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Gear Review: Vanguard Veo Discover 42 Backpack

I’ve long been a fan of Vanguard’s bag offerings, as I’m the owner of The Heralder 38 messenger bag as well as The Heralder 46 backpack. Both have long offered me suitable room for my Nikon DSLR body and lenses.

But when I switched to a Panasonic mirrorless system earlier this year, I knew I needed something smaller. When Vanguard’s new Veo2 series of products came out, I knew that this could potentially be the solution I was looking for — something small and lightweight, but that would still hold my gear.

The Vanguard Veo Discover 42 is a backpack/sling combo that is advertised to hold one DSLR camera body, 1-2 lenses and a variety of accessories. For me, having this as a travel daypack was perfect.

Photo by Cathy Seaver

Appearance

Most of my other Vanguard gear features a black and orange color scheme, so I was surprised to see a dark slate gray completely covering the outside of the Veo Discover 42. It was refreshing, however, and it’s a look that doesn’t attract a lot of attention while traveling.

You’ll find five zippers on the bag, one of which is used to hold the rain cover, allowing for complete bag coverage. There are then two side zippers that open to the main gear compartment, allowing side access if you’re using the bag as a sling.

On the bottom, you’ll find the material shifts to a hard rubber, making it easy to wipe away dirt.

Storage and Security

One of my biggest qualms with camera backpacks on the market today, is that there aren’t enough of them that allow for body-side access. This is useful to keep your gear secured when you’re traveling in unfamiliar territory, or in large areas with lots of people present.

The Veo Discover is Vanguard’s first backpack line that allows for gear to be accessed through the body side, meaning the zipper isn’t accessible to the outside world, and can only be unzipped by taking the bag off.

The bag also features some hefty padding in the gear compartment, which is completely customizable with Velcro separators. While these get the job done, I did find customizing the gear compartment a bit tedious at first, as the separators feature some very strong velcro. Once they were in place to my liking, though, I was satisfied. Ideally, I could’ve used a few more separators for smaller accessories.

The Veo Discover 42 has ample space for a camera body and two small lenses or accessories. Photo by Cathy Seaver.

For my Lumix GH5 gear, I found I could hold my camera body with an attached lens, one additional lens, my speed light and Peak Design strap without a problem. I was also able to squeeze in some round ND filters in the extra space. However, larger lenses will be difficult to fit, even with just a camera body, as my Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens was too large to fit.

Within the gear compartment, there’s also a pocket that can be used to hold a tablet up to 9″.

The top compartment can be used for extra accessories, sweatshirts…you name it. This also has two small mesh pockets that can be used for storing memory cards and other accessories like batteries.

Finally, there are two side straps that can be combined with a top velcro strap on the outside of the bag, used for holding a tripod or monopod. These can be adjusted slightly and can hold small-to-medium sized tripods without any problem.

Comfort

The Veo Discover 42 is very comfortable and seems to sit higher on my back than most other backpacks I’ve tried. This is a plus for me, as it took the weight off of my lower back. I wore the backpack for several hours and, due to only weighing two pounds, I could wear it non-stop.

The straps are also extremely comfortable, offering a lot of padding around your shoulders.

The back also has very similar padding, and seems to be a softer-than-most padding. This added to the comfort; there were times I literally forgot I had a backpack on.

The rubber bottom allows for quick and easy cleaning. Photo by Cathy Seaver.

A Great Daypack

The Veo Discover 42 is a great backpack for a day trip, having enough storage to get the job done. While it’s not something I’d use on a professional shoot, if you’re going on a photo walk and looking to travel light, the bag is perfect.

The bag is also comfortable enough that you can use it for extended periods of time. For micro four-thirds users and light travelers, this backpack is perfect. For DSLR users, the backpack would still work great, but you’d have to be more selective, especially with your lens choices. If you don’t want to slim down your kit, you might consider looking at the Veo Discover 46 instead, the 42’s “big brother” that has slightly more storage space.

The Veo Discover 42 retails for $99.99 and is now available.

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