Practical Design, Fantastic Comfort: Wandrd PRVKE II Review

The refined Wandrd PRVKE has plenty of room and plenty of comfort.

The Wandrd PRVKE generated a lot of buzz when the backpack launched on Kickstarter. And that was for a good reason — we gave the original bag the Editor’s Choice Award. Like most photographers, we’re picky about our bags. Now, Wandrd is back with an updated bag by the same name. The updated Wandrd PRVKE II keeps well-loved features like the roll-top, rear access, extra pockets, tripod pocket, and numerous compatible accessories. But, the updated version re-designs the back panel and shoulder straps for more comfort, and adds a luggage pass-through and accessory straps to the shoulders. It also fixes complaints on the earlier bag, such as stronger magnets on the top handles.

We called the original PRVKE the perfect camera bag “for the most part.” Can the updated version hit that perfection without any modifiers?

Too Long, Didn’t Read

The Wandrd PRVKE II is a versatile, well-built bag with a roll-top that’s almost like having two bags in one. It’s comfortable to wear and easy to use, but you’ll have to put the bag on the ground to access all the gear, and the placement of the laptop sleeve makes the back panel stiffer.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Versatile expanding roll-top
  • Comfortable straps and back panel
  • Two access points
  • The design keeps straps out of the way when accessing gear
  • Made from durable, sturdy materials

Cons

  • Small objects can fall from the top compartment into the main compartment
  • The laptop sleeve is poorly placed
  • Lenses with tripod collars are too big to easily get through the side access door
  • Without a waist strap, you have to put the bag on the ground for full access to gear.

Gear Used

I could have fit even more by expanding the roll top and using the smaller pockets.

I used the Wandrd PRVKE 41L with the Wandrd camera cube (a larger Pro size is available). I stashed the Nikon Z6 II and Z7 II, the 24-70mm f2.8 Z lens, the 70-200mm f2.8 Z lens, a 20mm f1.8, and the 24-200mm Z lens in this bag. I also slipped an iPad Pro and my 13-inch MacBook Pro into the laptop and tablet sleeves. A Manfrotto BeFree travel tripod was stashed in the side pocket. Finally, the roll-top stashed lots of extras for outings with my three kids, including sweatshirts and snacks for everyone.

Innovations

This updated Wandrd PRVKE II more of a refresh than anything crazy new. It houses more features, like a luggage pass-through and a back panel and shoulder panel designed for more comfort.

Wandrd PRVKE II Tech Specs

Wandrd lists these tech specs for the new PRVKE bags. You can find this and more in their Amazon Store.:

  • Materials: Waterproof Tarpaulin and Robic 1680D Ballistic Nylon. YKK Weather Resistant Zippers.
  • Dimensions:
    • 21 Liter: 17″H X 11″W X 6.5″D
    • 31 Liter: 19″H X 12.5″W X 7.5″D          
    • 41 Liter: 21H” X 12.5″ W X 9″D
  • Volume:
    • 21 L to 26 L (rolltop full extended)
    • 31 L to 36 L (rolltop fully extended)
    • 41 L to 46 L (rolltop fully extended)   
  • Weight:
    • 21 Liter: 2.8 LBS
    • 31 Liter: 3.4 LBS
    • 41 L: 3.7 LBS

Wandrd PRVKE II Ergonomics

Like the original, the Wandrd PRVKE II backpack has a rear clamshell opening, quick access side door, and a roomy expanding roll-top. The 41L is a massive bag that’s 21 inches tall. I originally thought I picked the wrong bag for my small torso, but the big bag still fit okay, and I was grateful for the extra space.

Let’s start our tour on the inside of the bag. The PRVKE doesn’t have to be a camera bag — you make it one with the camera cube. (A larger Pro camera cube is also available.) While I generally don’t care for bags with camera cube inserts, I wasn’t bothered by the Wandrd camera cube because the zipper top and side door are made to tuck out of the way and under the cube. That means you don’t have to go through two zippers, but when you remove the camera cube to use the bag for everyday use, you can still zip up your gear.

Above the camera cube is a zippered area that opens to the bottom of the roll top. This opens up with two zippers on each side. Two finger pulls allow you to just rip this compartment open quickly. Of course, you do have to close two zippers instead of one when you are done.

This roll-top internal bottom is closed by velcro, but the velcro doesn’t always keep smaller items from falling through. If you have a smaller item in the roll-top, it may slip into the very bottom of the bag. This happened to my smartphone. There are plenty of pockets dedicated to smaller things, but small items stored here may slip down. There’s a reason for this seemingly odd design, though. The fabric separating these compartments can fold up to fit the larger Pro camera cube. Those small gaps are necessary for that flexibility.

The main compartment uses a clamshell zipper so you can open it all the way and easily grab your stuff. The inside of that clamshell flap is where the laptop sleeve and tablet sleeve are located. This is one of my pet peeves in backpack design: putting the laptop against your back makes it feel like you’re wearing a surfboard with straps. Carrying a laptop in the bag makes the back panel stiff. I was less bothered by this design than with some other bags because the back is well-cushioned. But, I would have preferred the laptop sleeve to be on the front of the bag.

In front of these laptop and tablet sleeves are smaller pockets sized for things like filters and cords. You can use one of these pockets for SD cards, but there’s no pocket specifically sized for the small media cards.

Zipping up that back panel, you can still access your camera through a side door. You can swing the backpack around using one strap, grab your camera, and swing it back. However, you’ll need to remove the bag for anything not in the slot by the quick access door. An expanding zipper pocket will accommodate a water bottle or a tripod on the opposite side of the bag.

