I tend to go through camera bags pretty often, but one of the few that has stuck with me for over a year is the Oliday Journeyman. If you came to my office and saw my closet, you’d see just how many camera bags I’ve collected. It’s pretty insane. But most of them just stay there in the closet–like a number of other reviewers. It’s rare that I’d actually go out and buy one, but I was intrigued by the Oliday Journeyman and so decided to give it a shot. Made with leather and canvas, this bag balances both style and functionality in a way that is practical for a variety of reasons.
Is it perfect? No. But it’s very close.
Pros and Cons
- Adequate padding
- Very smart way of separating gear
- Weather proofing
- When you put a laptop in it, the bottom can be difficult to get to.
- I didn’t think the pockets on the sides and front were that secure. But in the long term, I’ve been proven wrong.
- It should let you put a tripod on the bottom or top of the bag, not the side.
The Oliday Journeyman was tested with; various lenses from Sigma, Sony, and Leica, Fujifilm microphones from Rode, Manfrotto Tripods, Vanguard Tripods, Nikon cameras, and lenses, etc. This bag review has been done over the period of a year.
Specs for the Oliday Journeyman taken from their website’s listing
It features TWO ways of carrying:
* Fully equipped camera backpack: holds DSLR with up to 6 lens or accessories and tripod
* Full daily and weekender backpack : remove the insert pads to creat big space holding personal items
* 14 oz cotton canvas
* 100% full grain leather
* Water-resistant canvas (Coated with Polyurethane on inner side of canvas for water resistance)
* Solid brass hardware
* Nylon lining
* Secure antique brass magnetic-clasp closure
* Solid brass zipper closure with storm flap for added security
* Top and bottom compartments
* Two front and two side magnetic closure pockets
* Two interior zip pockets
* Laptop pocket for 15″ macbook pro 2017 version:Height: 0.61 inch (1.55 cm), Width: 13.75 inches (34.93 cm), Depth: 9.48 inches (24.07 cm)
* Two wide, padded shoulder straps
* A padded back
* Thick padded shoulder straps
* A waist strap with a buckle
* Two side pockets provide quick access to water bottles and tripod
* It comes our signature dust bag and it can use as shopping bag.
* 11.5″ (L) x 17.5″ (H) x 5.75″ (D) (whole bag)
* 10.5″ (L) x 8.25″ (H) x 5″ (D) (top compartment)
* 10.5″ (L) x 8.5″ (H) x 5″ (D) (bottom compartment)
Padded Camera insert:
* 1cm foam wrapped pads in both top and bottom compartments
* Padded sides and bottom
* Adjustable and removable padded insert in both top and bottom compartments
The Oliday Journeyman is quite an interesting bag from a design standpoint. It’s got a weathered look right out of the box, and that’s because of the canvas design and the soft leather. Meanwhile, the inside really helps it keep its shape.
The bag has leather straps on top that help it to keep the top all closed shut. These straps are both magnetic for quick access and involve thread looping. I really wish that there was a effective way to put a tripod up top.
On the side of the Oliday Journeyman you’ll spot a pocket. This closes with a magnet too. In fact, all the pockets that aren’t zippered are sealed with a magnetic lock. This makes for quick and simple access.
Turn the Oliday Journeyman around and you have the backpack straps. These are very comfortable and they come with a strap that can go around your waist or is sometimes in just the right spot to go across the middle of your chest. It’s oddly convenient.
When you open up the top of the bag, you’ll lift back a flap and reveal the fully padded interior divider. I’ve stuffed cameras, lenses, microphones, film, etc in here. The design is such that the contents are kept well sealed.
I’ve taken the Oliday Journeyman in the rain, snow, hail, sleet, on the subways, in airplanes, into the desert; it’s been everywhere with me and I always enjoy how durable it is. Nothing has fallen apart and it continues to accumulate wear but always holds up. At such a great price point, I’m shocked it has survived this much abuse. What I wish would be better about the Oliday Journeyman’s build though is full closures for the front pockets. In practice, it’s never proven to be a problem, so I can’t even say it’s there’s a practical reason for feeling that way; it’s just personal paranoia.
Ease of Use
The only times the Oliday Journeyman isn’t easy to use are in the following instances:
- When carrying a laptop in it. There is a zipper on the back that lets you put the computer in there. But then opening up the bottom section can become a bit tight. It’s doable, but not as simple if a laptop isn’t in there.
- When using a tripod. I’m not sure why camera manufacturers find it a great ergonomic idea to have the tripod on the side vs on the top of bottom.
Otherwise, like most other backpacks, this bag won’t give you true quick access. You’ll still need to sit it down, access your gear, and then zip up and continue. But doing all of that isn’t so bad and the idea of separating your gear into the different compartments makes it simple and direct. I want to say that it’s like having two messenger bags in one.
Considering this is one of the only camera bags that I’ve been using for over a year and how consistently fantastic it’s been, I need to award the Oliday Journeyman our Editor’s Choice Award. It’s comfortable, reliable, effective, protects your gear, and does all this while being stylish. Even better, it’s made in America and is really affordable. What’s not to love here?
The Oliday Journeyman receives our Editor’s Choice award and Five out of five stars. Want one? They’re $125 or $155 on Amazon.