WANDRD is becoming known for their thoughtfully designed camera carry systems. They make packs that help you travel well, not just packs that copy the designs everyone has copied for decades.

I recently reviewed their DUO Daypack and this new FERNWEH backpack carries on with the innovations in a size and style that will appeal to those looking for a bigger bag to join them on all kinds of adventures, including overnights in the mountains.

The FERNWEH was just launched on WANDRD’s website, so see why this is one of my favorite bags to explore the great outdoors with!

Summary: It’s a fine backpack well worth its cost

As I say in the following video, if I had bought this backpack during the Kickstarter, I would be pleased with my purchase. Check out the video for a dynamic view, and see all the still photos below.

It’s great for travel/backpacking, and if you add the WANDRD camera cubes, it’s great for carrying camera gear, too.

Editor’s Note: The FERNWEH was previously available via Indiegogo at a special price of $299. It’s now available on WANDRD’s website for a retail price of $349.

My favorite thing

This backpack is comfortable and well-ventilated and easily-accessed and very well-built. But my favorite thing about it is that it is available in not-black. Gobi Tan is a flat dark Earth-like color and I think it makes a bag look less like a technology bag when I’m traveling in cities, and it makes it less dense-looking when I’m in the wilderness.

To me, part of Leave-No-Trace ethics is blending with my surroundings so that other people can’t see me as easily during their wildness experience, and the tan version makes that more possible.

The thing I (kinda) wish it had

I’m divided on this one. The bag doesn’t have any open stash pockets on the side that you can reach while hiking. I often pick up trash and interesting rocks and the stash pockets are where I drop them. I also like to use it for a water bottle.

On the other hand, I like that the exterior is sleek and trim and there’s nothing to snag on branches or collect pine needles — as stash pockets often do.

Detail pictures

The back panel is one way to access the main pocket where you can secure camera cubes or any other load.
There’s also sling-style access from both sides at the base of the pack. Camera cubes line up with these openings for access without removing your pack from your back.
The front of the bag also opens to the main compartment. I like that this is a good opening when the pack is standing.
The outermost pocket has a drain intended for your water bladder so that any leaks don’t soak the interior.
All the zippers are weather-resistant and YKK-made, and they have zipper garages to ensure the pulls don’t get frozen in place or covered in mud.
The harness comes in three sizes of straps and hip belts and then they are adjustable on the frame so they’re sure to fit all bodies well.
The mesh back panel is backed by contoured foam which allows air to flow and facilitate ventilation. I was satisfied with its performance on a long hike on a hot day.
WANDRD has developed a new way to attach the sternum strap to the shoulder straps. This fastener snaps onto the rail on the straps on both shoulders. There’s no buckle in the middle, and to release the sternum strap you just pull on the tab. I was skeptical, but this system worked well and was intuitive.
The whole pack is made of rubberized nylon that is tough and weather-resistant. The sleek profile will look really good in Gobi Tan.
In place of an open stash pocket, there’s a vertical pocket on the side with two zippers that is accessible with the pack on your back.
The hip belt is comfortable and effective at relieving your back of the weight. It’s got gear loops from which you can hang carabiners or Platypods.
Every stitch is well-placed and bar-tacks abound for strength and durability. There are accessory loops up and down the bag that work with WANDRD’s accessory straps (not included)
A sling deploys from the bottom of the pack which can be used for a tripod or a sleeping pad or wet rain gear.
The rubberized nylon material is also ripstop.
The grab handles are large and comfortable, and there’s one on each side, including the base for removing from overhead compartments.
Here’s that bottom grab handle, right next to the stow pocket for the sling and rain cover.
The suspension was surprisingly comfortable. Even with a heavy load on a long hike, my shoulders were comfortable and I wasn’t fatigued by the pack itself, just the load it carried.
The top flap conceals a sac that extends into the main compartment, or which can be removed to make one large compartment. There are also several small pockets for handy items.