Are you an avid landscape photographer seeking the perfect backpack to accompany you on your outdoor adventures? Look no further than the Lowepro DryZone Rover – a remarkable waterproof daypack and camera backpack designed to enhance your photography experience. In this retrospective post from 2012, I’ll dive into the features, advantages, and personal experiences that made the DryZone Rover my preferred choice for day-to-day landscape shooting.
Lowepro DryZone Rover
The DryZone Rover stands out with its innovative design and thoughtful features. This waterproof backpack boasts two distinct compartments: an upper section for personal gear and a lower compartment dedicated to camera equipment. The camera gear compartment is a standout feature – it’s fully waterproof and secured by a reliable Tizip zipper. Additionally, the backpack comes equipped with a hydration system courtesy of Hydrapak. For convenience, two Sliplok hoops are attached to the shoulder straps, offering extra space for pouches. Moreover, the camera pod’s lid houses two small pockets perfect for memory cards.
Pro digital or 35mm SLR; 3-4 additional lenses (up to an 80-200mm f/2.8); tripod or monopod, memory cards, cables and personal accessories.
13W X 9.6D X 21.1H in./33 X 24.5 X 53.5 cm
Camera Compartment Inner Dimensions:
11.8W X 6.9D X 8.7H in./30 X 17.5 X 22 cm
Top Compartment Inner Dimensions:
11.8W X 7.3D X 12H in./30 X 18.5 X 30.5 cm
Choosing the DryZone Rover: A Multi-Faceted Decision
Moving beyond the technical aspects, let’s explore why the Lowepro DryZone Rover became my go-to backpack for daily landscape photography in 2012.
- Sleek Aesthetics and Waterproof Design: First impressions matter, and the DryZone Rover doesn’t disappoint. Its striking black and yellow color scheme, reminiscent of a wasp, immediately caught my attention. However, aesthetics aren’t everything – the bag’s waterproof design is equally impressive, ensuring my gear remains safe even in damp environments.
- Versatility and Comfort: A successful landscape photoshoot often involves traversing varying terrains and covering significant distances. The DryZone Rover addresses this need by offering greater comfort over extended journeys compared to my previous Lowepro bags. While the Lowepro Vertex 300 AW is fantastic for hauling gear and laptops, the DryZone Rover excels in accommodating personal items, thermos, and hydration systems.
- Weather Resistance in Wet Environments: Residing on the rainy west coast of Norway prompted me to prioritize moisture-resistant equipment. The DryZone Rover effortlessly handles wet conditions, from drizzles to soggy ground. This eliminates the need for the All Weather cover, which can be cumbersome when a tripod is attached to the bag.
Evolution of Impressions
To be transparent, my initial impression of the DryZone Rover wasn’t entirely positive. I struggled with the compartment setup and zipper closure. However, after applying some lubrication to the zipper and experiencing its transformation, my perspective shifted. The improved zipper action significantly improved my overall experience with the bag. The DryZone Rover was reborn and soon became my preferred companion over the Flipside 400 AW.
Functionality in Action
The DryZone Rover is not designed to carry an excessive load, but it’s perfect for specific gear combinations. While it may not accommodate multiple pro DSLRs and extensive accessories, it’s tailored for those who require a DSLR with a battery grip, a couple of lenses, a speedlight, and additional accessories. The tripod holder’s versatility is noteworthy, as it accommodates both a tripod and monopod simultaneously. The included hydration system, though not the largest, offers adequate hydration on the go.
What is in my DryZone Rover?
To give you an idea of what to haul in this bag, I will present you with what I have in mine.
1. Nikon D800
2. Nikon MB-D12 Battery grip
3. Tamron SP 28-75 mm f2.8
4. Nikon SB-28 Speedlight
5. Nikon AF 50mm f1.8 D
6. Nikon AI 28mm f3.5
7. Sekonic L-358 Light Meter
8. Sekonic NP-Finder 1° Spot Attachment and reflective attachment
9. Battery Tray for Nikon MB-D12
10. Redged RTA-428
11. Formatt Hitech 85 modular filter holder
12. Pouch with small bits and pieces.
13. Hahnel Cable release
14. Lumiquest Softbox III
15. ThinkTank Pixel Pocket Rocket
16. Black umbrella
17. Small LED torch
18. Filterwallet for the Formatt Hitech 85 ND Grad filters
19. Lowepro Filter Wallet with Formatt Hitech ND filters and Kenko Circular Polarizers
20. Mosquito/bug net
21. LED head torch
I also have with me a Lowepro D-Rez 25 camera pouch with my Nikon Sprint IV 8×21 binoculars, and what I call my survival pouch (a SlipLok Pouch 60 AW, with basic survival kit, first aid kit, energy tablets, and a bright signal vest.
In summary, the Lowepro DryZone Rover is an exceptional companion for landscape photographers seeking a reliable, waterproof backpack. Its distinctive design, comfortable harness, and adaptable compartments make it an ideal choice for those who prioritize both photography gear and personal essentials. While not suitable for every photographic scenario, it shines when tailored to the right equipment combination. Whether you’re exploring damp forests, misty mountains, or serene lakeshores, the DryZone Rover ensures your gear stays dry, your essentials are organized, and your photographic journey remains memorable.
Please note that since this review was written in 2012, my preferences have evolved, and I have transitioned to using F-Stop Gear bags for my current photography needs.
Update 2023: This backpack is now been discontinued. So if you want to get hold of this you’ll need to buy it second hand.