If you’re a travelling adventurer, it’s hard to find a bag that’s more perfect than Lowepro backpacks. Photography enthusiasts will recognize the brand from their camera bags, but they make backpacks designed to protect all of your beloved belongings.

Travel well with the HighLine Lowepro backpack range

The HighLine Lowepro backpack range features three backpacks of varying sizes and features. It’s the brand’s primary line of bags for travel, and each item really delivers. The HighLine backpacks are designed with all of the little things in mind, like cord storage, clothing accessibility, and surprise rainstorms.

This is Canada. All of our weather is a surprise.

All three sizes have carry-on dimensions (for most major airlines; check with yours before flying). They borrow from Lowepro’s experience in making camera bags, adding lots of extra pockets for your miscellany and padding all tech pockets thoroughly. The resulting backpacks are sturdy and intuitive, but it’s worth noting that they’re heavy as a result.

There are too many great details in the HighLine Lowepro backpacks to list all of them, but I’ve chosen some of my favourite features to cover here. The All Weather AW Cover, for instance, comes bunched up in the side pocket of each bag and unravels into a weatherproof sack. It features tight, heat-sealed seams, and protects the bags’ contents from everything from rain to sand.

The front pocket of each of these Lowepro backpacks is tricked out (are we still allowed to say that, now that it’s no longer the 90’s?) with a mesh pocket and slots for your tablets or smart phones, and the zippers on the bags feature easy-to-use Duraflex® zipper pulls. The zippers themselves are lock-compatible YKK zippers, to help keep your belongings secure even in a busy airport or marketplace.

The bags themselves are all built with abrasion-resistant, weatherproof nylon, so they’ll withstand quite a bit of wear and tear.

Lowepro HighLine BP 300 AW

At 22L, the Lowepro HighLine BP 300 AW is the smallest of the HighLine backpacks. It fits a 13″ laptop in its CradleFit compartment, and features a “JumpKit” in its middle pocket.

The JumpKit is a removable feature of Lowepro backpacks that organizes smaller items, like your tablet, smartphone, batteries, earbuds, and cords. It’s featured in both the BP 300 AW and the BP 400 AW, but not the RL x400 AW.

The HighLine BP 300 AW also features Lowepro’s ActivZone, a breathable back panel for added comfort. (The ActivZone is basically just a gap created in your lower back by padding the entire rest of the back, so don’t fret. You won’t be “breathing” your sweat right into your belongings or anything!)

Lowepro HighLine BP 400 AW

The Lowepro HighLine BP 400 AW has a lot of the same great features as the BP 300 AW, but with even more space. In addition to the ActivZone back panel and the Lowepro JumpKit, it also offers a removable packing cube (you’ll know how much I love packing cubes if you saw my How much fits in summer carry on luggage? and How much fits in winter carry on luggage? posts) and a TSA-approved-size liquids pouch.

The Lowepro Highline BP 400 AW is a 36-litre backpack, and its CradleFit compartment fits up to a 15″ laptop. It’s an oddly placed compartment, which makes your laptop accessible at all times but harder to grab in passing: the compartment is a side-opening “suspension.” (And I have a funny story about forgetting my laptop in that compartment by accident and sending it to Québec, but we’d be here all day if I started telling it for real.)

If you have a slightly bigger kit than what would fit in the BP 300 AW, the 400 is a nice size upgrade. I feel like it’s the most flexible size in the HighLine range, and gives you plenty of space while still keeping with the “backpack” format.

Lowepro HighLine RL x400 AW

Finally, the Lowepro HighLine RL x400 AW is like neither of the two bags before it. Visually and functionally, it’s similar, but with one big difference.

The HighLine RL x400 AW is a rolling carry-on, not a backpack. It’s a sizeable 37 litres, and it is built sturdy. The front half of the piece is built from durable nylon, but the back side is a hardshell to keep your belongings as safe as possible. It features a mixed-use, built-in media pocket instead of the JumpKit, but holds just as much (if not more) stuff.

Even the All Weather AW Cover hides in a different place; it’s tucked under the front panel instead of hiding in one of the stretchy side pockets. (And it’s really cute when it’s hanging out of there, too. It makes the carry-on look like a little kid with a blanket, or like a cute, cartoon slug that can’t quite decide what it wants to be.)

The RL x400 AW glides nicely along the floor, and its handle is built very securely. At the end of the day, it’s a nice carry-on, but remember: it’s just a carry on. You, like I, probably cannot fit your entire body into it.

…Not that I tried, or anything.

Go from finance to forest with the RidgeLine Lowepro backpacks

For the city dwellers out there, LowePro backpacks also offer a day-trip option. The Lowepro RidgeLine BP 250 AW (available in green camouflage and black swirls) and Lowepro RidgeLine Pro BP 300 AW are built to fit a 15″ laptop and a 10″ tablet, with room for all of your other day-to-day items.

The RidgeLine backpacks are a little more basic than the HighLine bags. They feature a single chest strap instead of a double chest-and-waist strap, and the shoulder straps are a little less padded. There’s also less breathability in the back design, and they’re made with a back strap that holds the bag onto a luggage handle.

For avid hikers, I think the HighLine range is the obvious choice. However, if you’re looking for a simpler bag to accompany you on your travels (again, the RidgeLine is best for city use or short, day hikes), the RidgeLine range is worth a look. It’s designed for use with an additional, wheeled piece of luggage, and its simpler design sits at a much more affordable price point.

A few final notes on the Lowepro line

On an accessibility note, I did want to mention the stiffness of the clasps used in these Lowepro bags. The clasps feel very durable, but they’re extremely tough to use. I have arthritis in my hands, and I while I’ve never had a problem with this style of clasp before, I couldn’t undo Lowepro’s–they were just too stiff.

Unfortunately, that makes the waist and chest straps essentially useless for me, which was a big disappointment. (Those things are vital if you’ll be carrying a heavy pack around all day long!) It does mean that each clasp is more secure with a heavier load, though, so just keep in mind that you may be trading flexibility for security.

Shop Lowepro backpacks at Best Buy now.

Rae Chen
Rae Chen covers everything from handbags to speakers here on the Best Buy Plug-in Blog. They can also be found at thenotice.net, where they've been writing about beauty & wellness since 2007.