As my wife travels a lot due to her job as a freelance photographer, the time finally came to upgrade her old carry on camera bag due to it being too small. Her old Lowepro backpack was just not being up to the task anymore, old and small. Plus all the extra gear she is carrying is just too much for her back.
So the task was set to find out what is the best DSLR Camera Backpack for traveling. There are just so many designs and styles around. Lowepro has one of the biggest range of quality camera cases around, so we started to do some investigation.
We needed the case to have a few basic features like –
- Space to be able to carry two DSLR Canon 5d mark iii camera bodies. (Yep expensive)
- Compartments for extra lenses like prime and high zoom up to 200mm
- Have rollers for easy move-ability when traveling.
- It needs to be small enough to fit as hand luggage on Airplanes.
- Requires extra pockets for smaller objects like batteries, flashcards, laptops, and external hard drives for backups. (check out our review post for different types of NAS backup drives for pro photographers)
- Needs to have an external tripod strap
- Back straps so it can be used as a backpack when the terrain gets difficult.
- Built especially for DSLR Cameras as a backpack and roller for air-travel.
The Lowepro x450 roller AW ii seemed to tick all those boxes on paper, but could it really deliver?
Best DSLR Camera Backpack for Travel
So after many weeks of reading online reviews, and checking specifications the new Lowepro pro runner x450 travel photography backpack was ordered from Amazon. This is the newer version 2 with many important upgrades.
Wow! what a case, this beast has it all, and then some. It has all the same great features of the older x450 version 1, but some added extra features and new styling.
Lowepro Pro Runner RL x450 AW II Camera storage case review.
So right off the bat we started to give this roller backpack a full workout. We took it to the park for a wedding shoot. Off to the Wool Sheds for some engagement rustic photos. Down to the beach for another wedding party shoot.
Fully loaded you really feel the weight. But rolling it around was no problems what so ever. The handle retracts out to a nice long length, so you don’t have to bend over while dragging the case.
The best way to really test this pro runner travel photography backpack, was to take it halfway around the world. This was another wedding photo job, so a great way to fully test out all its pros and cons.
Traveling from Australia to Hawaii and then onto Utah (Salt Lake City) and back, we were surprised to see how well this case actually performs.
Being an All-weather bag (AW) we know our expensive camera gear is protected in wet weather. Out zips a hidden small bag raincoat if it’s pouring down.
The design of each compartment is laid out really well. With adjustable and removable Velcro compartments, you have a huge range of options for your valuable camera gear. This makes the x450 roller camera bag compact, but still able to store a huge range of gear.
The problem with a larger camera case, is that you won’t be able to take it on the airline with you as carry on luggage. None of us want to put $10,000 dollars worth of camera gear as cargo hold luggage. Gear may accidentally get broken or go missing.
This is where the airline compatible camera case comes in to play.
Lowepro RL x450 AW is Airplane carry-on compatible
The Lowepr pro runner RL (roller) x450 is right at the limit of allowable carry on baggage size. In-fact during our flight journey, we found many other people who seem to be pushing the limits of luggage sizes as carry on bags.
Most airlines have set the maximum dimensions for carry-on bags. These vary slightly from airline to airline but the consensus is –
- Around 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm), including handles and wheels.
- The Lowepro x 450 RL AW ii came in at 7.09″ x 13.70″ x 19.49″ inches
Below is a photo of our Lowepro x450 case in an overhead luggage rack on a Qantas International flight Boeing 787-8. Our camera case is in the middle with a jacket on top. Plenty of room.
Domestic flights were also not a problem . They have even smaller overhead racks, but it still fits in no problem. Its sized to fit in the overhead carry-on stow-away compartments, on most commercial airliners.
You wouldn’t want to place it under the chair in-front of you, as there would be no room for your feet. But it does fit. We tried it just for fun.
Lowepro x450 – Professional gear backpack for digital SLR canon cameras.
- Multiple Velcro adjustable camera compartments.
- Easy-rolling wheels.
- Single aluminum telescopic handle.
- Inbuilt rain cover.
- Many extra zipper pockets for phones, keys, wallet etc.
- Airport carry on luggage compatible.,
- Well padded and strong design.
- Lockable YKK heavy duty zippers.
- The telescopic handle can be slightly hard to retract in with the push button. But I believe this is a problem that happened after taking the case to the beach for a wedding shoot. We ended up getting some sand down into the aluminum telescopic handle. Tipping the case upside down and moving the handle in and out a few times has helped get some sand out.
