I’m a bag for every occasion photographer and my assignments are extremely diverse so that adds up to a lot of different bags. I was given a pre-release version of the Commander backpack and was asked to field-test it by Wotancraft. I love getting my hands on their new products because they are always making improvements and all their bags are just so damn sexy.
I was commissioned by Asian Development Bank for a weeklong documentary project in the northern mountains of Vietnam. We would be traveling through treacherous terrain and rainy weather photographing some of their projects benefiting remote ethnic minority communities. We would be doing some hiking so a backpack is ideal for comfort on the long days, this would be a perfect test for the Commander.
I’ll start with the pure beauty of this bag, as with all their bags it has that signature stylish look with the vegetable tanned leather and their new lightweight water repellant canvas. Most bags take years to have that cool broken in look but Wotancraft bags come with that look already. It feels like cheating but whatever, the bottom line is they look great. The bag doesn’t scream camera bag filled with expensive equipment, which is a blessing. It just looks like a rugged stylish backpack but of course it is much more than that. I packed the bag with the following; Canon 5D Mark 3, Canon 6D, Canon 24mm 1.4, 50mm 1.2, 16-35mm 2.8, and a 200mm 2.8 and plenty of memory cards and extra batteries. That’s a lot of gear and I was nervous it would feel heavy but it felt great on my back and shoulders throughout the trip.
The inserts are quite interesting and unique in their set up. It has a top loading option and two side compartments. The side loading pockets took some getting use to but once I adapted I really loved the option to get my extra lenses from the side pocket. It has a natural feel when you take the backpack off to rest it on your knee and then bam, your side pocket is right there.
We tested the bag in the heavy rain and the only time my equipment got wet was when I couldn’t resist shooting in the rain, when my gear was in the bag it stayed dry and protected from the elements.
If I had to add an improvement for the next generation of this bag I’d say it would be nice to have a little padding on the body contact points on the shoulder harness but overall I love this bag. It’s great to see Wotancraft come out with its first backpack and now the more adventurous photographer can travel in comfort and in style.
Here are some specs on the bag from Wotancraft along with pictures from the assignment.
-City Explorer “Commander” camera backpack x1
-lightweight shock-resistant insert for camera & lenses x1
-microfiber dividers (no cap) x1
-microfiber dividers (with cap) x2
-T-shaped divider x1
-cotton dustproof bag with WOTANCRAFT Chinese insignia x1
-“REMOVE BEFORE ADVENTURE” military ordnance tag keychain x1
-vegetable tanned cowhide leather
-waterproof W.A.L canvas
-high-strength metal hardware
-bronze YKK Zippers (with rustproof coating)
-high-density foam padding (shock-resistant insert)