Lowepro Photo Hatchback 22L AW Review


A Closer Look - Exterior


design5At first glance, the Photo Hatchback doesn’t look like your typical boxy camera bag. The only visible exterior feature that betrays the bag’s contents is the large, distressed Lowepro logo, which is both bold and subtle. Even if you don’t like a lot of branding on your bags, the font doesn’t draw much attention – a good thing given the expensive kit you’ll likely be hauling. Extrovert photographers can opt for the Pepper Red or Galaxy Blue Hatchbacks to really stand out in a crowd. The whole bag feels very durable and well-ventilated in the spots where it counts, but it is extremely light when empty at just 2.2lbs. The shoulder harness is quite plushy, which is good given that the straps are relatively thin. A chest strap and waist belt are there to further stabilize heavier loads. The waist belt is easily removed should you choose not to use it. Dual bottle/tripod pockets flank the bag on both sides while a top-mounted handle makes it easy to grab-and-go. Reinforced stitching means you should have no worries using the handle to carry around upwards of ~25lbs worth of cargo, which is important given the Photo Hatchback’s split personality. An abundance of ventilated cushioning on the back side and shoulder straps ensure your treks will be sweat and soreness free.

The inclusion of a tablet pocket is a great convenience feature for photographers who use tablets or small laptops to view and edit their work on the road. The pocket on the 22L Photo Hatchback has been sized to comfortably carry an 11.6” laptop such as the MacBook Air, so my 10.6” Microsoft Surface RT had no issues sliding in. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this pocket is actually split in two, which provided the perfect space for me to stow miscellaneous cables and other relatively flat items alongside the tablet. There are two elastic loops sewn directly above the top of the divider to hold pens and styli.

cover2The durable outer shell of the Photo Hatchback looks like it can weather the elements quite well, until a sudden downpour arrives. That’s when the included all-weather cover is a godsend, especially if you happen to be carrying your best camera kit. The cover is stored in a Velcro pouch at the very bottom of the bag for quick access. An elastic lining does a good job of hugging the contours of the bag, although externally carried water bottles and tripods do tend to get in the way. Two short Velcro straps loop around the shoulder harness to keep the cover secured in place. The mesh backside of the bag remains almost completely exposed, so there’s still a good chance of water running into the gap between you and the bag. Still, having some level of protection for your delicate electronics is better than none.


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# Ofir 2013-03-26 14:16
Excellent review! I'm using this bag for around 4 months now to carry a 5D Mark II along with a few prime L lenses and the best part of it, aside of it not being so apparent as a photographer's bag, is the way it distributes the weight - I can barely feel it on me!
By the way, the front pocket can hold a 13" Macbook Air, at least that's how I carry mine... :)

Loving this bag, after going through 3 different Lowepro backpacks, I finally found my comfort-zone.
# John 2013-05-06 22:14
Do you think there is enough room to fit a non gripped DSLR with kit lens + 2 lenses and a canon 430 ex flash in the camera compartment? The pictures ive seen seem quite misleading. Any information is much appreciated. :)
# Ofir 2013-05-07 06:53
In addition to my comment (if it got posted), here's a picture of the gear in my bag - plenty of room left, fit also a 135L, can easily fit other common gear.

# John 2013-05-07 19:48
That was very helpful. Thank you so much. I just ordered it. :)
# Mike 2013-07-15 07:45
Would it be possible for you pop up a picture of the front pocket with the 13" air inside? This is the only deciding factor for me purchasing this bag :)

# Ofir 2013-07-15 10:15
Unfortunately I sold my 13 inch Macbook Air a month ago. I can tell you tho that it just about fits (wouldn't fit with any case tho), I would add that it's better to use it in that front pocket when the Macbook Air has "Invisible Shield" applied to it to protect it from bumping from the zipper when taking it in or out.

But as I said, it just about fits - wide wise. Depth wise, that's not even a question, and there is double layer of protection (inner layer+outside layer).
# Mika 2013-08-16 02:04
Ofir, sorry to jump in so late, but I am wondering whether I should get 11" or 13" MBA and since I already have Lowepro Hatchback 22, I am interested on why you got rid of your MBA 13?

I tried 13 MBA in the store and found additional means to get it into hatchback: I took out divider from the inside and slided the MBA 13 behind the camera compartment. Seemed to do the trick, although I would need to use the back like that for a while before final conclusions.
# Ofir 2013-08-20 04:20
Hey again,
I sold my Macbook Air only because I needed the cash at that time. To me, it is the best ultrabook by far and I wouldn't consider any other computer to take along with me, not even the Macbook Pro Retina (at least until it gets AS thin as the Air series".

Referring to your method of storing the Macbook Air in this bag, I wouldn't recommend it and as I said, the Air fits fine in the front compartment where the zipper is. It fits and can be pulled in or out easily (after one or twice of training, and is protected by 2 layers.
# Mika 2013-08-23 23:43
Thanks for the reply.. I have to start training then, as soon as I get the 13 MacBook Air.. if I'm lucky, ill have mine before the end of the next week ;-)
# Ofir 2013-03-26 14:21

The backpack DOES come with elastic bands!
# Ofir 2013-05-06 23:30
Quoting John:
Do you think there is enough room to fit a non gripped DSLR with kit lens + 2 lenses and a canon 430 ex flash in the camera compartment? The pictures ive seen seem quite misleading. Any information is much appreciated. :)

Hey John,

The answer is yes. From my experience, it can hold a 5D Mark II (I don't have any battery grip) with a 35L attached, a 85L and a 50mm f/1.8 on the left and a 580 EXII on the right - all in the camera compartment. And I have no idea how is that, but I don't feel the weight on my back.
# John 2013-05-07 06:52
That's perfect. Sounds like the right bag for me :) thanks a bunch!