Wandrd Prvke 21 Review: travel, edc, and photography backpack at an additional cost
On my never ending quest to find the perfect backpack I have noticed that camera bags, while good at protecting camera gear, are usually an inflexible partitioned box with shoulder straps. In the camera world a good backpack that can safely hold the expensive camera gear is a sought after luxury, but while many opt for a large partitioned boxes onebaggers, such as myself, want an all in one solution for travel, EDC, short hikes, and even day trips.
There were many solutions but only a few were of high quality with additional features not pertaining to photography. One of these options was the Wandrd PRVKE 21 backpack. Wandrd markets this as an EDC, photography, and travel backpack and it was my goal to find out if the roll top style PRVKE could accomplish all of these roles.
The Wandrd PRVKE is presented as a camera backpack option, but the backpack is not strictly for photography, and this is noted by Wandrd selling all the photography options, such as the camera cube, separately. Keep that in mind because the additional items do increase the price quite a bit.
The Wandrd backpack has its “look” and that look does not scream “steal me I'm a camera backpack”, but instead has a roll-top tactical-tote aesthetic. It is quite unique which I can see people loving or hating. It cannot be argued that if a thief didn't know this was a camera backpack it wouldn't be high up on their radar. This can be a powerful camouflage for protecting that expensive camera gear.
The outside is made of waterproof materials such as tarpaulin and Ballistic nylon and includes water resistant zippers which will help protect the contents inside. I will get more into the outside later in this review because I want to first talk about how this backpack holds up as a camera specific backpack.
The pack can be accessed from the back where the whole back panel can be zipped down. This reveals the optional camera cube and the area above the camera cube which can be accessed easily from the roll top. The camera cube only takes up a portion of the bottom of the bag which I enjoy because it allows me to put non-camera specific items, like a jacket, above it.
I was impressed with how big the camera cube was, even for the 21 liter backpack. I can carry my camera, a few lenses, and some other options. The outside of the camera compartment is well padded but the dividers seem under protected. I’m going to take it on good faith that Wandrd has done their research and my camera gear will be well protected.
I enjoyed how much room was left when the large camera compartment was inserted. Even with the roll-top completely rolled up there was still a decent amount of room. Unroll the top and the pack just gaines an additional 5 extra liters of space. The 25 total liter capacity is not including the additional bags you can connect to the attachment points on the outside of the pack. The bag is not lacking space, even for its 21 liter base volume.
Like any good camera backpack the bag has a side access pocket that leads into the side of the camera cube for quick access to one’s camera. The internal camera cube has zipper to allow the quick access but can be zipped up to deny this ability providing an extra level of security when quick access is not desired. This side access pocket on the pack has a pocket on its inside with elastic separations to put small items like camera batteries.
(pic side access pocket)
I usually access the camera cube through the back panel. This allows me to see all my gear at a glance. The camera package comes with leashes which allows the backpack to convert into a work bench by suspending the backpack horizontally while wearing it. This is great if you are on a complex shoot and need access to all your gear without putting down your backpack. Just flip the pack around so it lays against your torso and unzip. I did not buy the complete photography backpack and so do not have the leashes but I can see them being very useful.
The backpack comes with some additional photography features such as a lens cover holder on the shoulder strap, molly webbing along the straps, and straps on each side of the pack that can be used to hold a tripod or other long items. I dont know how much I trust the lens cap holder and feel like Im going to bump the cap off. I haven't used it enough to find out since I usually just put the cap in my pocket. If this bag was not to be used as a photography bag I could still see myself using these features for other things.
The problem I have with this backpack for photography is that all the photography options, and even the travel accessories, need to be purchased separately. This increases the price of this pack quite a bit. At the time of writing this the photography bundle comes in at $264 not including tax. I can purchase a camera backpack for a fraction of the price. If you do manage to get a great deal on this pack with at least the camera cube, this pack can be a great option for a photography.
While I am pleased with his pack as a camera backpack, the camera package far exceeds in price other quality camera packs. Unless purchased on sale its hard to mindlessly recommend this pack as your next photography backpack. Of course, if only purchased with the cube one can substitute the rainfly and leashes with cheaper alternatives and live without the waist straps to get a more affordable price on the bag.
I recently took this bag on a multi-day trip as a carry on bag, beach bag, and daily bag in a theme park. I was surprised how big this 21 liter bag is. I was able to unload the camera cube and fold down the flap that separates the camera cube area and the area accessed from the top of the bag to create one large compartment.
On the day I went to the beach I was able to load up 3 large beach towels and a six pack of beers. I was surprised to find I still had room to spare. I could have added another towel and some smaller items to fill up the bag. I was pleasantly surprised how much I could fit into this pack.
On the day I went to the theme park I only took a jacket and my mirrorless camera. The straps on this bag are soft but I found I was getting fatigued carrying the bag on my shoulders for such a long time. Also the lack of ventilation on the straps was causing my shoulders to get sweaty.
