Gear Review: Lowepro StreetLine BP 250
A slim camera bag for flying under the radar while on assignment
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As a photojournalist, I often find myself navigating crowded events like protests, Santacon (unfortunately), or drunken sport celebrations like the Super Bowl. For days like these, I need a slim bag that won't start 100 fights as I attempt to maneuver through the masses to take pictures. I also travel frequently and want a lightweight bag that I can lug around for days. I’ve recently been testing the Lowepro StreetLine BP 250 and have found it to be a real resource when working in such fast and light jobs.
The Steetline BP 250 is a nice, slim little backpack that's almost the exact width of my 15" Macbook and not much taller. I can wear it while working and then stow away my camera(s) for the often sketchy walk to the car in the dark—while Lowepro might not be blowing away the competition as far as style is concerned, the clean and low-key bag design is helpful for flying under the radar. This is hugely important, as the last thing I want is for someone to know I've got expensive camera gear on my back.
For extended periods, I wouldn't recommend storing more than one DSLR in this lightly padded pack, though it's fine if packed full for a short flight. I recently spent a few days on assignment in rural Idaho and the StreetLine left me a lot of leg room during the flight over to Boise from Seattle. It had just enough space for a laptop, charger, jacket, sunglasses and accessories, not to mention my Canon 5D mark III camera body with gigantic 100-400 zoom lens. There are also several pockets on the outside to stash your snacks, gum, or a few burner phones. My only critique here is that the top handle on the rear side is a hair too narrow to neatly slip onto the trolly handle of my roller bag (or even the Lowepro Echelon roller), missing the opportunity to nest and function as a single piece for slick airport walkin.
Design-wise, Lowepro is onto something with their collapsable bellows-style gear pockets inside the bag. When not in use, they fold down and take up hardly any space. That way, I can slide just a laptop in there, cinch it all down, and move through a crowd without much thought. And as for back pad, it’s much softer than it looks, and helps air flow between your sweaty back and the bag.
All in all, for a camera bag, this is a solid bet. If you’re after something a bit more conventional looking, check the newly released JJF Camera Bag from Nixon.