Lowepro RidgeLine Pro BP 300 AW backpack review

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I really enjoy traveling, and have a collection of items I want quick access to when on the go. For this reason, I’m always on the lookout for a really great backpack. I have previously reviewed a couple of great backpacks, but I’d really like to have one for work gadgets, around the house gadgets, and travel gadgets.

I was recently given the change to review the Lowepro Ridgeline Pro BP300 AW backpack. It’s a heavy-duty backpack designed to carry and protect all your gear.

Design

Lowepro states the BP300 is made from “premium weather and impact resistant materials.” The BP300 uses heavy-duty polyester that has a special coating to make it moisture resistant. The polyester should also resist abrasions, tears, and UV light damage.

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The BP300 is available in three colors: blue, black, and camo. As you can see above, I was given the camo backpack to review.

The front contains all the storage compartments and webbing straps. All the compartments are secured with YKK zippers, which – if you didn’t know – is the world’s leading manufacturer of zippers.

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The rear of the BP300 contains the shoulder straps, chest straps, and a waist strap. It’s made up of a padded, mesh material that feels like it will be comfortable to wear.

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The top of the BP300 has a quick grab handle. The handle doesn’t have any padding, so it’s not very comfortable to hold the backpack by.

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One side of the backpack contains an elastic, mesh side pocket for storing water bottles or something similar.

The external dimensions of the backpack are 13.39 x 8.27 x 19.69 inches and it weighs 2.88 lbs.

Storage

The BP300 has three main compartments and four smaller compartments.

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The rearmost compartment has dedicated laptop and keyboard sleeves. The laptop sleeve can store a laptop up to fifteen inches and the tablet sleeve can store up to a ten inch tablet.

These sleeves feature Lowepro’s Cradlefit pocket. Basically, the pocket keeps your laptop and tablet suspended, preventing them from getting damaged when you set the BP300 down.

I was easily able to fit my Chromebook and my Nexus 9 into their respective sleeves. There was even some room between the sleeves for smaller items like chargers or USB cords.

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The middle compartment is the biggest of the three.

It contains a zippered pocket that runs the width of the compartment, and was deep enough to fit my hand into up to the wrist. It could easily store items you want secured in an interior compartment, but need relatively quick access to.

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I was able to store a second laptop, a second tablet, a grid-it cable organizer, and my camera in this compartment, with room left over.

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The front compartment is meant to keep you organized.

This compartment contains a panel of elastic loops and small pockets. It also contains one larger pocket that is secured by a zipper.

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I was running out of stuff to put in the bag, but I threw in a Chromecast, a portable tablet stand, a notepad, and a pen.

The main compartments offer a ton of storage area.

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I was able to fit all the above items in the main compartments with room to spare. I could easily have fit a change of clothes in there if I was spending the night somewhere and wanted to pack light.

Along with the three main compartments, the BP300 has four small compartments.

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The first small compartment is located near the top of the BP300. The front of the compartment is a rigid shell designed to protect fragile items.

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The interior of this compartment is a soft, cloth material. It is an excellent place to put sunglasses or any other item that you don’t want to get scratched.

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The next two small compartments can be found under the strip of cloth the arrows point to. Both compartments run the entire area between the yellow arrows and are secured by a zipper.

The left compartment has an attached cord with a clip on the end. The compartment on the right is just a standard pocket with no extra features.

Both compartments are surprisingly roomy, you could easily fit your cell phone, wallet, or power banks in there.

Also, if you tuck the zipper behind the cloth strip, the compartments are relatively hidden. I actually didn’t discover them until using the BP300 for an period of time. They would make an excellent pocket to hide quasi-valuables that don’t fit on your person.

The last small compartment is my favorite. It isn’t very big; you’d be lucky to fit your passport, license, plane ticket, and a few bucks inside. The brilliance with this pocket is in its location.

The compartment is on the side of the BP300, but you would never know it’s there.

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That’s because the zipper is located on the rear side of the backpack, where it would rest against your back.

This is an excellent security feature. You can store your ID, money, tickets, etc., and be fairly confident that no one is going to be able to access them without you knowing.

Performance

Now that we know the BP300 can store just about anything you throw at it, how does it feel to wear?

Overall, I found it very comfortable to wear. The padding on the back does an excellent job of protecting you from the items inside. The shoulder straps don’t have a lot of padding in them; if you have the BP300 weighed down heavily, you may experience some discomfort, but they do the job for the most part.

The chest and waist straps are another great security feature. They keep the BP 300 very secure on your body.

The chest straps are nice because not only do they have a bit of elastic attached – allowing them to adjust while you move, but they can also slide up and down on the shoulder straps for added comfort.

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The waist straps are nice because they can be folded into the opening in the rear of the backpack when you don’t wish to use them.

Additional Features

The BP300 has a few extra features that I thought set it apart from other backpacks.

First, the BP300 has compression straps on either side. This will be useful if you don’t have anything fragile in it, and need to compress it so it fits under a seat or in an overhead compartment.

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Second, the backpack has a trolley strap on the rear so you can attach it to luggage. I didn’t have any luggage with an extendable handle to test it on, so I used a picture from Lowepro’s site to show what it would look like.

Finally, the BP300 has a hidden all weather cover to protect your valuables from the elements.

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The cover is tucked away in a zippered compartment on the bottom of the backpack.

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Once you remove the cover, it easily slips over the front of the backpack; however, the straps and rear aren’t covered so it can still be worn.

Conclusion

I really loved this backpack. First of all, there is ample storage space. Each of the three main compartments has unique features that I found useful. The smaller compartments are equally useful, with the added benefit of being mostly hidden.

The BP300 also has great security features. The chest and waist strap will keep the backpack secure to your body, while the many hidden pockets will protect your belongings.

Perhaps most importantly, the backpack is pretty comfortable to wear. The rear padding is excellent and the padding on the shoulder should be good enough to keep you pain free.

I could only find two negatives with the BP300, the top grab handle and the price.

The top grab handle should have some more padding so it doesn’t become painful if you have to hold it for an extended period of time.

$129.95 may be a lot to pay for a backpack, but I think it’s worth it if you can afford it. It may be a lot to spend up front, but thanks to the durable, weather resistant material it’s made from, your investment should go far.

Update 07/03/16

This has become my go-to backpack.  I use it at least once a week. More importantly, I recently went on a family vacation to Disney World and wore it every day for hours.  It proved to be incredibly comfortable to wear and extremely versatile.  We used it to store tech gear, souvenirs, tickets etc.  I can’t speak highly enough about this bag.

Source: The sample for this review was provided by Lowepro. Please visit their website for more information.

 

Product Information

Price:$129.95
Manufacturer:Lowepro
Retailer:Lowepro
Pros:
  • Plenty of storage
  • Several hidden pockets
  • Durable and weather resistant
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Top quick grab handle isn't very comfortable
Posted in: Bags, Reviews
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