We just got back from our first international trip with our new backpacks and I am excited to share my thoughts on the Lowepro Highline BP 400 AW.
The Lowepro Highline BP 400 AW is outstanding! It easily handles the weight, has room for just about everything I could need and has extremely well thought out features.
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In order to properly review the pack, I am going to go through each of the features. Let’s start at the front:
The front compartment has ample room to store essentials for the flight. The JumpKit (one of my favorite innovations of the Lowepro Highline BP 400 AW) is stored in this compartment, along with a mesh pouch perfectly sized to hold the toiletry kit. The toiletry kit is a heavy-duty, clear plastic resealable pouch which meets TSA standards for liquids.
Tucked in below the JumpKit is room for my daypack, and, on this trip, my fleece. This makes for very easy access to most of the things I would need while flying: electronics, a daypack for when I arrive, toiletries to freshen up after a long flight and a fleece for a cool Milan morning.
Next, we move on to the main compartment, which is not quite a standard carry-on size but has some nice features, including two zippered mesh pocket.
The larger compartment is perfect for my packable raincoat. The second zippered pocket runs along the side and I use it to hold cables, plug adapters and the travel router and cable since I won’t need them while on the move.
It also has clothing straps, which I don’t use since I use packing cubes. I am able to fit four of the eBags Slim Ultralight Packing Cubes, but only just barely fit them. Do not overload the cubes as the pack will have a hard time closing if you do. I can also fit the camera bag along with a couple of other odds and ends at the top.
There is a small, zippered pocket on the front perfectly sized to hold keys and loose change.
There is another pocket on the very top which is perfectly sized for a glasses case. I use this to hold my glasses, sunglasses and other small items.
On the sides, there are two mesh pockets, which easily hold my Kleen Kanteen Water Bottle, mainly due to its slim shape. Underneath one of the pockets is is the pouch for the built-in rain cover, which puts the “All-Weather” in the Lowepro Highline BP 400 AW.
On one side, there is a laptop slot, which could have easily handled a larger laptop than our 13” MacBook Pro. The laptop slot has a zipper lock.
It comes with a waist belt and sternum strap. The waist belt is easily tucked away. I cut the sternum strap off pretty quickly. I have never liked sternum straps on non-technical packs.
The straps are nice and wide and provide great padding. There is mesh padding on the back of the pack, which is very comfortable.
The pack is very tough, with Cordura Nylon on the bottom and an almost rubberized material everywhere else. There are two large and conveniently placed carry handles, one on the top one on the side with the laptop slot.
In all, the pack could have stood to be a tad bit bigger, but is so full of outstanding features, I am willing to pack a little less just to use the bag. I can’t find another bag with so many smart features in such a rugged, compact package. It is advertised as a pack for an adventurous weekend, but, with good packing, you can go much longer with this pack.
Packing for Eight Days in Italy with the Lowepro Highline BP 400 AW
Packing for any international trip is a challenge, especially in the spring. The weather is just finicky. Sometimes cold, sometimes hot.
We chaperoned an eight-day trip to Italy for our school, visiting Verona, Venice, Pisa, Florence and Rome. The temperatures for this trip ranged anywhere from the 50s to the upper 70s, presenting a real difficulty in packing and a departure from our normal methods.
Normally, when flying internationally, we only take four to five sets of spare clothes. By doing laundry on the trip and only packing enough to make it those five days, we are able to pack very lightly. Indeed, we typically only carry a carry-on backpack for the entire trip weighing around 20-25 pounds each. Hitting this weight is essential for travel on discount airlines which charge for heavier bags.
For this trip, we were with a tour group. We were unable to do laundry, other than the occasional wash in the sink, forcing us to carry a lot more than we normally do.
That said, the new pack was up to the test. While it was a bit stretched, it managed what I needed for this trip nicely.
Here’s What I Have in My Pack
- Columbia Silver Ridge Shorts x4 – These are light, comfy and quick-drying. I love these shorts.
- Columbia Silver Ridge Pants x3 – The zip-off pant version of the shorts.
- SmartWool Socks x2 – I have been wearing these socks for 15-plus years. They are more than worth the premium. I find if you rotate them, you only need a few pairs.
- Under Armour Boxer Jocks x7 – These are the best underwear I have found for comfort, preventing chafing and fit.
- Champion Athletic Short x1 – Just a pair of shorts for wearing around the hotel. Nothing fancy.
- Columbia Declination Shirt – These are a modal blend, wick moisture and are very comfortable to wear on the plane or hiking.
- Nike Dri-Fit Shirt x6 – Of all the synthetic t-shirts I have tried, I like these the best. You can find them in several solid colors or with graphics on them.
- Columbia Light Weight Fleece – I picked this up at the Columbia Outlet and it is a great, light fleece with a lot of warmth for the weight.
- Columbia Packable Raincoat – This doesn’t breathe that well, but it packs into its own pocket and has its hood stored in the collar. I hate hoods.
- eBags Slim Ultralight Packing Cubes x4 – These are a new eBags product and they are really impressive.
REI Flash 22 Daypack – I recently picked this up to replace my Flash 18. It is just slightly beefier than the Flash 18, but it has mesh pockets for water bottles and a water bladder sleeve, making it more versatile.
What I Wore on The Plane
In addition, I wore a Columbia Declination Shirt, Columbia Silver Ridge Pants, an Eagle Creek Money Belt, Under Armour Boxer Jocks, Smart Wool Socks and Merrell Moab leather low cut shoes on the plane.
In addition to all of those clothes, I also have a small Cocoon Inflatable Travel Pillow, a MSR Hand Towel, a 27-oz Kleen Kanteen, toiletries and medications. These are basics I carry with me everywhere.
Since we are blogging on this trip, we are also carrying a hefty amount of electronics.
Inside the Main Compartment
- Canon SX40HS (updated version linked) with spare battery, battery charger and camera bag.
- Travel WiFi Router and retractable ethernet cable
- Several Lightning Cables with USB A to USB C adapters
- Europe to US Plug adapters x4
In the JumpKit:
- iPad Mini 2
- Unlocked Portable Hot Spot
- Two Lightning Cables
- Two ear pods and a headphone splitter (in case we want to watch a movie together).
All told, my pack weighs in at about 25 lbs, which is a bit heavy. It was not as heavy as Bonnie’s, which tipped the scales at 30 lbs. I ended up taking the laptop on the flight back to take some of the weight off of her.
I was really impressed by the pack by the time I got back. The pack is easy to use, comfortable to carry, even when overpacked, and the features of the pack were incredibly well thought out. I highly recommend this pack.