For the Outdoor Photographer at $149: Promaster Jasper Halfpack Review

The Promaster Jasper Halfpack is a bag primarily for the outdoor photographer who likes to be organized.

For years, I’d known Promaster as one of the cheaper brands in the camera space. We’d never forged a press relationship with them and always went after the shiny brands who answer our messages. But then ProMaster reached out to us about the Promaster Jasper Halfpack. Being a camera bag guy, I was very intrigued. My closet is filled with them. And I often rotate them out for different needs. The Promaster Jasper Halfpack is targeted to be a middle of the line camera bag. It doesn’t have some of the higher-end features like a chest and waist strap. Those are meant for higher-end camera bags. But instead, it makes you put the tripod on the bottom–where it belongs. It’s also fantastic for organizing your camera gear. But no matter what, it’s also a bag designed to very specifically compartmentalize your gear. Where I’m used to putting things like a light and an extra camera in the top section, the Promaster Jasper Halfpack wants you to keep it down below. And if you put everything in its place, you start to really enjoy using it.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Durable feeling
  • The laptop section is towards the front of the bag, and so it’s better on your back
  • Lots of pockets
  • Good gear padding
  • Tripod straps on the bottom
  • Holds a lot of gear

Cons

  • Access to your equipment only through the back
  • No waist straps or chest strap
  • Not a roll-top
  • When the bag is filled, the camera section juts into your back
  • Zipper handle broke on us

Gear Used

We tested the Promaster Jasper Halfpack with Panasonic, Sony, Fujifilm, and Sigma gear. We even tried to throw in a Profoto B10 light in there. Additionally, we used a ProMaster SPH45p Tripod, and a MacBook Pro 13 inch was stuffed in there at least once.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the product page

  • Exterior Dimensions: 12 1/2″ W x 18″ H x 7 1/2″ D (31.8 cm x 45.7 cm x 19.1 cm)
  • Interior Dimensions (main compartment): 10 1/2″ W x 9″ H x 5″ D (26.7 cm x 22.9 cm x 12.7 cm)
  • Weight: 1 lb 15 oz (0.88 kg)
  • Rain cover provides extra protection

Ergonomics

Here’s a look at the Promaster Jasper Halfpack. It appears to have a few pockets on the front, but the truth is that there’s only one. And that one, lonely pocket is on the bottom. It’s a small pocket with even further customization inside. The top section is zippered and folds over and locks into place using straps. The straps are similar to hooks and work well enough. But they’re not my favorite.

The bag has this specific shape right now because a laptop is in it. The laptop section, as you’ll see later, is near the front of the Promaster Jasper Halfpack. This material is nylon that isn’t the most stylish. But it’s still a reasonably stylish bag overall. I just wish there were more canvas and leather in it.

Here’s a glimpse inside of the lower front pocket. It’s thin, and I wouldn’t put a lot of stuff in there. Maybe a passport, wallet, keys, microfiber cloths, etc. It’s meant for tiny things and nothing more.

This is a side view of the Promaster Jasper Halfpack. Each side has a pocket like this that’s expandable and can hold other things. Note, however, that there is no strap to help with keeping things in place. So with that said, be careful about what you put on the side.

Here’s a view of the back of the Promaster Jasper Halfpack. The straps are incredibly comfortable, and pretty much that entire black area is either padding or seatbelt material for you to grab onto something. The bottom section is very heavily padded. But I wish it were so through the entire back.

When you open up the back rear section, this is what you see. The flap has a pocket as well. But for the most part, you’ll be looking at a large section for your gear. The dividers are thick and durable. In fact, they’re some of the best I’ve used.

Up top, the Promaster Jasper Halfpack has more room. There’s a large interior pocket with little pockets inside of there. You can store other stuff in there, but I’d strongly recommend putting your lenses and cameras inside the bottom section. When I had it stored up top, the Panasonic S1 kept grinding into my back. You can also put a laptop up here.

