A well-designed, versatile option for toting gear on location.

As we amass more and more camera gear, we continue to search for the proper handling materials to ensure the gear’s protection. In the past 6-12 months, we’ve reviewed some fabulous bags and backpacks, but as certain events, like CES, come into view, we like to make sure that our gear is both protected and easy to transport. With that in mind, we started looking at rolling cases and found the Pro Runner series from Lowepro to be just what we had in mind.

The Pro Runner series of bags are designed to provide versatility for production gear. It’s a rolling bag when you want it and a backpack when you need it. It’s the ideal type of bag for location shoots because it can easily navigate through crowds, lobbies, and other obstacles in order for you to reach your chosen spot for shooting. The Pro Runner RL x450 AW II is ideal for packing around tons of gear and still being able to keep moving.

Pro Runner RL x450 AW II REVIEW

DETAILS
The Pro Runner RL x450 AW II is a convertible roller/backpack and was designed specifically to protect and organize gear. The bag is constructed with travel in mind. First of all, it’s designed to meet standard carry-on requirements for most airlines. The external dimensions measure 13.78 x 9.02 x 20.67 inches. Lowepro planned this case very carefully and streamlined it for maximum use of the internal compartments for camera gear. They call it their “MaxFit System,” which includes dividers and a snug protective fit.

Pro Runner RL x450 AW II REVIEW

The MaxFit System provides space for:

  • Up to 2 DSLRs – one with an attached lens or one DSLR with lens attached and 1 Pro DSLR body
  • 5-6 extra lenses (one up to 300mm)
  • Speed lights
  • Up to a 15-inch laptop
  • 10-inch tablet
  • Wacom type tablet
  • Large smartphone
  • Pro tripod
  • Other accessories

Lowepro really understands the needs of its users as it incorporates YKK locking zippers, front document pockets, mesh side pockets, an adjustable sternum strap, SlipLock attachment loops and an All-weather AW Cover for ease of use in every circumstance. The wheels are sturdy urethane for smooth transport and there is mesh padding on the back panel for comfort when wearing it.

Pro Runner RL x450 AW II REVIEW

USER EXPERIENCE
The first thing I noticed about the Pro Runner RL x450 AW II was its weight. It’s heavy. And, by heavy I mean it weighs a little over 10 pounds completely empty. I have a 27-inch rolling suitcase that only weighs 2.5 pounds more and it’s a full-size piece of luggage. Right away, I had some concerns about using this case for many location shoots. Even though its designed to be a rolling case, which would carry the excess weight, in my opinion, it’s a bit hefty for a bag like this.

Pro Runner RL x450 AW II REVIEW

All that said, I used this case for a week going to and from work. For the most part, I was toting around my laptop, 12-inch iPad Pro, cables and accessories, along with some paperwork, and of course, my DSLR. Since this is naturally designed for camera gear, I won’t comment on the lack of paperwork space, but everything else that traveled with me day-to-day was nicely situated. The DSLR I carried with me is a Canon 5D Mark IV and a slue of lenses. This list of items, while pretty standard for me, isn’t nearly testing the abilities of the Pro Runner RL x450 AW II completely. That said, I did feel that in some cases, that might be all anyone carries around.

Pro Runner RL x450 AW II REVIEW

Rolling the bag around was a dream. It was very easy to navigate turns and roll on hard surfaces and carpets alike. When it came time to try out the backpacking aspect of the Pro Runner, I had a little bit of a different story to tell. Even though the Pro Runner is designed to be ‘convertible,’ I feel as though it really should be a rolling bag. First of all, its base weight makes it hard to carry around on your back. Second, tucking away all the straps necessary to convert it from backpack to rolling bag isn’t really a quick process. When I started using the rolling bag feature, I tried to put away the straps with an empty bag. When I did, I still found it difficult since the bag is so rigid in places. So, if you are out in the field and want to change from roller to backpack, you have to have account for the timing it takes to do so.

Pro Runner RL x450 AW II REVIEW

Conclusions
It may sound like I don’t enjoy the Pro Runner RL x450 AW II, but in truth, I do. I think that it’s made extremely well and it works very well as a camera gear bag. It’s built tough and holds a LOT of gear. I just think that it’s important to make the distinction between a multi-purpose carry-on bag that would hold camera gear, computer gear, and other necessities and the Pro Runner. It’s designed specifically for camera gear. So, if you are a traveling photographer, this is an ideal bag for you. The rollers are super smooth and even though I’d like to see the straps be a little more padded, they are very durable as well. It’s honestly the best traveling bag I’ve seen for camera gear and I would recommend this to on-location photographers as well as traveling photographers. As for me it will be a wonderful addition to my CES travel gear.
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For more information, visit lowepro.com.
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