") but I was able to get a sufficiently low test fit by lengthening the shoulder straps and adjusting the top stabilizers. Given the pack's small size, even a somewhat sub-optimal fit should be OK since it won't be holding that much weight. I'll have to get some hiking time in to see how it feels in use, but walking around the house seemed comfortable enough ;)

Tripod legs... derp, no I did not do that. I did extend the center column which works pretty well but looks quite goofy. I will give the legs a try! :D
 

Schwert

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Mar 2, 2016
Messages
158
Location
Pacific NW
Camera Backpacks seem to fall into two distinct types...

Highly padded zippered container designed to hold camera gear only, most of the time with rudimentary 1970's era backpack straps...or

Real walking packs that are designed to properly carry weight on the hips, with a well-designed shoulder and hip harness system, that are intended to carry camera equipment, PLUS water, food, extra clothing, safety equipment, etc...

What one buys is entirely dependent on the use scenario.

Most camera backpacks offered seem to fit the first scenario rather than the latter.

Mindshift, Clik Elite, and F-Stop cater to walking photographers...LowePro, Tamrac, Think Tank, and a ton of others more generally fit the padded suitcase with crude backpack straps scenario.

Up until this year I totally rejected the Photo Backpacks and elected to use real backpacks from Osprey...with my Camera gear stuffed into the bag and/or carried in Think Tank pouches on the backpack belt. Purchase of the Mindshift Horizon changed everything...finally a well-designed Photo Backpack that made sense for my walking and photo needs was available.
 

Latest threads

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Mu-43 is a fan site and not associated with Olympus, Panasonic, or other manufacturers mentioned on this site.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Forum GIFs powered by GIPHY: https://giphy.com/
Copyright © Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom