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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 5:12 pm 
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The LowePro DryZone Rover backpack is ideal for those who want to carry a reasonable selection of camera gear in a backpack and yet still have room for "water and some sandwich-based sustenance (... avocado, tomato, a bit of spinach and red onion...)"! The LowePro website (linked to above) provides information and technical specifications about this backpack so I will just concentrate on my personal impressions. I have included a few photographs but haven't strived to attain the high standards set by Gordon's reviews on this site!

The DryZone Rover is a medium sized backpack which has all the adjustments you might need for maximum comfort. If you are travelling over rough terrain (or need a little extra support for the corporation!) there is a belt strap and another strap near the collarbone to stop the shoulder straps slipping down. Here is a picture from the back.

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The camera compartment takes up half the height of the backpack while at the top there is room for more personal bits and pieces and a hydration system. That takes the form of a plastic bag with a drinking tube coming out of the top of the backpack. For those who don't want to wander around doing Borg impressions this system is easily removed.

Here we can gain a better idea of the "personal" space available in the top compartment. I have unzipped and partially folded down the top.

Image

I have included a spectacles case to give an idea of scale. You can see the water bag behind the mesh. There is certainly enough room here for a day's hiking but you might have to cut down on the sandwiches if you also want to pack a light waterproof jacket. I think that trying to pack even an Ultra-Mobile PC in this space would be pushing the boundaries so notebooks are out.

With its protective flap raised out of the way I have partially unzipped the bottom compartment.

Image

As you can see this is technology more at home on a dry-suit. My initial impression of this zipper was very negative as it was extremely stiff to operate. However, once you have unzipped it and then opened the camera bag inside you find a tube of lubricating gel which, once applied, eases operation of the zip considerably. The only reason I can think of for not pre-lubricating the zip is to do with the lubricant drying out should the bag remain unsold for a long time. Even so, it seems perverse to hide the gel in the compartment accessed by operating the zip.

With the zip fully opened you can gain access to the camera compartment by folding down the top half of the backpack.

Image

The camera, lenses etc. are stored in a removable bag which can, of course, be unzipped while left in place.

Image

I have left my spectacles case beside the bag to give an idea of scale. There is room for several lenses as well as the camera and a few accessories or, if you are careful with the crumbs, an extra sandwich or two.

There are a couple of zippered mesh pockets on the outside top half of this backpack as well as a tall thin pocket sealed with a Velcro flap. Outside that pocket there is some stretchable cord tied in a sort of loose shoelace pattern. This can be seen in the first photograph of the review and I guess this is an option for carrying a tripod.

As a way of carrying extra camera gear safe in the knowledge that it will remain dry even in a downpour worthy of Fiordland in NZ or a British summer this backpack can't be faulted. However, if you want quick access to your camera then you need additional storage. I use a LowePro Topload Zoom 2 beltpack.

The only feature that I will miss is the lack of a mesh pocket on the side of the camera compartment section. Very useful for stowing the dog's leads in! Construction seems to be first rate, it is comfortable and, even though expensive, I believe it represents good value for money. As always, it is definitely worth shopping around as there are some marked differences in advertised prices. It is also worth checking your national LowePro website to see if there are any promotional offers available.

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


Last edited by Bob Andersson on Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:15 am 
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Hi Bob, nice review, thanks!

That bag looks pretty good - I do like the idea of something I can hike with which is also equipped for storing and protecting the camera gear...

Let us know how you get on with it as you use it more...

Gordon

PS - now is that just a massive coincidence, or did you see my preferred hiking sarnie ingredients elsewhere on the forum? I'll go for the former and say you're clearly a man of great taste!


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 12:21 am 
Hi Bob,

Really nice review! Now that you have had the bag for a good while, any additional positives or negatives? There are so many different bags out there, it's bewildering! I think the most important things I am looking for are size and comfort. Big enough for all your gear and then some, and comfortable to climb up and down mountains. With the heat in China, I can also see an hydration system as being a huge plus point.

Thanks,
Mark


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 12:35 am 
Hi Bob, one question would I be able to get all my gear in the bag and be able to strap a tripod to it, as I am looking to change my bag as I am tiring of the "Slingshot" 300AW because it doesn't make any difference if you sling it over one shoulder or right over and round your neck all the weight is still on one shoulder and with my ailment in my neck it is becoming more and more uncomfortable.


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 9:34 am 
I'd also like to know what lenses you have managed to fit in the bag. I/e can you fit your 70-200 F4 in there along with the 24-105 and a prime, plus body?


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 11:14 am 
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Defiance wrote:
Hi Bob, one question would I be able to get all my gear in the bag and be able to strap a tripod to it, as I am looking to change my bag as I am tiring of the "Slingshot" 300AW because it doesn't make any difference if you sling it over one shoulder or right over and round your neck all the weight is still on one shoulder and with my ailment in my neck it is becoming more and more uncomfortable.

Hi Roy,

I've just done the test and I can fit my Canon EOS 40D camera with the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM attached and my EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM and EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM lenses, with lens hoods reversed, into the bottom section. Not a lot of room left, though.

The specifications are here and tend to bear out my feeling that it is just possible to place the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM in the vertical position but there wouldn't be much clearance. Of course if you want to use the top section of the bag for camera gear instead of sandwiches then more options are open to you. Likewise, I don't normally keep my camera in the backpack as I use a holster bag slung from my belt for easy access.

Quick access to gear in that bottom compartment is not a feature of this bag. As I hope my photographs showed, you need to take it off, release a couple of strap fasteners, open the waterproof zip, fold the top of the bag down so that you can then gain access to that bottom compartment which is, itself, zipped up. The big advantage is that the camera gear, once stowed, is incredibly well protected from the weather and would also likely survive a short dunk in a lake or river.

I didn't have a suitable tripod when I wrote the review so, from my Gitzo GT1541T Tripod plus Arca-Swiss Z1 DP Ballhead review, here's an extra image:
    Image
In the configuration shown the tripod plus ballhead is 60cm (24") long.

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 12:09 am 
Thanks Bob! I forgot to mention about the convenience of carrying a tripod, but you have illustrated it perfectly. I'm sold :)


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