I've been searching for a suitable camera backpack for a while now, but as you may very well know, I am very, VERY picky.
My ideal camera backpack has the following requirements:
- It needs to have a compartment for my camera gear, and a compartment for other items, such as food, sunscreen, etc.
- It should be stylish, wearable in the city.
- I don't want it to have a laptop compartment, but it should fit an iPad.
- It has to have a way to attach a tripod
- It has to have a water bottle holder
- It needs to be comfortable
- It has to have d-rings on the straps to hang my camera from
- It has to be large enough so it doesn't look like a kiddie backpack
- It cannot be too big or look like a himalayan expedition backpack.
- It should be brown.
So, after a lot of research, I found a backpack that I thought could fulfill all of these requirements. The Case Logic Reflexion DSLR backpack in "Morel" (affiliated link). Yeah, I know. It's some sort of a mushroom. Not really brown, but a brown tone. Good enough. I couldn't wait for it to arrive, and when it arrived, I was pleasantly surprised.
The quality of the workmanship is excellent. No stitches out of place. Everything seems to be solid. The zippers are great, the straps are ok, the bottom is waterproof, the side pockets are stretchy, the top handle is comfy, and the whole thing looks like quality. The material and colour are great, it looks like it's made from one of my dad's old suits. Very different.
The layout of the pack itself is very well thought-out: It is divided in two halves. The top half opens like a doctor's bag and is quite large, with a zippered pocket on one side. There is a large zipper in the middle that splits the pack in half.
You open it up by folding the top part over, so the bottom part opens up fully. In this space I was able to fit the camera insert I am using in my messenger bag. Very practical. There is a pocket for an iPad.
In the front, there is a flap closed with two snaps and a zipper. It fits my mega-sized wallet no problem. One more zippered compartment in there, and some pockets. Then on each side of the backpack are two elastic pockets, one for a water bottle and one for a tripod. The tripod then attaches with velcro straps to the top part of the pack.
I seriously love this thing. I carry it everywhere, sometimes only with one strap. The only thing it didn't have were d-rings on the straps, but I managed to sew those on myself. Now it's absolutely perfect.
It is NOT a suitable backpack for serious back country hiking. But it's not supposed to be. It doesn't want to be that, either. It's for in and around the city, and for some Sunday afternoon walks by the river. I love it so much, I'm considering buying the messenger bag as well. :)