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Monday, September 5, 2016

Review - Evecase Camera Backpack

     
UPDATE:  Immediately after publishing this post, I ordered the Peak Design Everyday backpack!  Can't wait til December!!! :D

     Anyone that knows me knows that I love a good bag...any kind of bag, whether it be a purse, backpack, or even luggage!  One of the backpacks that I've been coveting is the new Everyday Backpack from Peak Design.  It's sleek, modern, and looks really functional while being comfortable to carry around.  The only problem?  It's not available to ship until December! :(

     Since I had a whirlwind 24 hours in the bay area to survive, I decided I needed to find something affordable that would allow me to take the gear that I needed, as well as a few extras like a change of clothing and a small bag of toiletries.  First I decided to go small and look for something compact.  I ended up ordering the Case Logic cpl-108 backpack from Amazon.  However, they sent me the wrong backpack (the Case Logic cpl-109 on the far left below).  I quickly discovered that the cpl-109 was too small to hold everything I needed to take with me.  That, and an unsolicited remark from a total stranger in a public restroom that my backpack was a strange shape, easily persuaded me to order the actual cpl-108 (in grey in the middle below) backpack.  

     I packed up the cp-108 and while it held the gear I needed to bring, it was pretty much packed tight...so tight that one of the seams ripped on the left side.  I didn't feel like I exerted excessive pressure to cause the seam splitting, so I chalked it up to poor craftsmanship from Case Logic.  When I contacted the seller through Amazon, they said they would be willing to return or exchange it.  I actually really liked the cpl-108, but it just didn't hold enough.  Enter the Evecase DSLR backpack (far right below).

     While this backpack was a bit larger than the others, it seemed really functional.  Since I was pretty much desperate, this appeared to be my best option since I had 3 days before I had to leave for the bay area.  It has a compartment to fit a laptop, one large access pocket in the back, one top access pocket at the top, one side access pocket on the right side, and an accessory zipped compartment on the left side.


     The back access compartment functioned well.  It allowed me to see everything, and more importantly, fit everything that I needed to bring with me.  I brought the following gear with me:
  • Canon 5d Mark III body
  • Canon 5d Mark II body (as a back-up)
  • Canon 24-70 f2.8
  • Canon 16-35 f2.8
  • Canon 50 f1.2
  • Canon 135 f2
  • Canon 580ex II flash
  • Canon G7x (for fun!)
  • Shootsac Lens bag
  • Pelican card holder
  • Extra batteries, blower, cleaning cloth

      Okay, so now that you know what I fit into this backpack, you KNOW it fits a TON of stuff!  Don't get me wrong, it was heavy, but not because of the backpack itself.  I was also able to fit these additional items:

  • One change of clothes
  • One small bag of make-up/toiletries
  • My wallet

     I know, I know...I've got skillz. I still couldn't believe it all fit! 



     The top access compartment was REALLY useful.  When going through the airport, I was able to easily access my wallet and cards, or my G7x if I needed it. 


     The side access pocket was a nice touch.  This really reminded me of the features of the Peak Design Everyday backpack (except the Everyday backpack has this type of opening on both sides.  Since I was doing some shooting in the morning with one of my photography friends in San Francisco, this was a great way to easily access my DSLR if I wanted to snap a shot of something.  I was also able to just use my Shootsac to fill with a few lenses, while carrying the rest of my gear on my back.


     The left side pocket could've been a little roomier, but I was able to fit my extra batteries and my Pelican card holder in here easily. 


     I opted to not bring a laptop with me since I wouldn't have any time to do any editing, but if you wanted to bring a laptop with you, the compartment on the Evecase is well padded to hold a laptop or a tablet.


Here are my final thoughts:

Design (4 out of 5 stars):  For the price, Evecase really has some well thought out design elements in this backpack.  I love the variety in access points, and I love that you can easily reconfigure the padding to suit your needs.  That being said, I felt that the velcro could've used some more attention.  There were times the velcro came apart, and while nothing happened to my gear, it was a pain to have to reattach it. 

Comfort (4.5 out of 5 stars):  Let me just say that the straps on this backpack are SO comfortable!  I never once felt uncomfortable.  They didn't skimp on the padding for sure!  I only wish they did something to manage the straps on the backpack a little better.  There were some smaller compression straps on the actual backpack pads that dangled.  I didn't know what to do with them, and sometimes they were just annoying.  I've thought about just cutting them off.  It also comes with a waist strap, but I didn't even undo those, and I didn't notice it causing me any discomfort at all.

Quality (4 out of 5 stars):  Overall, this backpack is well-made.  You definitely don't get the feeling that it's a cheap backpack.  However, because of the velcro situation mentioned above, and the fact that the zippers could be a little better quality, I had to remove one star.  

     Would I recommend this to a friend?  Absolutely!  The mere fact that I was able to fit what I fit into this backpack makes it a great value for the money.  It's also very comfortable to carry around.  It's not as sleek looking as the Peak Design Everyday backpack, but the Everyday backpack is also almost $200, so for 1/4 of the price, the Evecase is an amazing value. 

     Some of you may be wondering why I didn't just bring a rolling camera case with me.  I considered it, but I also made the mistake of booking a Spirit Airlines flight.  Any of you familiar with Spirit (because I wasn't) know that they have strict bag restrictions and charge an arm and a leg for anything outside of their bag parameters.  I did realize later on though, that I spent more money trying to find a backpack for this trip because of Spirit's bag rules, than I would've had I just paid the extra bag fees and brought my rolling case!  That being said, I had to hike up a small mountain and later on in the week, I had a portait shoot on terrain that would've been hard to navigate with a rolling case.  Overall, I'm super happy I have this backpack for when I need to pack more, or for when a rolling case isn't the best option.  Does that mean I won't be the new owner of a Peak Design Everyday backpack in December?  Hahahaha, I can't guarantee that...because I'm a bag fiend. ;)



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