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An Honest Lowepro Freeline BP 350 AW Review: Is It Worth the Hype?

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As an experienced travel photographer, the Lowepro Freeline Camera Backpack 350 AW has been my go-to companion for several years. Its versatility is apparent, accommodating everything from a standard day shoot to international travel photography assignments.

The backpack houses my essential gear, including a mirrorless camera, lenses, a drone, and various accessories.

If you want a visual walkthrough of the features of this camera backpack for travel, watch our video demo from the ViaTravelers YouTube channel below:

Lowepro Freeline 350W First Impressions

A black Lowepro FreeLine camera backpack with water bottle, showcasing durability and practical design for photographers.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Lowepro is one of the most recognizable brands for professional camera backpacks and cases, and the Freeline 350W is one of its signature models. I’ve had this pack for years, and it’s held up through thousands of miles of travel. Durability can be expected, but there are a few.

While not fully waterproof, it demonstrates commendable resistance to various weather conditions, a crucial feature for any travel photographer. I notice that the black fabric of the backpack is prone to collecting dirt, but since it’s easy to wipe down, it cleans up nicely.

The backpack has practical pockets and plenty of space to attach accessories on the exterior daisy chain. Internally, its customizable compartments with Velcro dividers provide an organized space for various equipment and personal items.

A notable design drawback is the potential for small items to slip through gaps in the compartment closure. It’s also far from inconspicuous, and carrying it around makes it obvious that you’ve got tech gear on board.

Where to Buy:

Specifications:

The table below provides key dimensions and specifications of the Freeline BP 350 AW Black camera backpack, highlighting its design, capacity, and protective features to help you understand if the backpack is suitable for your equipment.

FeatureDetail
DesignPremium daypack for storytellers, photographers, videographers
Divider SystemQuickShelf™; 3-tier shelf or folds flat
MaterialHigh-grade Nylon 66; water & abrasion-resistant
AccessDual side access panels
Laptop PocketCradleFit™; protects up to 15-inch laptop
ComfortActivZone™ back panel; targeted support
Dimensions (Internal)25.5 x 18 x 47 cm (10.04 x 7.09 x 18.50 in)
Dimensions (External)29.3 x 20.8 x 48.7 cm (11.54 x 8.19 x 19.17 in)
Camera Compartment25 x 16 x 32 cm (9.84 x 6.30 x 12.60 in)
Top Compartment25 x 15 x 15 cm (9.84 x 5.91 x 5.91 in)
Laptop Compartment25 x 1.5 x 40 cm (9.84 x 0.59 x 15.75 in)
GearBox (Exterior)25 x 12 x 5 cm (9.84 x 4.72 x 1.97 in)
GearBox (Interior)24 x 11 x 4 cm (9.45 x 4.33 x 1.57 in)
CapacityDSLR/Mirrorless body, 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, medium tripod
WarrantyLowepro Limited Consumer Warranty

Innovative Features and Practical Design

Lowepro Freeline BP 350 AW Review, a camera backpack with secure buckle on textured surface
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

QuickShelf Divider System: The QuickShelf Divider System is a standout feature for photographers who need adaptable storage. This 3-tier shelf, which folds flat, allowed me to customize the compartment for various equipment, whether carrying a drone, mirrorless, DSLR, or GoPro. Its efficiency in space management is commendable.

Water and Abrasion Resistance: Its high-grade Nylon 66 exterior exemplifies the backpack’s resilience. This material proved worth it during unexpected rain showers in Amsterdam, keeping my equipment dry. Moreover, its abrasion resistance has preserved its appearance, showing minimal wear after three years.

Dual Side Access: The panels testify to the backpack’s thoughtful design. You can quickly grab lenses or gear without removing the pack, which is great in dynamic environments like crowded marketplaces.

Cradle Fit Laptop Pocket and ActivZone Back Panel: These features combine protection for my 15-inch laptop with ergonomic comfort. The Cradle Fit pocket keeps a laptop secure and safe in transit, while the ActivZone back panel provides targeted support, which is crucial for extended periods of wear.

