By Courtney Victoria Photography
From cameras to tripods, clothing and bags, photographers are constantly tailoring their kit to their style of photography. As an outdoor and landscape photographer, the right backpack for my kit is essential. Not only am I walking distances on most of my shoots, but I also have equipment for both video and photography to carry. All this gear needs to be protected from changing conditions, I must be able to carry it comfortably for long periods of time across various terrains, and there must be room for a day-pack. I’m clearly not asking for much! The first step to buying suitable equipment is to know what you need and why. Could you imagine hiking up a mountain with a shoulder bag? Luckily, perfect bags do exist if you search for them, and you don’t need to look far, as today we’re exploring the cleverly designed Vanguard VEO Active 46 Backpack.
This is a rugged 25 litre trekking bag with a removable inner bag designed for your camera kit that also includes a day-pack section. The inner bag can hold between 3 and 5 lenses for a large camera set-up, and let’s be honest, how often do you have 5 lenses on one shoot? (If you do carry lots of gear at one time, the VEO Active comes in a range of sizes that can carry 5+ lenses if needed.) A couple of lenses, a camera body or two, and you’ve still got plenty of space for additional accessories such as filters, straps, spare batteries, etc. The customisable interior can be tailored to hold and protect your specific set-up, while the eye-catching yellow on the inside makes it easy to find that lens cap you threw in there in a hurry to grab a shot.
Take the inner bag out, and you can fill the bag with whatever you please: a smaller inner bag, clothes, camping gear, your grocery shopping... get as creative as you wish!
If you’ve never opted for a rear-access bag before (the main compartment opening on the back of the bag rather than the front), you’re missing a trick! If you're concerned about security, no one will be able to steal your camera while you're wearing it. If you need to put your bag down on location (especially on damp days), you’re not going to get a dirty or wet back when you’re ready to move on again. There is an option for top access if you’re not using the inner bag inside, which could be useful for hikers storing extra layers.
In case of wild weather, the VEO Active series is made of tough Nylon Cordura, which is weather and tear resistant. For heavier rain, just simply pop the rain cover on to keep both your day-pack and camera kit dry and protected.
What I enjoy about this bag is how customisable it is depending on how you’re using it. The daypack can be rolled down to minimise the height of the bag if you’re on a quick shoot, or you can extend it for more storage for kit and personal items. You can get at least twenty pairs of socks in there … or you could just use it for your lunch!
There are ten different pockets or pouches in total to store all your snacks and bits and bobs! Ten! Talk about being spoiled for choice! These are…
1: A secret pocket inside the daypack for valuables (wallet, keys, phone, etc.)
2: A 2 litre hydration pouch (I pop my rain covers in here.)
3: A side pocket with external charging capability. (Charging station!)
4: Two elasticated pouches on each shoulder strap.
5: An extendable pocket on the waist strap (the perfect size for a packet of crisps!)
6: Inner laptop and tablet pockets (15" laptop and up to a 10" tablet)
7: A small pocket on the back panel
8: An accessory case (SD cards, batteries, etc.)
9: Lens pouch (designed for a 70-200mm, but my Tamron 100-400mm fits in here perfectly.)
10: An elasticated side pouch (for either water bottles or a tripod)
As I mentioned earlier, knowing what functionality you need in a bag is important. I usually have two tripods with me on big shoots, one for video and one for photography. Being able to fit one, or even two tripods to a bag is important as it keeps my hands free. Most dedicated camera bags will have the option to fit a tripod in a side-elasticated pocket; however, the VEO Active range includes multiple removeable straps that can be used to attach a tripod to the front of the bag. Even if you’re not carrying multiple tripods, using the front attachment will give you better balance, especially if you’re out all day and covering long distances.
Not only is this bag customisable, but it’s also designed with the comfort of the user in mind. From balancing your kit to padded waist and shoulder cushions and adjustable straps, this bag is perfect for the roaming photographer, no matter if you’re near home or off on adventures in the wild.
If you’re interested in knowing more about the VEO Active 46 Trekking bag, you can head over to Youtube to watch my bag walk-through (as long as you don’t mind me rambling about my kit list too!) Look out for this bag on my channel as it makes its way to Antarctica in January 2023!