The new Lowepro Primus AW camera backpack has, as you would expect with Lowepro, excellent build quality. Tough, rugged, well padded, weather-proof, it feels like it belongs on your back. It is primarily a ‘backpack’ and as such is fantastically fit for its purpose. An eight-point harness system, as you’d find on any well constructed rucksack, ensures adaptability and comfort for all shapes and sizes. If you intend to go to the ends of the earth or just fancy a gentle trek up Ben Nevis, then this could be the one for you!
The Primus AW should be the adventurer photographers considered choice. It’s geared-up for the ‘elements’. It’s seam-sealed all weather cover gives you maximum protection from rain and dust, although I’ve found that when I’m carrying even a small tripod on the outside of the bag with it’s grip- lock system, this cover is not quick big enough and feels as if it might rip the cover open. Something to think on.
Now, the ‘environment’. We hear about it all the time and rightly so. We need to have an increased sense of responsibility for our world’s future and Lowepro are helping to address this in the Primus AW. 51% of the bags’ fabric is constructed of 100% Cyclpet material. That’s plastic drinks bottles to you and me, and twenty-two of them in each bag! This establishes the Primus AW as an industry standard in eco-friendly carrying solutions.
Alongside this, as part of Lowepro’s continuing commitment to environmental issues, a percentage of sales from the Primus AW will go to Polar Bears International, a non-profit organisation committed to helping protect the polar bears threatened natural habitat.
OK, let’s get off the soap-box and back to the nuts and bolts. The inside of the Primus AW is set-up in a conventional form with adjustable dividers in the lower compartment section. The top compartment is a good-sized space but lacks the ability to have dividers, which I think is a bit of a short-coming here. There is also quite a novel little pouch for holding two memory cards in this top section.
The Primus AW will take one digital pro SLR body with an attached lens of up to 200mm and one to two extra lenses in the lower divided section. This is pretty good unless you want to carry more than one body, in which case it will have to go in the upper section without securing dividers, or as I ended up doing, wrapping my extra body in a towel!
Now, the quick access side pouch! This is located at the bottom of the pack to the right hand side. It is meant to give quick access to your camera with mounted lens without removing the pack from your back, but I’m afraid I didn’t get on too well with it. First, you need to be somewhat of a contortionist to twist your body and position your arms to get at the access pouch with ease. I found that I actually had to un-sling the pack from one arm before I could do anything. Now that may be just me and my age, but I have to say I found it incredibly awkward. As a right-handed person, it also felt odd trying to remove my camera from this right-sided opening! Added to that, the actual ‘opening’ itself seems a bit too small to get a SLR out easily and I didn’t even have the added bulk of a motor-drive attached to my Nikon D200.
Having said this, I wouldn’t get too hung-up on this particular short-coming. The Lowepro Primus AW is a quality, comfortable, outdoors, hill trekking, kit-protecting backpack and you wouldn’t go far wrong adding it to your equipment list. But as with everything photographic, think what is most appropriate for your own particular use.