I've often said that the Lowepro Versapack 200AW is my all time favorite bag (blogposts here and here). However, that bag, because of the constant use, has seen some wear: some loose threads, straps starting to thin... So I thought it was time to find a worthy successor, if ever there is one.
And I think I have found it in the Lowepro Photo Hatchback 22L AW.
This is a nice bag. I chose the red one because the only bags I've ever had were either black or black and grey (except for the Lowepro Flipside Sport which I reviewed here) - I wanted something that had a little flair!
I'll just say what I always say about all the Lowepro bags that I have reviewed: the bag is great, nicely constructed and made up of beautiful materials. Really, you can never go wrong with any Lowepro bags. And this one bag in particular is a beaut.
So how does this bag compare and differ from the Versapack?
For starters, both the Versapack and the Photo Hatchback have the camera compartment at the bottom, while the top compartment is reserved for your personal stuff. Well, you can also put some camera gear there if you so choose. For both bags, the partition can be removed and you can use the bag as an ordinary backpack.
However, the big difference here is, for the Photo Hatchback, you don't necessarily have to give up the camera compartment even if you remove the divider in the hatchback. You see, the camera compartment is really a bag on its own and you can still stick it in the bag, or any other bag, and still not have to worry about your precious camera gear.
There is a compartment in the hatchback that can be used to stow a tablet or an 11-inch Macbook Air. Yes, you can do the same in the Versapack but, for this bag, there really is no protection because it was not really meant to hold a computer - a book perhaps, or magazines, but an iPad or a Macbook Air, well, you have to be really, extremely careful...
Another plus for the Hatchback over the Versapack? There are pockets on the side of the Hatchback where you can put a water bottle or another photography accessory - or both, one for each pocket!
Oh, and there is an all-weather cover just in case you get caught up in some drizzle! For both bags, that is.
However, there is one aspect that the Versapack one-ups the Hatchback: you can actually remove the dividers inside the Versapack and roll it down to something smaller: this is ideal if you want to bring an extra camera bag in your luggage.
Oh, and the major difference between the two bags in terms of gear access? You can configure the Versapack so you can access your camera from the side of the bag, either side. For the Hatchback, you can only get your camera from the body-side - this is more secure but, of course, it will need more effort to get, and put back, your camera gear.
So, has the Hatchback dethroned the Versapack? Yes and no... At least not yet.
I will still use the Versapack until time it can no longer hold my gear. But when time the Versapack gives up the throne of being my all-time favorite, the Hatchback will be a worthy replacement. I only wish that there is no large "Lowepro" sign at the front...
And see how it "performed" when I took it to the Christkindlemarket at the Daley Plaza in Downtown Chicago. I must say the the slim profile enabled me to sliver through the many people that wanted to enjoy the Holiday cheer in that place; I was even able to "fight" through the throngs of people that wanted the spiced wine served in a boot. Yep, the slim profile of the bag will enable you to walk the busy city streets. And your gear is also very much secured.
The wife didn't want the spiced wine, just the hot chocolate, so I had to queue again. The Photo Hatchback wasn't a problem the second time around.
This lovely couple got curious on why the wife was photographing me from so many different angles. So, I told them that I am reviewing the bag. The very nice lady said that the bag is beautiful. I heartily agreed!
And here are some more pictures of the bag. In the Daley Plaza, at the Christkindlemarket, under the Picasso.
So, still thinking about buying the photographer in your life, or buying for yourself, a Holiday gift? Consider the Lowepro Photo Hatchback AW. I'm sure s/he will like it. And get the "pepper red" color so that it will be in line with the jolly feelings of the season! Oh, and if you feel it's already too late to order this for Christmas, then this bag will be a perfect thing to have to welcome the New Year!
This bag is Highly Recommended!
So get yours here:
Special thanks to the wife for helping me with the review!
Gear used to make this post: