Lowepro RunAbout BP 18L backpack review

Lowepro’s lightest backpack holds a decent load and is easily rolled up when hitting the trail

Lowepro RunAbout Daypack
(Image: © Future)

Digital Camera World Verdict

If you’re an avid camper and your main camera rucksack has a GearUp insert, the RunAbout is a no-brainer. It’s a well-designed folding daypack that’s easy to stow and should appeal to photographers and dedicated hikers alike.

Pros

  • +

    Folds up easily

  • +

    Surprisingly sturdy

  • +

    Extremely light

Cons

  • -

    You need a Lowepro GearUp insert to get the most out of it

  • -

    You can get more bag for your buck

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack is designed for short photo excursions away from camp. Lowepro’s lightest backpack weighs just 400g and rolls up into a compact 11x3.9-inch cylinder so you can slip it inside or attach it to your main rucksack with minimal impact on the overall load. It’s a welcome alternative to making camp and then lugging around a 70L rucksack.

The interior is unsurprisingly sparse and there’s little to no padding so it can fold away as neatly as possible. While this provides little protection, the bag has been designed to house any one of Lowepro’s GearUp inserts, which feature padding and dividers to keep your expensive kit safe, just like the best camera backpacks (opens in new tab) should.

(Image credit: Future)
(opens in new tab)

The main compartment can be accessed via a draw-string opening at the top and a back-access zip that runs almost the length of the backpack. This allowed us to easily insert our GearUp PRO XL II and line up the camera case’s top and front access flaps with the RunAbout’s two openings. 

You might question the point of a GearUp insert if it’s not foldable like the RunAbout. Well, bags like the Lowepro PhotoSport Backpack PRO AW III (opens in new tab) come with one included, so it’s simply a case of transferring the insert from one bag to another. The inserts are also available for purchase separately, but if you’re using a camera bag with no provision for a removable insert you won’t get the most out of this semi-modular system. 

(Image credit: Future)

Specifications

Dimensions: 25 x 17 x 50 cm/9.8 x 6.7 x 19.7 inches (approx)
Weight: 400 g/0.9 lbs
Capacity: 18L
Materials: Nylon and carbonate (84% recycled fabric)
Features: Draw-string top and zipped back openings, rolls up into a neat 11 x 3.9 inch bundle, super-light design, side pockets and pull cords 

Build and handling

(Image credit: Future)
(opens in new tab)

The RunAbout rolls up so neatly and feels so surprisingly sturdy – despite its feather weight – it’s a useful bag in its own right. In fact, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t appeal to hikers who aren’t photographers. 

In addition to the spacious main compartment, you have a large front pouch that could easily accommodate an OS map and a couple of filters. Pockets either side of the bag can hold a small tripod and water bottle, with pull cords to hold taller objects in place or attach walking poles. Inside you’ll find a small padded pocket for valuables, which is at least big enough to fit an iPhone 14 (opens in new tab)

The top flap is secured in place via a hook, which slips through two loops. This can be a little fiddly but although you might question why a conventional plastic buckle clip wasn’t used, it would have affected the design. This is because the hook attaches to a small hanging loop on the other side of the bag when it’s rolled up and rolling the bag up is so easy, we think the hook attachment is a fair tradeoff.

Performance

(Image credit: Future)
(opens in new tab)

When filled to near capacity, we still found the backpack to be surprisingly sturdy. The shoulder straps aren’t padded and the adjustment straps are very thin, but the bag sits comfortably on the back. There’s even a diddy chest strap, which despite its diminutive appearance, does provide additional stability. 

Perhaps the RunAbout’s biggest boon is that it’s a pleasure to fold away. You simply roll it up from the bottom, wrap the top flap around the roll and attach it to the hanging loop (mentioned earlier) to secure everything neatly in place.

18L might not sound like much, but the lack of any dividers and padding means the RunAbout is a bit of a TARDIS and thanks to the long zipped opening, you can easily accessing items no matter where they are in the main compartment.

Verdict

(Image credit: Future)

Pack-away bags and padded camera gear inserts really don’t go together and Lowepro’s GearUp inserts are certainly a clever way around this predicament. However, this does mean that to get the most out of the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack – as a camera bag – you really do need to commit to the GearUp ecosystem. But, as a general hiking backpack, we would have scored it higher. 

If you’re a photographer or hiker looking for an easy-to-stow daypack that’s genuinely easy to pack away, this little bag is a great choice.

You might also like the best messenger bags (opens in new tab) and the best sling bags (opens in new tab), or if you're a keen traveler, the best travel tripods (opens in new tab).

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Mike Harris
Technique Editor

Mike is Technique Editor for N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab), and brings with him over 10 years experience writing both freelance and for some of the biggest specialist publications. Prior to joining N-Photo Mike was the production editor for the content marketing team of Wex Photo Video, the UK’s largest online specialist photographic retailer, where he sharpened his skills in both the stills and videography spheres.  


While he’s an avid motorsport photographer, his skills extend to every genre of photography – making him one of Digital Camera World’s top tutors for techniques on cameras, lenses, tripods, filters and other imaging equipment, as well as sharing his expertise on shooting everything from portraits and landscapes to astracts and architecture to wildlife and, yes, fast things going around race tracks.