Review: WANDRD PRVKE Pack Camera Backpack (31)

For the most part, the WANDRD PRVKE Pack 31 is the perfect camera bag for photographers.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with backpacks designed for photographers: but the PRVKE Pack may be the only one that I actually like except for the Langly Alpha Pro. When the Kickstarter launched, it was very aggressively marketed to be the single backpack that the traveling photographer needs. To that end, the PRVKE pack has loads of space, dividers, expandability, features that try to turn it into a tote bag, and other features that make a whole lot of sense when used during actual travel. In fact, I’ve taken it on two press trips and many a shoot.

Editor’s Note: Updated November 2019; and we love this one so much. You can pick it up from Adorama

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • A surprisingly comfortable backpack, can pack loads of gear and help you organize it with ease
  • Loads of pockets help with the organization
  • The passport pocket is incredibly smart
  • Expandability to work like a RuckSack lets you store loads of clothing, toiletries, etc. almost as if it’s a whole nother backpack inside the PRVKE pack
  • Decent enough amount of padding
  • Tripod holder straps that work very well
  • Fairly quick access to gear
  • Stylish enough
  • Pretty low profile despite its giant, boxy appearance
  • Even at its most packed, it’s TSA approved
  • The integrated camera sling strap is excellent for those who go on hikes.
  • New dividers

Cons

  • You only have quick access to maybe two pieces of your kit at most. Actual quick access is still given to the messenger bags and sling bags.
  • Tote handles are supposed to be magnetic, and barely hold together magnetically
  • Complicated to set up at first, and I genuinely think it should come all set up for you

Gear Used

Loads and loads of equipment have been stuffed into here. Clothing, my Macbook Pro 13 inch, a Vanguard Nivelo tripod, Canon 6D, Tamron 85mm f1.8 Di VC, Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master, Sony a7, Zeiss 50mm f1.4 Milvus, Lomography Achromat lenses, Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art, Shanny flashes, Adorama Flashpoint flashes, Phottix flashes, the Arctic Butterfly, etc.

Tech Specs

Specs are taken from the product listing

  • Materials: Waterproof Tarpaulin and Nylon Dobby. YKK Zippers.
  • Dividers: 8 Custom Molded Foam Dividers
  • Cube Dimensions: 10″H X 12″W X 6″D
  • Pack Dimensions: 19″H X 12.5″W X 8″D
  • Pack Volume: 32 L to 38 L (Roll top fully extended)
  • Pack Weight: 2.3 kg (5 lbs)
  • 3 Points of access: Roll Top, Side Quick Camera Access, and Clamshell Opening
  • Modular, removable camera cube that fits a DSLR/SLR body and up to 8 lenses
  • Integrated side camera sling
  • Checkpoint friendly, adjustable laptop sleeve
  • Removable waist strap
  • Two, dual hook cinch straps with 4 connection points for external gear attachment (front or bottom)
  • Secure passport pocket built into the back panel
  • Rainfly with dedicated storage
  • Expandable water bottle/tripod pocket
  • Sleek and minimal, urban-inspired design

Ergonomics

How this was shot

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer PRVKE pack product images (3 of 11)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

The PRVKE Pack is a camera bag backpack that doesn’t really look like a camera bag. At first glance, it’s easy to think that it’s a bag designed for someone going on a trip for a while or doing some backpacking. And perhaps that’s one of its greatest strengths.

We start the ergonomics tour with the front of the bag, where we find a slot for laptops or papers. Plus, you’ll find one of the tote style carrying handles, a zipper on the side that lets you get quick access to gear, straps to hold things on the side, and the top area.

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The top of the PRVKE Pack makes it very unconventional, but if you’ve done some time in the military, it will be very familiar to you. The entire thing unrolls to become larger or smaller accordingly. Then you just clip it closed and adjust the strap accordingly.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer PRVKE pack product images (11 of 11)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

When unrolled, it can accommodate lots of clothing, lots of toiletries, more gear, food, etc. It’s quite lovely if you’re the type that needs to change clothes often. For example, when I go on press trips, I tend to shower in the morning and then again before our dinner. To that end, I need to change often.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer PRVKE pack product images (7 of 11)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

Move to the other side of the bag, and what you’ll find is another pocket. This has a zipper that allows it to expand to accommodate a water bottle. I often stuff Visine, Purell, and business card cases in here.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer PRVKE pack product images (8 of 11)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

The other side can open up to accommodate the gear access. Said access is seen in more detail in the next image.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer PRVKE pack product images (10 of 11)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

See where the camera is? When the pocket is unzipped, then you can have camera access to those two areas. You can also configure it to be one large area. The cool thing is that all the dividers can be switched up as you please. Additionally, zippered flaps can cover these areas and keep all the contents contained.

