October 19

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Field Test Review of the LowePro Inverse 100 AW Camera Bag

By Dan

October 19, 2010


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Trail running, Powerline Pass, Chugach Mountains, near Anchorage, Alaska

Last week I wrote about my ongoing quest to find the best camera bag for my style of outdoor and adventure photography. After checking out a number of bags, I decided to give the LowePro Inverse 100 AW a try. I picked one up over the weekend and took it out on a half day mountain run with my uber-running wife yesterday. Here’s my field tested review.

What attracted me to this bag is that it’s small and simple. Many of the adventure style camera bags out there are simply too big for what I need. I’m either running or cycling with it, or wearing it with a backpack when I ski and hike, so I want something small that won’t take up too much room on my front, especially when I’m wearing it with a pack and being very active.

For me, the most important aspect of a bag is being able to keep my camera right there within easy reach whenever I need it. Since my shooting style often revolves around fast breaking situations and moving quickly, I’d rather have a small bag that fits a single body and one or two lenses and keeps them handy than one that carries more gear, but requires me to stop, get inside my backpack and reach for it. I’d miss too many shots that way.

If I need that extra big lens or flash, I can always stuff it into a lens case and either wear it on the belt or cram in in the pack, but when I’m on the move, I like to keep at least two lenses at my fingertips.

Essentially a rectangular belt pack that’s designed to be worn either on the front or the back, the Inverse 100 AW has a mesh padded belt and a single compression strap on each side. It has a single top access compartment and two dividers that holds a single pro size DSLR and a secondary lens or flash and a pair of velcro memory card slots right inside the lid

On the front of the bag it has a small zipper compartment where you could easily put a couple of filters, spare battery or memory card case. That pouch also doubles as a small shove-it pocket where you could stash a jacket or hat. There’s a mesh pocket on each side of the bag, one of which is big enough to hold a water bottle. Finally, it has two a pair of straps on the bottom where you could strap on a small tripod.

Finally, like all the LowePro AW bags, it has a waterproof cover that tucks away when it’s not needed. I see this getting used alot, since I frequently get stormed on.

So, yesterday morning, I dropped in my Nikon D700, 24mm lens, 85mm lens, and two spare cards. With keys and a Clif bar stuffed into one of the outer side pockets and a water bottle in the other, we hit the trailhead and took off for a few hours.

The bag sat well on my hips with very little bounce; the two compression straps really help snug the thing into your body. By the end of the day, my hips were a tiny bit sore, but that would happen with just about any pack when you’re running with that kind of weight.

When I needed access to my camera, I simply loosened the belt and swing the bag around front. I really like the sideways dual-zipper lid, it opens quite easily with a quick pull and when open, it’s completely out of the way. I could even run with the bag out front for short stretches if I needed to have fast access for shooting.

Overall, I’m very happy with the LowePro Inverse 100 AW. It worked really well for me yesterday, I see it being a very handy bag for many types of mountain excursions. In fact, I’m sure that I’ll get a ton of use out of it over the next few years, since LowePro bags wear well and last. I’m especially curious to see how well it does while skiing. It’s actually not that much bigger than my old Photoflex bag, so I don’t see it getting in the way when I’m making turns.

If you’re looking for a compact, versatile, weatherproof and durable way that keeps your camera gear accessible during your outdoor adventures, definitely give this bag a look. And here’s a Lowepro coupon, just for being a reader of my blog. Clicking through the banner below and using the discount code LP20 in your shopping cart will get you 20% off your order when you buy directly at Lowepro.

Please note, the 20% discount code is good on any product purchased directly from the Lowepro site. Click the banner below to go to the Lowepro store.


About the author

Hi, I'm Dan Bailey, a 20+ year pro outdoor and adventure photographer, and official FUIJIFILM X-Photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.


As a top rated blogger and author my goal is to help you become a better, more confident and competent photographer, so that you can have as much fun and creative enjoyment as I do.

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  • Tom, I’ve never worn a backpack with my Inverse 100AW. You wouldn’t be able to wear anything big with it, but you might be able to wear it with a very small pack that sits high on your back, maybe something to carry light clothing.

  • Hi Dan, I’m looking for a bag for my X-T1 to use for ski touring and mountaineering — I’ve tried the new lowepro top loader pro and it works fairly well, but I have to stack the lenses underneath the body which makes changing lenses difficult. It wasn’t really designed for carrying a body with 2 extra lenses… I’m curious if you’ve tried this Inverse 100 AW with the X-T1? I can see carrying it in the front while wearing a pack — have you tried it that way? Thanks for any info you might have!

  • Hi Rok. For skiing and mountaineering, I like the Lowepro Photo Sport 30 adventure photo pack. This allows me to carry my outdoor gear and my photo gear. If you already have a dedicated outdoor pack, I suppose you could use the Inverse 100 this way. The X-T1 is pretty light, so it would be easier to carry this way than if you were carrying DSLR gear. I’d take your big pack and camera gear to the camera shop and try out this configuration to see it if will be comfortable to carry like that.

    Great work, by the way! You have some awesome photography on your website!

  • Hi Dan, thanks for the quick response and the kind words about my work!

    I’ve considered a dedicated photo pack, but I’ve really gotten used to having the camera at the ready all the time, i.e. in front of me. Most of the time when I shoot people on tours, I have no time to set up. As you say, bringing the gear to the camera shop and trying it out is really the only way to know 🙂 I expect the Inverse 100 will be too deep for the X-T1, which means that it will bounce around while skiing…

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    Terry Bourk

    I have read you new book “Behind the Landscape.” I could not “put it down” meaning that I kept at it because each photo you presented/analyzed was interesting and informative. I am trying to develop an eye for composition (both the scene and the light).

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