I purchased a Lowepro Vertex 200 AW Backpack about two weeks ago for just over £100. Intended to be a bag that I carry all of my photo gear in, on those longer journeys or on holiday. Yes, that amount of money is a lot to spend, but if you have expensive camera gear it really needs good protection.
So, the Vertex 200AW has a lot going for it. It can accommodate two SLR cameras, plus lots of lenses. It has a main compartment that takes all of your main kit which is divided up by padded pieces that attach in the place you choose with velcro. The flap of this main compartment has some extra pockets for accessories too. It is amazing how much you can fit in. The main compartment gobbled up my Nikon D90 with an 18-105mm zoom lens attached, two macro lenses, one zoom lens and a small prime lens. Add to that my flash and there is still loads of room. It also sports a weather-resistant quiet zip.
In front of this is another zipper of the same style. This reveals a laptop compartment which will take up to a 15-inch screen laptop. I have tried my MacBook in there with loads of room to spare. This section could quite easily be used for papers and a book or two. Then there are extra smaller pockets for memory card, plus a really cool strap down on the front. This slides up and down into position, and allows you to strap a tripod on, you even get a foot support supplied too (shown left). There is also a little pocket on the bottom of the bag, inside which you find a waterproof cover, that pulls out and covers the whole backpack. It is great and protects your kit from heavier rain and sand, this is a superb inclusion.
The shoulder straps are nice and padded. There is also a chest and separate waist strap too. These add extra stability, but it is a shame they cannot be removed from the bag.
Now, it is very comfortable to use and I am very happy, but there is a but. The bag is very heavy even without any kit inside. Add a camera and some lenses and it becomes extremely heavy to use. So, my advice is to buy this one for longer journeys, or if you need to take ALL of your kit with you. Lowepro make loads of different bags and I hope you bring you a review of their Slingshot 200 AW soon, which could be used to travel light (as an everyday bag). That said, the Vertex 200 AW is superbly made and worth every penny. It still amazes me how much kit you can fit into it.
Note: Prices are due to change on this product on 1st May 2009, so get in at this price whilst stocks last.