The front exterior has just a single pocket that is deceptively large. This pocket covers almost the whole front of the bag. You can fit a folder or large planner here. I would have preferred the laptop pocket to be located here to avoid that stiff back panel, but this front pocket is not padded.

The top of the bag features the defining feature of the PRVKE line: a large expanding compartment with roll-top access. On the 41L, this expansion was big enough to house sweatshirts for me and my three kids, snacks, and diapers. This space really makes the PRVKE II more than a camera bag; you can pack your camera gear and whatever else you need to tackle the day, from lunch to a jacket. Well, the 41L is big enough to accommodate lunch, a jacket, and then some. The rolling top closes with both velcro and a metal hook.

Just behind the roll-top, above the back panel, is a passport pocket. It’s deep and fleece-lined, so it’s also great for stashing a smartphone. Equally discrete, a smaller pocket above the quick access door has a key leash to keep them easily accessible. Finally, a small compartment on the bottom is hidden so well, I used the bag for a week before I realized it was there.

The back panel has three pieces of foam padding. The design offers support while allowing enough room for a little bit of airflow. A luggage pass-through strap rests between the bottom panel and the top two.

The shoulder straps are padded yet not too thick. The edges are soft and flexible, so they don’t dig into your body like stiffer straps do. I also love that the straps are curved to fit with your body. The chest strap is adjustable and can also be completely removed. This strap helps keep the shoulder straps in the most comfortable position.

You can also carry the bag using two handles above the roll-top. These handles have a magnet built-in, so they close and open easily.

For such a large, over-packed bag that hasn’t been broken in yet, the Wandrd PRVKE 41L was surprisingly comfortable. The straps and back panel are well designed. The bag isn’t as comfortable when carrying a laptop because it makes the back panel stiff, but those three padded panels on the back help quite a bit. I prefer a waist strap when carrying all my gear, and thankfully Wandrd offers an add-on strap for $39.

Wandrd PRVKE II Build Quality

Made from waterproof tarpaulin, the exterior of the Wandrd PRVKE feels very durable. The material is very sturdy, yet it also has a clean, minimal look. The back, bottom, and roll-top are constructed from nylon. I would have preferred if the bottom were also that sturdier tarpaulin.

I could tell the zippers were made for added weather resistance just by looking at them. They have a black seal around them. This didn’t seem to affect how the zippers pull but helped keep splashes out and create a cleaner look.

I tossed the bag in the shower for a few minutes, and the materials and zippers are actually well-sealed. Water does get in, however, where the two zippers meet to open the back panel. The hidden pocket on the bottom also got pretty wet. I would wear the bag in light rain and not worry about splashes, but I would use Wandrd’s rain fly (sold separately) in heavier rain.

Wandrd PRVKE II Ease of Use

The new PRVKE has two ways to access gear — through the back panel or the quick access side opening.

To reach the full camera cube, you have to take the bag off and unzip the back panel. Unlike some similar back-access bags, the backpack straps are attached to the back panel. That means when you open the bag, the straps don’t get in the way. I prefer how the straps are attached to the Wandrd compared to the back access Lowepro Flipside. But, I like the Flipside’s ability to swing the bag around to the front, supported by the waist belt, and grab your gear. (If you add the waist belt, you may be able to swing the bag around to your front, grab your gear, and swing it back. I did not test the waist belt accessory.)

While you need to put the bag on the ground for full access, it’s easy to grab the camera and attached lens from the side. However, I did have a little trouble pulling the camera out with the 70-200mm lens. The tripod collar tended to grab onto the bottom of the camera cube and not pull free easily. But most small to mid-sized lenses should pull easily from this compartment.

Conclusions

Likes

  • The expanding roll-top is huge.
  • The bag is comfortable to wear. I like the straps and back panel.
  • There are two ways to get out your gear, one with fast access and one with full access.
  • I love that the backpack straps don’t get in the way when grabbing out gear.
  • The materials look great, but are also sturdy and water-resistant.

Dislikes

  • Some small objects can slip through the top compartment and into the bottom. (This design, however, makes it possible to use a larger camera cube.) 
  • The laptop sleeve location makes the bag stiffer and less comfortable when bringing a laptop along.
  • Lenses with tripod collars are difficult to get through the quick access door.

I’m picky about camera bags. I’m one of the last millennials still using a DSLR (or so it seems) — so I’m carrying lots of heavy gear on petite shoulders. But I really loved the updated Wandrd PRVKE II. It’s comfortable, versatile, durable, and still looks great. I can fit a ton of gear in this bag: the roll-top is really like having a second backpack for non-camera gear.

Is it perfect? Not quite. The top compartment isn’t 100 percent sealed off from the main camera gear compartment. Putting the laptop sleeve on the back panel makes the bag less comfortable when carrying a laptop. That quick access side door isn’t big enough for lenses with tripod collars. And you do have to put the bag down for full access to your gear. On the other hand, if you don’t need a separate camera cube or the biggest size, the Wandrd PRVKE Lite is also spectacular.

The Wandrd PRVKE II isn’t quite perfect, but it’s 95 percent there. That’s good enough for many photographers to fall in love with this bag. As a result, I’m giving the Wandrd PRVKE II five out of five stars and the Editor’s Choice Award. Want one? Check out the WANRD store on Amazon for pricing.

Hillary Grigonis

Hillary K. Grigonis is a photographer and tech writer based in Michigan. She shoots weddings and portraits at Hillary K Photography. A mother of three, she enjoys hiking, camping, crafting, and reading.