It Has the Potential to Be Great: Vanguard Alta Fly 58T Review

Hybrid is a word that is becoming more readily used in the photography community. Bags are quickly adapting to photographers’ needs in a fast-paced world. The Vanguard Alta Fly 58T rolling camera bag functions primarily as a trolley and doubles as a backpack. It’s durable, functional, and TSA compliant. The hybrid is almost perfect.

Too Long Didn’t Read

The Vanguard Alta Fly 58T is a very functional hybrid trolley bag that doubles as a backpack. It comes equipped with padded shoulder straps and a waist strap that can be easily stowed away. The bag meets TSA carry-on standards and has extra grab handles for access. It’s quite versatile and functional.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Fits TSA carry-on guidelines
  • Can accommodate a Broncolor Siros L 800ws
  • Removable interior cube
  • Can be worn as a backpack or used as a trolley
  • Easy organization

Cons

  • Sternum strap isn’t high enough for women
  • Trolley handle access fits too snug
  • Doesn’t have weather-resistant zippers

Tech Specs

All tech specs are provided by the manufacturer.

  • Accessories: Raincover
  • Color: Black
  • Extended Warranty: Limited Lifetime
  • Inside Dimensions: 12 1/4″ x 6 7/8″ x 19 1/4″
  • Max Lens Capacity: 6
  • Notebook Capacity: 14”
  • Outside Dimensions: 13 5/8″ x 11″ x 23 1/4″
  • Series: Alta Fly
  • Shoulder Bag Type: Backpack
  • Tripod Storage: Y
  • Warranty: 1Y
  • Weight: 10.5 lbs.
  • Price: $299.99

Gear Used

We tested the Vanguard Alta Fly 58T with a Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 50mm f1.2 lens attached, Canon 85mm f1.2 lens, Broncolor Siros L 800ws, and a 3 Legged Thing Billy 2.0 tripod.

Innovations

Vanguard isn’t reinventing the wheel. However, they made an incredibly versatile option for photographers. It’s well thought-out to provide comfort when worn as a backpack. The Alta Fly 58T also spins effortlessly when used as a trolley. Again, it’s not innovative.

Ergonomics

On the top, you will find a sizeable padded grab handle. The trolley handle is also stored here. There are two D-rings located on either side. I found these handy to attach my keys.

The front panel of the Vanguard Alta Fly 58T has a large, zippered pocket to store memory cards, cables, and other small items.

Completely unzip the front panel to access the main compartment. Here you will find a protective mesh layer and a customizable cube.

The cube is also removable.

The inside of the front panel will accommodate a 16” MacBook Pro. This is larger than the specs indicate. There are two straps on the front panel that secure to the main compartment. This protects the laptop and prevents it from falling down when the bag is upright.

A smaller pocket located towards the top will fit a wallet, cell phone, and other personal items.

There are two straps to secure a tripod. And a pouch can even be accessed underneath a velcro strap for extra security.

On one side, there is a sizeable, stretchy pocket. I used this to hold my water bottle. Each side is equipped with a padded grab-handle for added convenience and comfort.

The padded shoulder straps and waist harness are on the back of the bag. There is a large pouch to secure the shoulder straps when not in use. It also houses the waterproof cover. The waist strap can then be fastened around the front of the bag to avoid dragging it. It also provides an extra level of security.

This is how the Alta Fly 58T fits when wearing it as a backpack. A waist strap is located at the bottom. And the harness strap is attached to the shoulder straps. While it’s uncomfortable for women and quite unflattering, I did find the bag comfortable without attaching the sternum strap for shorter durations.

Build Quality

Vanguard has built the Alta Fly 58T with rugged moisture-resistant and anti-scratch materials. The spinning wheels operate flawlessly when used as a trolley. But, the zippers aren’t fully water-resistant. I got caught in light rain, and my gear was protected. However, I wouldn’t feel comfortable transporting my expensive gear in heavy rain without the waterproof cover. It it were windy, I’d worry the cover could fly off. The zipper of the interior mesh panel began to split with repeated use. Overall, the exterior of the bag is constructed well and should last for years to come in ideal conditions.

Ease Of Use

The Alta Fly 58T is straightforward to use. It performs as well as any Samsonite roller bags I’ve used. The wheels spin and roll effortlessly. In addition, the customizable cube is easy to access and can be removed when not hauling gear. The pockets make organization a breeze. And you can utilize the mesh flap for an added layer of protection. Lastly, the shoulder straps and the trolley handle stow away easily when not in use.

Tuck the shoulder strap underneath the back pad and clasp the waist straps in front of the bag. The three grab handles are convenient when stowing the bag as well as accessing it.

Conclusions of the Vanguard Alta Fly 58T Roller Bag

Likes

  • Versatile
  • Can accommodate large items well
  • Easily customizable
  • Three layers of protection, including a TSA lock

Dislikes

  • The sternum strap does not accommodate most women
  • The trolley handle isn’t a perfect fit when accessing it and pulling it from its compartment
  • Main compartment zipper isn’t waterproof

You can tell there was a lot of thought put into designing this bag. Although there’s a lot to love about it, there are some serious missteps.

The sternum straps aren’t accommodating for most women. It’s frustrating that we are in the year 2021 and women are still an afterthought in design. The trolley handle access point is pretty snug, although once it’s accessed, it glides. We’d love to see them add a weather-proof zipper to access the main compartment in the future.

The pros do outweigh the cons. Vanguard’s Alta Fly 58T is a very well-designed bag. It allows you to transport a lot of gear comfortably. I would feel very comfortable traveling with my Broncolor Siros with my camera body. This will save money in the future on renting equipment. 

We’re giving the Alta Fly 58T three out of five stars. Want one? Check it out on Amazon.

Brittany Smith

Brittany is a commercial fashion and portrait photographer working in Montana and NYC. When not behind a camera she can usually be found at a local artisan coffeeshop, writing for photography education sites and publications, teaching fitness classes, or baking something fabulous.