Design and Comfort: The backpack’s sleek design disguises its true nature as a camera bag, offering a degree of stealth in crowded settings. The weight distribution system within the backpack kept it comfortable, even when fully packed. That’s a nice feature in a travel backpack, considering it’ll be lugged around for long stretches at a time.

Overall Impression

Travel Backpack, Tripod and Tech Pouch
The Lowepro backpack with a Peak Design tripod and tech pouch (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

Having utilized the Lowepro Freeline BP 350 AW extensively, I value its adaptability for carrying my core photography gear. Its durability, organization features, and the external strap system for securing a tripod enhance its practicality. The internal compartment is spacious, fitting a MacBook Pro and offering additional protection with padded liners.

Exterior Functionality

Durable Lowepro Freeline Backpack at airport gate D19 with water bottle in side pocket
Using My Lowepro Camera Backpack at the Airport (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

The backpack’s professional appearance is practical yet stylish, aided by its all-black design. Its straps, side pockets, and lined front pocket make storing and accessing personal items or smaller gear easy. The daisy-chain front makes it easy to clip on accessories or attach a tripod.

Here’s how the bag supports my gear:

  • Straps: Adjustable shoulder straps make this bag suitable for everyone, and plenty of external straps make it easy to carry a tripod and other accessories.
  • Side Pockets: Equipped with pockets on both sides, perfect for items I need to grab quickly without rummaging through the main compartment.
  • Front Pocket: This interior lining offers extra protection and organization for quick-reach items such as batteries, memory cards, or my wallet.

Here’s a closer look at the side view and how the water bottle easily fits in the pocket:

Black Lowepro Freeline camera backpack and Beis luggage at airport terminal gate D19
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Interior Customization

Close-up view of the interior compartment of a Lowepro Freeline BP backpack
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Lowepro Freeline 350AW backpack features a storage capacity of 20.5 liters. The main compartment’s flexible Velcro dividers allow for safe and organized storage of photo gear.

With its customizable interior dividers, this travel backpack offers over 12 different organizational configurations. The internal pockets are especially useful for organizing smaller items like SD cards, charging cords, and drone accessories.

One issue to note is that small gaps may appear due to the flexibility of the backpack sidewalls, risking smaller items falling out if not packed carefully. The gaps created by this flexibility aren’t big, but just be sure you aren’t packing loose SD cards, as you may lose them to the bottom of the pack.

  • Central Partition: SD cards, portable reader
  • Side Pockets: Charging cords, drone blades

Pros of the Lowepro Freeline BP 350W

  • Durability: The Nylon 66 exterior is stylish and functional, offering protection in various weather conditions.
  • Accessibility: The dual-side access panels significantly enhance the ease of accessing equipment.
  • Comfort: The ActivZone back panel delivers comfort during long travel days.
  • Design: The QuickShelf divider system excels in providing both organization and flexibility.

Cons of the Lowepro Freeline BP 350W

  • Mobile Phone Pocket: The design of this pocket feels slightly outdated and could benefit from modernization.
  • Weight Distribution: The backpack can lean forward when heavily loaded, necessitating careful packing for balance.
  • Old-Fashioned Dividers: Although functional, the dividers lack the flexibility some more modern competitors offer.

Customer Reviews and Use Cases

The backpack has garnered appreciation for its dual function as a camera and daypack. Users frequently commend its material quality, waterproof capabilities, and strap comfort. While the mobile phone pocket receives criticism, it does not significantly detract from the backpack’s overall effectiveness.

Its water and abrasion-resistant qualities and the customizable QuickShelf system cater to various photography needs. The dual side access panels and dedicated laptop compartment enhance its functionality for on-the-go editing and gear changes.

However, it’s important to note the backpack’s limitations regarding space for personal items and their weight, which is particularly relevant for those prioritizing light travel.

Is the Lowepro Freeline Camera Backpack 350 AW Worth the Price?

Inateck and Lowepro tech-savvy travel backpacks
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Lowepro Freeline Camera Backpack 350 AW is a testament to thoughtful design and robust functionality. Its features cater well to the dynamic needs of travel photography, balancing durability, accessibility, and comfort. While it exhibits a few areas for improvement, its strengths overwhelmingly contribute to its status as a top choice for photographers and travelers.

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