Back in March I was looking for a new backpack to replace my aging laptop backpack from L.L. Bean. That bag has been fantastic over the last 10 years and been everywhere with me, however it was getting time to move on to something newer that would could handle the larger laptops of today. So, I went looking for a bag that would handle larger laptops, perhaps up to 17” and ideally if it had enough padding in a pocket that I could put my camera in (Nikon D7000).
- Size: 32cm x 20cm x 43cm
- Solid handle
- Side netting to place water bottle
(Mine has a zip up mesh pocket for the water bottle)
- Thick sponge protection for laptop
- Many internal pockets to store small items
- Tripod attachable at the bottom or side
(Mine allows for side mounting in its own pull out pocket)
- Sturdy handle + metal parts
- Strong and solid fastener
However, they’ve not mentioned one very nice feature of this rucksack, it also has a built in rain cover that you can pull out of the bottom and cover your rucksack to protect your precious cargo!!
The bag that is currently on sale has mostly the same specs as mine, however, the design of it has changed. From the photos I’d say I think I prefer my version of the bag, but it’s really hard to tell just from looking at the photos.
From the site I’ve pinched a couple of photos with the specs:
Ok, so that’s what is on sale now.
So, what are my thoughts on the bag? Well, I’d suggest to anyone looking for a sturdy laptop AND camera bag, get one of these! It’s as simple as that. The rucksack is very comfortable to carry, easy to get on and take off, and everything is very accessible. There are plenty of zippers to keep things secure. The laptop pocket even allows for a padlock to be attached to secure that pocket. While the bag rides very nicely on the back, especially when using the waist strap, the only complaint I have is I find that my back got hot and sweaty from the padding, so a simple fibreglass frame to create a space between the bag and the padding to allow air to flow would be a nice enhancement. All in all though the bag is very well balanced no matter how you load it up.
On one day I took a walk around Cambridge and was actually out walking around for nearly 5 hours. I loaded up the bag with what I’d need for the day and it weighed in at 19.8lbs or 9KG. So, what did I have in the bag you might wonder? Well the purpose of the trip wasn’t just to walk around but to take some photos in Cambridge but also to be in town for a RAYNET event that was taking place that evening, so I had a bit of extra stuff for that. So the list of gear in the bag looks like this:
|Heavy Tripod with 3 way head||Nikon D7000 w/ 18-105mm lens|
|Nikon 35mm f/1.8 lens||Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens|
|Tamron 70-300mm lens||Yongnuo 467 Speedlight|
|iPad 2||Yaesu VX-5r HT|
|750ml Bottle of water (on the side)||3 x 500ml water bottles inside|
|Samsung Galaxy S2||Pack of AA batteries for Speedlight|
|Remote flash triggers||Remote control for the camera|
|5000mAh battery Pack to charge phone||Various cables for phone and camera|
|USB wall charger||A few normal documents I always carry in the bag|
What didn’t I like about the bag? Well, not a lot really, no hard core hate points. The only things I didn’t like are really more a list of “things I’d do differently” than out and out complaints. I suppose it’s best to give you a list in the usual Pro / Con format
- Large and well padded shoulder straps with shock absorbers at the top!
- Well padded laptop pocket to give protection on all sides, and easily holds my Dell E6520 15.6” laptop
- Well padded where it sits on your back
- Loads of room for everything!
- Well constructed and sturdy, the large solid carry handle on top is a major plus
- Built in rain cover to protect the gear
- Light weight bag (when empty)
- No real air flow for your back, this could be fixed with a light weight frame or different padding arrangement I think
- The small zipped pockets on the waist straps would be better if the zips were turned around, right now they unzip from the bottom of the pocket up and over the top of the pocket, this means you could well lose change or other small items if you unzip in a hurry
- There is no single huge pocket in the bag, ie, if you want to use to go to the shops for a few groceries, making it more of a general rucksack. This could very easily be fixed by adding a zipper to 3 sides to the main pocket’s floor, unzipping that floor would open the bag up to allow for a nice huge pocket once you remove the camera bag.
- It could do with a couple more little pockets inside for small items
- Add locking holes to the camera pocket just like the laptop pocket as camera gear can easily be worth more then a laptop.
All of the cons above are simple fixes and, really, in no way detract from the value of this bag. If the manufacturer fixed those I would have NO complaints at all about this bag, it really is a cracker.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this bit as well, but the customer service by the folks over at UKPhotoDistro Ltd is absolutely top quality!!! I’d contacted them to find out when I might expect my bag as it was getting very close to the 21 day point … I was informed that there was a delay with the shipment that was out of their control however they were very sorry and hoped they could make things up to me some how, and offered to throw in a photo related gift to show their appreciation of my patience and understanding… they were true to their word and did just that … You can check out that review by CLICKING HERE. I was more then pleased with what they’d sent me, that item has now become as much a part of my daily camera carry as my camera is!
I’ve included links to photos of the bag I bought below, click on the read more to see those photos. You can also see the photos over at Flickr by CLICKING HERE, I’ve included some description on the photos over on Flickr.