About a week and a half ago, I got an email from Lowepro telling me I won a Lowepro Nova Sport 17L AW bag -- very cool. It showed up promptly this week, and I can't wait to start using it. I'll post a full review once I've put a few miles on it, but in the interest of timeliness, here are some first impressions.
Lowepro gave me the choice of Red or Grey for this bag. As you can see, I chose gray. Since this bag is somewhat messenger-bag-like, I thought, the gray might help it draw a little less attention to itself than a more overtly "pro"-looking bag. Opening the bag up, it's well-built, as I've come to expect from Lowepro, but half the fun with a Lowepro bag is checking out the little details that really set these bags apart.
The top flap opens wide, but partial side skirts look great for protecting the contents. Among the features I've come to expect from Lowepro bags: all of the dividers are adjustable, and I'll certainly play with these as I work on loading it up. This bag also features Lowepro's all-weather (AW) cover, which I'm pretty likely to need at some point.
One of the more unconventional features is the removable liner (shown by itself at left and next to the bag at right). I've long lamented the lack of great "hybrid" packs for backpacking, but this insert just might work as a photo insert in a regular pack -- like my old Lowe Alpine pack, for instance. As seen here, when the insert is lifted out, it's got a nice collar that lifts up around the top and cinches closed -- another great touch. When the insert is mounted in the bag, it forms a pocket of sorts that might be suitable for a tablet or ultrabook-sized laptop, but I don't think my Lenovo W510 is going to fit in there.
That just about covers the quick tour, I think -- all that remains is to pack it up and hit the road. Can I really fit all my stuff in there? This last photo shows the load I've been carrying in my old Lowepro Orion next to the brand-new Nova Sport 17L. I've just started fiddling with inserts at this point, so I'll have to end on a bit of a teaser, but so far, I can tell you that it's looking pretty good.
Thanks again, Lowepro -- watch for a full review on this bag later!