Lowepro Photo Hatchback 22L AW Review


A Closer Look - Interior

The Photo Hatchback’s main compartment opens wide for easy loading and unloading of your gear. Even with the bottom half of the bag fully stocked with camera equipment, there’s plenty of room to stow a sweater or rain jacket in here, which adds to the Hatchback’s credibility as a do-it-all backpack. A large zippered pocket runs the full width of one side of the compartment – a great place to throw keys, gum, loose change, and other small items. Two mesh pockets on the opposite side do a fine job of hanging onto pocket notebooks, headphone tins, and mobile devices.

It’s easy to see why Lowepro called this bag the Photo Hatchback once you find your way into the camera compartment, which is concealed behind a zippered hatch that is integrated into the backside. The space is quite cozy, with just enough room for a DSLR with attached 18-105mm zoom lens, two extra lenses, and a flash. The flap itself has a single elastic pocket for spare memory cards. I would have liked to have seen at least one more of these pockets or perhaps a slim zippered pocket in which to keep extra cards or a cleaning cloth, but I suppose the zippered pocket in the main compartment could fulfill that purpose. All of the half-inch thick interior dividers are equipped with Velcro tabs for quick reconfiguration of the space. My current configuration gives me just enough room to fit a Canon Rebel T2i with 18-55mm kit lens attached, Carry Speed FS Slim Camera Sling, Canon 50mm F1.8 II lens, macro adapter barrel, GoPro HERO3, and Canon battery charger. Lowepro recommends that the 16L version of the bag be used to carry compact system cameras, but it will accommodate a full-size DSLR and 1-2 extra lenses in a pinch. The location of the compartment at the bottom of the bag might raise concern for some, but the benefits of this implementation certainly outweigh the cons. Having the compartment open into your back gives the gear inside the best possible protection against theft and the elements, while the bottom location keeps the bag’s center-of-gravity low for balance and comfort. Given the thickness of the padding and the fact that the pocket containing the all-weather cover is located just underneath the camera compartment, you really need not worry about setting your bag down too hard on the pavement. Keeping your camera lens pointing upwards as it sits inside the camera compartment will further help to protect the lens while keeping the heavier camera body as low as possible.


At this point, the Photo Hatchback has already ticked all the boxes on my wish list for a photo bag. But there’s one party trick feature that really makes it stand out. The entire camera compartment is in fact an independent bag within a bag, meaning that it can be completely removed to free up a significant amount of useful space. The camera “cube” can then be cinched closed with its own weather cover to be stowed inside other luggage. Now all one has to do is fold down the interior Velcro divider to transform the Photo Hatchback into a very capable backpack for everyday use. A change of clothes for the gym or a pair of college textbooks are easily swallowed. The thicker padding of the shoulder harness means that even heavy loads can be carried in comfort for long jaunts around town, the park, or a campus.


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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!