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LowePro Flipside 500AW Bag Review

Chris Norman looks at the large Lowepro Flipside 500AW.

| Lowepro Flipside 500AW in Bags, Cases and Straps

LowePro Flipside 500AW Bag Review: Lowepro Flipside 500AW

First, let me say this is a BIG bag. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing, but you won’t go sneaking around unnoticed with this on your back. The flipside (geddit?) is that you can fit in a huge amount of equipment and carry it comfortably all day.

This is aimed at the wildlife / landscape / sports photographer who needs to carry large, heavy lenses and camera bodies for significant distances before setting up for a shoot.

Key Features

  • Suitcase-style opening in back panel, between the straps
  • Raincover
  • Tripod holder
  • Netbook / ipad pocket

LowePro Flipside 500AW Handling

LowePro’s describe the Flipside 500AW is designed for carrying a “Pro DSLR with grip and attached 500mm f/4 lens; 1-2 extra bodies; 2-4 extra lenses; flash; 3 memory cards; tripod or monopod; accessories and personal items.”

LowePro Flipside 500AW Bag Review: Lowepro Flipside 500AW On Back LowePro Flipside 500AW Bag Review: Lowepro Flipside 500AW with Tripod
Lowepro Flipside 500AW On Back Lowepro Flipside 500AW with Tripod

Lowepro have shown their rucsac pedigree with the carrying system; a pair of shaped well-padded (but not overly-so) shoulder straps are supplemented by a well-padded hip belt. In addition, a fully height-adjustable sternum strap helps to keep the shoulder straps where you want them. I carried a well-loaded 500AW for a good couple of miles without any particular discomfort.

LowePro Flipside 500AW Performance

This is a deceptively straightforward bag. Access is through a zipped panel in the back panel, located between the straps. With the rucksack on your back, there is no way anyone will be able to unzip the main compartment without removing it from your back.

LowePro Flipside 500AW Bag Review: Lowepro Flipside 500AW

The internal layout and space is extremely generous; it will easily fit what it’s designed for; I even managed to fit a 13 inch MacBook inside main compartment. The suitcase-style opening allows great access to all your gear, and by opening it on its back means you won’t get mud on your back when you put it on again.

A large pocket on the face of the bag is internally divided to hold an iPad or equivalent, wallet etc. It’s large enough to hold a light jacket or mac. I would have liked to see this pocket being lockable, particularly as it’s likely to contain high-value items. A clever concealed tripod mount makes carrying a heavy tripod easy and secure. Stretchy mesh pockets on the sides can hold water bottles and snacks with ease.

LowePro Flipside 500AW Bag Review: Lowepro Flipside 500AW Straps LowePro Flipside 500AW Bag Review: Lowepro Flipside 500AW Open
Lowepro Flipside 500AW Straps Lowepro Flipside 500AW Open

The bag is compatible with LowePro’s SlipLock attachment system, so you can add extra cases etc on the sides if you need.

I would like to see a waterproof base, and the big front pocket to be lockable (particularly when this is likely to be carrying an iPad, keys and other valuables).

When I swung the bag around to my front to access the main compartment. As I unzipped the panel the bag dropped alarmingly. The straps from the waist belt from the main pack need to be kept tight to keep this from happening, but some warning in the instructions would save a heart-stopping moment.

Value for money

At around £130 this is not a cheap bag, but it is no way one of the most expensive. Considering the amount of kit it can carry, the level of protection offered and the comfort and convenience, I would say this is good value for money

LowePro Flipside 500AW Verdict

This bag does everything it sets out to do really well; it’s comfortable for long periods of time with a lot of heavy gear in; it’s easy to get to all your gear and organise it, letting you get on with what you got it for in the first place - taking great photos.
  LowePro Flipside 500AW Bag Review:
  The Lowepro Flipside 500 is great for carrying pro gear in comfort for you and your gear.

LowePro Flipside 500AW Pros

Great bag for carrying big pro SLR gear for sports / wildlife shooters
Secure main compartment protects camera gear from opportunists
Very comfortable harness
All-weather cover
Clever hideaway tripod carrying system

LowePro Flipside 500AW Cons

Have to take bag off or swing it round to the front to get access to gear
Pocket on back of pack not lockable


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