recently, I received my WANDRD PRVKE pack, a crowdfunded photography and travel backpack. I purchased the pack when the product was still in its Indiegogo phase, so the wait was long (but the reward was sweet!)
I've put together a few images and thoughts about my initial experience with the bag after using it for about a week. overall, I'm thoroughly impressed with the quality and the versatility of the bag. considering its sleek, minimalistic design, it's incredible how many useful and detailed features are packed in.
here is a short video showcasing the bag in action, including all its many features, which I will explain in more detail below.
[ big thanks to friend and photographer Ryan Christopher ]
I've been on the market for a really good camera backpack for a while now, mostly in the interest of traveling (but also just as an around-town work pack). I own a Lowepro backpack that I love for hiking (and I just love in general), but the downsides are its bright orange color (not the most ambiguous on a shoot), and the limited gear capacity. it only holds one camera with an attached lens and one extra lens. I have traveled with it, but found it didn't quite fit the bill (though it does score high points for functionality and comfort).
I also tried a Langly backpack and was pretty disappointed. Although the bag looked really cool, it was incredibly difficult to use. No side entry, waist straps, etc., and very challenging to get my gear out quickly. The material was very stiff as well, and I found that the straps rubbed around my shoulders some.
then I came across WANDRD and finally found a bag that combined both comfort and functionality with style and appearance. although it's not perfect, it's pretty darn close and I'm overall very satisfied.
a few of my favorite features about the PRVKE pack:
- built-in camera sling. I'm an avid user of the Holdfast Moneymaker leather camera sling system, but unfortunately, it's not practical to wear the leather straps underneath a backpack. however, the built in sling on the PRVKE pack provides a safe, hands-free method for attaching your camera without having a strap draped around your neck. it's especially convenient for travel, when you want to have your camera at the ready, but also keep your hands free and avoid cumbersome neck straps. my only small complaint is that the nylon strap and plastic buckle do not promise the same durability and security as the Holdfast leather straps and metal sailboat clips. but, time will tell how trustworthy this feature is.
- side-entry. if I'm going to wear my gear in a backpack, it's imperative that I can quickly access my camera and spare lenses. I love that the PRVKE pack has side-entry access, making it easy to swing the bag onto one shoulder and quickly retrieve or stow away my camera. one small issue I've found is the removable/adjustable dividers inside the padded camera compartment do not have velcro all the way along the edges, so the dividers cannot support the weight of a lens that is situated close to the opening... basically, I've almost had my lens fall out a few times when I unzip the side entry. It seems that the internal dividers should be a bit more secure and stable to support equipment.
- waist straps. a small detail perhaps, but a game changer in my opinion. without waist straps, the weight of heavy gear rests entirely on the shoulders. for extended periods of travel or hiking, I'll definitely be using the waist straps to take the load off of my neck and shoulders. I wish they had some padding, instead of being a plain nylon strap, but so far they've been pretty comfortable.
a few things I wish could be improved or added:
- size. although the bag looks fairly proportionate on Ryan, I find that it is a bit large and bulky on a smaller-framed female like myself. of course, the bag has to be large due to its gear capacity, but I wouldn't mind a bit smaller bag with a more compact interior.
- gear dividers. as I mentioned previously, the velcro dividers in the gear cube are unusual. instead of the normal foam-filled dividers you find in pretty much any camera bag, which usually have velcro that lines the entirety of each side that attaches to the interior compartment, the PRVKE has rather thin plastic-y dividers that only have a few velcro tabs that attach to the compartment. it just doesn't seem as protective and secure as what I'm accustomed to seeing in other bags.
- sling clip. again, comparing to the Holdfast Moneymaker, which boasts incredible quality and design - the clip to secure the camera to the sling is a bit cumbersome, especially for those with larger hands.
- roll-top. the roll-down top is very stylish and overall pretty practical, but I have found that it feels a bit cumbersome when I need to grab something out of the top compartment of my bag quickly - whereas a fold-over flap or zipper would be a good deal quicker I imagine. but I do like the appearance of the roll-top, and the ability to increase the capacity of the bag is definitely a plus.
all in all, I'd give the PRVKE 9 out of 10 stars - there is room for improvement, but the bag definitely meets a huge need in the camera pack market. I'm excited to see what WANDRD continues to do to improve the pack, and hopefully introduce new products. their attention to detail and good design are sure to set them apart from the pack (no pun intended).