When you’re done up top, you zipper this flap up. Then you close it using the straps.

And most importantly, we can’t forget about the tripod straps on the bottom. This section is one of the best because most other manufacturers want you to put it on the side. And nothing has thrown my back off more than that.

Build Quality

We got two versions of the Promaster Jasper Halfpack: one in black and one in green. The black was rushed through production to us and didn’t go through quality control. So as a matter of editorial responsibility, we have to express that. It wasn’t bad at all, but one of the tabs broke on us during testing. It happened explicitly when we stuffed the top section a bit more than one might sanely do. But with the green version, there were no problems at all with build quality. Indeed, for $149, you’re getting a superbly built bag. For the record, higher-end camera bags still totally feel so. This isn’t going to feel like an ONA, a Tenba, or even anything from WANDRD. But it still feels incredibly robust to a lighter degree.

When stuffing the bag with camera gear, we had no significant issues with the slightly changing shape of the pack. It never developed holes or other problems. And when we took it out into the rain, it held up with no issues.

One odd thing is that the laptop section is towards the front of the bag. Some folks like that because it means that you don’t have it pressed against your back. And that’s fine. Usually, when it’s against your back, you need extra padding. But overall, I can’t complain about the build of the Promaster Jasper Halfpack.

Ease of Use

So let’s start with my biggest qualm: this isn’t a roll top. At this size, this bag would be an ideal roll top camera bag. In fact, we can’t find an option with a rolltop on their website. Overall, that’s the only bad thing. I’d also like chest and waist straps, but they’ve got that on other bags we’re told.

Now for all the great things about the Promaster Jasper Halfpack. First off, this is an incredibly comfortable bag. It’s not a quick access bag, but that’s fine. Instead, you go through the back section to get to your gear. This section is also very well padded. And if you pull the straps up enough, it can be very comfortable on your back. This would have been even better with a chest strap–but alas, that’s not the case here. This means that if you want to use it, you’ll need to stop and set it up. And that’s fine.

There are slots on the side, too, for things like a thermos. You could also put a jacket or something in there if you wish.

Further, the Promaster Jasper Halfpack has loads of pockets. This aids a lot with the organization. As we’ve stated, this camera bag is designed mostly for an outdoor photographer. It’s for you to gather your gear, load it up, and then get to a location. Once you’re there, you’ll work out of your camera bag. In fact, you’ll mostly work out of the back rear section. But if you want to access the top section, I’d recommend zipping up the bottom rear, bringing the bag upright, and obtaining your necessities. This is a different approach than having a more extensive zippered section on the back. Personally, I still don’t like this, but I’ll admit that it helps me keep things more secure overall.

My favorite thing about the bag is the implementation of the tripod straps on the bottom. These straps are fascinating too, because they’re basically D rings that need to be undone and adjusted. It means that your gear will be super secure. But it also means that your back won’t be killing you because a tripod is on one side of a camera bag.

Conclusions

If you’re on a budget, then the Promaster Jasper Halfpack is a great camera bag. For many photographers, I’d probably even consider it to be overkill. It can hold a lot of gear, but it won’t give you the full support of a chest and waist strap. This is a camera bag for an outdoor photographer – a photographer that will spend all day outside with no flash. But instead, you’ll use a camera, lenses, filters, a tripod, etc. And at the top, you’ll hold snacks, a jacket, and other essentials. As you stick with it through the mud and rain, it will continue to stand up to the elements. Just load it up into your car when you’re ready to go home and keep the tripod on the bottom section.

Though the Promaster Jasper Halfpack does a lot to make the experience comfortable, it could go even further. A bit more padding here and there, in addition to straps, could have easily made this bag a contender with some of the highest-end products on the market. (Well, that and a rolltop.) When I travel, I absolutely cannot work without a roll top camera bag these days. But the Promaster Jasper Halfpack is fantastic for a quick trip.

The Promaster Jasper Halfpack receives four out of five stars. Want one? Check out Amazon for more!