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Storage Review

Lowepro's waterproof backpack caters to both adventurous photographers and avid anglers (continued)

Real World Tests: The DryZone Rover is an impressive waterproof backpack with an excellent design. Now that weíve familiarized ourselves with the Rover itís time to take it out for field tests. The Lowepro DryZone Rover went on many adventures with us that included wading in fishing waters, day hikes along Yosemite rivers and waterfalls, and onto our bass boats while hunting for different freshwater species.


JIP hikes along the stream with the Rover while searching for backcountry trout holes


Storage: The majority of the storage is provided by the two main compartments. The top compartment can hold the Hydrapak full of water, two Plano 3600 size tackle boxes, a full size can of Pringles, extra water, Lipper tool, small packs of snacks, extra reels, and more. I was quite surprised how much stuff I was able to pack into the water-resistant compartment, and it appears that Iíll be able to carry everything I need on my fishing adventures.


The backpack can hold two 3600 Plano tackle boxes, snacks, and much more


The bottom waterproof storage is specified to fit a DSLR, 35mm, or compact medium format body, 3 to 4 lenses up to a 200mm f/2.8, a flash or compact binoculars, and accessories. My list of gear consists of the Nikon D200 with MB-200 (battery grip), Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8, 50 f/1.4, 18-70, 70-200 f/2.8 VR, SB-800 flash with diffuser, ML-3 remote, and other accessories. It fit everything except the HUGE 70-200mm lens that weighs 3.2 pounds and stands 8.5 inches in height. Without the big telephoto lens, the waterproof compartment held the rest, with the 17-55mm lens mounted on the Nikon D200 camera body making up a total of 3 lenses, flash, and accessories. Capacity is excellent and allows me to carry enough lenses to cover the range I need most. If I removed the 50mm and 18-70mm lenses, and reorganized the dividers, I am able to fit the D200+MB200+17-55mm system and the big 70-200mm.


The Nikon D200 DSLR sits in the well-padded camera pod


The padded camera insert has dividers to keep each piece of equipment from hitting each other and is large enough to hold much professional gear


When the waterproof portion wasnít used to hold my expensive camera equipment it was used to hold my other electronics when I was out fishing such as cell phone, PDA, point-and-shoot digital camera, handheld GPS, and two-way radio; with plenty more room for fishing tackle.


On the flap it has two digital memory card holders


Inside the padded camera insertís flap there are storage pouches that hold memory cards such as compact flash and SD cards. Each memory card storage contains 8 divided pouches that hold multiple digital memory cards in various sizes. Additional small accessories can be held in the provided zippered pouch such as extra batteries, lens caps, cords, remote, and battery charger.


Inside the holder are flexible divided pouches that allows it to store such things as CF and SD memory cards


There are also two meshed pockets on the outside of the Rover. These are good to hold packs of terminal tackle, fishing license, pliers, and other small accessories that might get lost in the larger compartments, and allows one to quickly access the most used items.


Meshed pocked allow storage of tools, terminal tackle, and other most frequently used items


Each of the elastic cords are adjustable


One last thing, the DryZone Rover sports a hidden camera tripod holder. I placed my Bogen/Manfratto tripod in there and it held in place nicely. But like I mentioned above, this tripod holder just might hold a fishing rod, and it did exactly that. The St. Croix Premier Traveler spinning rod slipped right in there with its travel tube, a perfect fit! Other multiple piece rods can also fit in this ďtripod-fishing rodĒ holder, and to make sure it wonít bounce around there are adjustable elastic cords to secure it from top to bottom.


The tripod holder has now become the fishing rod holder


At the bottom is the tripod holder support so it won't slip out from the bottom


Slipped into the "tripod-fishing rod" holder is the St. Croix Premier Traveler spinning rod in its travel tube


Waterproof: This feature was a must have for me and it MUST be what it claims, to be 100% waterproof. The tests were done to stress the lower waterproof compartment to the fullest, applying water to the DryZone Rover backpack from all angles and at all pressures simulating rain, splashes from whatever it might come from, and of course dunking the Rover backpack into the stream and lake, which I have done in the past with non-waterproof camera bags and it destroyed my cameras. The final outcome was very positive, the Roverís DryPod is 100% waterproof and no matter what we threw at it the water never penetrated the compartment thanks to the rugged water-tight seal provided by the waterproof plastic-coated nylon and the TIZIP waterproof zippers that completely keep water out. Aside from being waterproof the Rover is buoyancy-certified to 35 pounds. This is good to know especially if the backpack was accidentally knocked into the water, it can always be retrieved without fear of sinking to the bottom of the lake or ocean.


We tossed the loaded Lowepro DryZone Rover into the lake for our waterproof field test. It sat afloat for 20 minutes before we retrieved it to check its performance.


When the TIZIP is closed it provides a sure seal to prevent water from penetrating


JIP wades in the water while fishing for bass at a local lake. The Rover backpack is touching water but he doesn't worry about ruining his Nikon D200 camera because it's well protected


Next Section: More on performance and final results 










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