Durability in the Field
After drop kicking this bag in the field for over a month and through one big and crazy trade show in Vegas, the bag doesn't even look like it's seen a day of use. There are no frays and no stuck zippers. The luxurious leather accents are also pristine.
Despite the fact that I've noticed that the bag uses slightly thinner padding in comparison to other Lowepro bags I've reviewed in the past, it still managed to keep all the things I care about safe and undamaged. The thinner padding also helped in maintaining a slim profile while maximizing storage space. They truly got the formula right here.
Room for a Bit More Comfort
After lugging around this bag for quite a few long days (and many short days), I've come to both love and hate some aspects of the Classified 250 AW.
I found the strap far too stiff and the shoulder pad portion far too short, causing the thinner nylon portion to dig into me, especially when carrying the maximum load of gadgets. The pad was also sewn to the strap, making it impossible to adjust on the fly. Even though Lowepro did include that little flap to keep your camera strap on your shoulder, I do put the priority on comfort and this strap did not do it for me.
While we're on the subject of the strap, I feel that Lowepro is on the right track with the cross strap. It definitely made a big difference when carrying more weight. However, it can easily be perfected with just a couple more ideas borrowed from well designed bicycle courier bags out there. It just needs to be wider at the attachment point so that it doesn't pinch the strap. Good courier bags use a wide triangular piece to attach itself to the shoulder strap which makes a huge difference for adjustment and comfort.
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
So what's the final word on the Lowepro Classified 250 AW? The mix of durability and protection for your gear is fantastic despite the slim profile. I also appreciated the extra storage room that seemed to appear out of nowhere and enjoyed the fact that it doesn't look like a camera bag, making you a target for theft. However, when you have an opportunity to take this bag out for hours, you do start to see where improvements can be made.
For me, all Lowepro needs to do to turn this into a bag that I could just fall in love with is improve the strap. I know they are on the right track because they did include the cross strap to make the bag more stable when running around, but it just wasn't comfortable when you do end up wearing the bag all day long, especially when you fill the bag to capacity. For people that go point A to point B, then drop the bag, it'll treat you well.
- Slim and tasteful design allows you to run incognito with your gear.
- Tons of space for all your gear and more.
- Excellent durability and protection for your gear.
- Fantastic All Weather Cover.
- The strap needs improvement to increase comfort as the bag loads up (or as you fall in love with it and use it more).
Overall Rating: 8.5 / 10.0