Modular bags are made for the indecisive photographer. Rather than switching between a separate shoulder bag and a backpack, the Lowepro Trekker LT BP 250 AW can be carried either way, or can even have the small camera insert attached to the shoulder strap instead. From backpack to shoulder, from grab handles to trolley handles, there are many ways to carry this bag.
However, it’s a big bag made for just one to two lenses with the camera body. And while it’s possible to switch to a shoulder bag, the included shoulder strap doesn’t provide the same quality and comfort as the backpack straps. I spent a few weeks with the Trekker backpack, including an 11-hour road trip, to see how it held up.
The Big Picture
While the Lowepro Trekker LT BP 250 AW lacks the same attention to detail as my favorite camera backpacks, the versatility, lightweight design, and reasonable price may still sway photographers. The ability to carry the entire backpack or just the insert is nice, as are the extra grab handles and luggage handle loop. There are lots of pockets and plenty of room for non-photo gear too. And the laptop sleeve is large enough to accommodate my 16-inch MacBook Pro without being too snug.
Avoid buying this bag to use as a messenger, as the included strap to convert isn’t very comfortable. While the bag is big, it’s only made for one body and one to two lenses. Most of the space in the bag is sectioned off for non-photo gear. Some will love how open the bag unzips, while others may find it annoying to zipper precisely to access only the gear you want.
I didn’t hate this bag, but I wasn’t wowed by it either. I preferred the higher quality material and better shoulder strap on the convertible Manfrotto Advanced Hybrid III, which is as versatile and similarly priced. The bag isn’t quite as roomy, however, and the camera cube isn’t removable.
I’m giving the Lowepro Trekker LT BP 250 AW three out of five stars. Want one? Check it out on Amazon if you’re interested.
- Versatile ways to carry
- Removable camera insert
- Lots of pockets
- Comfortable backpack straps
- Roomy laptop compartment
- Lots of room for extras
- Lightweight recycled material
- For such a large bag, it only fits one body with one to two lenses.
- The included shoulder strap to convert the bag to a messenger is garbage.
- Don’t dig through this bag in the dark; you could open the extra large clamshell zipper too far and dump items.
I tried a few configurations with the Trekker LT BP 250. Note that this gear was not carried simultaneously but one set at a time:
- Nons SL660 interchangeable lens Instax camera (on loan from Nons) with Rokinon 85mm f1.4 lens
- DJI Mini 2 drone and controller (my own)
- Sony a7 IV with the Tamron 50-400mm f4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD (On loan from Sony and Tamron)
- Fujifilm X-H2s with the 70-300mm lens (on loan from Fujifilm)
- 16-inch MacBook Pro 2021 (my own)
Photography bags are trending towards recycled materials, which is great news for the earth. The Lowerpro Trekker LT BP 250 AW isn’t the first bag to use recycled materials, and I hope it’s not the last. The other unique (though not unheard of) feature is that it’s a modular bag designed to be converted as needs change.
The Lowepro Trekker LT BP 250 AW is a large camera bag, but it carries more non-photo gear than photo gear. A camera insert sits at the bottom of the backpack, holding one body and one mid-sized zoom, plus a smaller prime or kit lens. This camera insert can be pulled out, and a shoulder strap can be added when you want to pack light, which is what I did when I wanted to bring just my drone with me. Inside the camera insert are two small SD card slots, but I don’t like the lack of a top to keep them from accidentally slipping out.
The main compartment has a clamshell zipper that unzips around three sides, opening the entire front. This makes it easy to access every part of the bag. You can use those double zippers to open just the top or just the side where camera access is. However, you do have to use double zippers to only open the part you want, so nothing accidentally dumps out. That may seem strange to complain about, but I once opened the bag in the dark and opened it from the bottom rather than the top.
A panel separates the camera insert from the roomy main compartment. But this divider can be unzipped to use the entire bag as a regular backpack or laptop bag. Besides the main compartment, on the interior panel, there’s a mesh zipper that covers most of the top half. And above where the camera cube sits, there’s a smaller zippered pouch.