One of my favorite features of the bag is its ability to expand. The Provoke has a roll top to bring the 21 liter bag up to 25 liters. The roll top is secured with a metal hook that attaches to loops that run down the rollable area. This hook strap does not stay tight which is probably the reason why Wandard added velcro onto the foldable lid. There is not enough velcro to make the top difficult to open nor does it make a tremendous amount of noise, but It would have been nice to see the bag without it. I could have done without the velcro and just had a better hook mechanism but the system that is in place now is not entirely bad.
I am not a big fan of the handle that Wandrd incorporated into this bag. Actually there are two handles, one on the top and the other on the front, that come together with magnets. When the two handles come together it makes the true handle of the bag. This handle is not well padded but thick enough that it can be held comfortably while loaded. To open the bag or access the quick access pocket the handles need to be peeled away and moved, while not a big deal, still an extra step I would rather not do.
The real issue with the handle appears when the bag is fully loaded or loaded with heavy items. When fully loaded the handles fail to come together which causes the back handle to drape over the wearers neck. If the bag is filled with a heavy load, the handles try to separate making the bag uncomfortable to hold. I would have perfered one big handle in a place that is out of the way.
The bag fits comfortably under a airplane seat and the quick access pockets are great for getting headphones or charging cables when sitting in the airplane seat. The pack has two quick access areas; one at the top that is felt padded and one on the side with a key clip. Additionally, to those first order access pockets is a secret pocket found on the back of the pack. The secret pocket was designed to hold valuable items such as passports or wallets.
The bag, except for the top expandable area, can be accessed through the back. This allows the bag to be packed from the back while still having the bag be accessible from the top when on location.
By having the two styles of accessing the bag, roll top and clam shell, having the many first order pockets, and being small enough to fit under an airplane seat but still expandable for one bag travel make this a terrific and versatile bag for traveling.
If you are going to shell out this amount of money you would expect this versatile pack to fit into your daily routine. You have to think about how this pack will fit into your life because it is not perfect but the Prvke 21 does make its case for an EDC backpack.
The back panel of the pack that folds down when open contains two slots for computers or tablets. These slots are lifted from the bottom and are well padded and large. A velcro strap comes down to secure the tablet and computer sleeve and while strap is useful for having one’s computer not spill out when opening to clam shell mode, the strap is next to impossible to remove when the pack is not completely open. This may be good as an anti theft mechanism but I find that I struggle with the strap more often than not.
I enjoy the many attachment points and pockets the Provoke has. Straps can be attached to the underside of the pack to carry a jacket or it can be added to the front as shown on Wandrds website. This gives the user options to add extra packs or attach large items to the outside.
The pack contains a front pocket with a vertical opening. This pocket would only be able to be used for flat objects when the camera cube is loaded. If you were to stick papers in there, the most obvious purpose for the pocket, the papers would bend because the camera cube stops half-way up the bag and the bags materials bend inward where the top flap is rolled up. I have never needed this pocket nor know when I would need it for but its there if someone can find a use for it.
While the pack has a nice laptop compartment and the area in between the sleeve and main area can be used for notebooks or folders (or the main compartment can be used for that too) a place is missing to put pens and pencils. I dont usually use pens or pencils but I like to have at least two on me at all times just in case. I think if this pack had places to put my apple pencil, pen, pencil, eraser, calculator, and other things then this bag would be a complete edc pack. For students and people who would like this for work, if you can get around this and find a way to store your notebooks and
Lastly, we come to the look of the bag. Of course, if you want a bag as a daily carry you expect it to be good-looking. I can’t deny that this bag has a “look”. Its a roll-top bag with a semi-shiny material on the front and military style looking shoulder straps. The rectangular bag sits lower on the back, and if fully loaded, the straps seem to come from the middle of the bag. The pack has its look and if you like that then thats all that matters. The PRVKE pack comes in some enjoyable colors Wandrd: black, wasatch green, and aegean blue.
As for me, Im on the fence if I like it. I think it looks really cool in pics and other people wear it stylishly but I think what gets me the most, in ergonomics and ascetics, is the handles. The handles make the backpack look like a tactical tote bag. What I do really enjoy is the colors Wandrd chose for the backpack: black, wasatch green, and aegean blue.
I think Wandard has made a very compelling bag that fits well for photography, travel, and edc. Where I see the bag deterring people from buying it is its price and look. If you enjoy the look of the Provoke and can find this bag on discount with the accessories you want, there is no reason you should not pick the Prvke 21 up.
Made of high quality materials
Holds more than it looks
The camera cube is well implemented
Many attachment points
A good and varied amount of first order pockets
All the extra stuff is purchased separately
Top handle design
Design of the top roll up compartment
Sand and dirt sticks to pack but wipes off easily
I’ll admit, I haven't used this bag everyday but so far its been holding up nicely. There is a small hole/scratch in the fabric Tarpaulin from when it got caught on something.
Every time I use this bag I am so impressed with how much it holds. The roll top allows so much more room to the point where it doesnt even feel like a 21 liter bag.
As of right now this is the best implementation of a camera cube I have seen. Getting my camera through the side access is great and the large camera cube fits all the gear I need to take and still provides room in the bag. I have not been disappointed with the camera cube.
What I dont enjoy that much is the shoulder straps. When loaded out with all my gear, my shoulders become quickly fatigued. These are things I talked about in the review, but I am consistently reminded of them every time I use this bag.