An Amazing Camera Bag just Got Better!
A few years ago I picked up the original Prvke 21 pack and fell in love with it, so when WANDRD reached out to me to see if I would be interested in receiving their latest version for free, I jumped at the chance. I've been a fan of the original for some time and there was no expectation of a review, nor did any money change hands. That said, it's been on my mind for some time to share my impressions, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity. I love this bag, but I will also be honest about its short-comings.
Why I Love the Old Bag (and I don't mean my wife)
As a professional photographer and outdoor enthusiast I have quite a few different camera bags (ten at last count) from a number of different manufacturers. Each serves a purpose and has a number of pros and cons going for it. Since getting the Prvke21 a few years ago I would say that my gear spends about 90% of its time in this bag. Here's why...
So, What's New?
At first glance, especially when looking at the front of the bag, it's hard to tell that there have been any changes to the bag at all. I suppose that speaks to the success of the original design. But upon closer inspection, the changes are many...
An Inside Look
The main compartment, where you would insert the Camera Cube, shows no real changes and that makes sense since the cube is a separate purchase. I am happy that my older cube still fits perfectly within the main compartment. The flap access panel to the upper compartment is no longer mesh, but a durable nylon material. Unfortunately due to the panel design both zippers have to be used into order to close it. When I want quick access I don't like the idea of having to fumble with two zippers.
As for the lid there are several new zippered compartments along with the two larger sleeves for laptops or tablets that were in the original design. These new pockets are a very nice addition to store fairly small, flat accessories.
So How Good is it?
I've only had the new Prvke21 for a couple of weeks before writing this review, but I've had its precursor for years. The build quality remains excellent, and in many regards is improved. I'm rough on my gear and this bag can handle the abuse of backcountry travel. On a couple of day hikes the new model proved to be even more comfortable, and in the rain it repelled the water nicely. I'm guessing that a torrential downpour might cause some issues, but with waterproof materials and weather-resistant zippers I haven't had any issues keeping water out of my pack, and I've been in some wet conditions. There is an available rain fly, but so far I haven't needed it.
A camera bag is all about storage, and for my purposes this bag fits the bill for most situations. As a mirrorless shooter I find there is ample room in the Camera Cube for a camera body and lens, along with 3 or 4 other lenses, plus batteries, and small LED panel. Within the upper compartment I can easily carry any additional camera body and lens, or one of my longer telephoto lenses. I also store my filter holder in this part. On a day hike I throw in a jacket, lunch, or other gear, and the cinch strap keeps things from moving about.
The lid easily fits my 13-inch laptop when I travel, my camera filters, and now with the extra pockets can also fit extra memory cards, cables or other smaller items. The side access also has a zippered pocket for smaller items.
Storage is definitely not an issue, even in a bag with a fairly small footprint. For those shooting with larger DSLRs, the Prvke31 might be the better option.
It's Not All Roses
Yup, this is a great bag. But it's not perfect. There are a few things that I would have liked to see improved.
Is this bag for every photographer? Nope. If you need really quick access to your gear you can't beat a shoulder bag with a simple lid. But if you are looking for a pack-styled bag that is rugged, comfortable, incredibility well made, with plenty of room for gear, the WANDRD Prvke21 is tough to beat. You can check out this bag and other stuff from WANDRD on their website.
Oh, and one more thing. My wife is anything but an "old bag". She is the most wonderfully supportive partner I could imagine. (This only makes sense if you read the whole article.)