Lowepro Classified 160 AW Review

I bought this to use in place of a my much larger Vanguard backpack which was far too large and kept getting in the way, there’s only so many people you can knock over before it gets frustrating. The idea being a smaller more manageable bag gets taken with you.

This seemed ideal based on the specs. Room for a pro body, I used a gripped Nikon D7000, with a 70-200 on it (which I don’t have, yet), a spare lens or two and a few pockets for the other required odds and ends you need for a days shooting.

Lowepro product page link

The first thing that struck me about that bag was the odd way of getting into the camera section, the product images did show this but I managed to miss the fact the flap wasn’t open.  Normally you’d expect this under the flap, but on this bag it’s a large zip along the top of the bag, the flap just covers 2 inner pockets for things like pens, a notepad, memory and so on.

The camera section has an expander zip under the flap which means it can take a pro/gripped body or a non-gripped body and not have lots of slop. The reality of the matter is a gripped body is tight, and can be a pain to get in or out unless the zips undone all the way. A normal body fits fine and a proper pro (D3/4 or 1D etc.) may fit a bit better as they are not quite as big as a gripped standard body.  The next size up, the 250,  would probably also fix this issue.

The other issue that niggles me is the strap pad is fixed, you can’t slide it if you change sides. This can be a problem as when fully loaded the bag can be quite heavy and it would be nice to be able to change sides and adjust the pad to suit. As it is I have it adjusted to sit on my left shoulder bag behind me on the right, so changing sides feels odd.

While they try sell you on the bag being stealthy and doesn’t look like a camera bag, it does. It’s the same ballistic nylon all technology bags use, if you want truly subtle you need some other material.  The ThinkTank Retrospective series comes to mind here.

While this may seem a bit scathing, I do quite like the bag. There’s room for the bits I need, it seems durable enough and will protect your kit. The included weather cover worked great in the recent snow, but does need the strap to be unclipped to fit it. The accessory pockets are large enough to fit what’s needed, but not so large you end up taking the world with you.

Overall this is a good bag, especially if you don’t use a gripped body.  The niggles while real are just that, niggles.  Most of the time they won’t be an issue, and when they are they slow you down or aren’t as comfortable as you’d hope.