Lowepro Fastpack 100 review: Lowepro Fastpack 100

Lowepro Fastpack 100

Lori Grunin

Lori Grunin

Senior Editor / Reviews

I've been writing about and reviewing consumer technology since before the turn of the century. I'm also a photographer and cat herder, frequently at the same time.

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3 min read

A variation on the company's side-opening, single-strap Slingshot models, the Lowepro Fastpack series integrates the clever top-and-side camera compartment approach with a more traditional backpack design. The smallest of the line, the Fastpack 100, offers an attractive compact, comfortable option for the day-tripper or urban photographer with minimalist accessory needs.


Lowepro Fastpack 100

The Good

Attractive; practical side-opening design; comfortable; relatively low profile; roomy top pocket.

The Bad

Could use a few more pockets.

The Bottom Line

A solid, compact backpack, the Lowepro Fastpack 100 lets you carry a dSLR and a lens or two, plus some personal items in comfort.

The Fastpack 100's camera compartment is just large enough to accommodate a medium-sized body--one the size of the Sony Alpha DLSR-A350 is about the biggest that will fit--equipped with a midrange telephoto lens and a standard-zoom spare or flash unit. To squeeze the flash into its compartment I had to fold it to a 90-degree angle. Inside the flap you'll find two flash-media pouches. More would be welcome.

The Fastpack 100's default configuration seems arrayed for a body and two lenses. If you keep a lens on the body, you'll want to remove the divider for the smaller section.

The top pocket is quite roomy. It's large enough to hold a trade paperback book, folded letter-size paper, and other miscellany. There are a couple spaces to slide in pens, a mesh pocket that can handle a largish MP3 player, and a small pocket sized for a typical cell phone. A few more pockets, pouches, or dividers would be useful to keep random items organized, though.

Made of weather-resistant nylon with a polyester lining, the Fastpack seems quite well made and sturdy. The padded straps and back are comfortable enough for a day of roaming. There's a flat pocket on top of the camera compartment, which can't hold much, and a zippered outside pocket on top, for stuff such as tissues.

I really like the side-opening design. I found I didn't really use it as intended--you're supposed to keep the left strap on and swing the bag around to the front of your body--but side access comes in handy under a lot of circumstances. You can easily slide the camera out without having to open the entire top section, and grab media from the camera without removing it from the backpack, and you can even review images without taking the camera from the bag.

There's a pocket on the strap which accommodated my BlackBerry Pearl. Since the pocket didn't cover up the USB connector, I could even charge it in-pocket. The pocket was not so snug that it accidentally made phone calls, as I've occasionally experienced.

I have to admit, though, I'm not really fond of Lowepro's divider system (based on years of experience with an otherwise great backpack, the Micro Trekker.) The dividers are well padded, but I find the flap-based attachments difficult to align properly, the placement of the loop patches (of the hook-and-loop fasteners) too limiting, and the fasteners themselves a bit too tenaciously tight. They stay where you put them, but configuring and reconfiguring the system always feels like a fight. However, many users are fine with the design, so don't take my word for it. In general, it's always a good idea to try to configure any bag before you buy.

When considering the Fastpack 100, think carefully about the size. In some ways, it's perfect; for instance, it holds exactly the amount of camera gear I carry for my routine weekend shoots. However, I also need it to hold letter-size paper, which I crammed into the laptop compartment of the Kata Ergo-Tech Sensitivity V Backpack I used before the Fastpack. It's annoying to have to move up to the larger--and considerably more expensive--Fastpack 250 simply for that flat back compartment. So if you're looking for a daily pack rather than a vacation or shoot-only bag, remember to take into account the detritus of your everyday life. If you don't need to worry about nonphotography extras, the compact and convenient Fastpack 100 should work well.


Lowepro Fastpack 100

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 8Image quality 0