- Slightly heavy due to the strong construction, especially when loaded up. (Quality)
- A little bit larger than the popular x450 BP backpack case, this is due to having to add in the telescopic handle. This makes the internal compartment size the same between both camera bags but adds a few inches to the outside case width for the roller version.
- Quite expensive, but this is the best camera backpack for air travel hands down. It’s the gold standard for a pro photographer. Plus its tax-deductible.
Roller or Backpack Camera Case?
This is the million-dollar question. We wanted a roller. Save your back, shoulders, and get a camera case with roller wheels. The trade-off is a small increase in overall weight, due to the rollers and telescopic handle. You now have so many more carry options.
Even though you have wheels on the x450 RL, you still have the backpack straps, for when the going gets tough.
Dragging this case through airports, along with another luggage suit case is a breeze. This camera case is designed for air travel. It’s very movable with many options for transport. Backpack, drag, push, or hand carry. So many options.
Lowepro x450 travel camera backpack case specs.
|Lowepro Versions||Pro Runner BP 350 All Weather II (AW)||Pro Runner BP 450 AW II||Pro Runner RL x450 AW II|
|Air Travel photography backpack.|
Click Image for more information.
|What camera hardware fits in this Lowepro bag?||This is the small brother version. Suites Digital SLR cameras with attached lens, such as our Canon 5D Mark III with up to 70-200mm, 4-5 extra adjustable compartments for lenses or speed-lights. Tripod front strap||The same as the x350 but much larger.|
Up to 2 Pro DSLRs cameras with attached lens (such Nikon D4S with up to 70-200mm f/2.8 or 300mm), 5-6 extra lenses (one up to 300mm), and speed-lights. Tripod front strap
|Up to 2 DSLRs, one with lens attached such as Canon 5D Mark IV with a large 70-200mm, OR 1 DSLR with lens attached, and 1 Pro DSLR body only.|
5-6 extra lenses (one up to 300mm) and speed-lights.
Tripod front strap.
|What size laptop fits in this lens bag?||13″||15″||15″|
|What size tablet fits in this camera bag?||10″ +||10″ +||10″ +|
|External dimensions of the camera case||12.40 x 5.51 x 18.11 inches||13.70 x 7.09 x 19.49 inches||13.78 x 9.02 x 20.67 inches|
|Internal dimensions of the bag||11.42 x 4.53 x 15.55 inches||12.80 x 6.30 x 16.06 inches||12.20 x 6.30 x 17.05 inches|
|Weight of bag||5.35 lbs||6.40 lbs||9.59 lbs|
|Airplane carry-on compatible||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Where to Buy|
Security Screening and Camera Bags
With the newer laws coming into effect with increased screening, some countries are requiring all cameras to be taken out of their bags. This means all carry bags, big or small.
Just like laptops now have to be taken out of their carry cases, so too now all DSLR cameras need to be taken out of their bags. Not all security checkpoints are requiring this yet, but a few did.
We also use this case to carry our 13 inch Lenovo Yoga 2 pro, which is our photo backup and editing tool while away from home. With all the cameras and lenses packed, it truly is the best camera laptop backpack travel case around.
The good this about this camera case is that it only takes a few seconds to lay it down, unzip it and remove the 2 camera bodies and a laptop. Quickly get them x-ray scanned, and then it only takes a few more seconds to replace them and zip up the bag. It’s really no trouble at all. No holding up any lines at the security checkpoint.
Once we were asked to open up the Lowepro DSLR camera backpack to show customs. When they unzipped it they said “Wow, that’s laid out nice.” They can really see fast what they are looking for.
Conclusions – Final Words
If you are after a professional gear backpack for digital SLR canon cameras, the Lowepro x450 roller is the one for you. If you travel a lot you have to be able to take all your expensive gear in one bag and not worry about it. The sizing is perfect for 2 pro cameras be it a Nikon or Canon like the 5d mark iii. Everyone needs a backup camera right!
We are canon fans, but this case will suit the full range of Nikon cameras as well. I’m a person that loves to do research before purchasing something. But once I find a product that goes above and beyond what’s expected then I have no problems recommending it.
The Lowepro x450 roller is in my opinion the best camera and laptop backpack for a traveling photographer. I promise you this is one camera gear case to rule them all.