Today we’re going to look at a few DSLR Travel backpacks. These are packs that allow you to take most of your kit with you while offering some real protection from accidental bumps, drops, and inclement weather. All these packs include some kind of tripod storage and some have either rain covers or a water resistant coating. Considering travel, these bags will all fit in most overhead storage compartments with room to spare. These are the kind of bags that you’d use to go on safari or take a family trip to Disney world. Situations where you need longer zoom lenses and your smaller fixed lenses along with all your filters, chargers, extra batteries, etc. These bags insure that you’ll have the gear you need to get the shot you want.
To start, a quick thank you again to all the companies supplying product for our review.
Great look and feel, simple look doesn’t scream camera bag, quick access pocket, adjustable dividers, extra storage for misc. accessories and internal padded pocket for up to a 15” laptop, stores a long lens while still attached to body, Access main compartment from behind backpack straps
Built extremely well, lush foam padding surrounds equipment, adjustable dividers, stores a long lens while still attached to body, restraint strap holds center long lens in place, Plastic and Foam padded bottom for shock protection, water resistant rubber coated zippers, room for two camera bodies in center channel, front accessory pockets, plastic reinforced tripod foot pocket, compatible with Tamrac’s S.A.S. and M.A.S. accessory systems, waist and chest straps add additional support and security, pullover rain protecting flap that tightens with a cord
Most padded pack I’ve seen in testing, Leather design highlights, Main compartment access is behind backpack straps for extra security, Hard padded bottom for shock absorption, Thorough and varied additional storage inside for accessories, Holds up to 17” laptop, Coated zippers keep water out of all compartments, water repellant coating on fabric, Included “L” camera lens bracket is unique (fits under attached lens to prevent shifting)
We’ll be comparing style, usability, durability, storage, and security.
Style – the DSLR Pro Pack by Incase wins!
The DSLR Pro pack is covered in a dark grey fabric that is extremely professional looking. Camera bags usually sacrifice form in favor of function but the balance with this bag is perfect. The best thing about this is that is doesn’t advertise the fact that it’s holding thousands of dollars of camera equipment. It’s subtle and you’ll want to carry it around. The Manfrotto case looks great as well, but it is very bulky and looks like it has a specific purpose. The DSLR Pro Pack looks like it might just be holding your sweater and a couple books.
Usability – the DSLR Pro Pack by Incase wins!
The other packs in this review both have coated waterproof zippers and additional flaps to cover the zippers. While this is great for protection from the elements, it is quite a chore to go in and out of the packs for equipment. The DSLR Pro Pack has easy access to any of its compartments. A small front soft-lined pocket is perfect for quick access items like your cell phone or keys. The larger front pocket contains a padded sleeve for any laptop up to 15” and you’ll also find many small pockets for things like filters, sd cards, additional batteries and even a change of clothes. A quick access pocket on top allows you to grab your camera with a lens already attached at a moment’s notice. The main pocket is hidden behind the backpack straps and it allows full access to all your gear in a flash. Usability hinges on comfort as well. None of these packs were hard to wear. They all incorporate some type of air flow on the back and they all include padded straps. The Lino Pro V and the Expediton 5x were both just a little too stiff and they were hard to wear over a longer period of time. The DSLR Pro Pack was padded enough without being hard enough to “cut” into the shoulders when worn for a long walking trip.
Equipment protection – the Expedition 5x by Tamrac wins!
This was a very close category between Tamrac and Manfrotto, in the end Tamrac came out on top based on one fact. The only thing that separates these two packs is the styles of bags. The Manfrotto bag is very large and almost bulbous. I think it screams too loudly that it is a specialty bag. The Tamrac Bag looks more like a backpack. It’s less assuming and blends in so that potential thieves will hopefully overlook it. Both bags provide a great padding and you won’t worry about a quick drop or bump in a crowded airport. The adjustable internal dividers tightly hug your equipment and don’t shift with travel. A “rain flap” covers the Expeditions zippers and tightens with an adjustable strap. This allows rain to slip right off the bag without getting close to your equipment.
Storage – the Lino Pro V by Manfrotto wins!
As far as gear storage goes, these bags are all pretty level. They’ll all store 4-6 lenses, a couple flashes, a battery grip, and 2 camera bodies. The difference, and the reason the Lino Pro V wins this category, is because of the additional storage solutions. The DSLR Pro Pack has great additional storage, but it doesn’t come close to the Lino Pro V. The internal pockets provide extra protection to your equipment, while at the same time providing space for all of your accessories and a 17” laptop. You’ll have room for just about every piece of gear that you’d need.
Security – the Lino Pro V by Manfrotto wins!
To start, a camera backpack just cannot have an easily accessible main compartment. The Tamrac bag is immediately disqualified here because while it has a couple measures in place, someone sneaky enough could still access my gear while the bag was on my back. The Lino and the DSLR Pro Pack both hide main pocket access behind the bag’s back straps. This needs to be a standard feature, plain and simple. The security of knowing that nobody can access your gear without you knowledge while you wear the bag is priceless. The Lino Pro V also has rubber coated zippers and flaps that make it a bit difficult to gain access to your equipment. It’s a hindrance on usability, but a benefit for security.
The overall winner is…. The Lino Pro V by Manfrotto!!!
Keep in mind that this is the most expensive option I’m showing here today. If you’re reading this though, you’re probably a person that owns enough professional camera equipment to need one of these bags. If that’s the case, you aren’t averse to spending a little more for top notch protection of your investment. You will know as soon as you see the Lino Pro V in person that the designers are probably photographers themselves. It’s intuitive in its design and the bag really gives you the peace of mind that you need from a bag that costs over $400. The Incase easily wins on style and the Tamarac offers really sturdy and complete protection. The Lino Pro V is the whole package though; I recommend it for anyone who needs a complete solution for travel.
AS ALWAYS… ENJOY YOUR GADGETS!