Bob Atkins Photography

LowePro Photo Trekker (Classic)
and Mini Trekker

There are several species of LowePro Trekker. This is a review of the Photo Trekker (also known as the Photo Trekker Classic) and the Mini Trekker. There's also the Photo Trekker AW, Nature Trekker AW, Pro Trekker AW, Super Trekker AW, Trim Trekker and Orion Trekker, so don't get them confused!

I've owned the Photo Trekker (Classic) for over 7 years and it's stood up to wear very well. No sign of any stitching problems and all the zippers and belts are still in good shape. The only part starting to show some wear is the padded back. I tend to store and carry it in the car with the back faced down, so that's probably the cause of the wear. Overall it's a very well made item. The current price (07/2000) is in the $150 region

The bag measures 13" x 6" x 18" according to Lowepro. These are probably inside dimensions. When I measure the outside dimensions of a loaded bag (with the harness stowed away) it's expanded to about 14" x 9" x 19", which still makes it OK for an airline carryon (but only just!). Note there was an earlier Trekker which was only about 4" deep inside. This is no longer in production, but of you're buying a used Trekker make sure which one it is.

Here's a fairly typical full load od Canon EOS equipment (lenses in padded pouches):

  • [EOS-1n + BP-E2 + 300/4L IS]
  • [Elan II + BP-50 + 50/1.8]
  • Elan body (no lens attached)
  • 1.4x and 2x TCs
  • 75-300/4-5.6 IS USM
  • 24/2.8
  • 28-105/3.5-4.5 USM
  • 20-35/3.5-4.5 USM
  • 25mm and 12mm extension tubes
  • Speedlite (380ex or 540ez)
  • 2 filter pouches (4 filters)
  • 2 Remote releases, eyepiece magnifier, off camera shoe cord
  • 10 rolls 35mm film
  • 8 x AA cells + 2 x 2CR5 cells
  • Minolta Freedom Explorer Zoom P∓S
  • Lens tissues, instruction books, pens, notepads etc.
There's also quite a lot of room in the expandable, unpadded front pockets, but filling them may make the bag exceed airline carryon size restrictions. You could probably get 50 rolls of film, food and a light waterproof jacket (poncho) in there if you wanted to.

You can get a 300/2.8L + body or a 500/4.5L or 400/2.8 lens into the pack without much trouble, but of course you have to lose quite a bit of the equipment listed above to make room for it. 

The backpack harness packs away into the body of the pack so you can carry it just by the shoulder strap if you wish. The harness is OK, but the pack is a little short for me (I'm about 6ft), so the weight of the pack tends to rest on my shoulders and back rather than my waist (which is where the weight should be taken for maximum comfort). I tend to use it more as a camera bag than a backpack. It opens to give direct access to everything inside rather than having to dig down under things as you often have to do with a conventional shoulder bag.

Overall it's a great camera bag for someone with a fairly extensive 35mm system. If you want to carry a 300/2.8 or 500/4.5 you can, but the room for other items gets a bit tight. On the other hand the bag is relatively small and light and is carry-on sized, plus it's reasonably priced at around $150 (07/00). If you get a $400 Super Trekker A/W you can carry an 800/5.6 with a body attached, plus all the stuff listed above (if you can lift it!), but you may have to fight with the airline if you want to carry it on a plane and not too many of us would be comfortable carrying a fully loaded Super Trekker very far.

Mini Trekker
I don't own a Mini Trekker but a friend of mine has one and I've taken a close look at it. It's a nice bag if you want something to carry one or two bodies and one or two lenses. The main problem is that it isn't very deep. Lowepro specs are 11"x5"x14.5" (inside I presume). What this means is you can't put an SLR with attached battery pack (e.g. EOS-1n w/PB-E2 or Elan II w/BP50 in the Mini Trekker without removing the lens and laying it down flat. The same goes for a lens like a 75-300 zoom. You have to lay it down, wheras in the deeper Trekker you can stand it on end. 

If you don't have battery packs and only have a couple of bodies and 2 or 3 lenses, the Mini Trekker is fine and it's a nice convenient size (and weight) to carry around all day. Unlike the Trekker (Classic) the backpack harness doesn't stow away in the pack. It seems just as well constructed as the Trekker though. Given the price (around $110 07/00), the extra $40 for the Trekker (Classic) seems well spent unless you really want a smaller backpack

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