The LowePro Adventura BP 150 III doesn’t hold a lot, it’s not especially adaptable and it’s not expensively made. And it could be just what you need.
Camera backpacks don’t have to be huge and ungainly. If you’re trekking across Antarctica you’ll want to take a lot of kit and expedition gear, but if you’re taking a weekend city break or a day out, you won’t need all that. Big backpacks are a nightmare on buses, trams and trains, and dangling straps, waist belts and carabiners will get caught on every door, luggage trolley and passer-by. That’s where a more modest backpack like the LowePro Adventura BP 150 III makes a lot of sense.
It might not be the toughest, biggest and most advanced camera backpack – quite the opposite – but it deserved to be considered one of the best camera backpacks for travellers and urban explorers, if not one of the best camera bags all round for smaller camera kits.
Total Volume: 11L
Internal Dimensions: 22 x 12 x 38cm
External Dimensions: 26 x 18 x 42cm
Camera Compartment: 22 x 12 x 20cm
Front Compartment: 21 x 1 x 17cm
Top Compartment: 24 x 12 x 15: cm
Tablet Compartment: 22 x 1 x 30 cm
Exterior Material: 1680D ballistic polyester, 600D polyester
Interior Material: 200D polyester
This is the smaller of two backpacks in the LowePro Adventura range – the other is the Adventura BP 300 III, which is only a little more expensive but holds more gear. However, the appeal of the BP 150 III tested here is its profile and its portability and practicality while travelling.
It’s designed to be light and rugged, and its made of 82% recycled materials, so it’s good both for your conscience and your back. It’s a bag of two halves with a lower camera compartment with re-configurable dividers, and a smaller upper compartment where you could stow clothing, maps, belongings or whatever – though it’s also padded, so you could put a camera here for faster access and leave more space in the lower part for more lenses, another body, a drone etc.
Lowepro says the main compartment can fit a crop-sensor mirrorless camera with lens fitted, plus 2-3 extra lenses and/or accessories. Access to the lower compartment is from the back and you reach the upper compartment from the top.
There are elasticated pockets on either side for stowing a water bottle, say, or a small travel tripod – there’s an upper restraining strap on one side. On the front is a zippered pocket which could be handy for passports, other travel documents or keys, while inside the top compartment is a slide-in pocket for a 10-inch tablet an an open elasticated pocket which could be handy for cables or power banks.
Build and handling
The Adventura BP 150 III doesn’t have a very expensive feel, but that’s fine because it’s not a very expensive bag. It does feel durable, it’s well padded and it holds its shape well, so it’s perfect for public transport, pushing under seats and generally not getting in the way
Lowepro says it’s designed for crop sensor cameras but I think that’s doing it a disservice – my Sony A7R II and bulky 24-105mm f/4 slid in just fine, along with my Zeiss 16-35mm f/4, a couple of Sigma primes and a charger. The dividers are easy to move around and nicely padded, and it didn’t take long to redesign the main compartment around my kit.
Or I might just put the A7R II/24-105mm in the top compartment and leave more space in the base for my Mavic Mini and controller.
The tripod holder is great to have, and the top strap will keep your tripod nicely anchored. Getting more than a single leg into the lower pocket could be a struggle, though, and any tripod longer than 40cm in folded length is going to stick out at the top rather. A Peak Design Travel Tripod would fit perfectly, as would a smaller Vanguard VEO, say. The Ulanzi F38 travel tripod I tried it with was probably as big as I’d care to go. With a tripod attached, the zipper for the top compartment is harder to operate unless you do it up from the other side, but that's hardly a big issue.
The capacity of the Adventura BP 150 III is limited, which means it’s never going to weigh a lot even when fully packed, so it’s easy to slide on and off and doesn’t need the extra support of a waist belt, which makes it simpler still.
With camera backpacks it’s easy to overthink, over-spend, and over-pack, which is why the Adventura BP 150 III is so appealing. If you’re into sports and wildlife, you’ll need a bigger bag just for the lenses, but if you’re shooting travel, portraits and landscapes and you like to travel fairly light (as I do), then the Adventura BP 150 III is big enough.
Better still, it’s simple to pack, put on and take off, takes up little space on your back and isn’t festooned with belts, straps and buckles to catch on everything you squeeze past. There’s room in the world for big backpacks (and boy, do they need room), but there’s (even more) room for small, straightforward and affordable backpacks like this one.