This Bag Is Unique. Morally Toxic Valkyrie 20L Review

From the shed (as they like to call it) of UK-based camera bag and tripod brand 3LeggedThing comes an all-new backpack series – the Morally Toxic Valkyrie. 3LeggedThing is well known in the industry for its bold colors and innovative designs, and the new Morally Toxic brand is no deviation from this. Say hello to some shiny exteriors with not-so-subtle patterns. There are some fabulous functional additions in their first series of backpacks (called Valkyrie). Available in three colors and two sizes, the Morally Toxic Valkyrie bags aim to challenge conventional camera bag design by weaving in premium quality and extraordinary style. I spent a few days testing the 20L Blue Valkyrie, and I was pleasantly impressed with what it has to offer.

Too Long, Didn’t Read

The Valkyrie is a confident move into the camera bag segment of the photography industry by accessories manufacturer 3LeggedThing. The exterior fabric of the Valkyrie model is made of premium material (and every single bag manufactured has an outer pattern that is unique). Zippers are all YKK, the shoulder straps are comfortably padded, and the 3-point air-flow back support means it fits well while you’re traveling. In addition to the standard tripod holding straps and elastic straps to hold your water bottle, there are also a few hidden surprises.

There’s a Secret Stash pocket in the back to hold cash and travel documents. In addition to the super-rigid internal dividers with strong velcro sides, they also incorporate a sleeve/pocket on one side to store small accessories like cables or lens caps. There’s also what 3LeggedThing calls a Frog pocket. This is a large, separate compartment on the back where you can safely keep wet or damp clothing (or even an underwater camera) without it damaging the gear in the main bag. The exterior material is the real star though. Sure to turn heads in public thanks to its reflective material, the Morally Toxic Valkyrie comes in 20L and 25L sizes in Onyx, Emerald, and Sapphire (seen below).

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Eye catching, stylish, and individually patterned exterior design
  • Internal dividers with strong velcro and inbuilt sleeves/pockets
  • Water resistant ‘Frog pocket’ to store damp or wet items safely
  • Liquid and stain repellent exterior fabric
  • Laptop storage compartment is reinforced by YKK Aquagard zippers
  • Comfortable to wear and walk with. Shoulder straps don’t slip off
  • Rain cover tucked away out of sight
  • 5 year global warranty!

Cons

  • Why exactly isn’t the main compartment also reinforced with the same Aquagard zipper as the laptop compartment?

Innovations

Check out the design on the exterior of the 20L Sapphire Valkyrie backpack I received. It’s a one of a kind design, but it’s also unique to this backpack alone. That’s because Morally Toxic creates these fabric panels by combining a map of their hometown Stagsden with an alligator print. No two bags get the exact same design.

I’ve owned a fair number of camera bags over the last decade, and the only variations I’ve seen in the dividers they’ve had has been in the thickness of each divider. The Morally Toxic Valkyrie series backpack internal dividers have inbuilt sleeves, such as the one seen here. Plus, the velcro sides are super strong and really grab onto the interior of the bag.

Gear Used

I tested out the Morally Toxic Valkyrie 20L backpack using the below gear:

  • Nikon FM2 with Nikkor 50mm f1.4 (sometimes replaced with my Z6 II and Nikon 50mm 1.8s lens)
  • Yashica Electro 35 GN
  • Nikon 105mm f2.8 lens
  • Nikon 24-70 f4 S lens
  • Laowa 10-18mm Z mount lens
  • Syrp Genie Mini
  • Freewell VND Magnetic filters
  • JOBY GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead X
  • Godox A1 flash
  • Giottos small blower

You could easily fit in a gripped DSLR with a 70-200 lens attached if you wanted to. The dividers are strong enough to hold the weight of this combo when you hoist the bag onto your shoulders.

Specs

As provided by Morally Toxic in their Information sheet:

  • The ultimate backpack for photographers who are tired of plain, corporate-looking camera bags.
  • Luxurious camera backpack in 2 sizes – Medium (20L), and Large (25L)
  • Made from premium fabrics treated to protect against liquids and stains
  • Water-resistant “Frog” pocket keeps wet items separate from electronics
  • Clever storage including dividers with built-in pockets for superior organisation
  • Laptop and tablet storage separate from users’ camera gear
  • Choice of 3 colours: ONYX, EMERALD, SAPPHIRE
  • Valkyrie: Medium SRP: £259.99 / US$299.99
  • Valkyrie: Large SRP: £269.99 / US$309.99

Ergonomics

I spent about four days testing the Valkyrie 20L backpack in various locations around town, with varying amounts of equipment inside. At no point did I feel that the bag was weighing down heavily on my shoulders. It does feel a bit squarish in design (and look) when viewed from the sides.

