Michael Topham tests the smallest backpack in the ProTactic series

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Lowepro ProTactic 350 AW at a glance:

  • Four-access-point design
  • Cradle-fit pocket for 13in laptop
  • ActivZone ventilation
  • Tripod and monopod cinch straps
  • 308 x 230 x 430mm external size
  • 270 x 160 x 385mm internal size
  • Fits most airline carry-on size limits
  • Weight 200g
  • 13in laptop compartment
  • Weather-shield cover
  • Price: £170
  • Website: www.lowepro.com

Unlike most backpacks that give you a single point of access to your kit, the Lowepro ProTactic has been designed to offer ultimate accessibility. As well as the quick-grab openings on either side, there’s full back entry, as well as a hard-shell top lid that provides instant access to your DSLR and long-lens combination. The rather unsightly horizontal strapping on the front plays a practical role, too, as it allows users to securely attach a range of Lowepro accessories, or their own extras via a carabiner.

A tripod holder and water-bottle holder are also supplied, while waist and sternum straps improve the stability of the bag on the move. Inside, there’s a host of soft internal dividers to customise your kit.

Lowepro ProTactic 350 AW – key features

Access points

The ProTactic allows you to get to your kit quickly from either side, as well as from the back and the top.

Laptop compartment

The 13in laptop compartment comes well padded and offers an excellent level of protection.

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Lowepro ProTactic 350 AW – verdict

While the sizeable internal pockets, useful laptop compartment and superb build quality are hard to fault, the one thing you’ll want to consider is the internal depth of this bag. If you regularly use a pro-spec DSLR with a battery grip attached (such as the Nikon D800/D810 or Canon EOS 5D Mark III), you’ll quickly find that your camera fits better and is easier to access via the top lid with the battery grip detached. If you like the sound of all the attractive features on offer, but think the size could be a limiting factor, we’d be tempted to look at the larger ProTactic 450 AW (£210).

SCORE: 3.5 out of 5

You may also wish to consider:

LowePro-ProTactic450

Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW

Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW

Price: £210

Website: www.lowepro.com

The bigger brother of the 350 AW, it’s an alternative for those wanting to transport more kit. It can hold up two pro DSLRs, up to eight lenses, a 15in laptop and accessories. An all-weather cover is also built in.

LowePro-Flipside-500AW

Lowepro Flipside 500 AW

Lowepro Flipside 500 AW

Price: £114

Website: www.lowepro.com

This is a spacious backpack for the serious photographer on a tighter budget. The smaller Flipside 400 AW (£86) is worth a look too. It comes highly recommended and offers great value for money.

Lowepro-Pro-Runner-x450

Lowepro Pro Runner x450 AW

Lowepro Pro Runner x450 AW

Price: £220

Website: www.lowepro.com

Converting quickly and easily from a backpack to a rolling case and vice versa, this is perfect for those who like to roll their kit through airports, but then want to carry their kit when out in the field.