On the exterior, another small zippered pocket is at the top front. One mesh pocket sits on one side, sized for water bottles and smaller travel tripods. On the bottom, the bag includes two adjustable straps that could latch on a rolled sweatshirt or something similar.
The padded laptop compartment sits against the back panel. I usually don’t like the laptop placed here since it makes the back stiff, but there’s enough padding. Besides, with the bag fitting only a body and 1-2 lenses, it’s not going to be a heavy load. Carrying a laptop, camera, iPad, and some travel items like snacks and passports was reasonably comfortable. Inside the laptop pouch, there’s a smaller pouch for a smartphone and another for a passport.
There’s no shortage of ways to carry the Lowepro Trekker LT BP 250. The most comfortable option is the backpack straps. These are sufficiently padded and include an adjustable chest strap to keep the straps in place. The straps are comfortable for the amount of gear in this bag.
The mesh back panel that offers padding against your back can also be unbuckled, after which the backpack straps can be hidden inside. In this mode, the bag can be carried using the grab handle at the side, which positions the bag horizontally, more like a laptop bag. There’s also a grab handle at the top to carry vertically. Or, there is a luggage loop at the back to slide the bag over the handles of a rolling suitcase.
The backpack also includes a small strap that can carry the camera insert separately or convert the backpack into a messenger-style bag. This versatility is great. However, the included strap isn’t very comfortable. The strap is thin, and the material is scratchy.
Lowepro’s new recycled material is thin, making this backpack very lightweight. The bag itself isn’t going to add much weight to what you’d be carrying. It also seems to repel dirt and water fairly well. Without weather-sealed zippers, the rain cover is required for working in the rain. The materials don’t feel as luxurious as more expensive bags, but it’s forgivable for a bag that’s priced under $170.
I’ve tried out bags made from recycled materials that seemed to fray too easily, so I decided to take a nail file to the bag for about a minute. This created a microscopic fuzziness to the material. Still, no large threads stuck out. This material should hold up to normal wear and tear. What it lacks in luxury it makes up for a bit in weight or lack thereof.
Ease of Use
The Lowepro Trekker LT BP 250 is designed for versatility. It’s nice to be able to pack a lot or just grab the camera cube and pack a little. I packed this bag on an 11-hour road trip, and it had plenty of room for extras. It was nice to fill the backpack for the car ride, then just grab my drone from the camera cube in the bottom when I was ready to fly.
With the cube inside the bag, the cube can be left open, so there’s just one zipper to access gear. A strap keeps the opening to the camera cube out of the way. Using the double zipper system, you can open just the bottom portion, similar to a quick access door on many backpacks.
While it’s easy to access with that giant clamshell zipper, opening the bag does require care if you only want to access the bottom or the top. If it’s lying flat, the whole clamshell can be opened. But, sitting upright, you can use the second zipper to keep the top portion closed and only open the bottom.
Who Should Buy It?
While it’s a large bag, the Lowepro Trekker LT BP 250 is meant to carry only one body, one to two lenses, and a laptop. The rest of the bag’s space is reserved for whatever else you need: a change of clothes, a lunchbox, etc. Its versatility and price make the bag a good option for photographers who want one bag that can do anything, have a limited budget, and only use one to two lenses.
With only a small section dedicated to gear, it’s not made for carrying several lenses. The materials speak of the bag’s more budget-friendly price. And converting the bag to a messenger isn’t very comfortable — it’s best worn as a backpack.
Lowepro lists the following features for the Trekker LT BP 250 AW:
- Weight: 1 kg
- Total Volume: 25.5 L
- Main Color: Gray
- Internal Dimensions: 28 x 13 x 48 cm
- External Dimensions: 29 x 18.5 x 49 cm
- Camera Compartment Dimensions: 16.5 x 9.5 x 24 cm
- Laptop Compartment Dimensions: 27 x 2 x 41 cm
- Primary Device: Camera
- Device Volume: 4.5 L
- Exterior Material: 300D polyester ripstop Recycled, 600D polyester solution-dyed
- Interior Material: 200D polyester (recycled)
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