Lowepro Photo Hatchback 22L AW Review


Testing - CES and The Daily Grind


Seeing that travelling to the International CES presents a combination of challenges for one’s luggage, it was the perfect opportunity to test out just how useful the Photo Hatchback could be. Starting with the flight out to Vegas, I discovered that the bag fits comfortably underneath the seat of your average airliner, provided that it isn’t crammed full of gear. A few hours on the convention floor was all it took for me to deeply appreciate the external water bottle pockets. Having my tablet along for the ride gave me quick access to the web, email, and documents on-the-go. The well-ventilated harness kept my back sweat-free, and the split inside of the tablet pocket made it a convenient place to stash maps, boarding passes, or other flat items. Since the end of the show, I’ve been using the bag on a daily basis to carry a change of clothes from the office to the gym with enough room to spare for my lunch. The camera box stays at home ready to be swapped into any bag that I choose at a moment’s notice. I can definitely see myself using this backpack for years to come, so my initial reservations about its price are long forgotten.


One of the very first things I did after receiving the bag was remove the waist belt. Unless I’m backpacking with 50lbs of gear, I’d rather go without a waist belt dangling at my sides. For those who choose to keep the belt attached, you can swing the backpack around to your front to conveniently access the camera compartment. The belt keeps the bag suspended at the perfect height. I can still comfortably access the compartment one-handed without the waist belt, but I do so at the risk of something falling out. Another less-apparent bonus feature of the bag involves the tablet pocket. Its size allows it to accept a ~1.5L hydration bladder. Best of all, you can route the hose through the grab handle and into one of the loops in the shoulder harness for a CamelBak-esque setup.

There are only two downsides that I’ve found with the Photo Hatchback. The first is that the mesh outer pockets are not well-suited to carrying very tall or slender tripods. They tend to topple out if the bag isn’t full. Had Lowepro included an elastic or Velcro loop above these pockets I could carry a wide variety of tripods or monopods without concern. This second point is more of a nitpick really. Unlike past Lowepro bags that I’ve handled like their classic Slingshot series, the shoulder straps on the Hatchback do not have any elastic bands to keep any strap excess in check.

You have no rights to post comments


# 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!