This is how the backpack looks when the clamshell is open. You’ll find access to the camera gear on the bottom and anything you put on the top via zippered pockets.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer PRVKE pack product images (9 of 11)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

The clamshell is exceptionally comfortable for what it’s worth. It has access ports for a laptop inside, but that’s not the coolest thing. Though I didn’t appreciate it at first, there is a pocket towards the bottom that is thin and can help you specifically put your passport there. Considering that I can’t legally fly with just my NYS license anymore, this specific pocket is a lifesaver if I don’t put my passport in a coat pocket.

The straps also have straps on them with tripod screws. These screws connect to your camera and let you have the camera on the backpack straps for quicker access.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer PRVKE pack product images (1 of 11)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 2.8

Honestly, this bag has undoubtedly had a lot of thought put into it. When you first get the backpack, you have to do a lot to configure it; and that’s a significant pain in the ass as I spent a good hour getting it just right. But in the long run, it made a lot of sense.

This bag went down conveyor belt after belt. Plus, it was stored in plane cabins, came with me onto the subway, to client shoots, etc. It’s remarkable, and I like its design much more than the Langly Alpha Pro because of the easy clamshell access. That’s a significant advantage on top of the side access.

I took this bag out in the rain at one point. It shrugged off rain like it was nothing because of the design; that is weather sealed. You can surely feel it on the outside.

What’s even more surprising is how comfortable the bag is when around your back. It’s almost like a very firm pillow is between your back and your gear.

Update 

In 2019, WANDRD updated their divider system with their new camera cubes. The redesigned cubes are made a whole lot sturdier and therefore give the bag potential to maintain its frame over a more extended time. What’s more important, though, is how much better the dividers are. These dividers are thicker and sturdier. The less like the Peak Design ones and instead just much thicker.  It gives your gear less of a chance to move about as you’re in the field. But more importantly, it makes the equipment less able to fall out of your bag as you access the side panel. This is an incredibly important and very welcome addition.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer PRVKE pack product images (2 of 11)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 2.8

While I’ve talked about how much I detest the setup, it turned out to make the use of this bag very simple overall. In all honesty, this is the closest thing to a Swiss Army Knife that you can really get with a camera bag.

They haven’t solved the problem of having access as quick as a messenger bag, but no one has to be honest. Even with the straps placed around your waist/stomach, you won’t be able to rotate it as well and easily with the clamshell design simply because the bag is so massive. And if you’ve got a burger/pizza/whiskey/all-the-yummy-things-gut like I do, then it’ll be even more difficult of a process.

When on a shoot, it’s best to leave the bag on the floor unzipped so that you can access everything you need. But if you’re a photojournalist, the design may limit you, and to that end, you’re probably best off with a messenger bag or sling instead. To that end, it would be best for some wedding photographers, studio shooters, on-location shooters, etc.

What I’m even more surprised at is that you can sit an entire lighting setup here except for modifiers.

Conclusions

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After months of use, there isn’t a single thing holding me back from awarding the WANDRD PRVKE Pack an Editor’s Choice award. Why?

  • It’s comfortable
  • It can carry loads of gear without destroying your back
  • It emphasizes you really organizing everything
  • It gives your relatively quick access
  • It can take a tripod
  • It can hold loads of clothing
  • It’s excellent for mirrorless or DSLR cameras and lenses
  • It’s perfect for the photographer that is traveling

What I often did was took this bag along with my Hawkesmill Sloan Street camera bag, and together, the duo was able to tackle any situation.

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The WANDRD PRVKE Pack receives five out of five stars and the site’s Editor’s Choice award. Want one? Get ready to drop $270 for one.