NOTE: This story was cross-posted at WeShootFuji.com
I needed an affordable, reasonably large but reasonably lightweight camera backpack to take with me to Teton National Park. I used the Pelican 1510-004-110 Case with Padded Dividers, Black to get my gear on the plane, but its not a viable solution for trekking around a mountain range. So as is my habit, I used one solution to get my gear TO the field, and one solution while I am IN the field.
I usually use the Tamrac 5588 Expedition 8x Photo/Laptop Backpack when I am driving to a location because its large enough and stout enough to both get all my gear to the field, and configured so I can carry it in the field. But if youre traveling on a regional jet, this bag is just too big to fit in the carry on.
The Pelican 1510 just fits all but the smallest overhead bins, so thats not a problem, but I needed something I could use to carry my laptop to Wyoming, and at the same time have it double as a camera bag.
While doing some research I kept coming back to the AmazonBasics DSLR and Laptop Backpack. I configured it for my Fuji gear. It held two Fuji X-T1 camera bodies, a Fuji X100T, six lenses, two sets of extension tubes, and accessories along with my 15 laptop. (Amazon says it will also fit most 17″ laptops and that appears to be true.)
And it did all that for less than $45! How? Its part of Amazons house brand. Amazon Basics is a value-priced, but reasonably high quality lineup of items that are meant to save people money while still providing good utility. Many of the items Ive tried from the Amazon Basics line of gear are just as good (or nearly just as good) as name-brand items, but at a fraction of the costs.
This bag has lots of pro features. You can configure it to wear on your back very comfortably and the straps (shoulder AND waist) are all well-made and comfortable. The bag also features adjustable straps on the exterior to attach and carry a tripod. The inside is orange! (If you prefer you can get a gray interior.) I personally love this orange color. How many times have you been searching in your camera bag for a small, black tidbit, only to find that in fading light, you can’t find it? With an orange interior that problem is solved.
The interior of the bag is very well padded and well organized. You can move around the dividers to allow for optimal storage.
The external dimensions of the bag are 13.4″ x 8.8″ x 17.7″ (LxWxH). I found that just right. It fits on a regional jet but yet holds a ton of gear.
The bag weighs in at 4.2 pounds, which isn’t bad, given its size.
I also like the fact that this bag doesn’t scream “CAMERA BAG!” That might help keep you and your gear just a little bit safer.
In a week-long trial, the bag performed like a champ. The zippers aren’t as fancy as you’d get with the bags that cost hundreds more, but they work well. I never had them catch on me. There’s even a rain cover which I didn’t use, but was glad I had.
While writing this post I just kept reminding myself. This bag costs less than $45! In today’s world where a good camera bag can cost as much as a good camera lens, it’s amazing to see something that performs this well and costs this little.
If you’re someone who is after a bag large enough to handle a serious expedition (as opposed to someone who just needs a small shoulder bag for a day’s worth of shooting) I think you’d be very hard pressed to find a better value. In my opinion, if you need this kind of bag, it’s simply the best value for the money that you can find. It is now officially my favorite camera bag because it has so much utility for so few dollars. As long as your expectations match your budget, then I’d gamble that there’s no way you’d be disappointed with this bag.
Very Highly Recommended!
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