Lowepro Rover Pro 35L AW
A Sidetracked Review | Written by Dan Lane
Photos by Dan Lane, Nick Livesey & Emily Slater
ITEM: Lowepro Rover Pro AW 35L
STYLE: Mountain Style Photo Pack
WEIGHT: 2.3kg (5.06 lbs)
ACTIVITY: Alpine and Ski Mountaineering
WHAT THEY SAY: ‘Carry your camera and basic camping gear to the backcountry in the first technical, mountain-style photo pack of its kind. Fits a Pro DSLR with attached 24-70mm lens, 1 extra lens or flash, Tripod or monopod, 2 liter hydration reservoir, Sleeping pad, small tent, ice axe/trekking poles, and other personal items’
Nick Livesey, a superb photographer based in Capel Curig, and I had plans on a shot of the much coveted Welsh winter climbing paradise of the Black Ladders from the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn. In the winter the crag is plunged into darkness for four months, but come summer the last light of the day sneaks in through the valley, casting a beautiful orange hue across the landscape.
As we finally neared the summit of Pen Llithrig Y Wrach I remembered that I was actually carrying quite a heavy bag. I’d recently got a new camera bag designed specifically for mountain and adventure photographers like myself. The Lowepro Rover 35L AW bag did a superb job of carrying the heavy load in a very comfortable manner. The shoulder straps were a good cut and the waist belt was wide enough to be comfortable and take a lot of the weight of your shoulders whilst also being light enough to not make the bag too bulky and heavy. The small pockets on the waist belt are ideal for holding a compass, GPS or even a chocolate bar of two.
We hurried along the ridge through thick cloud and clag and started up towards the summit of Pen Yr Helgi Du, again, the ascent seemed to be taking longer than it should have, over many false summits and past a few deceptive cairns. Eventually we reached what we felt was the top. Whilst sitting to catch our breath for a moment a small pond appeared, then a ridge we weren’t expecting started to emerge out of the cloud.
To me part of my love of Snowdonia comes from the feel of the place. I, and many others have experienced events which seem unexplainable. Sometimes things seem to appear where they shouldn’t and mountains disappear from where they should be, and it’s not just because of the semi-permanent clag in north Wales. Personally, I’m a scientist. I’m not really a believer in supernatural goings on, though sometimes even I have experienced very strange occurrences. I can’t explain them, and most of you probably think I’m talking rubbish, but I can assure you, spend enough time in Snowdonia, and you’ll get a very strange feeling every now and again. It’s magical. Maybe the translation of Pen Llithrig Y Wrach to Slippery Peak of the Witch has something to do with it?
After checking where we were and confirming we were where we thought we were, despite the unexpected ponds and ridges, we continued. Quickly shuffling along the scramble and onto the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn, we were finally were we wanted to be, with time to spare in the end.
As I previously mentioned, the bag itself is very comfortable when carrying heavy loads. This particular bag has a large u-shaped zip on the front, as well as a conventional lid to the rucksack. The zip is so that the removable camera equipment ‘module’ can be easily removed. The top entry can be used to access the main body of the rucksack which has ample room for everything you’d need for a standard hill day: full waterproofs, warm jacket, water, food and a load of other stuff too. It really is a superbly sized bag, big enough to hold everything you need, but small enough to still be practical.
Initially I wasn’t too convinced by the removable module, which can hold a body with a standard lens attached, along with a wide angle and telephoto lens and a set of Lee Filters. I thought that it would be a real pain to remove and put back in when the rest of the bag was full. This, however, was not the case. Once you’ve worked out the best angle to pull/push from it slots in and out very easily and quickly. A feature I’ve now come to love; it means that I can drop my bag, grab my camera equipment module and wander around the area to find my favourite composition.
In addition, I like the tripod holder on the side of the bag. It works much better than the other method of carrying a tripod: on the front of the bag. Bags that have a tripod holder on the front of the bag really anger me. Carrying the tripod on the side, as the Lowepro Rover 35L AW does is much more comfortable and also means that it’s really easy to access the contents of the bag without the tripod needing to be removed.
Furthermore, the other pockets: on the side, in the lid and the stretchy front pocket are superb for carrying little bits and pieces. I particularly like the stretchy one on the front, it’s the perfect size for a map or guidebook, and very quickly and easily accessible too.
The one thing that bugs me slightly is that the chest strap seems to pop off the shoulder strap fairly easily. It’s only a ten second job to put it back on, and it doesn’t happen more than once every month or two so it’s not exactly a deal breaker.
Possibly the best thing about this bag is that the module can be removed leaving the bag empty to be used as a superb general hill pack, especially when combined with the ice axe/walking pole straps on the front of the bag.
In conclusion, if you’re a studio photographer, don’t bother. This bag isn’t aimed at studio photographers. If you’re a landscape or adventure photographer who spends a long time carrying lots of kit over rough ground, this is the bag for you. It’s so stable on your back, even when fully packed and can double as a regular rucksack as well is protecting your camera brilliantly. I can’t recommend it enough.
The top entry can be used to access the main body of the rucksack which has ample room for everything you’d need for a standard hill day: full waterproofs, warm jacket, water, food and a load of other stuff too. It really is a superbly sized bag, big enough to hold everything you need, but small enough to still be practical.