Taking a look at the exterior of the bag, there are a number of cool features that demonstrate the fact that Lowepro has a good understanding of what a photographer wants and needs in a bag. Lets take a look at a few of the features that you are sure to enjoy with this bag.
One of the features that Lowepro has been known for with some of their other bags is the use of a quick-access storage compartment like the one used on the previously reviewed Lowepro Fastpack 350 bag. The Inverse 200 AW fits in this group as well, as the camera compartment features a quick-access lid that can be opened with a single pull. This is an extremely convenient feature as it provides easy access to all of your gear without having to remove the bag. There was an initial concern about how securely the quick-access lid would hold my gear while traveling around; however the two zipper pulls keep the lid tightened down quite well when you close them completely. In addition, for added security you can simply slide both zipper pulls to the same side as this essentially removes the ability to utilize the quick-access feature.
Without much experience using a well designed camera bag, I cannot say how common this next feature is among the different manufacturers but I found this to be one of the most useful features of this bag. The Inverse 200 AW offers a convenient tripod carrying system consisting of two adjustable SlipLock straps that secure a tripod to the bottom of the bag. While the Quantary QSX 7001 tripod that I have was a little too bulky to comfortably carry for extended periods, there were not any problems securing it to the bag with room to spare. The tripod storage system also will accommodate smaller mini tripods, monopods, or even items such as a sweatshirt or jacket.
It doesn’t take long to realize that the Inverse 200 AW offers a wealth of storage options to handle everything from your primary gear to the smallest of accessories, while also paying attention to the often overlooked details such as the ability to carry a water bottle. With the side mesh pockets, one can easily store a water bottle to stay hydrated while out exploring with your camera. The larger mesh pocket easily handled a drink as large as my 24oz insulated water bottle.
At the front of the bag, you will find a zippered pocket that can be used to secure a handful of small items. This is a convenient location to store small items such as a cell phone, car keys, and wallet. On most of my excursions, I found it to be an ideal spot to store a backup battery, filters, and my lens cap while I was busy shooting.
There is an additional storage area located at the front of the bag, just in between the main camera compartment and the zippered pocket mentioned above. However, this area of the bag could use some improvements as it did not appear to be overly secure. I was hesitant to store anything in this area for fear that it would slide out unnoticed and never be found. It would be nice to see more substantial mesh edges to enclose this pocket a little more to avoid the risk of a small item being lost.
Since I try not to go out with my gear when it’s ugly out, I am not sure how much use I would have for the All Weather Cover that is incorporated into the Inverse 200 AW bag; although it is reassuring to know that your gear will be protected should you be caught out in the elements. This is a feature that is standard on all of Lowepro’s AW offerings including the pro-quality Primus AW backpack and top end Computrekker Plus AW backpack. Clearly, it’s a features that the Pros use so it’s nice to see the trickle down to consumer level bags.
When testing the use of the cover, I found it be somewhat difficult to remove from the storage pocket and cover the bag. This is made more difficult if you are carrying items such as a large water bottle or tripod, but should you need to protect your gear you will be happy to have the waterproof cover. Also, in hindsight, the tight fit further ensures that your gear will be safe from being exposed in a moonsoon or a sandstorm, should you find yourself in such elements.
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