Just a few weeks ago, Lowepro launched it’s first grab-and-go protective and customizable quadcopter drone storage system, the DroneGuard Kit. Lowepro’s solution is an interesting one in that you can adapt it for different devices combining organization, portability, and protection using it as a stand-alone kit, or as an insert with some of their other bags. Over the last two weeks I’ve been putting this bag through its paces on the streets of Chicago, as well as the in desert and dunes of Michigan. In my full review I’ll cover the features, price, build, aesthetics, and function of the DroneGuard to let you know just how they fit the current market.
The kit was built modular with a large rigid base layered with Velcro so that you can add, remove, and shift your kit around to fit pretty much any UAV on the market. For the purpose of my testing, I used the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ loaded with every accessory and tool I could find, including the prop guards.
Features and Function
The DroneGuard had a much smaller footprint than I was expecting when the box arrived and was very lightweight. The base is built with a honeycomb interior providing a sturdy foundation for the kit and doubles as a work surface, while retention straps offer security keeping your drone nice and snug while in transit.
Included with the base are the modular components that you can add, remove, and adjust as the need arrives. There’s a battery box with adjustable dividers, drone sidewalls with slash pockets (these things are handy for your smaller components and tools), and a remote/transmitter divider which also has another set of retention straps to ensure your remote stays put. Each of the modular components as well as the outer walls of the kit are lined with an elastic loop system to add extra storage for props, cables, tools, and the zippered side pockets provide extra storage, support, and protection.
Durability and Protection
To be completely honest, this bag took a pretty severe beating while on its travels with me. Occasionally getting buried under a mountain of other gear during a massive 10 person photoshoot in the dunes of Michigan, getting covered in sand and leaves while on said shoot, as well as just general bouncing around in the back of my trunk with and without the drone loaded in. Other than its need of a complete scrubbing and vacuuming to remove all the sand, the kit is in incredible shape!
As mentioned above, the DroneGuard kit took a pretty complete beating in the two weeks of use and through it all, other than the pile of sand that still needs cleaning, my drone is in fantastic shape.
What Fits In It?
Details on what drones are compatible with this kit are listed on their site and include:
- DJI Phantom 1, 2, and 3
- 3D Robotics Solo
- 3D Robotics IRIS+ (Blades off)
- Ghost Aerial Plus (Blades off)
- Blade 350 QX3
I’d imagine this list will grow as more users start testing and I’ll expand as the info comes in. But if your drone is similar in size and design as these listed above, it’s a safe bet the DroneGuard will work for you.
Where Does It Fit?
The DroneGuard currently will fit inside of the following devices:
- Lowepro Pro Trekker 450 AW ($379.95)
- Lowepro Hardside 400 Drone ($319.95 including the DroneGuard kit)
- Lowepro S&F Transport Duffle Backpack ($106.95)
You can purchase the kit as a standalone device like I did over the last few weeks for $99 or as the hard-case bundle mentioned above.
What I Liked
- The kit fit every single piece I needed to carry with me as well as offering the space for me to have the drone loaded with the prop guards still on. This wouldn’t be possible while used as an insert to other bags so it was a huge time saver for me with transport and usage.
- My blades, batteries, controller, and tools were all tightly strapped in or secured in a zippered pocket so I didn’t have to worry about any little pieces falling out.
- Even with everything loaded into the bag, it was still very lightweight and balanced.
What Needs Improvement
- As a stand-alone bag, I wish there was a rain sleeve or some sort of simple cover to prevent the pockets and dividers to be filled with sand or elements like rain or snow.
- The Velcro base of the kit can act as a dirt magnet, so when in extreme conditions (such as a beach/desert), sand can get lodged in the Velcro pretty deep. When this happens, it can cause the modular components to start to separate.
- The price point is a little high in my opinion, even though it is useable as a stand-alone device compared to most other brands comparable products which are just inserts for other bags.
- Aesthetically, the bag could use a little work. While functionally it's awesome, the deep brown and orange color could use a redesign.
While I was underwhelmed by the color choice of the kit and the price point is a little bit on the higher side, I am definitely impressed with its functionality and versatility, and therefore would definitely recommend it for your drone carrying needs! I would just recommend that you get it with a bag/case or at least get a rain shield for it when you travel.
All images used with permission from Lowepro.