The shoulder straps have an adjustable buckle system to achieve a more snug fit on your chest.

The frog pocket (seen open here) isn’t exactly for storing cameras, but you get an idea of its size.

The Morally Toxic Valkyrie backpack has a 3-point air-flow back support, with cushioned lumbar and scapula pads. The careful attention to detail in the manufacturing is evident in their badge.

I used a Joby Gorillapod here, but a larger, standard-sized tripod would fit just as comfortably.

The adjustable hook mechanism is useful to quickly detach and fasten your tripod. You can tighten and loosen these straps according to your liking.

I didn’t have a laptop to test it with, but the laptop compartment also has a padded divider that allows you to keep a tablet inside. You can see a 9.7-inch screen iPad here.

Books, papers, pens, memory cards, cables – there’s room for lots of accessories in the outer compartment of the bag.

You can stash a few business cards on the other side of this compartment, as well travel documents or even a thick instruction manual in the zipped pocket.

The elastic system can hold a small water bottle with ease. Larger bottles can also be accommodated using the elastic pocket below this. I hate stretchy pockets becoming loose over time, but the material used in the Valkyrie seems like it won’t go down this route. Time will tell.

Take advantage of the detachable memory card wallet inside.

No shortage of storage space here. There are two pockets of different sizes on one side of the backpack. I used one of them to store a sanitiser aerosol can.

Build Quality

I’ve got no complaints as far as the quality is concerned. Nothing feels cheaply made, and Morally Toxic has done a good job in making the owner feel like they’ve got their money’s worth. They’re proud of their UK origins (“It all started in a Chicken Shed, in Stagsden, Bedfordshire,” as the About Us page says on the website). Spot the town’s name clearly embossed on the zipper pulls.

Notice the YKK Aquaguard protection along with the zipper tape of the (open) laptop and tablet compartment? That’s an bonus to keep water out of there as much as possible. I just wish it were also added to the main compartment where the cameras are stored.

There’s also a detachable, padded waist strap. The company has really given a lot of thought to comfort in this model.

Ease of Use

Don’t let that plush material fool you. The divider is sturdy and rigid.

The Valkyrie 20L is pretty straightforward when it comes to organizing the interior. You have to use a bit more strength than you think you’d need to pull out those smaller dividers. The velcro on these dividers grips the insides of the backpack so tightly that I thought they’d scream in pain if I tried any harder to pull them out. Eventually, when you do manage to get them out, they feel different in your hand. I’m fairly certain you will have never seen or felt a more rigid camera bag divider. The dividers don’t sag under the weight of my camera or lenses when the bag is on my shoulders.

Once you’ve customized the position of the dividers, you start to innovate using the inbuilt sleeves on the smaller dividers. If you don’t feel the need to use them, you can always tuck them back in.

The water-resistant Frog pocket is probably not something you’d access often. In most cases, you have to put down the bag to use this pocket. It’s also worth mentioning that you won’t be able to keep any dividers in the lower portion of your bag should you need to use this pocket. The internal lining needs to be pushed back into the bag when using this space, and the dividers would prevent this from happening.

Pull down on these straps to tighten the shoulder straps and pull up the bag for a more comfortable fit.

Tucked away almost invisibly under the backpack is the rain cover. Not much use for it here in Dubai, but I might take advantage of it when I take this bag into the desert for photoshoots.

It’s probably safer to put the backpack down on a flat surface when putting in and taking out camera gear. Imagine trying to open a packed Valkyrie like I did, then hanging the camera on your neck and zipping the bag to close it.

Conclusions

Likes

  • Comfortable to wear even if the design looks squarish
  • Head turning design and patterns
  • Rigid internal dividers
  • Plenty of well thought out storage areas
  • Large water resistant storage pocket that doesn’t take up space when not needed

Dislikes

  • All the zipper tapes should have had the YKK Aquaguard system. Why stop at just the one in the laptop compartment?
  • I think the backpack could have benefited from removing the lower exterior side pocket and adding a zippered opening into the inside for easy access to a main camera.

The Morally Toxic Valkyrie backpack is a strong entry into an already saturated camera bag market. However, it doesn’t feel like an entry model in any way. Drawing on over a decade of industry experience, parent company 3LeggedThing have made a camera bag that’s functional and good-looking. I especially like the rigidity of the internal dividers: they are quite unlike any I’ve seen or used before.

We’re giving this bad four out of five stars.

Feroz Khan

Never seen without a camera (or far from one), Feroz picked up the art of photography from his grandfather at a very early age (at the expense of destroying a camera or two of his). Specializing in sports photography and videography for corporate short films, when he’s not discussing or planning his next photoshoot, he can usually be found staying up to date on aviation tech or watching movies from the 70s era with a cup of karak chai.