A Closer Look - Exterior
At 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.
The 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.